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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Tue 16 Dec, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Supernatural ideas, silver weapons, and other resources?         Reply with quote

OK, We all know you need something silver to ah..... 'kill a werewolf.'

Now, werewolves may not exist, but the idea of them seems to have gone back a long way, I know I've read sagas mentioning 'shapeshifters whom iron would not bite" and so fourth.

Can anyone tell me a bit about this history of the idea of using silver as a weapon? In the above, it almost seems as if one might as well beat him with anything you liked so long as it wasn't iron. Wood would do, or a lead hammer, or a bronze spear.

I do remember something about a clergyman trying to prove rifles were the work of the devil, and he had a man shoot a 'blessed silver ball' with a cross on it, and a plain old nasty lead ball The lead ball was more accurate, thus proving the rifle's opposition to God and the benefits of using lead as ammunition over silver. (Lead is softer and passes easier through the grooves of the rifling.)


Now, I'm actually quite interested in studing up on the historical views of the supernatual world, but I think asking about witch trials for werewolves and such might be too off topic for off topic on myArmoury... (Mods? Would it?) and so as long as I'm asking this, I'm hoping someone might point me to another forum of quality where such things are frequently discussed.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Dec, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While shapeshifters are mentione in the sagas, as far as I remember there is no mention of a spesific conter to them.
However, by the time of "documented" superstision(1700's), both silver and iron repell the supernatural.
In Norway at least, throwing iron over supernaturals caused them to lose their powers, and be at your mercy.

I would guess that the magical metals replace magical formulae and such as a means to repress the supernatural; In a society with "magicians" a weapon imbuned magic would probably take its place. In a society where "magic" is illegitimate you need a non-"magical" way to fight the supernatural, provided by iron and silver.

The early/high medevial church rejected the idea of magic as superstition; God is allmighty, and all power comes from him. He is the only one that can create or change matter.
In the same way that heathen gods have no power over the material world, neither does the devil. He can only affect the mind. The high medevial church acnowledged that there might be "wherewolfs" but not that they actually changed shape (as only god can transform matter). Rather they turned "Hairy on the inside", sucumbing to bestial urges and behavior.

During the late middle ages and renaisance, however, the catholic church was weakened, and the internal consistency of Dogma was replaced by acceptance of what was periosly labled superstison as thruth.
Protestant reformers where major proponets of witchhunting, and largely embraced the rural superstition of their native regions.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Dec, 2008 10:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to add to what Elling said, it was not uncommon for swords to be blessed by the clergy or even inlayed with silver or iron. Perhaps this was seen as a way of hedging your bets for a supersticious user? Happy
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2008 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Celtic/Gaelic myth, the Sidhe (fairy folk, or the Fey), were repelled by pointed iron (I.E., a blade). In the Indonesian cultures, the Keris is a dagger (sometimes with wavy blade), that is supposed to protect against evil spirits, and can actually damage the soul. In modern paganism/witchcraft, the Athame (pronounced ah-THAY-me) is used to banish evil forces and to cast the magic circle. So, it appears there is still something to the "magic" blade in our world. Wink
Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
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PostPosted: Fri 19 Dec, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like a lot of things, it's worthwhile examining the historical basis for these things and not always assuming the reasoning of our ancestors was backward or purely superstitious.

Silver is a very powerful antimicrobial agent, effective against both fungi and bacteria and while microbiology was not known, it's properties of purification were made use of going back at least to the early Bronze Age. The Phonecians used to put silver coins in water barrels for long ship board voyages on ships, (the same was done in the 19th century by settlers in the American West)- which is part of the origin of the tradition of throwing coins in a well, to keep the water from going 'off'. Surgical tools made of silver go back to ancient Greece, and this is also why silver was used for eating utensils.

In modern times silver is the principle ingredient in the most effective known burn-creams, which are also used to treat MRSA (anti biotic resistant staff infections)

So who knows, maybe it works against lycanthropy.

J

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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Dec, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Gregg wrote:
In the Indonesian cultures, the Keris is a dagger (sometimes with wavy blade), that is supposed to protect against evil spirits, and can actually damage the soul.


It's a lot more complicated than that. Each individual keris is supposed to have its own unique magical properties that can come from a combination of its maker's reputation, the raw materials used to build it, the pamor (pattern-welding) worked into the blade, and its history of use. For example, a keris known as the Kala Munyeng is said to have been originally a pen, which transformed into a blade and slaughtered an invading force when its owner's (Islamic) religious school was attacked in an otherwise defenseless state.

While we're at it, I remember some Indonesian tales about people who were resistant to the cuts of sharp weapons but were eventually defeated by blunt strikes. One such instance is a duel in a folktale where the winner had deliberately blunted his parang (machete/large knife) before the duel, knowing that both he and his opponent were protected by magical wards that prevented sharp weapons (like the opponent's normal sharpened parang) unable to do them any harm. Another instance is the incident where Prince Cakraningrat got into a fight with the crew of a Dutch ship because of a misunderstanding. The Dutchmen initially attacked him with swords and pistols but had no success until somebody threw a chair against Cakraningrat, which knocked him down and allowed the Dutch soldiers to beat him to death with sticks and the butts of their muskets. Funny.
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Hunter B.




Location: Away from Home
Joined: 26 Aug 2008

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat 20 Dec, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just aim for the Zombie's head.

But in reality, it is interesting to look at the reasoning behind why our ancestors believed as they did. Funny how "Lunacy" is still something observed today in hospitals across the world, no? My girlfriend is a nurse, and she will tell you the worst nights are almost always when there is a full moon out.

We may like to think they were ignorant savages, perhaps our ancestors may show us they knew a bit more than we like to give them credit for.

“It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves.”
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since the use of protective rites and items are basicaly results of fear or anxiety, anything that someone feels might help will serve.
Since the problem most often is the FEAR of attack, hostile magic, supernatural creatures etc, rather than actuall occurance (since wherewolf attacks are pretty darned rare...) what matters is that the individual feels that he is doing something significant to ward the thing of.
Things that are associated with value or power are natural to resort to when looking for significance. Examples are silver (the most common incarnation of wealth in early society) or religious symbols. Even things that are repulsive to humans are good candidates; Feces are used to ward against evil spirits some places.
In costal Norway, sailors in distress that feared they where beeing targeted by the Draug (personification of the drowned that had not recieved a burral) would throw one of their mittens owerboard, to pleas the draug (who acording to tradition was cold and lonely, and had only one mitten)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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J.T. Aliaga




Location: SATX
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW Silver was associated with the moon in ancient times. Since lyncanthropy is a moon-related curse, using silver to kill a werewolf could be consistent with the "logic" of witchcraft/curses/magic.
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Sun 21 Dec, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello
If i´m not wrong, you can defeat Nordic Trolls with Iron, crosses or figures representing Thor´s Mjolnir.
Here in Argentina, there is a legend that tells that you can kill a werewolf with a silver blessed bullet / Blade, and shotting its shadow instead of the werewolf itself. (But this may vary between regions)

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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