Ten Ways to Kill a Werewolf

45061324 - halloween night and werewolf on moon background, illustration.

In the healthcare debate, lunatic lycans are getting short shrift. Typically, our government is offering no solution to this scourge.  Instead, they are hiding as they usually do behind environmentalist ideals and a liberal morality that oftentimes does more harm than good (e.g. “Save the owls, starve the loggers, fight forest fires!”).

Their cohorts in Hollywood are no help either, offering a steady stream of false mythology and monotonous meme mantras. “Silver, silver, silver!” they chant while mining our gold and attempting to confiscate the very tools we would use to propel such a charm. Idiots. Most folks know that there are more ways to kill a cat than choking it with cream.  But sadly, due to government neglect and Hollywood disinformation, most only know of one way to kill a werewolf; and it happens to be dead wrong.

Thankfully, a wealth of information exists about this problem and its potential solutions. These solutions are not for the squeamish. There are those who believe in the rehabilitation of the werewolf; of bringing it back from its bestial curse into the full fellowship of man. I think they are misguided. My step-father was a rancher. If wild dogs or coyotes dared pester his livestock, he shot them. In like manner, when werewolves attack, one needs to kill them. Following are ten different ways to get the job done.

1) Wear It Out
Werewolves have been known for millennia, but their terror and ferocity entered the consciousness of the civilized European world in the bowels of the longships. Among the thousands of Norsemen who would go on a viking[1] in lower Europe were a special class of warriors known as ulfhednar, men clad in wolf skins. They were devotees of Odin and were known to work themselves up into a tremendous rage prior to battle. Once loosed, nothing but death stopped them. Their more well-known name is berserker, bear coat, and several famous ones make our list.

The first is Kveldulf Bjalfason. King Harald Fairhair betrayed Kveldulf’s son Thorolf and killed him. After hearing the news, Kveldulf and his other son formed up with a band of berserkers and took their revenge on the king’s men. Worn out by his berserker rage, Kveldulf died of exhaustion soon after.

So, when a werewolf threatens you, befriend its firstborn and then kill it. This will enrage the werewolf (or hamrammr, shape-shifter, as Kveldulf was also known) to such a degree, that he will come after you with all his bitter energy. Then, all you have to do is survive the attack until he wears himself out. Problem solved.

2) Impale It with a Lance
The Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066 was a pivotal day in English history. But aside from unintentionally paving the way for England’s demise under William the Bastard, it also gave us two useful ways to kill a werewolf.

The Norsemen under King Harald were expecting surrender from the English King Harold that day, not an attack. The first push from the massive English army drove the unarmored Norsemen over the bridge in bloody disarray. All, except one massive Viking who stood his ground on the narrow causeway. This ulfhedinn held the bridge single-handed in a berserker rage as the English pushed forward, four abreast. None could break past. One wily Saxon saw that frontal assault was fruitless. He stowed himself away in a barrel upstream and floated down to the bridge. Once under the Norse giant, he thrust upward with his lance through the chinks in the bridge and impaled the warrior through the groin. The Norse hero died, but not before having killed forty Englishmen while defending the bridge.

Solving a werewolf problem requires cunning as well as courage.

3) Shoot It in the Neck with an Arrow
The other famous werewolf at Stamford Bridge that day was King Harald Hardrada himself. Once the English came across the bridge and broke through the Norse line, Harald went berserk and charged into them without any body armor, swinging his sword double-handed. The sagas report that “neither helmet nor mail could stand against him.”[2] In the heat of battle, he was shot through the throat with an arrow and died.

4) Wait it Out
Werewolves can be dangerous and destructive. But sometimes it’s prudent to simply wait them out, especially if one happens to be ruling your country. Such was the case with Vseslav, the famous werewolf Prince of Poltosk. He died of old age (for his time) at sixty-two in 1101 AD.

On rare occasions, if you wait it out, your problem might just go away.

5) Burn at the Stake
Henry Boguet (1550-1619), the accomplished witch-trial judge of Burgundy, sentenced all convicted werewolves to be burned at the stake. One must suppose that they died, along with the other 30,000 suspected werewolves who were put to death in France from 1525 through 1625.

6) Tear Its Heart Out
Removing the heart was the Russian solution to their volkodlak problem. The English developed this particular method of werewolf control independently (and accidentally) in York while dealing with a particularly troublesome revenant werewolf. Run of the mill lycans are bad enough as humans by day and wolves by night. Revenants do the wolf-by-night bit, but add the nasty habit of being a corpse by day into the mix. As bloodthirsty as vampires and nowhere near as charming, they are highly disruptive to communities and downright scandalous to morticians. Having had enough of their revenant, the menfolk of York dug him out of his grave and found his body turgid as a tick with blood. They hacked through his rib cage with their spades and pulled out his heart and then burnt his body for good measure. He was never heard from again.

Sometimes, to solve your werewolf problem, you just have to get to the heart of the matter.

7) Decapitation with a Spade
Taking the head off anything is a fairly effective way of killing it. The revenant problem was not relegated to England alone. Eastern Europeans had their issues with them too. The condition was thought to be caused by dying in mortal sin. Safety-conscious Polish peoples of the 17th and 18th centuries would have revenants exhumed and beheaded with a spade. After an exorcism by the parish priest, the head would be thrown into a river where the weight of its sins would drag it down to the depths.

Getting rid of sins in water isn’t a new idea. But it works best when one is still alive.

8) Wolfsbane
The herb, not the band (though loud and persistent doses of heavy metal can also prove fatal). This herb was actually first used on werewolves by well-intentioned folks who wished to cure lycanthropy. Like many medical practices in our own time, the cure was worse than the disease (for the patient). Wolfsbane, or aconitum, is known as the Queen of Poisons. Take note: common cures can be deadly.

9) Pour Salt in the Wound
This method, without a doubt, is the most challenging to employ.[3] Difficulty number one: wound the werewolf while remaining unscathed yourself. Difficulty number two: get close enough to the wound to pour salt in it without getting killed in the process. The mid-evil Slavic heroine Kandek seems to be the only one who has successfully pulled this one off and it required all the courage and craftiness she could muster. But in the end, she successfully defeated the Hag Werewolf of Armenia.

10) Ignore Them
This is one of the standard government solutions, which first reared its ugly head in the Canton of Vaud in 1670. A boy and his mother claimed they could change themselves into wolves. But unlike the witch hunters of earlier years, no one took them seriously. Technically, this isn’t solving the werewolf problem by killing it. Its ignoring the problem by denying it. It can, however, be fatal if you’re wrong.

As you can see, the silver bullet method didn’t make the list. It is a myth from modern times, born in the twentieth century retelling of the death of the Beast of Gevaudan in 1767. This werewolf was killed by Jean Chastel, who employed prayer and common, powder-propelled lead.

There is no magic bullet, no cure-all nutritional supplement, no single investment strategy, no foolproof parental policy. One size doesn’t fit all. This world is complex. Best learn to be flexible.

[A note from the author: Thank you for spending time with me in Larumland, a unique mental landscape where spiritual contemplation, life experience, historical reflection, and current observations meet in provocative prose. For longer works by the author, please visit www.amazon.com/author/nikolas_larum. I cordially invite you to visit my other blogs as well, www.thebiblephiles.wordpress.com and www.gypsyspy.com.]

[1] Viking was originally a noun that described an activity, namely an overseas expedition.
[2] 1066 The Year of Conquest, David Howarth, © 1977 by David Howarth, Barnes & Noble Books, New York, New York, p. 140. Harald Hardrada was praised in the poetry of his day. One popular line: “the wolf was always well fed before you went homeward.” (Howarth, p. 111)
[3] Almost as difficult as catching rabbits by sprinkling salt on their tails and much more dangerous.