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Creuset of Ideas
» CSIing



2006-06-6 @ 9:31

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Watched CSI last night, the “Werewolf” episode (I missed it the first time around). I know shows like that don’t have to be 100% realistic, and aren’t. But in this case, it was on things I happen to know something about: Old English and silver.

At one point Grissom says that the world werewolf comes from wargwolf, which meant serial killer. Sorry, I know that’s what Wikipedia says, but that’s not the case. It does come from were (which means “man”) and wolf, as the Germanic, and French, cognates illustrate. But, well, the serial killer etymology has more punch.

As for the silver bullet. First of all, visually. Silver is not as hard as copper, so the bullet would have been more squashed. Also, it would’ve had a pinkish hue: when heated, the copper making up (part of) the 9.25% of sterling silver comes to the surface and has to be polished off to give the silver back its colour. This is known as the firescale (or firestain) and polishing it off is probably the part of silversmithing I hate the most.

Another thing about the colour: when the killer made the bullet, it would have been white. That’s the colour of silver when cast, surprising as it may sound. I doubt that the killer would have taken the time to actually polish the bullets before loading them in the gun. When describing the process, Grissom says that silver has a high melting point, so the killer must have been really hell-bent on making those bullets. No more than if he wanted to make copper ones; silver actually has a lower melting point than copper. It may not be lead or pewter, but a simple propane torch would do the job.

But that was just me nitpicking.

What do you think?