Vampires: Ten Fun Facts

ScarlettWestWriting Bits0 Comments

 

Time for a blog series on vampires! This is the first of four and its going to be fun. In this post I’ll cover vampire trivia–how to tell if someone is a vampire, burials, magical powers, that sort of thing.

Please return for more awesome blog posts later. (Future subjects are a surprise.)

10. Vampire Burials

A long time ago in Europe, suspected or potential vampires were buried in interesting ways. For example, millet, a coin, a stone, or another heavy object would be placed in the mouth before covering the person up. Also, a sickle was laid across the neck to prevent her from becoming a vampire.

Burying a corpse upside down or at a crossroads was another method. The vamp would dig in the opposite direction and not be able to come out of the ground or when they rose up out of the grave he would get confused by the diverging roads. Other ways to bury a suspected vampire: wrap the coffin in bunches of roses or place a nail under the grave.

Kind of hard to bite someone with a rock in your mouth, your front teeth missing, and a stake in your leg. Just in case.

Kind of hard to bite someone with a rock in your mouth, your front teeth missing, and a stake in your leg. Just in case.

Archeologists found evidence of these kinds of burials all over Europe, including Drawsko, Poland.

I’ve been to Poland and it is a fabulous country. My second book in my paranormal, vampire romance series partly takes place in Poland and one of the villains is from Drawsko. Exciting!

9. Cultural Variations of Vampires

Many cultures from around the world have a vampire story. My twitter friend, Shashank Verma, from India, says that India has one of the oldest vampire stories.  That’s likely since they have one of the earliest recorded histories in the world. But, Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman ancient cultures also have their own excellent versions so it might be a toss up on, “who started it all.”

A few vampire concepts from other cultures: Brahmaparusha makes Dracula look like a walk in the park. This Being from India eats your brains and wears your intestines around its neck. Can we say, gross?

Another one from the Ashanti culture in Ghana is Asasabonsam. This vampire lives in the forest and sports “curved iron hooks instead of feet” (3rd source below). It waits for its victim in a tree, catches it with the hooks, and then eats it up.

I prefer a vampire like Bones, Lestat, or even Zsadist to either of those. If you want to learn more about versions of vampires from around the world, check out my sources below.

8. Origin of Word

Several dictionary sources say that the word, vampire, comes from the Slavonic word, “vampir”. Most sources name Hungarian or Serbian as the root for the word vampire. Some believe that the word Turkish word “uber” is related. “Uber” means witch.

I find this to be fascinating as usually a witch uses powers over someone else, similar to the way we see vampires using their guile, mind control, sexiness, or some other form of manipulation to draw in their victims.

7. Ways to Become a Vampire

Along with different cultural ideas of vampires, within Eastern Europe there were many ways to become a vampire. Suicide, not getting baptized, a vampire bite, being born at a certain time, or incorrect burial were common ways of turning into a vampire. A few other ways were: excommunication from the church, born an illegitimate child, a cat walks over a person’s grave, or eating from a sheep that had been bitten by a wolf. Also, some claim there are handy, magical spells to turn you into a vampire.

Until I did the research, I didn’t know there were that many ways of turning into a vampire. In the world of paranormal books, all of these could apply.

6. Protection Against a Vampire

The vampire myth is very ancient; thousands of years old, but with the advent of Christianity tools for protection changed. Before Christianity, vampire defense included: garlic, hawthorn branches, running water, peppermint, tossing seeds around, bells, or a rooster’s crow calling out.

After Christianity all those items applied plus: crosses, holy water, and Eucharist wafers to drive them away or harm them. Holy water is said to burn their skin. Yikes!

5. Ways to Kill a Vampire

A good old wooden stake to the heart kills most of them.

A vampire killing kit circa 1800's. If I found this at a garage sale, I would yell, "Score!"

A vampire killing kit circa 1800’s. If I found this at a garage sale, I would yell, “Score!”

Then there’s cutting off the head, exposure to sunlight (maybe, see #1), silver, a bullet blessed by a priest, fire/incineration, pouring a mixture of boiling water and vinegar on the corpse, lots of bullets in the right places like head and heart, injecting them with silver or Angel’s blood, crucifixion, and magic spells.

Killing a vampire with a mixture of boiling water and vinegar.

In some folk stories I’ve read, people would dig up a suspected vampire, stake them in the heart, cut off their head, and then burn them until they were ash. Just in case.

4. Magical Powers

This is one of my favorite subjects relating to vampires. Not only is there a huge variety of abilities, but each author presents their own version. Here I’m going to talk in generalities, not specific books, but I think besides their immortality, their preternatural powers are awesome!

It’s really neat they can transform into animals, control nature, and in general are more feral and animalistic than humans. Vampires can turn into a bat, wolf, rat, owl, fox, moth, or fog. They can also manipulate weather such as bringing on a storm, lighting, wind, or fog.

Great_Vampire_Bat

Mind control/hypnosis, telekinesis, ability to self-heal almost any wound, ability to fly, crawl up the sides of buildings, and read minds are a few others.

Besides that, vampires are known to have super human strength, vision, hearing, taste, smell, and physical sensation. In the past, vampires were already sexualized, often depicted as very beautiful, attractive, or using their sexual prowess to allure a victim. Female vampires were especially shown as sexy or using their hotness to hunt.

Nowadays, vampires are still often described as super attractive, sexy, and they often can last extra-long in bed. Whoa, there!

3. Reasons to Suspect Someone is a Vampire

Now this is a good one because as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, we all need allies. I’m giving you tips on how to recognize a vampire. Just in case.

If you notice the “person” doesn’t have a reflection in the mirror that might be a problem. If a child is born with teeth, watch out! Other signs: their cattle starts dropping dead, a white horse or goose will not walk over their grave, their corpse is missing when you dig the person up, a small hole appears by their grave because that’s how the vampire gets in and out of their site, their mouth is full of blood when you uncover them, or their incisors suddenly distend while you’re having a conversation.

So if you go grave digging, and the corpse is rosy and looks healthy, stake it fast! You just dug up a vampire. (Just kidding. Let’s not try this at home.)

2. Vampire Hysteria

People throughout time often invent creative concepts for unexplained events. For example, many times vampire hunts or special burials occurred during times of major deaths such as the plague or cholera epidemics. Also, in some areas of the Balkans, people believed a watermelon or pumpkin would become a vampire if it wasn’t eaten within a certain amount of time. Once in a while, a gravedigger would see a body pop up in the coffin while it decomposed. These are possible origins of why people thought vampires existed.

There have also been a few cases of real humans in history displaying blood drinking or other types of behaviors. I’ll discuss that in another blog in this series!

Or maybe vampires really do exist and we come up with explanations to cover up things we don’t understand or are afraid of…hmm. I’ll let you decide that one.

1. Vampires Can Go Out in the Daytime

What? Are you bending the vampire rules, Scarlett West? No, that concept came from Old European and other folktales. Many vampire or vampire beings could go out in the daytime, mix with humans, and you would not even know. Creepy and cool.

In fact, Bram Stoker’s version of Dracula went out in the daytime and saw Mina in the street. In Russia, they also had a version of a vampire that goes out during the day.

Here's Dracula walking through the street during the daytime.

Here’s Dracula walking through the street during the daytime.

Only in recent years as in, starting in the mid-1900’s did the vampire become a creature solely of the night through books and movies.

I hope you enjoyed my post of Ten Fun Facts About Vampires. Please come back soon for more vampire fun.

Also, if you enjoy paranormal romance featuring vampires, please sign up for my Newsletter, “Scarlett’s Pulse”.

You can also say hi to me on Twitter and Facebook.

As always, thank you for reading, and have a great day!!

Sincerely,

tiny hearts Scarlett Westtiny hearts

Sources:

http://www.vampires.com/vampire-on-display/

http://www.rofmag.com/folkroots/vampires-in-folklore-and-literature/

http://listverse.com/2013/10/30/10-truly-creepy-vampires-from-around-the-world/

http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/05/02_vampires.html

 

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