Saturday, May 14, 2011
What is a Vampire?
When I say vampire, the first thing that probably comes to mind is fangs and blood-drinking. But another definition of vampire is a person who preys ruthlessly upon others. You all know the story of Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian Count whose legend spun the tale of Bram Stoker's Dracula. You might even be familiar with Erzabet Bathory, The Blood Countess, a very real and scary female serial killer who lived in Budapest in 1744 and gave birth to the term "blood bath", by bathing in the blood of young women she'd murdered, but are you familiar with Adam's first wife, Lilith, the reason women sing lullabies to their infants?
How about the Mara? A Slavic vampire thought to be created when a girl-child dies before she can be baptized or when a woman is unknowingly baptized by a corrupt priest? This spirit is doomed to walk the Earth until judgement day, preying on those as they sleep, taking human form and crushing them. Its favorite victims are human children, on which it also feeds on their blood, robbing them of their lives in vengeance for the life it was denied.
Have you heard of the Czechoslovakian Nelapsi? It destroys entire villages, glutting itself on the blood of every man, woman and child, as well as livestock and pets, before it moves on, leaving the area a wasteland.
How about the Keres, or Ker of Greece, who hover over battlefields, waiting to feed, or the Korean Kumiho, an evil fox that can shift its shape into a beautiful woman who seduces men and drains them of life and strength.
Have you heard of the Stryx of Ancient Rome who preferred to feed on the blood of innocents. She'd often transform into a crow or owl to seek prey. Stryx lived as normal humans and walked among the general population. A branch of white thorn on a child's window was thought to keep the Stryx away from children they'd been feasting from.
Speaking of Rome... Did you know that vendors often purchased the right to drain the blood of newly slain gladiators at the games in Ancient Rome? This blood was sold as a draught to the spectators for medicinal purposes and thought to cure epilepsy.
Here are a few more:
The Children of Judas--Serbia
Lofa--Native American (Chickasaw)
Atakapa--Native American (Choctaw)
Old Woman Bat--Native American (Apache)
Mai-Coh, Skinwalkers--Native American (Navajo)
Eng Banka--Malaysia (steals souls)
So, how did you do? How many of these vampires have you heard of? I've left many out. Can you name a few I didn't?
Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Saturday.