Saturday, May 14, 2011

What is a Vampire?

Let's test your vampire knowledge. Gather your stakes and garlic and let's see how much you really know about these legendary creatures.

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?

Lilith the first wife of Adam, as legend has it, will steal into a baby's nursery at night and suck away the child's life force. The lullaby was thought to scare her away. Another vampire you may not be familiar with is the Chinese Chiang-Shih, a violent and sadistic vampire born in death, when one of two souls a person possesses, the lesser soul, refuses to leave the body, or how about the sinister Lobishomen of Brazil, whose bite turns women into nymphomaniacs, who in turn become sexual vampires, preying on men.

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)

And last but not least, and my personal favorite, the Ilimu from Kenya. In 1996 and movie came out called, The Ghost and The Darkness. It starred Val Kilmer, who was charged with building a bridge across the river Tsavo. Two lions relentless stalked and killed the workers. These weren't just any lions, they were thought to be Ilimu. Both lions possessed unnatural intelligence, hunted using deception and trickery, and beat the traps set for them time and time again. When they were finally brought down after their two month reign of terror, it was determined they'd killed over 130 people--not for food, but the sheer pleasure of the kill. This movie was based on true events that took place in 1898 in Uganda. Ilimu are demons that possess animals. They can take human form and insinuate themselves into a village to seek prey. If it can get an invitation into a home, it will kill all the occupants. It will often pick the guise of a frail or weak human.

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?

Leave a comment under this post and I'll draw a name and reveal the winner on my post next week. The winner will get a copy of my eNovel, Slipping the Past, with a different kind of vampire, someone tasked with collecting the souls of those accused of past-life crimes.

Good Luck!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Saturday.


1 comment:

Annie Nicholas said...

Interesting post. All legends spring from some truth. The vampire myth has spread across the world during times when such communication was almost nil. Makes you wonder. *insert creepy music*