VAMPIRISM AROUND THE WORLD:

THE FOLKLORE OF DIFFERENT CULTURES

PART 1

BY CAT@theshadowlands.net

In every culture around the world we find signs and folklore pertaining to vampirism. In this article it is my goal to introduce you to the many faces and characteristics of the Vampire in different countries. I also intend to explain the different categories and classifications of vampires, as well as introducing some more new legends. Also contained in this article please look for more information about vampires, as I will continue to research this species. As you know there is nothing like a good vampire story. So without further delay onto our first legend. The story of Lillith.

This tale comes from a rabbinical fable called a Midrash. Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was cast out of Eden because she refused to assume a subordinate sexual position. Lilith was transformed into a nocturnal monster whom mated with animals, and sought out the children of Adam & Eve, killing them vengefully and consuming their flesh.

There is another version of this fable, which we will look into later when we examine the different species of vampires in other cultures.

How about a little vampire humor to set the stage:

Imagine vampire astronauts. Now what about being in orbit, where the sun appears above the horizon about once an hour. You get up. You go back to bed. You get up. You go back to bed.

Lets start off with some quotes from a few authors that have written extensively on the subject of Vampires.

"Vampirism was one of the most demonic outbreaks of mass hysteria ever to sweep the world. Its origins are rooted at the beginning of time and almost all of them are founded on superstition."

Anthony Masters- THE NATIONAL HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE.

"The origins of the vampire myth lie in the mystery cults of oriental civilizationsÖ..The Nepalese Lord of Death, The Tibetan Devil, and the Mongolian God of Time."

Devandra P. Varma- THE VAMPIRE IN MYTH LEGEND A LORE

"There is evidence to suggest that the vampire emerged at one time and place, and then diffused around the world from that primal source."

J Gordon Melton- THE VAMPIRE BOOK: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNDEAD

Thus we begin a study of the vampire in different cultures. At one time it was believed that vampires were ranked highest among the demons as chief agents of sin by the different cultures of the world. Almost every country has some sort of vampire legend. Often they have two or three legends. The stories can be traced back as far as the time of Egyptian pyramid building. Egypt or India has been considered the birthplace of the vampire. It also has been suggested that the home of the vampire is Tibet. Santorini is traditionally the most vampire-infested place in the world.

Some characteristics that different cultures attributed to vampires are quite interesting and should be noted. The Greeks and regions of the Balkans believed that blue-eyed people were most likely to become vampires, this belief was due to the fact that there was a serious lack of blue-eyed people in that region. They were different and therefore there must be something wrong with them. The Irish believed that blue or gray-eyed people had the ability to see ghosts and as vampires where sometimes considered the walking dead these people would be able to see them for what they were also. The Greek also believed that red hair combined with blue eyes was a vampiric attribute. An interesting note, in European folklore there was never mention of fangs as an attribute of the vampire. Earliest mention of fangs is in literature, VARNEY THE VAMPIRE in 1840.

We can also look at the study of the Slavic and American Vampire. Considering the original association with evil, disease and death it is amazing that this creature of darkness has become the most sensually appealing part of American culture today. The vampire image originated in Slavic traditions. The image that we started with before literature and Hollywood started messing with it was a horrible beast.

Prime example of this creature would be the Balkan vampire. The vampire of Eastern Europe was often considered either a very old woman or a very young woman. There are only rare examples of male Vampires, and when they turn up their characteristics are usually quite different. The version of the male vampire is not a noble one, they tended to be the of the opposite social strata. Hermits and the homeless were often targeted as vampires and put on trial for the murderous ways in Medieval Europe.

When we look at the vampires myths origination one can understand why some beliefs are that the vampire originated in the Far East. Such places as China, Tibet and India. With the track caravans moving along the silk routes to the Mediterranean and then spreading the stories out along the Black sea coast to Greece, the Balkans and of course the Carpathian Mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania. Slavs came from the north of the Black Sea and were closely related to the Iranians.

Another facet of this tale to look into is between the Church and Vampirism. With Christianity in the world the role great evil changed. One god and one strength, evil thus became weakened. Vampires of seduction, possession and death were considered the minions of the devil along with alchemists, witches, sorcerers and atheists. When the Catholic Church formerly broke in 1054 AD the Bulgarians, Russians and Serbianís staying Orthodox, while Poles Czechs and Croatians went Roman Catholic. This split caused a big difference in the development of vampire lore. The Roman Church believed that incorrupt bodies were saints, while the Orthodox Church believed these same incorrupt bodies were those of vampires. Roman Christianity won out with the vampires and other pagan beliefs only surviving in folklore.

While researching for this article I came across a quite interesting piece of work on the Web Site PATHWAYS TO DARKNESS. It was part of a collection called "In the Blood" written by Steve Bernheisel. This piece explores the similarities between the Catholic Church and vampirism by our modern definitions.

The link between the church and Vampirism is the act of communion. Millions of Catholics participate in this act every time that they attend mass. By drinking the wine and eating the host they are eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ. The theory here is that by drinking the blood (wine) of Christ you have eternal life with God.

This is similar to the vampire but only in modern traditions; (keep in mind that the earlier vampire traditions of Europe did not always depict the creature as one who rose from the dead. It was more like a beast or cannibal.) Our modern day vampire folklore however, shows that our risen from the dead creature drinks blood and is given eternal life, as blood is the life essence of all creatures. This is something to think about.

Here is some further information about the vampire that I did not have at the time the first article was written. Basically the following are all preventative measures. You can keep a vampire in his grave by nailing his clothes to the coffin walls; this will also prevent him from eating the shroud. Another form of prevention was opening the graves and checking to see if the corpse has become one of the undead. A childís grave would be opened after three years, a young person would be given five years before the opening, and an adult would be checked after seven years. Also one could try placing a headstone over the grave, it seems that headstones were not originally used as a remembrance of loved ones, but as a weight to prevent a vampire from escaping. Try burying food with the vampire, as a well-fed vampire does not feel the need to cannibalize itself or leave the grave to vampirize others. The last way to document is taking the left sock from the corpse and filling it with stones, then throw it into the river.

The varieties of vampires

From the erotic tales of the Lamia in Roman & Greek literature to the decrepit depictions of the Raksas by the Hinduís Vedas, one can see a certain evolution of the role of the vampire that parallels humanities concept of the forbidden & evil. People of polytheistic religions with many Gods and Goddesses who are all assigned certain responsibilities., would most likely be able to recognize the various degrees of good and bad and the importance of all in life. Those of a monotheistic belief would most certainly have set definitions of what is good and what is evil in a black & white outlook. This is something to keep in mind while reviewing the following information on the varieties of vampires. Also a critically important characteristic to watch for is the selective feeding practices of the vampire, they are partial to children and members of the opposite sex.

So without much further ado here is the list of Vampires in different Cultures:

The walking dead, the Drauger & Aptranger in Old Norse literature-

From the people who brought us Beowulf comes even more fun creatures. The Vikings concept of the afterlife, once dead body placed in the grave believed to become animated with a strange life and power. The dead person continued a pseudo life within the grave. These creatures are not depicted as a spirit or ghost, more like a description of a Nosferastu. The undead were known by many different names in Norse literature.

Haubui- (Norwiegin)- a mound dweller. A dead body living on in its tomb. Rarely found far from the burial place. They will only harm those who dare to trespass on itís grave.

Drauger- Icelandic Saga- this is an animated corpse that comes forth from its grave mound or shows restlessness on the way to the burial place. This creature is also know as an Aptrgangr (after-goer or one who walkers after death.) The Draugr is the roaming undead most frequently encountered in Icelandic Sagas. Whichever name used, the undead of Scandinavia was a physical body, the actual corpse of the deceased.

The physical descriptions of the undead in Scandinavian cultures are said to be "hel-blar" or black as death. Another term used to describe the undead is "na-fole" meaning corpse pale. The other characteristics of the Draugr are the undead sports that can swell to an enormous size and also heavy which suggests that the swelling be not due to decay gases. Described as being uncorrupt and for many years after death. The creature has extreme strength. They tend to kill by crushing their victim to death.

The Draugre also possessed magical powers, they had knowledge of the future, can control the weather, shape-shifting capabilities. The Draugre could also move magically through the earth, as though they were swimming through the stone.

Luckily for the Vikings there were precaution that they could take against the Draugre. These precautions were practiced from Viking times to present to prevent the dead from rising again in Scandinavia. Some of the easier ways to prevent the dead from rising they could place an open pair of scissors on the dead persons chest, laying straws crosswise under the shroud, they would also tie the big toes together so that the legs could not be separated and needles run into the soles of the feet.

The precautions listed above were always done directly to the corpse, the following however, were precautions taken on the things surrounding the corpse to prevent it from rising. When the coffin is carried out, the bearers would stop at the door, just within the threshold and they would raise and lower the coffin three times in different directions, thus forming the sign of the cross. Once this has been done all the chairs and stools on which the casket had rested on, must be turned over. During the actual burial, in the churchyard, the parson must pray for the rest of the dead and binds the grave itself with magical words, thus making it impossible for the dead to escape.

The Scandinavians also had special corpse doors in the home. These were bricked up openings that could be torn down to remove the coffin, feet first. Then the doorway would be resealed again firmly. This was done immediately

Because it was believed that the dead could only enter a home from the way that they were removed. By removing the corpse feet first it was thought that they were depriving the undead of a clear view of how they were removed from their home.

Considering the time period during which the legends of Scandinavia were created it is no surprise that they were unaware of the effect that the germs from the corpses had on them. So, of course, they believed that the deads were just trying to spread evil. As the draugre was dead it was felt that they had a longing for the things of life and even envied those still alive. They felt cold, hungry and longed for their loved ones. So to express their feelings and needs they killed things. They would decimate livestock of those that they cared about by running them to death.

To kill the Draugre, one must overcome them by hand to hand combat, wrestling it until it has been subdued. Then the combatant must decapitate the ghost with a sword. Some traditions have the hero leap or walk between the head and body three times. Or the hero could drive a wooden stake into the headless body. The final step was to burn the remains until they became cold ashes and then either bury the ashes in a remote spot or throw them out to sea.

Note that the Draugre and the Grendel of Beowulf display a lot of the same characteristics. The Grendel was a giant shape-shifting creature, a dweller of the supernatural environment. The Grendel spends most of its time acting out motives of envy and desire for the things in life (does this sound vaguely familiar.). Incorporated are elements from the old Germanic culture of Anglo-Saxons and newer influences of Christianity.

"The Vrykolakas {Greek for vampire} is the body of an evil and wicked man, often one who has been excommunicated. Such bodies do not, like other corpses, decompose after burial, but having a very tough skin, become swollen and distendedÖ" by Leo Allatius, ON CURRENT OPINIONS OF CERTAIN GREEKS. (1645)

The Vrykolakas were an incredibly ravenous creature. This is especially true as there were two different species of the Vrykolakas. One was dead and returned from the grave and the other, alive, but in a dreamlike state, as though they were sleep walking. The latter, was usually spotted roaming at night when the moon is full. Seized by thirst and blood, they go out at night, scour the country biting and tearing all that the meet, both man and beast.

The Vrykolakas also have roots in Macedonia, (which is not only associated with Greece, but also the Balkan area). These creatures are active from 10pm until the first cockcrow in the morning. They have become vampires from natural causes, in this case from having a desire to have wine over its face. The cure for this species is by pouring boiling oil over it or else by sticking a long nail into its navel. It would also be worthwhile spreading birdseed over the tomb, because it will have to count the seeds before leaving.

In the Adriatic and Aegean regions the Vrykolakas travels at night and knocks upon doors, calling out the name of someone inside. If the person responds they will die soon after. This particular species gains power as it ages.

The Kathakano is a vampire from Crete; they are very similar to the most common garden variety of vampires, with one exception. they can only be killed by chopping off the head and boiling it in vinegar. The Catakano is from the Crete & Rhodes area. They are described as having a mouth that is always grinning, showing very white teeth. It spits blood onto its victimís skin, producing horrible burns. The cure for this form of vampirism is burning its nails in flames, boiling its head in vinegar or isolating it behind a barrier of water, salted if possible.

The Lamia is part of Greek and Roman Mythology and folklore.. These are exclusively female vampires, which often appear as half-human, half animal (most often a snake and always the lower part of the body.). They ate the flesh of their victims as well as drinking their blood. Lamias could be attacked and killed with normal weapons.

The Lamia was created. At one time she was the Queen of Libya and feel in love with Zeus, the leader f the Gods. Together the God and the mortal woman had many children. Zeusís wife Hera, found out about the affair between her husband and the Queen, she found out about the children fathered by her husband. She decided to teach the queen a lesson by killing her children and then killing the Queen. Because of her punishment, Lamia decides to take her revenge. She has decided that all should be punished. Women should suffer as she did by losing their children, on which she feeds. Also she is reputed to entice men into sexual intercourse, then devours them in a gruesome fashion. Through these sexual encounters she bore many supernatural children, collectively known as the Lamiae. The children were sorceresses with the head and breast of a beautiful woman and the bodies of snakes. They used their siren like voices to lure men and children to them, and then they devoured them by sucking their blood.

The Brucolaco is a Greek vampire. It is decried as having swollen, tense and hard skin, as though it had been tanned. When hit this vampire sounds like a drum, for this reason it is nicknamed Timpanita. He has a sonorous voice, but it can also emit one scream per night. He causes death to anyone who responds to his nightly call, thereby spreading the plague. It has become a vampire by being excommunicated from the church. The preventative cure is not to excommunicate it when alive. A minor method of defense, when hearing the vampires calls at night, not to answer until repeated the second time. When the evil becomes apparent from the grave, one must cut off the head of the vampire and burn it. At Milo it is advised to cut the head of the vampire off, cut it into pieces and boil it in wine.

The Bruculaco are from the Greek regions of Thessaly and Epirus are people who fall into Catalepsis; the soul thus being momentarily separated from the body and going into that of a wolf making it thirsty for flesh and blood.

The Vrykolatios is a vampire of the Island of Santorini. They are described as fiends, which banquet, on the living. Keep in mind that the Island of Santorini is considered one of the most vampire infested places in the world.

The Empusa another Greek vampire. This one possesses a demonic spirit that could enter the body. They are usually said to be in the attendance to the Goddess Hecate. Described as demons, which can take human form from time to time, their most common incarnation is a Phoenician woman.

The Mormo was also a Greek vampire. It was considered a terrible denizen of Hades that attended to the witch-Goddess Hecate. Apparently they were quite nasty little creatures; however, little other information is given about them.
 
 

From the Grecian Islands we now move on to Russian Vampire Lore. Our first look at Russia gives us the Upir & Upyr. They were a very integral part of Russian FolkLore. This vampire was able to walk the earth in broad daylight and according to legend the Upir rose at noon and fed from the populace until midnight, when it was forced to return to itís grave to rest.

The Upir was also popular in the Ukrainian region of Russia; this version was noted to eat large amounts of fish.

Another legend related to the Upyr in Russia showed us a vampire that was considered extremely vicious. It will first attack children and then continue on to kill the parents. It rose during the day and slept at night, and in doing so had a fairly human appearance.

The Upierci of Russia becomes a vampire by suicide, violent death or practicing witchcraft during oneís lifetime. They could cause drought, even dry the dew on most plants. The cure for this type of vampirism was to drown the vampire in a lake or river (salt water was not indicated). You could also destroy this vampire by transfixing it with a nail, however, you must not hit the nail more than once or the Upierci will revive.

We also have another vampire with a Similar spelling, the Upierczi, was seen in both Russian and Polish folklore. These vampires were also known as Viesczy. They had stingers under their tongues, which was used instead of fangs. They were active from noon until midnight and could only be destroyed by burning. When burned, the body would burst, giving rise to hundreds of small disgusting animals (maggots, rats, etc.). If any of these creatures were to escape then the Upierczy spirit will escape too, and will seek revenge.

The Myertovjec was a favorite of the European Russians. It had a purple face and was active from midnight until the cock crows thrice in the morning. They became a vampire from natural causes; if the deceased was the son of a werewolf or witch; or else if in lifetime it had behaved as a werewolf, a sorcerer, an apostate, or if it had cursed itís own father or the church. The cure for this type of vampire is only preventative; one could sprinkle poppy seeds along the road leading from the tomb to the house of the deceased. When the evil becomes apparent, the people closest to the vampire must either transfix the creature through the chest, nailing it to the coffin or else burn it.

The Vourdulak is also a Russian vampire. In Russian folklore to be a beautiful but evil woman. I havenít been able to find any more than that on this one.

The Eretica was a formidable Russian vampire species. It was an evil Russian spirit, who was a heretic returned from the dead, o woman who sold her soul in life, or a mixture of both. They take the form of a haggard old woman and gather in Ravines to perform a sort of Sabbath. They are active only during spring and autumn, and the result of seeing the eyes of one would result in a slow and painful death.

From Russia we now move onto Romania, these people really had some interesting vampire folklore. I think the best place to start would be the Moroi. These vampires are considered one of the undead, but they were viewed more as guardians of their mortal families. Obviously, one of the more friendly vampires or spirits. They can be male or female, they do, however, exhibit some of the characteristics of the Strigolii. Another trait mentioned about the Moroi is that they went out at night to fornicate with whomever they stumble across.

The Strigoi of Romania is also one of the undead. They attract utter revulsion and fear of the populace. They were a blood drinking species and hunted by most of those living in the Balkans. Another source claims that the Stirgoi are living, (as opposed to the undead), the soul has the ability to voluntarily leave the body at night. Sometimes such souls appear as sparks traveling through the air. They could take the form of insects or higher animals. They are not usually associated with blood sucking. They could steal the vitality of their neighborís crops, beehives, etc. The Romanian word Stirgoi is derived from the Latin word Stryx. Romanians believed in "witches" that would change into screech owls at night to prey on unattended infants by drinking their blood and sometimes eating their internal organs.

The Strigoiu are legends from the Wallachian region of Romania. They are infamous in Romania and considered undead. It was said that they lived at night in an abandoned or ruined house. They became vampires they had red hair, or were the son of a seventh son. The preventative nail it to the coffin or else cover the tomb with tow and then put a certain quantity of explosive in it and blow it up. They were said to be generally friendly towards Gypsies.

The Strigoiul, yet another version of this vampire legend found in Romania. They were very much like the original vampire legends with the exception that they like to attack in flocks. They can be killed by putting garlic in its mouth or by removing itís heart. It was sometimes considered a demon or a witch.

The Varcolaco, and Murohy are also of Romania. The characteristics of these beasts are that they can take on the aspect of a dog, a cat, a frog, a toad, a louse, a flea or a spider and they are particularly active on St. Georgeís day and St. Andrews Day. They became vampires generally through heredity, but also by dying unbaptised or by suicide. They can bite without leaving any signs of a wound. The preventative cures include tying a thorny bush to the shroud. It was believed that suicides especially should be put in running water as soon as they are dead. As soon as the evil becomes apparent, one should remove the heart and cut it in two, plant a nail in the forehead put a spoonful of quicklime or a head of garlic in its mouth. Some other preventative cures include smearing the body with fat of a pig killed on St. Ignatius day, sprinkle shroud with holy water, take the corpse far away into the mountains and leave it there. If the vampire is female, plant some iron forks in its heart and eyes then bury it in a very deep grave face downwards. An interesting note here, the reason that vampires are buried face downwards is that if they try to dig themselves out of the grave they only dig themselves deeper into the earth.

The Varacolici is a Romanian spirit that is reputed to have the ability to cause solar and lunar eclipses. They appear as pale humans with dry skin and travel on an astral thread, called midnight spinning, only going as far as the thread remains unbroken.

The Muroni another spirit from the Wallchian region could change its shape or form at will, enabling it to kill its victims easily. It could change itself into various animal forms thus covering up for itself and leaving misleading signs of attack.

The Norferat of Romania became a vampire by being the illegitimate son of two illegitimate parents, or by being the seventh son of a seventh son. They would appear as an attractive person of the opposite sex who would repeatedly visit the homes of their victims. The victims would then slowly lose vitality and die of illness and exhaustion; this apparently took some time. Some stories even depict them as those who have been separated or torn apart from those that they love in life and in death seek to be reunited with their lost loved ones. Another added attraction of this vampire is their ability to make the husbands of their loved ones impotent.

The most recognizable name on this list of Romanian vampires is the Nosferatu. This was a spirit that again was the illegitimate child of illegitimate parents. It had a strong hatred for newly married couples due to itís own illegitimacy and wreaks havoc on such couples as making the groom impotent, the bride barren or a mixture of both. Soon after burial, the Nosferatu embarks on a long career of destruction. It delights in tormenting and enjoys engaging in wild orgies with the living. The male of this species can father children.

The next part our journey takes us to Albania, Here we find the Shtriga. This species was an elderly woman who preyed upon infants by drinking their blood. They also caused adults to wither and die. They could change into a moth, fly or bee at night. Albanians blamed these creatures for crib death. Ironically most Albanian infants who died in their cribs, died from the being so over protected form the shtriga with swaddling blankets. Most of these children grew pale and sick from the lack of sunshine.

The Llugat and Sampiro of Albania go around at night wrapped in their burial shroud and wearing high heeled shoes, itís tomb is indicated by a will Ďoí wisp. These creatures are created from being an Albanian of Turkish blood. It spreads death and destruction wherever it goes. While investigating these beasts I found another source that stated that these creatures were said to be reasonably harmless, only feeding briefly on its victims, not actually killing them. Again proving that almost every source you use is going to have a different story.

Onto Africa and the Asanbosam of the Ashanti of Southern Ghana. They are considered normal vampires with the exception that they have hooks instead of feet and they tend to bite their victims on the thumb. They like to attack sleeping people in villages, and they arenít very particular for they will attack men, women and children. An interesting note to add here is that vampires bats rarely attack humans, but when they do, it is usually on the thumb and the bats that attack are usually rabid. In other regions of Africa, such as Togo and the Ivory coast, the Asanbosam are believe to reside deep in the forests, most often they are encountered by hunters. They take generally take human shape, with two exceptions; their teeth are made out of iron and their legs have hook like appendages. Anyone walking by the tree in which it resides will be scooped up and killed.

The Obayifo are found among the Assanti people living on the Gold Coast of Africa. This is a living vampire, which can be male or female. It is said to leave its body at night to feed. The Obayifo is particularly fond of young children as their main course, and has been known to cause blight in crops.

The Wume of the Slave Coast became a vampire by being a criminal in life or else being the victim of a curse. The only cure is to bury it in a secret place.

The Adze resides in Southeast Ghana and Southern Togo in Africa. This is the spirit of the Ewe that flies around in the form of a firefly, but if caught, it will change into the form of a human. It feeds on blood, palm oil and coconut water; it prey on young children, especially handsome ones.

The Impundulu is found in the Eastern Cape region of Africa. It was usually passed down from mother to daughter and was used to inflict suffering on ones enemies. It was said to have an insatiable appetite and had to be continuously let to feed. It also would take the form of a handsome man and become a lover to its mistress.

In Serbia & Montenegro We find quite a few tales of folklore concerning the vampire. Lets start with the Veshtiza, this was an old woman possessed by an evil spirit. The soul leaves her body at night while she is sleeping and wanders until she enters the body of a hen or a black moth. In the body of the creature she flies around until she finds a home inhabited with infants or young children. Her favorite food is the heart of infants. At midnight the Veshtiza would sometimes flock together in the branches of some tree and hold a meeting while snacking upon what they gathered that night. An old woman having the attributes of a witch may join the meeting. She must recite certain stereotyped phrases to participate in the gathering. The phrases were never given in my research source. Another source states that the Veshtiza was a witch and entered the homes of neighbors in the form of a moth or fly. She would then bite them. The victim over a period of time would grow pale, develop a fever and eventually perish. In Montengro, not only did they believe in the Veshtiza, they also believed that a corpse could become a vampire in an animal jumped over it, and that the undead type of vampires would return to their graves in the form of mice. One tribe of Montenegrains believed that vampires spent part of their time in the form of wolves.

The Vlokoslak is a Serbian vampire that was also called a Mulo. They normally would appear as people wearing white clothes. They could assume the shape of horses and sheep. They were active day and night. They would eat their victims as well as drink their blood. One could kill this species of vampire by cutting off the toes or by driving a nail through its neck.

The Vlkodlak has the congested face of an impertinent drunkard and blood colored skin. Always aged more than twenty and can remain active for seven years, then becomes a man again to repeat the process in another part country. This unfortunate once human being becomes part of this species of vampire by committing one of the following misdeeds in life; murder, perjury, incest with its mother. Another way that the dead would become a Vlkodlak is by having been killed by a were-wolf or by eating a lamb that was killed by a were-wolf. The specialty of this species was causing solar or lunar eclipses.

To prevent the dead from becoming one of these vampires you would have to cut off the toes and thumbs of the corpse or put a nail into its neck. If the undead has already risen one could try piercing the navel of the creature with the branch of a Hawthorne and cover all of the hairy parts with tow, then set it on fire. To light the fire one must use the candles that were used for the death vigil.

The Vukodlak of Montenegro is said to be able to easily turn itself into a wolf and only goes out to hunt when there is a full moon. You would be able to tell the resting-place of this species because crows will never go near the tomb.

India seems to be the country most heavily populated by vampires. Lets start with the Baital. This vampire race was short in stature, only standing one and a half meters tall. But, height was not the only thing that had set this species apart; it seems that the Baital was half man and half bat.

The Bhuta, from Indian Mythology is the soul of a man who died an untimely death, usually violent in nature. This is an ill-intentioned spirit that wandered around at night animating dead bodies and attacking the living like a ghoul. They can also be found in cemeteries or other deserted places, feeding on excretion and intestines. An attack by one of these creatures would usually result in severe sickness or death. The Bhuta also have a problem that they lack shadows and therefore cannot settle on the earth.

The Rakshasa was a powerful Indian vampire and magician. They like to confuse those around them by appearing either in human form with animal attributes (claws, fangs, slitted eyes, etc.) or as animals with human features (feet, hands, flattened nose, etc.). The animal side is very often a tiger. They are known to eat the victimís flesh in addition to drinking their blood. The Rakshasa are a shape-shifting species of Hindu mythology that were originally created by the Brahma to protect the sea from those that wanted to steal the elixir of immortality from it. They lived in Lanka (Ceylon) and were ruled by Rawana. Later they became identified as demonic creatures that would often take the shape of a seductive woman and lure men to their deaths. In other accounts these creatures lived in trees and caused vomiting and indigestion to those who strayed to close to its domain. It was said that children would become one of these creatures if they could be induced to eat human brains. The Rakshasa were no longer human but still possessed a physical nature, they loved to prey upon the helpless. Another description of this vampire was a grave wandering, flesh eating, blood-drinking version of elves sporting fangs and drenched in blood. As you can see there are several different versions of this vampire, but they were all accepted as reality by the Hindus who wrote of such a creature in the Vedas. It was possible to destroy this creature by burning, exposing to sunlight or exorcism.

Another evil spirit of Hindu mythology and folklore was the Brahmaparusha. This vampire-like creature was a head encircled by intestines and carried a skull from which it drank blood. It was told in folklore that this evil spirit enjoyed eating humans and it would drink the victims blood through the skull it carried, then eat the victims brains. Afterward it would wrap the intestines of the victim around its body to perform a ritual dance.

The most famous vampire of India is Kali, who had long flowing hair, wore a garland of corpses or skulls and had four arms. Her temples were located near cremation grounds. She and the Goddess Durga battled the king of demons Ruktabija, who could reproduce himself from each drop of blood spilled. In order to defeat her opponent Kali had to drink all of Ruktabijaís blood without spilling a drop. She did this, thereby winning the battle. Other names for Kali were Sara or the Black Goddess, by the Gypsies. Her followers were called thugs, and practiced thugee, these people were eventually held responsible of ritual murders in her name.

The Pacu Pati is another powerful vampire from India. Deemed as the lord of all beings of mischief. It is seen at night in cemeteries and places of execution. The Pisacha, another name for the Pacu Pati were a race of flesh eaters. They are described as evil ghouls that were created by the vices of humankind. Although its attitude is generally not human friendly, it will cure diseases if enticed to do so. Its favorite pass-time is the consumption of human flesh. Also included in this species is the Mmbyu (death), it was considered the chief of all malevolent creatures. They were vampires of a demonic nature who torment their victims through demonic possessions.

The Vetala of India was also called Punyaiama, meaning pure race, as in the Veda. It looks like an old woman, which was deformed with long slits for eyes, discolored skin, poison fingernails and was known for canabalism. It sucks the blood of sleeping, drunken or mad women. It would enter the home by passing a magic thread down the chimney of the home. The Vetala also had the ability to possess corpses. These corpses would have their hands and feet pointing backwards.

The Churel or (Churail) is a vicious vengeful ghost-like vampire found in India. It is normally a woman who died while pregnant during the Dewali festival or while unclean at any time. They are said to have vile appearances, possessing pendulant breasts, thick ugly lips, black tongues and unkept hair. They preyed upon young men, keeping them captive and slowly draining their life forces until they become withered old men. She is said to hate life, and keeps all her greatest spite for her relatives.

The Masan Also from India, is said to be usually the ghost of a child that delights in tormenting and killing children. The Masan was able to curse a child that walks in its shadow. It will also follow a woman home should she allow her gown to drag on the ground over his shadow.

The Masani is a female vampire of India; she is said to be the spirit of the burial grounds. The Masani is black in appearance and her hunts are conducted at night, starting as she emerges from a funeral pyre. Anyone passing the burial site will be attacked.

The last vampire of India that I will touch upon for now is the Gayal. It is classified as a vampiric spirit that is usually created due to the death of a man who has no one too properly performs the burial rites at his funeral. When he returns the Gayal reeks his revenge upon the sons of others and upon his own relatives. The threat of a relative returning from the grave is usually enough to ensure that proper burial rite are performed.
 
 

Well thatís about all for now look for the next part of this series where we will finish up on the varieties of vampires and examine the classifications of the undead.


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