Bullet

The Romi or previously called Romanian Gypsies believed shooting a bullet into the ground and penetrating the coffin in question would kill a vampire.

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Bram Stocker used this myth in his novel Dracula but he added to it by making the bullet silver and calling it a “sacred bullet”.

silver bullet

You also know a sliver bullet is the only thing that can kill a werewolf

Mercy Brown and Consumption

The most famous case of consumption was in 1892 in Rhode Island. Ms. Mercy Lena Brown.

The Brown family had already lost two members of the family. Mercy’s mother, Mary, and sister’ Mary Olive died of consumption in 1888. Her brother got sick in 1890 and in 1891 Mercy got sick. She died on January 17, 1892.

Mercy’s father George worried about his only son’s failing health. (he’d been sick for 2 years)

On March 17, 1892 George led a mob of fellow farmers and townsfolk to the Brown’s graves. George was convinced a vampire was the cause for all his family’s suffering.

When mercy’s mother and sister were exhumed the mob agreed their bodies had decomposed sufficiently. But Mercy’s body wasn’t, she’d been in a crypt for a few months, -until the ground thawed enough to bury her.

Her body was cut open. Her heart and liver were still full of blood. It was decided that Mercy was a vampire (although the term vampire wasn’t used at that time, she was undead).

Her heart was burned to ash then given to her ill brother in hopes it would cure him, or break the curse that Mercy had placed on him. It didn’t work, Edwin died two months later.

A newpaper article about Mercy Brown was found in Bram Stoker’s notes for Dracula. It’s believed Stoker’s Lucy was based on Mercy Brown.

Native Soil

In Eastern Europe, vampires were believed to be revived bodies of the dead. They lived close to the grave of the local graveyards.
coffin_construction_13 Their Native Soil surrounded them. However, there never was a special mention of it. Nor was there a special mention in the early vampire stories.

Bram Stocker was the first to mention the need for native soil. Count Dracula was found various times lying in boxes of “his” native soil. He had 50 crates shipped to England and scattered around (all full of soil.) Abraham Van Helsing figures out Dracula needs the soil as a resting place. He destroys all but one crate by placing a Eucharistic wafer in them.

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I find it strange that our literary history creates a large amount of our believes.
What do you think about Native soil? Do you think Vampires would need it?

Photo Credits:
http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/genres-movies/horror-films/how-to-become-a-vampire/
http://thewallmachine.com/jDoLyy.html

My take on Vampire Evolution

The Undead Duo at Deadly Ever After have a wonderful post today about vampire myths.
Thank you for the shout out ladies. I really appreciate it.

So they have some really cool info about vampires, too much to comment about there so I will comment here.

The farther I get into the myths the funnier I think they are. A very strange thing I’ve noticed is, what we now have as myths isn’t always what was believed centuries ago. I’ve also noticed that they are all similar even though they are worlds away.

For example, we mostly agree that Vampires can’t father children. I remember reading somewhere a large group of people freaking out because Stephenie Meyer’s Edward fathered a child. A dead being can’t have children. It isn’t possible. They said. Most writers agree.
If we look at those old myths we find a few types of vampires can father children. Some women can even carry and deliver children. It was believed that these mothers would feed from the babies they birthed.
There were even special names for these hybrid children.. Dhampir, and Cambion come to me off the top of my head.

Some vampires were even able to be around in the daylight. Australia has it’s own little vampire creature. The Pink Vampire, he is harder to kill, may have to do with not dying in sunlight. Stoker’s Dracula, Lord Ruthven, Varney and Carmilla were all “Daywalkers.” Many old legends tell us that the suspected vampire led a normal life. That would have to mean he was out and about during the sunlight hours.
Nosferatu (an old black and white movie from the 1920s) was an attempt to bring Stoker’s Dracula to the big screen, Stoker’s widow refused to allow Hollywood the Dracula story so Hollywood got creative and mixed some things up. Now they could film and not get sued. In the novel Dracula dies at the hands of Harper and Quincy Morris -they cut his head off right before dawn. In Nosferatu, the vampire spends the night drinking from his victim. When he finally leaves it’s too late and he burns in the early morning rays.
Here’s something to think about, the Blut Aussauger from the Bosnia area, and the Rakshasas from India, must have prolonged exposure to the sun for it to die.
China’s Ch’ing Shih is a blind vampire creature. It’s powers come from the moon, so during the day or moonless nights it stays hidden underground.
The Poludnica of Slovenia attacks her victims at noon.

Now on to the blood. Old myths say vampires could drink the blood of animals: sheep, goats and cattle were the most common, but cats and dogs could do in the case of an emergency or if that was all that was easily available. Although again, we are told in the old myths (if you care to look) that vampires could eat normal food. That was how they could stay hidden. Some vampires prefer breast milk. The Jaracaca from Brazil for example, it’s believed he takes the shape of a snake. He finds a woman who is nursing and pushes her child out of the way, he nurses instead. If the child begins to cry, he’ll stick the tip of his tail in its mouth to quiet it.
Charlaine Harris’ idea of synthetic blood is brilliant. I love the idea, unfortunately that is a ways off. Unless vampires like the stuff scientists are still working on, Scientists still are happy with it yet.

If we are going to talk about survival of the fittest, I personally think that would also mean the smartest.
The Undead Duo bring us some interesting points about how a vampire in our world finding prey could be very hard to do and dangerous to his secret. There are so many people who are missing, (I would have to Google the numbers) that are never found. How many of these missing do the police and then others give up on finding? A lot!
A smart vampire could be the culprit. What about all the people who no one would miss: homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts. A smart vampire would watch carefully almost stalking his prey. He would know if someone had family that would know the prey was missing. If he/she attacked one of these “unloved” and disposed of the body in a way it wouldn’t be found. No one would know that person was missing. Brilliant!
Stephenie Meyer has a few evil vampires in the Bree Tanner novella, that are brilliant. They attack what most would call street scum and hide the bodies somewhere in the water. (My memory fails me exactly where it is.)
I really don’t want to get into this, but just go with me for a moment. Through out history vampires attacked children (smaller, and weaker. better prey). In our world thousands of children go missing, a lot are never found. ?Vampires?

I also find it strange that most of what is commonly believed about vampires has been brought to us by literature or movies. When a writer or a Vampirologist (I love that word) brings old myths to the table people freak out. That’s what was believed when vampires roamed about freely. Some are just plain funny, but who are we to say they are wrong?

Leave comments here or at Deadly Ever After I’ll be spending some time there today.

Vampires and Coffins

I’m thinking about changing Vampire Wednesdays to another day. I would like to have Witches or Werewolves on Wednesdays. I like the WW of it better than VW, but I’m not sure. What do you think?

Anyways on to coffin talk….

Before the seventeenth century the dead were wrapped in a burial shroud and placed in a shallow grave.   (Not the six feet we currently dig.) During epidemics burials were done quickly in really shallow graves. Predators could easily dig up the recently buried body – and… well, you know. So that is where the myth that a vampire may eat his own body. At times a stake was pushed through the torso. Anywhere in the torso to keep the body in the ground. It could be made of anything.
The use of coffins was mostly by the wealthy. (You had to pay for it and only got one use from it. Not very cost-effective.) The poor would be transported in a coffin to the graveyard where the body wrapped in a shroud was removed and dropped into the cold waiting ground.

A special coffin called the “Slip” was invented for this reason. The “Slip” had hinges on the bottom allowing the body to be dropped without anyone seeing it. (You really wouldn’t like to watch the wrapped body be removed from a coffin and dropped into the ground. Can you imagine how many widows fainted during that processes?)

When a vampire was suspected the coffin would be brought up. The body would be staked. In some areas of Europe would attach the clothes and/or limbs to the side of the coffin with nails, so the vampire couldn’t leave the coffin or begin to eat his body.

Coffins become popular for literary vampires in the nineteenth century. As they were believed to be dead and the dead were buried in coffins. However, Lord Ruthven and Varney the Vampyre didn’t have coffins. Carmilla didn’t either. Bram Stoker’s Dracula also lacked the famous coffin; he instead had  crates that held his native soil.

 

My pals at Deadly Ever After have a cool post about nailing the body into the coffin. In case you would like to know more.