A thread devoted to your favorite subject: Vampires! Everything you have ever wanted to learn about vampires. If you would like to contribute, feel free. This will be an ongoing update of sorts, please be patient if it doesn't seem complete. So, sit back, relax, and read.
Chapter 1: The beginning?
A somewhat obscure myth holds that vampires originated with Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Christ. Because Judas had betrayed Christ to the Romans, he and his family were cursed. The Bible holds that Judas committed suicide because of his guilt; suicides, according to vampire folklore, were very likely to come back as vampires, so this may have helped contribute to the belief that vampires originated with Judas. Also, vampires descended from Judas were usually identifiable by their red hair. This probably points to the origin of the myth among the Greeks, as they believed red hair to be a mark of vampirism. Among the dark Greek, red-hair would certainly seem strange, but among people farther north, closer to the Scandinavian countries which feature such hair, there would be little to no stigma attached to it.
The vampire's aversion to silver perhaps comes from this myth, as Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. When Judas tried to return the silver and could not, he cast it away as something hateful to himself. However, the use of silver as a deterrent for vampires is more widespread than the Judas myth.
3 Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? Look to it yourself."
5 Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself.
Judas returns the silver coins to the priests.
Chapter 2: Major Historical Vampires
Vlad III the Impaler
Vladislav III, called "Vlad the Impaler" (that is, Vlad Tepes in Romanian; also known as Vladislav Dracula or simply Dracula, in Romanian Drăculea; 1431 – December 1476), was a Wallachian (Romanian) voivode (nobleman). Vlad the Impaler is known for the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign. In the English-speaking world, Vlad III is best known for inspiring the name of the eponymous vampire in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.
Impalement was, of course, Vlad's preferred method of torture and execution. Hence Vlad the Impaler perhaps. *The next bit is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Be warned!
His method of torture was a horse attached to each of the victim's legs as a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. The end of the stake was usually oiled, and care was taken that the stake not be too sharp; else the victim might die too rapidly from shock. Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the anus and was often forced through the body until it emerged from the mouth. However, there were many instances where victims were impaled through other bodily orifices or through the abdomen or chest. Infants were sometimes impaled on the stake forced through their mother's chests. Victims were sometimes impaled so that they hung upside down on the stake.
As expected, death by impalement was slow and painful. Victims sometimes endured for hours or days. Vlad often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that constituted his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The corpses were often left decaying for months.
Countess Elizabeth Báthory
Countess Elizabeth Báthory (August 7(?), 1560 – August 21, 1614), was a Hungarian countess from the renowned Báthory family. She is known as the most infamous serial killer in Central European history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess" and as Bloody Lady of Csejte, after the castle near Trencsén, in Royal Hungary, where she spent most of her life.
After her husband's death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls and young women, with one witness attributing to them over 600 victims, though she was only convicted on 80 counts. In 1610, she was imprisoned in Csejte Castle, where she remained bricked in her room until her death four years later. She was never formally tried in court. The Báthory case has inspired many legends, including the false story of the Countess bathing in the blood of virginal girls whom she killed in order to retain her youth. Like Vlad Tepes, who inspired the creation of Count Dracula, these stories have led to the modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.
One favorite method of torture was to use an articulated claw-like pincers of silver which, when fastened to a whip, would tear and rip the flesh to such an obscene degree. She would use this to whip her victims, preferrably on the front of their nude bodies rather than their backs, so that the wounds would be more severe and so that she could watch their faces contort in agony and horror at their fate.
She used other methods as well, like sticking pins under the fingernails and lips of maids, covering young women in honey and leaving them to be stung to death by bees, or dousing naked victims in cold water during the harshest parts of the winter until they froze to death.
Chapter 3: Becoming a Vampire
The most common and sure-fire method of becoming a vampire is to die from a vampire bite. The "kiss" of a vampire is its method of perpetuating its breed, and those rising from the dead to become vampires are subject to the will of the vampire that originally bit him/her.
The bite of the vampire is usually detected as two small but swollen puncture wounds; often referred to as "the Seal of Dracula". Most vampires prefer to attack victims of the opposite sex.
Vampires do not necessarily kill their victims; it seems that they need a relatively small amount of blood daily from their victims. Being evil, most vampires take pleasure in killing their victims, justifying their act by the desire to remain secret or to save their victim’s soul from being damned.
If the victim is not killed, he/she will turn into a vampire within 2 to 7 days (varying according to the stories). The master will then initiate the newborn vampire until he can survive by himself. The victim must drink the blood of the vampire. This is the act that van Helsing calls 'the vampire's baptism of blood.’ Once the victim has swallowed the vampire blood, the victim dies as for a poison to reborn as vampire.
The victim is under the mental domination of the master vampire and can only exert an independent will during the daylight hours or when the master vampire consciously releases his control. Only the death of the master vampire can free the victim from its curse and only if he has not killed to sustain his blood feed.
However, there are several other ways to become a vampire and according to old legends, fulfilling any of these requirements would almost guarantee that you will emerge as a vampire after you die. Note, however, that there is absolutely NO proof that this will turn you into a vampire, so please do not try this at home.
* Dead wizards
* Illegitimate offspring of illegitimate children
* Unavenged deaths
* Untimely/ unhappy deaths
* Robbers/ villains
* An unburied body which has had sun or moonlight fall upon it (Specifically in China)
* An unburied body that has been leapt over by a cat
* Those without full rights before death (Slavonic)
* Children born or conceived on a great Church holiday. (Slavonic)
* Still born children and unbaptised children (Rise as vampires 7 years after their death, Slavonic)
* Any animal (including cat) that has passed over an unburied body (Slavonic)
* Anyone who has eaten the flesh of a sheep killed by a wolf (Slavonic)
* Perjurers, liars
* 7th sons
* Man born with a caul (a piece of the placenta that may become stuck to the child's head as it is born. Easily wiped off, but many cultures have interpreted it as sign, some good, some bad, of what that child will be like when grown.)
* A pregnant woman who has been looked at (especially after her 6th month) by a vampire, her child as a great risk of becoming a vampire.
* A shadow of a living man falling upon an unburied body.
* A nun stepping over an unburied body.
According to 'The Natural History of the Vampire'
Chapter 4: Characteristics of a Vampire
Vampires do not age, except on some occasions when they have been deprived of blood for extended periods of time. However, the vampire will be rejuvenated when as soon as he gets fresh blood supply.
Most of the vampire's powers increase over the centuries with age and experience. These centuries-spanning creatures may eventually become Vampire Regents or Elders, who are capable of even greater feats than the common vampire.
Dracula is considered as the Master of all Vampires but it is unsure if he was the first vampire on earth.
Multiply by Contamination
The vampire as a negative image of the Christ - that gave his blood to save men, Nosferatu gives blood to corrupt souls and propagate evil.
The vampire is self-sufficient and despite the attraction he may provoke, seems to exist beyond “sexuality”. His mission is to multiply and give rise to a new age on earth where humans will loose their supremacy in the global food chain.
Vampires have remarkable recuperative powers and cannot be harmed by conventional weapons. They are also immune to all forms of human diseases and illnesses. Only when moving about during the day or when resting in his coffin, is the vampire somewhat vulnerable and subject to physical harm.
Bullets and ordinary knives provide only momentary distractions, as the vampire can heal from such injuries within seconds. Moreover, the vampire does not feel pain from such conventional attacks.
They can only be harmed by weapons made of the purest silver and even then, their supernatural restorative abilities allow them to recover very quickly. Under optimum conditions (i.e. - when they have been feeding regularly), vampires never physically get tired.
The vampire's renowned recuperative powers do have their limitations, however. A vampire cannot grow back a severed portion of its body. However, apart from the obvious periodic inconveniences, injuries like these will not critically impair a vampire's "life" or efficacy.
Super Human Strength
Most vampires acquire superhuman strength anywhere from three to five times as great as they had in their mortal lives. Moreover, a vampire’s speed, agility, and reflexes are up to five times as great as they had in their mortal lives.
All vampires possess acute hearing (equivalent to that of a wolf) and night vision, enabling them to see with better than 20/20 perceptibility in total darkness.
As a vampire grows "older" over the years its strength can increase, and the strength level of Vampire Regents can be 10 - 20 times stronger than they were in their mortal lives.
Dracula is described as having the strength of twenty strong men.
The vampire may command several animal creatures such as the wolf, the rat, the fox, the owl, the bat and the moth and is also able to assume the form of a wolf or a bat and possibly any of the other animals subject to his command (spiders, weasels, cats, ravens, scorpions…) while retaining their own intelligence. Some of the more powerful vampires or Vampire Regents are able to transform into a bat of human proportions.
The vampire may also transform himself into a mist or dust cloud drifting in the air though only the oldest and most powerful of vampires or Vampire Regents are known to assume such forms.
The vampire may alter his size within certain limits, becoming either larger or smaller so that he can easily go out from his grave or coffin .
The vampire may climb walls much like a large insect. He may climb normally or with his head toward the ground much like a spider.
Vampires can often take away a person's voice, strength, and beauty. This might be an imaginative extrapolation of the old Romanian belief that "live vampires" (*strigoi vii*) or persons born destined to become undead vampires (*strigoi morti*), developed the power while still alive to rob vitality or appearances from other living beings and to transfer them to another being, sometimes themselves.
Montague Summers also wrote in 'The Vampire in Europe' that the Romanian vampire had the abilility "to gather the 'power' of beauty, which he sold for money, and here in fact we have the regular love charms. These female vampires are generally of a dry burning skin and a notably florid complexion. The men are bald and distinguished by peculiarly piercing eyes."
Hypnotic Mind Control
The vampire can control the will of humans through a form of hypnotic, even to the point of inducing a catatonic state and amnesia. This power explains why victims often have no memory of being attacked.
This hypnotic control can be conveyed either verbally or telepathically, depending on the power of the vampire.
Powerful vampires and Vampire Regents need only to catch the gaze of their intended victim for a few seconds, through stronger minds require more time to mesmerize.
Victims bitten by a vampire are much easier to control, requiring little - if any - concentration from the host-vampire.
League with Demons
"Older" vampires are able to command some form of magical or monstrous beings (demons, zombies, ghouls ...), which seems natural as the vampire is in connection with the devil.
However, controlling large numbers of these lesser undead creatures requires greater concentration and strength. Some very powerful vampires or Vampire Regents can even summon such creatures if they are in the general vicinity.
Command of Animals
Similar to the vampire’s ability to mesmerize the lesser minds of humans is their innate ability to summon and control various "lower" nocturnal creatures, such as the wolf, bat, and rat if they are somewhat local to the vampire’s area.
The range and extent of control over such creatures is based upon the power of the vampire. An "older" vampire could conceivably summon entire populations of bats, rats, and wolves within a 10-mile radius.
Some animals, such as horses, and cats in particular, have an aversion to vampires and can often "sense" the presence of these creatures.
Dracula's Enhanced Powers
These abilities may be specific to Dracula and not generally available to other vampires. Dracula is considered the Father of all vampires and a notorious regent who give births to many notorious vampires.
Dracula was a master in occult arts and black magic and acquired additional powers through pacts with satanic entities and the sacrifice of many people.
* Within a limited range, the Count has the power to control the weather. He often uses fog or mist to cover his movements.
* Telepathy, telekinesis and other mind powers: Dracula has the power to become invisible and to pass unseen among his enemies.
* Necromantic power. Dracula can raise the dead that will come as zombies at his command.
Inability to enter a dwelling without being first invited in
Vampires also have a mystical aversion to entering any human dwelling place which they have not been verbally invited. Once invited, they may enter the place anytime thereafter.
"He may not enter anywhere at first, unless there be some member of the household to bid him to come; though afterwards he can come as he pleases." - Professor Van Helsing in Mina Harker's Journal, Chapter XVIII of Dracula by Bram Stoker
Inability to cross water
The vampire may not cross running water, except at the ebb and flow of the tide. He may be carried over or at certain times he may change shape and fly or jump over. This is not to say that they cannot swim, but running or flowing water such as rivers, streams, or waterfalls mystically impede the creature’s ability to swim and stay afloat, causing it to drown and perish. This is but a temporal "death", however. Once a vampire’s body is removed from running water, it will return to "life".
"It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of tide." - Professor Van Helsing in Mina Harker's Journal, Chapter XVIII of Dracula by Bram Stoker
"The Count, even if he takes the form of a bat, cannot cross the running water of his own volition, and so he cannot leave the ship." - Professor Van Helsing in Jonathan Harker's Journal, Chapter XXV of Dracula by Bram Stoker
It is not known how Stoker arrived at this notion. Perhaps he invented it. But there are precedents for this in folk beliefs.
On some of the Greek islands, including Hydra, Kythnos and Mitylene there was occasionally found the practice of re-burying the corpse of an alleged vampire on a desert island in belief that the vampire could not cross the water to another shore.
In his book The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece (first published in 1892, reprinted in 1968 by Argonaut, Inc.), Rennell Rodd wrote:
"Hydra is said to have been formerly infected by vampires, but a zealous bishop transferred them to the unoccupied island of Therasia, in the Santorin group, where they still walk at night, but being unable to cross salt water, find no one to torment."
One case of this practice on the island of Kythnos recorded by Henry Hautteweur in his Le Folklore de l'Isle de Kythnos (Brussels, 1898) is translated on pages 268-70 of The Vampire in Europe by Montague Summers, first published in 1928.
Here the vampire broukolakas is a dead man named Andilaveris who terrorized his village every night but Friday, the only time when he must rest in the grave. Finally the village priest, the night watchmen of the cemetery and Church, and some other people exhumed the corpse on a Friday night, put it in a burlap sack, and transported it by barque to the tiny, unihabited island of Daskaleio. But, at some point on this journey, apparently after they reached the islet, the vampire revived from his slumber and attacked the priest by throwing mud and excrement. But somehow they managed in the end to bury him at a remote spot on the desert island.
Montague Summers gives another example in his earlier book, The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, first published in 1927. This one is taken from Travels and Discoveries in the Levant, Volume I, p. 213, by Newton (London, 1866). Summers wrote, as one complete paragraph, the following:
"Newton....says that in Mitylene the bodies of those who will not lie quiet in their graves are transported to a small adjacent island, a mere eyeot without inhabitants were they are re-interred. This is an effectual bar to any future molestation for the vampire cannot cross salt water. Running water he too can only pass at the slack or flood of the tide."
Cases of vampires unable to pursue someone any longer after the latter crossed running water are also found in Chinese tales.
This general belief is also applied to other monstrous creatures like fairies.
"If chased by evil fairies, one could generally escape by leaping to safety across running water, particularly a southward flowing stream." - Katherine Briggs - An Encyclopedia of Fairies (Pantheon Books, 1976), p. 336
Coma during daytime.
Most vampires fall into a semi-conscious, trance-like state during the daylight hours that keeps them aware of things happening around it.
The vampire may only leave its resting place at sunrise, noon or sunset. This is clearly the vampire's time of greatest vulnerability since it is helpless when resting within its coffin. During the daylight hours, the vampire's powers are considerably weakened; although it should be pointed out they are still dangerous and certainly powerful enough to wipe out reckless vampire hunters.
Older and more powerful vampires do not require such rest; they only need to avoid direct sunlight.
Probably another Stoker exaggeration as vampires were known to hide during the day but no description was given about what they were supposed to do during that time.
Inability to withstand the direct rays of the sun.
In modern films, vampires are unable to withstand the direct rays of the sun. Direct exposure causes a vampire to completely dehydrate and burst into flames or crumble into dust within minutes. This feature is omnipresent in modern Hollywood movies but does not seem to have any legendary or historical background.
It is also believed that the experienced vampire is able to move and act as a human. Nevertheless, he loses his supernatural abilities and mortal weapons may harm him.
Dependence upon the soil of their land of birth for rest.
The vampire is obliged to sleep during the day and to rest upon a protective layer of hallowed ground from its native land. They cannot travel more than 100 miles from the place they were born, unless they have taken along at least a pound of their native soil with which to line their coffin or sleeping area.
A vampire cannot rest within its coffin or resting-place unless it is in direct contact with their native soil. Placing a crucifix (or some other religious object) or holy wafer within the confines of a vampire's coffin or resting -place will defile both the soil and the vampire’s place of rest, thereby causing it to be unsuitable and inaccessible for the vampire.
To be less vulnerable, many vampires usually have more than one resting-place in case they are discovered. However, there is no tradition in myths and folklore that support this allegation.
Reflection not seen in a mirror.
"He throws no shadow; he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Jonathan Harker observed." - Professor Van Helsing in Mina Harker's Journal, Chapter XVIII of Dracula by Bram Stoker
Vampires don’t reflect in mirrors. This also means that their images do not appear on film or any other device that requires a light (or heat) source to produce and image. A flame can be seen through his body. In some areas, vampires are believed not to show in photographs or to cast shadows.
But all over Europe, there was a taboo that all mirrors that are in the same room with a corpse should be draped otherwise the spirit of the dead person might become trapped in the mirror or the living unfortunate person whose body is reflected with the body of the dead, would die soon after the dead person was buried.
A reason given for this is the old idea that the image of a person in a mirror is the soul of the person; since vampires have lost their souls they cast no reflection.
Vulnerable to apotropaic objects.
'Apotropaic' is a word generally used to mean something that ward off demons and other evil spirits, but is often used to describe the various methods of stopping a vampire.
There are many methods used by many different major world cultures. While there are many specific categories noted here, most apotropaics fall into four general categories.
Appeasing apotropaics pacify the vampire and remove its urge to kill and spread disease.
Countering apotropaics nullify a harmful ability of a vampire by using a natural substance with a similar, more powerful ability (such as drinking a vampire's blood to keep it from drinking yours, or countering the disease-causing stench of a vampire with garlic).
Constricting apotropaics work by leaving the vampire unable to move, and therefore unable to leave his grave and spread death and destruction.
Destructive apotropaics keep vampires in check by killing them.
I will elaborate more on apotropaic objects further down the thread.
Repulsion to holy ground.
Vampires are unable to enter churches, temples, or other religious sanctuaries that represent "light" or goodness, whether they have been previously invited or not. They may only enter such holy places if they have been somehow desecrated beforehand.
The vampire, as any pagan creature, is not admitted in the holy sanctuaries of the Church but there are no testimonies that he can be harmed if he doesn’t follow the rule.
Chapter 5: Killing a Vampire
Vampire’s hunter’s tales teach us that there are only two sure methods of destroying a vampire permanently. One is to expose the vampire to direct sunlight and then scatter its ashes. Another is to pierce its heart with either wood or silver, stuffing the head with garlic cloves, and then severing it from the body. The head and body should then be burnt in two separate places, scattering the two subsequent piles of ashes in separate locations.
However, we can witness that modern vampires are much stronger than their ancestors of Eastern Europe. Anne Rice’s vampires are not affected by the sun; even the old remedies can come short if not followed scrupulously.
If the stake or blade is removed, however, even if the creature's body has crumbled to dust, the vampire's supernatural vitality will restore its body in the condition it had before it was destroyed, returning it to "life".
It is important to mention that vampires do not "die" immediately when being pierced through the heart. Many vampire hunters have been killed from the mighty death throes of vampires after they have been pierced through the heart. Furthermore, it has been recorded that some of the more powerful vampires were able to remove the wood or silver instrument before "death" occurred. It is recommended that the creature be held at bay with holy objects while the impaling is performed. If someone uses the stake or burns the heart, but fails to cut off the head, the vampire turns into a cloud of fog and reconstitute its body when out of reach.
A vampire may be incinerated into destruction with extreme heat, but this may prove to be a difficult task to accomplish. They are not immune to fire, but because of their recuperative powers (and the fact that they do not feel pain from fire), this is not a recommended method for dispatching a vampire. Similarly, electrocution may eventually destroy a vampire in time, but this another risky method for eradicating these creatures.
It is also a known fact that when a vampire is destroyed, the body releases a kind of "spectral energy", which release culminates in kind of kinetic "explosion", able to shatter glass and windows; toss furniture in the air; and knock an average-sized man to the ground. In cases where powerful vampires or Vampire Regents were dispatched, enormous discharges of pneumatic and kinetic force were experienced. The vampire hunter should be cautious of this phenomenon when destroying "older" or more powerful vampires.
personally i believe mostly all of those are fake. vampires are really not so easily killed. it takes much more work to permanantly destroy one.
yeah you need guns, real weapons. the myths about holy water, and wood stakes were only make to fool vampires hunters.
Your beautiful my love, turn away your eyes for they have overcome me.