Are You a Vampire?

Are You a VampireAre you sure?

While perusing my very well used copy of The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead, by J. Gordon Melton, PhD, to learn about various vampire mythologies, one thing struck me: It used to be very easy to be suspected of being a vampire or to have the potential to become one.

“Used to be” encompasses a broad swath of time, but generally speaking during the 18th and 19th centuries and primarily, but not exclusively, in Europe. Mass hysteria swept through many countries on the continent, and similar to the witch trials in New England (but occurring more than a century later), people who didn’t follow the social mores of the day often found themselves or their loved ones accused of vampirism. The main difference here is that death didn’t exempt you from accusations. But that’s another story. For now, let’s determine if you or any of your friends and loved ones are, or might be, or might become, a vampire.

Because there are so many ways vampire status could be achieved, I’ve decided to break this into three parts.

Part One: Contemporary Questions.

Are you allergic to garlic; do you do your best to steer clear of it?

What about salt? Does it burn your skin?

Do loud noises offend you? What about thunder–be careful, because it could kill you if you’re a vampire! (This applies mostly to the chiang-shih* of China, but it’s good to be thorough)

What about holy symbols (such as the crucifix)? Do those agitate you?

Can you walk over a threshold without being invited in? If not, well…you know what that means.

Are you able to cross running water? I sure hope so, or else!

Do you find you can only sleep when on your native soil?

So, what do you think? Are you a vampire?

Sources and Notes:

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink, 1994

The ideas listed above were found in The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead in the following sections:

Greece, Vampires in (pp. 272-278)

Gypsies, Vampires and the (pp. 278-282)

Romania, Vampires in (pp. 512-520)

Russia, Vampires in (pp. 524-527)

Scandinavia, Vampires in (pp. 539-541)

Slavs, Vampires Among the (pp. 559-564)

*There are several spellings of chiang-shih, but The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead uses this spelling.  (p. 98)


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