Are You a Vampire? – Part 3

Are You a Vampire_ Bloody DogThank you, dear readers, for coming on this journey with me. This is the third in a three-part series on determining if you or someone you know is a vampire. In the first part, we explored ways that could still be relevant now. In Part 2, we delved into several old wives’ tales and superstitions. Now, here we are in Part 3. This final part consists of pointers and something extra: vampire animals.

The pointers are a summary of sorts. Things to make sure not to have happen to you or your friends and loved ones. If any of these things do happen, then we’ll need to explore how to combat future possible vampirism and in extreme cases, how to destroy a vampire. Those ideas will be addressed in a future series. For now, I will say, do not approach a suspected vampire and for the love of all things good, don’t try to destroy anyone.

Remember my suggestion from Part 2: Be kind to everyone. And also, don’t kill. 

 

Part 3: Pointers.

Be sure not to die a violent death.

Make sure no animals, particularly cats, jump over your grave before you get there.

No untimely deaths due to accidents or suicide.

Do not die alone or unseen.

 

Part 3 Extra: Vampire Animals.

You read that right: Vampire Animals were (are) a thing.

Dogs, cats, horses, chickens, sheep,  and even snakes could become vampires. Remember the grave jumping cat from before? Not only would the person whose grave it was become a vampire, the cat would, too!

Also, just because you don’t have pets doesn’t mean you’re safe. Plants could also turn, particularly pumpkins and melons. I recall such an instance from when I first started dating my husband, back in 1999. He went out of town for a week, and I checked his mail and watered the plants while he was gone. I hadn’t noticed the watermelon in the sink for a few days. Eventually, it became evident that something rotten lurketh. Pretty sure that watermelon became a vampermelon. Little did I know at the time…

Plants had been known to move, make noises and even bleed if kept in the house too long.

And, if you are sitting smugly thinking you are safe because you have neither pets nor plants, wrong again. Tools were also known to turn. Particularly those that had gone unused for too long.

I kind of sense a theme here…

Anyway, that’s a fairly thorough exploration of all the ways a human (or animal or plant or tool) might become a vampire. After that investigation whattaya 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 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)

Are You A Vampire? – Part 2

Social Mores AYV2.2

In the first part of this series, we looked at contemporary ways to discover if you or your loved ones might be a vampire. In this part, we’ll look at questions that were more relevant to life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Part 2’s questions deal with our morals, collectively and individually. If a person didn’t subscribe to the expected morals of their peers, they would have been scrutinized. The issues examined in these questions don’t necessarily pertain to the person accused, but often address the acts of their family or circumstances surrounding their birth. Nowadays, these are looked at as superstitions or old wives’ tales, but at the time, they were serious accusations. Suspicions ran high and quick, and mass hysteria was the result.

When I started writing this, I thought, “How funny, how silly, to think these things. These would make a great blog post.” I still think they’re funny, but on reflection, I also think they are more than just silly questions. We are centuries removed from these types of accusations, but even today, people are accused of things they have no control over, but that are simply circumstances of their birth. Back in the day, people turned to the supernatural to explain things they didn’t understand. Nowadays, things are done differently, and I’ll leave it at that. 

Deep thoughts for a vampire blog, eh? Anyway, take the questions in the spirit they are intended: lighthearted and fun. Just remember to be kind, always. You never know what someone else is dealing with. I mean, being a vampire isn’t as glamourous as it looks in the movies.

As in Part 1, the majority of the ideas discussed below came from The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead (full citation below), unless otherwise indicated(+).

Part Two: Social Mores and Superstitions.

Have you been excommunicated? If so, you may want to sort that out prior to meeting your maker.

Are you overly greedy?

Do you seek revenge?

Have you committed a great crime, such as murdering a kinsman?

Are you a man who swears falsely?

Were you born out of wedlock? Were your parents born out of wedlock?

Were you born between the week of Christmas and New Year?

Did your parents conceive you on a taboo day?

Are you the seventh child of the same sex in your family?

Is your father a vampire?

Were you born on a Saturday?

Did your mother eat salt when she was pregnant with you? If not, you’re doomed.

Was your mother gazed upon by a vampire while she was pregnant?

Were you born with a caul or a tail?

Were you born with teeth?

Are you missing a finger? Do you have animal-like appendages?

Do you only appear to your friends precisely at noon?

Do you have red hair and blue eyes?+

Are you a werewolf? Because you may become a vampire after you die.

Have you been bitten by a vampire?

Have you been cursed?

Are you a witch?

Do you practice magic? Or are you a sorcerer?

Have you eaten the meat of a sheep killed by a wolf?+

 

After reading those questions…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

+These ideas came from the Wikipedia page Vampire Folklore by Region.

The rest of the ideas 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)

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)

 

Inspiration.

Today, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite authors: Anne Rice.

The featured image was first used in a post about how I came to be in possession of the books shown. Click here to read it.

When I was 20 or so, a friend of mine lent me her copy of Interview with the Vampire. I devoured it. I couldn’t get enough of Louis and Claudia. Even Lestat, bad guy that he was, got under my skin and found a permanent place in my heart. I had never read anything like it. And to find out there was a series and a whole universe of the sexy, mysterious, melancholic vampires out there. I needed to know more, to read more, about them.

Over the years, I’ve read several other vampire authors, and don’t get me wrong, I love finding a new series or a new author, but I can never forget the influence that Anne Rice has had on me and on my writing.

Who are your influences? Or, do you find yourself gravitating toward the same person, writing style, genre? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Christmas in Transylvania.

Earlier this year, I submitted a story to a contest looking for 350-word Weird Christmas stories.

My story didn’t make the final cut. Which, if I’m honest, is a little disappointing (and if I’m even more honest, the stories that made it are great!). But, as a writer, I have come to understand that rejection is just part of the game. And, what’s amazing is that I keep on writing.

So, since I’m not part of the contest, I can freely publish that story whenever I want to.

How’s now sound?

Enjoy.

H-B banner

Christmas in Transylvania

“I googled these woods. They’re haunted,” Justin said as we approached the clearing.

It was cold. And dark. And my two-mile hike had started to seem more like a three-hour tour. “You’re not scared, are you?” I taunted.

“Great way to spend Christmas, Tass. Cold and lost in some haunted forest!” Stumbling, he groaned, “No pie. No presents. Just creepy old trees and ghosts!”

Growing up in New York City had not prepared Justin for the old country.

“Stop freaking out. Those are legends. There are no ghosts and people don’t just go missing out here.”

“Whatever, Tass. Can we go back?” Dodging unseen specters, my boyfriend hugged his shoulders and twisted on the spot. “Please?”

Arms wide, I sauntered into the open field and twirled. “I told you, I came here every year when I was young. I know this place like the back of my hand.”

Transylvania at Christmastime is beautiful: Snowy mountains. Vibrant old-world traditions. Children caroling. It’s magical. And no, no vampires. But he was right. The Hoia-Baciu Woods are famous for their strange happenings. My family won’t even venture out here, especially not at night. What was I trying to prove? Dropping my arms, I lumbered toward Justin. “Let’s just head back. It’s time for dinner, anyway.”

Two steps away from him the air around us wobbled, and I heard a loud zippering sound behind me. An icy chill buzzed through my body. “Justin, did you feel that?”

No reply.

“Justin?” Silence. My skin prickled. Could the legends be true? Was he taken? Did he simply disappear? “Justin!” Searching frantically, I paced circles in the clearing and retraced our steps back toward my grandparents’ cottage.

After an interminable journey through the woods alone, fatigue slowed my steps. Tears streaked my weary face. Trudging toward the cottage, my body shook with fear and anger. How could Justin be gone?

Reaching for the doorknob, I froze. Through the wall, I heard Justin’s voice.

“To Tassa,” Justin said. “It’s been five Christmases since you disappeared. May the woods guard your spirit.”

“To Tassa,” my family chanted in reply.

*  *  *

If you want to read more about the Hoia-Baciu woods and their legends, click here.

(Featured banner photo credit: cgcowboy on pixabay)

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