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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/09/10

Monday, August 9, 2010

VAMPIRE TRUTHS AND MYTHS

  1.    A group of vampires has variously been call a clutch, brood, coven, pack or clan. (a clan if their Scottish!)
  2. The Muppet vampire, Count von Count from Sesame Street, is based on actual vampire myth.  One way to supposedly deter a vampire is to throw seeds ( usually mustard) outside a door or place fishing net outside a window.  Vampires are compelled to count the seeds on the holes in the net, delaying them until the sun comes up.
  3. A rare disease called porphyria vampire like symptoms, such as an extreme sensitivity to sunlight and sometimes hairiness.  In extreme cases, teeth might be stained reddish brown, and eventually the patient may go mad.
  4. One of the most famous "true vampires" was Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) who was accused of biting the flesh of girls while torturing them and bathing in their blood to retain her youthful beauty.  She was by all accounts a very attractive woman.
  5. Vampire legends may have been based on Vlad of Walachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476).  He had a habit of nailing hats to people's heads, skinning them alive, and impaling them on upright stakes.  He also liked to dip bread into the blood of his enemies and eat it.  His name, Vlad, means son of the dragon or Dracula, who has been identified as the historical Dracula.  Though Vlad the Impaler was murdered in 1476, his tomb is reported empty.
  6. One of the earliest accounts of vampires is found in an ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth dating to 4.000 B.C. which describes ekimmu or edimmu (one who is snatched away).  The ekimmu is a type of uruku or utukku (a spirit or demon) who was not buried properly and has returned as a vengeful spirit to suck the life out of the living.
  7. Prehistoric stone monuments called "dolmens" have been found over the graves of the dead in northwest Europe.  Anthropologists speculate they have been placed over graves to keep vampires from rising.
  8. Chinese vampires were call a ch'iang shih (corpse-hopper) and had red eyes and crooked claws.  They were said to have a strong sexual drive that led them to attack women.  As they grew stronger, the ch'iang shih gained the ability to fly, grew long white hair, and could also change into a wolf.
  9. In 2009, a sixteenth-century female skull with a rock wedged in its mouth was found near the remains of plague victims.  It was not unusual during that century to shove a rock or brick in the mouth of a suspected vampire to prevent it from feeding on the bodies of other plague victims or attacking the living.  Female vampires were also often blamed for spreading the bubonic plague throughout Europe.
  10. According to several legends.  If someone was bitten by a suspected vampire, he or she should drink the ashes of a burned vampire.  To prevent an attack, a person should make bread with the blood of vampire and eat it.
  11. The legend that vampires must sleep in coffins probably arose from reports of gravediggers and morticians who described corpses suddenly sitting up in their graves or coffins.  This eerie phenomenon could be caused by the decomposing process.
  12. According to some legends, a vampire may engage in sex with his former wife, which often led to pregnancy.  In fact, this belief may have provided a convenient explanation as to why a widow, who was supposed to be celibate, became pregnant.  The resulting child was called a gloglave in Bulgarian or vampirdzii in Turkish.  Rather than being ostracized, the child was considered a hero who had powers to slay a vampire.
  13. Folklore vampires can become vampires not only through a bite, but also if they were once a werewolf, practiced sorcery, were excommunicated, committed suicide, were an illegitimate child of parents who were illegitimate, or were still born or died before baptism, in addition, anyone who has eaten the flesh of a sheep killed by a wolf, was a seventh son, was the child of a pregnant woman who was looked upon by a vampire, was a nun who stepped over an unburied body, had teeth when they were born, or had a cat jump on their corpse before being buried  could also turn into vampires.
  14. Mermaids can also be vampires--but instead of sucking blood, they suck out the breath of their victims.
  15. In some vampire folktales, vampires can marry and move to another city where they take up jobs suitable for vampires, such as butchers, barbers, and tailors.  That they become butchers may be based on the analogy that butchers are descendants of the sacrificer.