Challenge accepted Nina, here we go .......
Mythological creatures, vampires, a term by the way not popularised until the early 18th century when it is believed the word first appeared in English in 1734, feature in the folklore of many cultures including ancient Greece and Rome.
Believed to be revenants (visible ghosts/animated corpses)of evil beings, suicide victims or witches OR, less likely, having been created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse OR, less likely again, having been bitten by another vampire vampires/ vrykolakas/strigoi vary in appearance from the traditional image of the blotted, rotting corpse, ruddy in colour (from drinking blood?) who, seen in the coffin, had their left eye open and blood seeping from both their nose and mouth to the more modern creation who is largely human in looks.
Strangely, though teeth, finger nails and hair were said to have appeared to have grown after death, 'fangs' do not play a large part in the history of the vampire. Indeed Slavac and Chinese folklore has it that rather than being bitten by another vampire the causes of vamparic generation might involve ......
- A corpse that was jumped over by an animal(especially a cat or a dog)
- A body with a wound left untreated by boiling water.
So what of the European vampire?
Already known in German literature and in Austria where the practise of exhuming bodies and 'killing vampires' was not unknown , it is believed the word vampire (derived from the French vampyre?) first appeared in English in a travelogue entitled Travels Of Three English Gentlemen in 1745.
But I'm getting away from the point.
Most of us know that legend, well many books and certainly most black and white Hollywood films anyway, has it that in order to kill a vampire a stake must be driven through the heart - a method around for hundreds of years, made typically of ash or aspen, the stake could also be used as a means of prevention with those thought to be of higher risk of becoming a vampire staked whilst in their coffins -BUT did you know that there isn't in fact one method guaranteed to kill all vampires though it is generally agreed that the best method involves .....
beheading the vampire, cutting its heart out, and then burning the body.
And if that doesn't work? Well, you could always try ....
- A crucifix. A crucifix and not a cross mind you - the first has an image of Jesus Christ on it, the later is, well, just a cross- which comes from the power of the Christian religion and Jesus' ability to combat evil. This, however, only works if you believe in its power, if you don't then it will be of little to no use.
- Sunlight. Believed to kill vampires, in fact in Medieval times sunlight did not kill the vampire who roamed the daylight hours much the same as you or I. It is only in the last 50 or so years that the tradition of the sun being able to kill vampires has emerged - a trend now in reversal with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight vampires able to move around in daylight even if they do kind of shimmer.
- Silver. Only good for werewolves, right? Wrong. Considered a metal of great purity, silver stakes, spears and daggers have been known to slow down and kill a vampire. Also used in the form of an amulet (or such) silver can be placed above a coffin to prevent evil spirits from escaping OR made into nails which can be driven into the coffin lid to prevent such spirits from leaving the grave. Also .........
Silver could be the reason why legend has it that a vampire's reflection cannot be seen as many, many moons ago mirrors were lined with this (or mercury) and as both are incorruptible the reflection of an evil being was unable to be seen. Then again, this could also be that the vampire has no soul and therefore no reflection. Hmm, interesting and the later explanation would also explain why the image of a vampire can not be captured by the camera.
All very fascinating but do you know what the most bizarre piece of information I found was?
No of course you don't ...... and least not yet.
The most strange bit of info was to be found on a website entitled ZEROTIME PARANORMAL in which I came across the theory that vampires are said to have the personality disorder known as OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD).
Yes, that's right, according to Zerotime ........
'Common symptoms of vampire OCD include bizarre checking and counting rituals. For example, a traditional method of escaping from a vampire was to throw down a handful of seeds. The vampire is powerless against its obsession to stop, pick up and count every single seed that was thrown down before doing anything else. An ancient method of stopping a vampire involved filling up its coffin with seeds. The vampire would never be able to escape from it's own impulses of check and counting the seeds'
(Click HERE to read more on this theory).
Perhaps two of the most popular vampires ever, the first Nosferatu as played by Max Schrek in the 1922 movie, the second, Edward Cullen played by Robert Pattinson in Twilight, 2011.
Thanks once again for the challenge Nina, I have to say its one I really enjoyed.