- Vampire folklore by region
vampires have existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demonic entities and blood-drinking spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklorefor the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th-century Southeastern Europe,Silver & Ursini, pp. 22-23.] as verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire itself. Belief in such legends became so rife that in some areas it caused mass hysteriaand even public executions of people believed to be vampires.Cohen, "Encyclopedia of Monsters", pp. 271-274.]
Tales of the undead consuming the blood or flesh of living beings have been found in nearly every culture around the world for many centuries. [cite book |last=McNally |first=Raymond T. |coauthors=Florescu, Radu. |title=In Search of Dracula |year=1994 |publisher=Houghton Mifflin |isbn=0-395-65783-0| pages= p. 117] Today we know these entities predominantly as vampires, but in ancient times, the term "vampire" did not exist; blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to
demons or spirits who would eat flesh and drink blood; even the devilwas considered synonymous with the vampire.Marigny, "Vampires", pp. 24-25.] Almost every nation has associated blood drinking with some kind of revenant or demon, from the ghouls of Arabiato the goddess Sekhmetof Egypt. Indeed, some of these legends could have given rise to the Eastern European folklore, though they are not strictly considered vampires by historians when using today's definitions.Marigny, "Vampires", pp. 14.] Summers, "The Vampire in Greece and Rome of Old", in "The Vampire in Europe".]
Mesopotamia was an area rampant with superstition of blood-drinking demons. The
Persians were one of the first civilizations thought to have tales of blood-drinking demons: creatures attempting to drink blood from men were depicted on excavated pottery shards. Ancient Babyloniahad tales of the mythical Lilitu, synonymous with and giving rise to Lilith (Hebrew לילית) and her daughters the Lilufrom Hebrew demonology. Lilitu was considered a demon and was often depicted as subsisting on the blood of babies. However, the Jewish counterparts were said to feast on both men and women, as well as newborns .Hurwitz, "Lilith". ] The legend of Lilith was originally included in some traditional Jewish texts: according to the medieval folk traditions, she was considered to be Adam's first wife before Eve. [cite web |title=The Alphabet of Ben Sira Question #5 (23a-b) |last=Bronznick |first= Norman |coauthors= Mark Jay Mirsky, David Stern & Allan Humm | publisher= Allan Humm |accessdate=2007-12-29 |url=http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topics/Lilith/alphabet.html] Marigny, "Vampires", pp. 17-19.] In these texts, Lilith left Adam to become the queen of the demons (she actually refused to be Adam's subordinate and thus was banished from eden by God himself) and, much like the Greek striges, would prey on young babies and their mothers at night, as well as males. Because Hebrew law absolutely forbade the eating of human flesh or the drinking of any type of blood, Lilith's blood drinking was described as exceptionally evil. To ward off attacks from Lilith, parents used to hang amulets from their child's cradle.
An alternate version states the legend of Lilith/Lilitu (and a type of spirit of the same name) originally arose from
Sumer, where she was described as an infertile "beautiful maiden" and was believed to be a harlot and vampire who, after having chosen a lover, would never let him go. [cite book |last=Patai |first=Raphael |year=1990 |origyear=1978 |edition=3rd enl. ed. |title=The Hebrew Goddess |location=Detroit |publisher=Wayne State University Press |isbn=0-81432-271-9| pages=p. 222 ] Lilitu (or the Lilitu spirits) was considered to be an anthropomorphicbird-footed, wind or night demon and was often described as a sexual predator who subsisted on the blood of babies and their mothers. Other Mesopotamian demons such as the Babylonian goddess Lamashtu, (Sumer's Dimme) and Galluof the Uttukegroup are mentioned as having vampiric natures.Hurwitz, "Lilith", pp. 40-41.] [cite web |title=Encyclopædia Britannica Article: Lamashtu |url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9046921/Lamashtu |accessdate=2007-12-29]
Lamashtu is a historically older image that left a mark on the figure of Lilith. [Hurwitz, "Lilith", pp. 34-35.] Many incantations invoke her as a malicious "Daughter of Heaven" or of
Anu, and she is often depicted as a terrifying blood-sucking creature with a lion's head and the body of a donkey.Hurwitz, "Lilith", p. 36.] Akin to Lilitu, Lamashtu primarily preyed on newborns and their mothers. [cite web |title=Lamaštu (Lamashtu) |url=http://www.ancientneareast.net/religion_mesopotamian/demons/lamashtu.html |publisher=Ancient Near East.net |accessdate=2007-12-29] She was said to watch pregnant women vigilantly, particularly when they went into labor. Afterwards, she would snatch the newborn from the mother to drink its blood and eat its flesh. In the "Labartu" texts she is described; "Wherever she comes, wherever she appears, she brings evil and destruction. Men, beasts, trees, rivers, roads, buildings, she brings harm to them all. A flesh-eating, bloodsucking monster is she." Gallu was a demon closely associated with Lilith, though the word (like "Utukku") is also used as a general term for demons, and these are "evil Uttuke" or "evil Galli". One incantation tells of them as spirits that threaten every house, rage at people, eat their flesh, and as they let their blood flow like rain, they never stop drinking blood. Lamashtu, Lilitu, and Gallu are invoked in different amulet texts, with Gallu showing up in Graeco-Byzantine myth as Gello, Gylo, or Gyllo. There she appears as a child-stealing and child-killing female demon, in the manner of Lamia and Lilith.
Ancient Greek mythology contains several precursors to modern vampires, though none were considered undead; these included the
Empusa,cite book |last=Graves |first=Robert |authorlink=Robert Graves|title= The Greek Myths|origyear=1955 |year=1990 |publisher=Penguin |location=London |isbn=0-14-001026-2 |pages=189-90|chapter=The Empusae] Lamia,Graves, "Lamia", in "Greek Myths", pp. 205-206.] and striges(the strix of Ancient Roman mythology). Over time the first two terms became general words to describe witches and demons respectively. Empusa was the daughter of the goddess Hecateand was described as a demonic, bronze-footed creature. She feasted on blood by transforming into a young woman and seduced men as they slept before drinking their blood. Lamia was the daughter of King Belus and a secret lover of Zeus. However Zeus' wife Heradiscovered this infidelity and killed all Lamia's offspring; Lamia swore vengeance and preyed on young children in their beds at night, sucking their blood. Like Lamia, the "striges", feasted on children, but also preyed on young men. They were described as having the bodies of crows or birds in general, and were later incorporated into Roman mythology as "strix", a kind of nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood. [cite journal |last=Oliphant |first=Samuel Grant |year=1913 |title=The Story of the Strix: Ancient |journal= Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association |volume=44 |pages=133–49 |doi=10.2307/282549] The Romanian vampire breed named " Strigoï" has no direct relation to the Greek "striges", but was derived from the Roman term "strix", as is the name of the Albanian " Shtriga" and the Slavic " Strzyga", though myths about these creatures are more similar to their Slavic equivalents.Marigny, "Vampires", pp. 15-17.] Greek vampiric entities are seen once again in Homer's epic " Odyssey". In Homer's tale, the undead are too insubstantial to be heard by the living and cannot communicate with them without drinking blood first. In the epic, when Odysseusjourneyed into Hades, he was made to sacrifice a lamb so that the shades there could drink its blood and communicate.Cohen, "Encyclopedia of Monsters", pp. 271-274.]
India, tales of vetalas, ghoul-like beings that inhabit corpses, are found in old Sanskrit folklore. Although most vetala legends have been compiled in the " Baital Pachisi", a prominent story in the " Kathasaritsagara" tells of King Vikramādityaand his nightly quests to capture an elusive one. The vetala is described as an undead creature who, like the bat associated with modern day vampirism, hangs upside down on trees found on cremation grounds and cemeteries. [cite book |last=Burton |first=Sir Richard R. |authorlink=Richard Francis Burton |title=Vikram and The Vampire:Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance |origyear=1870 |year=1893 |publisher= Tylston and Edwards |location=London |url=http://www.sacred-texts.com/goth/vav/vav00.htm |accessdate=2007-09-28] " Pishacha", the returned spirits of evil-doers or those who died insane, also bear vampiric attributes.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 200.]
The Indian deity
Kalibears fangs, wears a garland of corpses or skulls, and has four arms. She is intimately linked with the drinking of blood and her temples are located near cremation grounds throughout India. In one tale, Kali and the goddess Durgabattled the demon Raktabija (Sanskrit for "Blood Seed") who could reproduce himself from each drop of blood spilled. She drank all his blood so none was spilled, thereby winning the battle and killing the demon.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", pp. 140-141.]
Medieval and later European beliefs
Mass hysteria of the 18th century
The 12th-century English historians and chroniclers
Walter Mapand William of Newburghrecorded accounts of revenants, [cite web|author=William of Newburgh |coauthors=Paul Halsall |authorlink=William of Newburgh |title=Book 5, Chapter 22-24 |work=Historia rerum Anglicarum |publisher=Fordham University |date=2000 |accessdate=2007-10-16 |url=http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/williamofnewburgh-five.html] though records in English legends of vampiric beings after this date are scant.Jones, "The Vampire", p. 121.] These tales are similar to the later folklore widely reported from Eastern Europe in the 18th century, which were the basis of the vampire legend that later entered Germany and England, where they were subsequently embellished and popularised.
During this time in the 18th century, there was a frenzy of vampire sightings in Eastern Europe, with frequent stakings and grave diggings taking place in order to identify and kill the potential revenants; even government officials were compelled into the hunting and staking of vampires. Despite being called the
Age of Enlightenment, during which most folkloric legends were quelled, the belief in vampires increased dramatically, resulting in what could only be called a mass hysteriathroughout most of Europe. The panic began with an outbreak of alleged vampire attacks in East Prussiain 1721 and in the Habsburg Monarchyfrom 1725 to 1734, which spread to other localities. Two famous vampire cases, which were the first to be officially recorded, involved the corpses of Peter Plogojowitzand Arnold Paolefrom Serbia. Plogojowitz was reported to have died at the age of 62, but allegedly returned after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the following day. Plogojowitz soon supposedly returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood.Barber, "Vampires, Burial and Death", pp. 5-9.] In the second case, Arnold Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who allegedly was attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After his death, people began to die in the surrounding area and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours.
The two incidents were well-documented: government officials examined the bodies, wrote case reports, and published books throughout Europe.Barber, "Vampires, Burial and Death", pp. 15-21.] The hysteria, which is commonly referred to as the "18th-Century Vampire Controversy", raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural epidemics of so-claimed vampire attacks, undoubtedly caused by the higher amount of superstition that was present in village communities, with locals digging up bodies and in some cases, staking them. Although many scholars reported during this period that vampires did not exist, and attributed reports to premature burial or
rabies, superstitious belief continued to increase. Dom Augustine Calmet, a well-respected French theologianand scholar, put together a comprehensive treatise in 1746, which was ambiguous concerning the existence of vampires. Calmet amassed reports of vampire incidents; numerous readers, including both a critical Voltaireand supportive demonologists, interpreted the treatise as claiming that vampires existed. In his "Philosophical Dictionary", Voltaire wrote: [cite book |title=Philosophical Dictionary|author=Voltaire|year=1984|origyear=1764|publisher=Penguin|location=|isbn=014044257X]
The controversy only ceased when Empress
Maria Theresa of Austriasent her personal physician, Gerhard van Swieten, to investigate the claims of vampiric entities. He concluded that vampires did not exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies, sounding the end of the vampire epidemics. Despite this condemnation, the vampire lived on in artistic works and in local superstition.cite book |last=Hoyt |first=Olga |title=Lust for Blood: The Consuming Story of Vampires |year=1984 |chapter=The Monk's Investigation |pages=pp. 101-06 |publisher=Scarborough House |location=Chelsea |isbn=0-8128-8511-2]
Some of the more common causes of vampirism in Slavic folklore include being a magician or an immoral person; suffering an "unnatural" or untimely death such as suicide;
excommunication; improper burial rituals; an animal jumping or a bird flying over the corpse or the empty grave (in South Slavic folk belief); and even being born with a caul, [Burkhardt, "Vampirglaube und Vampirsage", p. 225.] teeth, or tail, or being conceived on certain days. In southern Russia, people who were known to talk to themselves were believed to be at risk of becoming vampires. [de icon cite journal| last=Jaworskij| first=Juljan| year=1898| title=Südrussische Vampyre| journal=Zeitschrift des Vereins für Volkskunde| volume=8| pages=331–36] Slavic vampires were able to appear as butterflies, [de icon cite book |last=Kanitz |first=Felix |title=Donaubulgarien und der Balkan: Historisch-geographische Reisestudien aus den Jahren 1860-1878 |year=1875 |publisher=Hermann Fries |location=Leipzig |isbn= |pages=vol. 1 (1875), p. 80] echoing an earlier belief of the butterfly symbolizing a departed soul. [Jones, "The Vampire", p. 107.] Some traditions spoke of "living vampires" or "people with two souls", a kind of witch capable of leaving its body and engaging in harmful and vampiric activity while sleeping.fr icon cite journal |last=Levkievskaja |first=E.E. |month=September |year=1997 |title=La mythologie slave : problèmes de répartition dialectale (une étude de cas : le vampire) |journal=Cahiers Slaves |volume=1 |url=http://www.recherches-slaves.paris4.sorbonne.fr/Cahier1/Levkievskaja.htm |accessdate=2007-12-29]
Among the beliefs of the
East Slavs, those of the northern regions (i.e. most of Russia) are unique in that their undead, while having many of the features of the vampires of other Slavic peoples, do not drink blood and do not bear a name derived from the common Slavic root for "vampire". Ukrainian and Belarusian legends are more "conventional", although in Ukraine the vampires may sometimes not be described as dead at all, [uk icon Словник символів, Потапенко О.І., Дмитренко М.К., Потапенко Г.І. та ін., 1997. [http://www.ber.te.ua/cgi-bin/dic/dic.php?nom=359 Online article] ] or may be seen as engaging in vampirism long before death. Ukrainian folklore also described vampires as having red faces and tiny tails. [ [http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pagesVAVampire.htm Encyclopedia Of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993)] ] During choleraepidemics in the 19th century, there were cases of people being burned alive by their neighbours on charges of being vampires. [Франко И., Сожжение упырей в Нагуевичах (Кіевская старина. — 1890. — Т.29. — №4. — С.101-120.) [http://litopys.org.ua/rizne/star05.htm Online] ]
In South Slavic folklore, a vampire was believed to pass through several distinct stages in its development. The first 40 days were considered decisive for the making of a vampire; it started out as an invisible shadow and then gradually gained strength from the blood it had sucked, forming a (typically invisible) jelly-like, boneless mass, and eventually building up a human-like body nearly identical to the one the person had had in life. This development allowed the creature to ultimately leave its grave and begin a new life as a human. The vampire, who was usually male, was also sexually active and could have children, either with his widow or a new wife. These could become vampires themselves, but could also have a special ability to see and kill vampires, allowing them to become vampire hunters. The same talent was believed to be found in persons born on Saturday.
In order to ward of the threat of vampires and disease, twin brothers would yoke twin oxen to a plow and make a furrow with it around their village. An egg would be broken and a nail driven into the floor beneath the bier of the house of a recently deceased person. Two or three elderly women would attend the cemetery the evening after the funeral and stick five hawthorn pegs or old knives into the grave: one at the position of the deceased's chest, and the other four at the positions of his arms and legs. Alternately, they may surround the grave with a red woolen thread, ignite the thread, and wait until it was burnt up. [Vuković, "Народни обичаји", p. 58.] If a noise was heard at night and suspected to be made by a vampire sneaking around someone's house, one would shout "Come tomorrow, and I will give you some salt," or "Go, pal, get some fish, and come back." [Vuković, "Народни обичаји", p. 213.]
Romanian vampires were known as " moroi" (from a Slavic word meaning "nightmare") and " strigoi", with the latter classified as either living or dead. Live "strigoi" were described as living witches with two hearts or souls, sometimes both.Créméné, "Mythologie du Vampire", p. 89.] "Strigoi" were said to have the ability to send out their souls at night to meet with other "strigoi" and consume the blood of livestock and neighbours. Similarly, dead "strigoi" were described as reanimated corpses that also sucked blood and attacked their living family. Live "strigoi" became revenants after their death, but there were also many other ways of a person becoming a vampire. A person born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hairCréméné, "Mythologie du Vampire", pp. 37-38.] was doomed to become a vampire. The same fate applied to the seventh child in any family if all of his or her previous siblings were of the same sex, as well as someone born too early or someone whose mother had encountered a black cat crossing her path. If a pregnant woman did not eat salt or was looked upon by a vampire or a witch, her child would also become a vampire. So too would a child born out of wedlock, although many of these superstitions rose from the clergy in order to keep their subjects compliant. Others who were at risk of becoming vampires were those who died an unnatural death or before baptism. Finally, a person with red hair and blue eyes was seen as a potential "strigoi".Créméné, "Mythologie du Vampire", p. 38.]
Romanian vampires were said to bite their victims over the heart or between the eyes,Créméné, "Mythologie du Vampire", p. 100.] and sudden deaths could indicate the presence of a vampire. Graves were often opened five or seven years after burial and the corpse checked for vampirism, before being washed and reburied.Créméné, "Mythologie du Vampire", p. 87.] [cite book|author=Senn HA|year=1982|title=Were-Wolf and Vampire in Romania|pages=p. 71|publisher=East European Monographs|location=Boulder|isbn=0914710931]
Romani people, "mullo" (literally "one who is dead") are believed to return from the dead and cause malicious acts as well as drink human blood, most often that of a relative or the person who had caused their death. Other potential victims were those who did not properly observe the burial ceremonies or kept the deceased's possessions instead of properly destroying them. Female vampires could return, lead a normal life and even marry but would eventually exhaust the husband with their sexual appetite.cite book |last=Spence |first=Lewis |title=An Encyclopaedia of Occultism |year=1960 |publisher=University Books |location=New Hyde Parks|oclc=3417655] Similar to other European beliefs, male vampires could father children, known as " dhampirs", who could be hired to detect and get rid of vampires. [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", pp. 64-69.]
Anyone who had a horrible appearance, was missing a finger, or had appendages similar to those of an animal was believed to be a vampire. A person who died alone and unseen would become a vampire,cite journal|last=Vukanović|first=Tatomir|year=1958|title=The Vampire|journal=Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society|volume=37|pages=21–31] likewise if a corpse swelled or turned black before burial. Dogs, cats, plants or even agricultural tools could become vampires; pumpkins or melons kept in the house too long would start to move, make noises or show blood.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 278.] According to the late Serbian ethnologist
Tatomir Vukanović, Roma people in Kosovobelieved that vampires were invisible to most people, but could be seen by a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday who wore their clothes inside out. Likewise, a settlement could be protected by finding a pair of twins, who could also see the vampire outdoors at night, who would have to flee immediately after it was seen by them.cite journal |last=Vukanović |first=T.P. |year=1959 |title=The Vampire |journal=Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society |volume=38 |pages=111–18]
Bearing little resemblance to its Ancient Greek precursors, the modern Greek "
vrykolakas" has much in common with the European vampire. Belief in vampires commonly called βρυκόλακας, "vrykolakas", though also referred to as καταχανάδες, "katakhanades", on Crete) [cite web|title=A Cretan Tale of Vampires|author=deTraci, Regula |url=http://gogreece.about.com/od/weirdgreece/a/weirdcrete.htm |publisher=About.com |accessmonthday=18 March |accessyear=2007] persisted throughout Greek history and became so widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries that many practices were enforced to both prevent and combat vampirism. The deceased were often exhumed from their graves after three years of death and the remains placed in a box by relatives; wine was poured over them while a priest would read from scriptures. However, if the body had not sufficiently decayed, the corpse would be labeled a "vrykolakas" and dealt with appropriately.Summers, "Modern Greece", in "The Vampire in Europe".]
In Greek folklore, vampirism could occur through various means: being excommunicated, desecrating a religious day, committing a great crime, or dying alone. Other causes included having a cat jump across one's grave, eating meat from a sheep killed by a wolf, and being cursed. "Vrykolakas" were usually thought to be indistinguishable from living people, giving rise to many folk tales with this theme.cite book |last=Tomkinson |first=John L. |title=Haunted Greece: Nymphs, Vampires and other Exotika |year=2004 |publisher=Anagnosis |location=Athens |isbn=960-88087-0-7 |url=http://www.anagnosis.gr/index.php?pageID=119%02la=eng ] Crosses and "
antidoron" (blessed bread) from the church were used as wards in different places. To prevent vampires from rising from the dead, their hearts were pierced with iron nails whilst resting in their graves, or their bodies burned and the ashes scattered. Because the Church opposed burning people who had received the myron of chrismationin the baptism ritual, cremation was considered a last resort.
Some vampiric folklore arose out of the traditions of medieval European Jews, in particular the medieval interpretation of Lilith.Schwartz, "Lilith's Cave", p. 15.] In common with vampires, this version of Lilith was held to be able to transform herself into an animal, usually a cat, and charm her victims into believing that she is benevolent or irresistible. However, she and her daughters usually strangle rather than drain victims, and in the
Kabbalah, she retains many attributes found in vampires. A late 17th- or early 18th-century Kabbalah document was found in one of the Ritman library's copies of Jean de Pauly's translation of the Zohar. The text contains two amulets, one for male ("lazakhar"), the other for female ("lanekevah"). The invocations on the amulets mention Adam, Eve, and Lilith, "Chavah Rishonah" and the angels—Sanoy, Sansinoy, Smangeluf, Shmari'el, and Hasdi'el. A few lines in Yiddishare shown as dialog between the prophet Elijahand Lilith, in which she has come with a host of demons to kill the mother, take her newborn and "to drink her blood, suck her bones and eat her flesh". She informs Elijah that she will lose power if someone uses her secret names, which she reveals at the end. [web cite |title=Printed Hebrew Kabbalah |work=Kabbalah in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica |publisher=J.R. Ritman Library |url=http://www.ritmanlibrary.nl/c/p/exh/kabb/kab_pheb_25.html |accessdate=2007-12-29] Other Jewish stories depict vampires in a more traditional way. In "The Kiss of Death", the daughter of the demon king Ashmodaisnatches the breath of a man who has betrayed her, strongly reminiscent of a fatal kiss of a vampire. A rare story found in "Sefer Hasidim" #1465 tells of an old vampire named Astryiah who uses her hair to drain the blood from her victims. A similar tale from the same book describes staking a witch through the heart to ensure she does not come back from the dead to haunt her enemies. [Schwartz, "Lilith's Cave", p. 20, note 38.]
The malign and
succubus-like " Baobhan sith" from the Scottish Highlands [cite book|last=Briggs|first=Katharine|authorlink=Katharine Mary Briggs|title=A Dictionary of Fairies|pages=p. 16|year=1976|publisher=Penguin|location=Middlesex|isbn=0-14-00-4753-0] and the "Lhiannan Shee" of the Isle of Manare two fairyspirits with decidedly vampiric tendencies.Briggs, "A Dictionary", p. 266.] The "Dearg-due", literally "Red Blood Sucker" in Gaelic, from Ireland may have contributed to the storylines of Irish authors Sheridan Le Fanuand Bram Stoker. [Skal, "V for Vampire", p. 73.] The "Bruxsa" of Portugal, which takes the form of a bird at night and assails travellers, is another female vampiric spirit hostile to humans.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 34.]
Various regions of Africa have folkloric tales of beings with vampiric abilities: in West Africa the
Ashantipeople tell of the iron-toothed and tree-dwelling " asanbosam",Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 11.] and the Ewe peopleof the "adze", which can take the form of a fireflyand hunts children.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 2.] The eastern Cape region has the " impundulu", which can take the form of a large taloned bird and can summon thunder and lightning, and the Betsileopeople of Madagascartell of the "ramanga", an outlaw or living vampire who drinks the blood and eats the nail clippings of nobles. [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 219.]
Female vampire like monsters are the "
Soucouyant" of Trinidad, and the " Tunda" and " Patasola" of Colombian folklore, while the Mapucheof southern Chilehave the bloodsucking snake known as the " Peuchen". [es icon cite book|author=Martinez Vilches, Oscar|title=Chiloe Misterioso: Turismo, Mitologia Chilota, leyendas |year=1992 |pages=p. 179 |publisher=Ediciones de la Voz de Chiloe |location=Chile |oclc=33852127] " Aloe vera" hung backwards behind or near a door was thought to ward off vampiric beings in South American superstition.es icon cite book|last=Jaramillo Londoño|first=Agustín|title=Testamento del paisa |year=1986 |origyear=1967 |edition=7th edition |publisher=Susaeta Ediciones |location=Medellín |isbn=958-95125-0-X] Aztec mythology described tales of the Cihuateteo, skeletal-faced spirits of those who died in childbirth who stole children and entered into sexual liaisons with the living, driving them mad.cite book|author=Reader's Digest Association |title=The Reader's Digest Book of strange stories, amazing facts: stories that are bizarre, unusual, odd, astonishing, incredible ... but true |edition=|year=1988|publisher=Reader's Digest |location=London |isbn=0-949819-89-1 |pages=432-433 |chapter=Vampires Galore!]
Loogaroo" is an example of how a vampire belief can result from a combination of beliefs, here a mixture of French and African Vodu or voodoo. The term "Loogaroo" possibly comes from the French " loup-garou" (meaning 'werewolf') and is common in the culture of Mauritius. However, the stories of the "Loogaroo" are widespread through the Caribbean Islandsand Louisianain the United States.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 162-63.] During the late 18th and 19th centuries the belief in vampires was widespread in parts of New England, particularly in Rhode Islandand Eastern Connecticut. There are many documented cases of families disinterring loved ones and removing their hearts in the belief that the deceased was a vampire who was responsible for sickness and death in the family, although the term "vampire" was never actually used to describe the deceased. The deadly disease tuberculosis, or "consumption" as it was known at the time, was believed to be caused by nightly visitations on the part of a dead family member who had died of consumption themselves.cite journal |last=Sledzik |first=Paul S. |coauthors=Nicholas Bellantoni |month=June |year=1994 |title=Bioarcheological and biocultural evidence for the New England vampire folk belief |journal=American Journal of Physical Anthropology |volume=94 |issue=2 |pages=269–274 |doi=10.1002/ajpa.1330940210 |url=http://www.ceev.net/biocultural.pdf |pmid=8085617] The most famous, and most recently recorded, case of suspected vampirism is that of nineteen-year-old Mercy Brown, who died in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892. Her father, assisted by the family physician, removed her from her tomb two months after her death and her heart was cut out and burnt to ashes. [cite web |url=http://seacoastnh.com/Places_&_Events/The_Grave_Site/Real_Vampires_in_New_England?/ |title=Interview with a REAL Vampire Stalker |publisher=SeacoastNH.com |accessdate=2006-06-14]
Rooted in older folklore, the modern belief in vampires spread throughout Asia with tales of ghoulish entities from the mainland, to vampiric beings from the islands of
Southeast Asia. India also developed other vampiric legends. The " Bhūta" or "Prét" is the soul of a man who died an untimely death. It wanders around animating dead bodies at night, attacking the living much like a ghoul. [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 23-24.] In northern India, there is the "BrahmarākŞhasa", a vampire-like creature with a head encircled by intestines and a skull from which it drank blood. Japanhas no native legends about vampires. Japanese vampires made their first appearances in the Cinema of Japan during the late 1950s.Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 137-38.]
Legends of female vampire-like beings who can detach parts of their upper body occur in the
Philippines, Malaysiaand Indonesia. There are two main vampire-like creatures in the Philippines: the Tagalog "mandurugo" ("blood-sucker") and the Visayan" manananggal" ("self-segmenter"). The mandurugo is a variety of the aswangthat takes the form of an attractive girl by day, and develops wings and a long, hollow, thread-like tongue by night. The tongue is used to suck up blood from a sleeping victim. The "manananggal" is described as being an older, beautiful woman capable of severing its upper torso in order to fly into the night with huge bat-like wings and prey on unsuspecting, sleeping pregnant women in their homes. They use an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck fetuses off these pregnant women. They also prefer to eat entrails (specifically the heart and the liver) and the phlegm of sick people.cite book |last=Ramos |first=Maximo D. |title=Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology |origyear=1971 |year=1990 |publisher=Phoenix Publishing |location=Quezon |isbn=971-06-0691-3]
The Malaysian "
Penanggalan" may be either a beautiful old or young woman who obtained her beauty through the active use of black magicor other unnatural means, and is most commonly described in local folklores to be dark or demonic in nature. She is able to detach her fanged head which flies around in the night looking for blood, typically from pregnant women. [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 197.] Malaysians would hang "jeruju" (thistles) around the doors and windows of houses, hoping the "Penanggalan" would not enter for fear of catching its intestines on the thorns. [Hoyt, "Lust for Blood", p. 34.] The Leyakis a similar being from Balinese folklore. [cite journal|title=Witchcraft, Grief, and the Ambivalence of Emotions |journal=American Ethnologist |volume=26 |issue=3 |month=August |year=1999 |pages=711–737 |url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0094-0496(199908)26:3%3C711:WGATAO%3E2.0.CO;2-5|doi=10.1525/ae.19188.8.131.521|author=Stephen, Michele|unused_data=|last Stephen] A "Pontianak", "Kuntilanak" or "Matianak" in Indonesia, [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 208.] or "Langsuir" in Malaysia, [Bunson, "Vampire Encyclopedia", p. 150.] is a woman who died during childbirth and became undead, seeking revenge and terrorizing villages. She appeared as an attractive woman with long black hair that covered a hole in the back of her neck, which she sucked the blood of children with. Filling the hole with her hair would drive her off. Corpses had their mouths filled with glass beads, eggs under each armpit, and needles in their palms to prevent them from becoming "langsuir". [Hoyt, "Lust for Blood", p. 35.] Jiang Shi(zh-tsp|t=僵屍 or 殭屍|s=僵尸|p=jiāngshī; literally "stiff corpse"), sometimes called "Chinese vampires" by Westerners, are reanimated corpses that hop around, killing living creatures to absorb life essence (qì) from their victims. They are said to be created when a person's soul (魄 "pò") fails to leave the deceased's body. [cite book |last=Suckling |first=Nigel |title=Vampires |year=2006 |publisher=Facts, Figures & Fun |location=London |isbn=190433248X |pages=p. 31] One unusual feature of this vampire is its greenish-white furry skin, perhaps derived from fungusor mouldgrowing on corpses. [cite book |last=de Groot |first=J.J.M. |title=The Religious System of China |orig=1910 |location=Leyden |publisher=E.J. Brill |oclc=7022203 ]
Theoretical origins of vampires
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