A vampire by any other name

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Twilight, Lost Boys, Vampirella, and other creatures of the night.. Throughout Hollywood movies, TV, and radio, we have growing interest in vampirism. The word ‘Vampire’ is derived from the Slavic language, and loosely translates to mean an animated corpse that feeds on blood.. these are known in some form or another across the world..

Greece: Vrykolakes (excerpt from http://www.anagnosis.gr)

Put aside the bats’ wings and other paraphernalia of the Victorian romantic imagination in order to appreciate the very potent fear of vampires which was felt by Greeks well into the twentieth century.

The soil of Greece has in most parts eroded into the sea, making deep soil deposits very valuable as much-needed farming land. Yet the Greek Church forbids cremation, so that there is still not a single functioning crematorium in the country. As a result, land for burial is scarce.

The practice is to bury a body in the ground for three years, after which the bones are exhumed in the presence of the relatives and placed in an ossuary. When at this time it is discovered that the body has not decayed, it is believed that it remains inhabited by an imprisoned soul which feeds upon the blood of the living in order to sustain itself. Such a person has become a vampire, and preys first and foremost upon its near relatives. They may deceive people by their appearance as ordinary living beings.

More can be found here

China: Chiang-shih.

Chiang-shih are re-animated corpses, who lurk around the world of the living due to unresolved business or an improper burial.. They have fangs and claws, attacking in a beast-like animal manner (the form is popular in Japanese anime, though this sounds more zombie like than anything, they are considered vampires).

Central America: The Aztec lord of the underworld ate the spirits of the recently deceased, while Camazotz, the Mayan cave god, is said to have a rodent’s nose and claws.

India: The Rakshasas

These creatures drink blood, often blamed for the deaths of infants. In the Ramayana we read of Rama and Hanuman’s battle against the Rakshasas to free Sita from Ravenna. Although the mother goddess Kali has often been described as having vampire traits, but this is largely a misunderstanding of who Kali is.

Australia’s ‘yara-ma-yha-who’ feed on humans, usually regurgitating them after a while, hoping to catch them again later. After enough encounters the victims would slowly turn into yara-ma-yha-who themselves.

Romans often blamed infant deaths on Strix, also witches who drank the blood of children and flew through the night are often described to be vampires.

In North America, we have much vampire lore which has made it to mainstream media, television, books, and movies…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *