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All posts for the month October, 2011

YA Recommends– Horror

Published October 30, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help  ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.

Part 5 of the Halloween themed book recommendations. Parts 1-4 about Zombies, VampiresGhosts, and Witches can be read here.

All Synopsis taken from Goodreads.

1. Possess by Gretchen Mcneil

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons’ plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

2. Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

Trust your dreams. Both my parents said that. That’s our old way, our Mohawk way. The way of our ancestors. Trust the little voice that speaks to you. That is your speaking. But when those feelings, those dreams, those voices are so confusing, what do you do then?
“Help,” I whisper. “Help.”
I’m not sure who I’m talking to when I say that, but I hope they’re listening.
Ever since Molly woke up one morning and discovered that her parents vanished, she has had to depend on herself to survive — and find the reason for their disappearance.
Social Services has turned her over to the care of a great-uncle, a mysterious man Molly has never met before. Then Molly starts having dreams about the Skeleton Man from a spooky old Mohawk tale her father used to tell her…dreams that are trying to tell her something…dreams that might save her, if only she can understand them.

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.


4. Halloween Party by R.L. Stine

Don’t listen to the stories they tell you about Fear Street. Wouldn’t you rather explore it yourself…and see if its dark terror and unexplained mysteries are true? You’re not afraid, are you? The invitation arrived in a black-bordered envelope. Inside, the card showed a coffin with the inscription “Reserved For You.” It was perfectly fitting for an all-night Halloween party of Fear Street. But Terry and his girlfriend Niki wondered why they had been invited. They barely knew Justine Cameron, the beautiful and mysterious transfer student who was throwing the party. The party was well under way when the lights went out. That’s to be expected at a spooky Halloween party. But when the lights came back on, there was that boy on the floor with the knife in his back. Just a Halloween prank? Maybe. Maybe not. For Terry and Niki the trick-or-treating has turned to terror. To their horror, they realize that someone at the costume party is dressed to kill!

5. Malice by Griffin Haynes

Something unspeakable is murdering the townspeople of Millingham and only seventeen-year-old Lysander Shore knows what it is. A dark shadow that possesses its victims and forces them into grizzly acts of suicide. Lysander knows because he has seen it and he’s pretty sure it saw him too.
Now he can’t shake the eerie feeling he’s being watched. And when his friends and neighbors begin to die under mysterious circumstances, he knows his only hope is to uncover what the shadow wants.
Lysander’s frantic search for answers leads him to a dark secret. One that traces back to a witch’s brutal torture and execution 350 years before. A secret about himself Lysander never knew. A secret he desperately wishes he could forget.

6. Something Wicked Comes This Way by Ray Bradbury

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

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Random Stuff, and Some Excuses

Published October 28, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

So, I kinda dropped the ball on posting for the last two weeks. I had all these posts planned having to do with witches and ghosts, but my creativity kinda got in the way. Besides furiously trying to finish this re-write before NaNo, I’ve been staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning to work on two new art collections (and an all nighter reading Lola and the Boy Next Door, which was fabulous, btw). The first collection is titled Terrifying Beauty, which will be a conglomeration of the light and dark sides of mythology. For instance, the darker side would be drawings of The Dullahan, the Banshee, and that creepy Indian vampire child.

The second collection I’m really excited about (hence the late nights). It’s called Steampunk Fairytales. The name kinda says it all. I’m working on a Snow White drawing, and let me just say that I thought hands were the bane of my existence. But no, it’s gears. Gears suck. Once I’m finished with this one (which feels like never away) I’m going to start on an Alice in Wonderland (or two!) drawing. I have vague ideas for Beauty and the Best and Cinderella drawings, and maybe a Little Red Riding Hood one. We’ll see.

What fairytale do think would be awesome steampunked?

Also, I have a give-away coming up next week, which I’m super excited about. I’ve got some wicked cool goodies to give away!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Is anyone dressing up this year? What are you going to be? I’m going as Amelia Pond. Easy enough costume for a last minute choice.

YA Recommends– Witches!

Published October 23, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help  ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.

Part 4 of the Halloween themed book recommendations.

All Synopsis taken from Goodreads.

1. Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the upmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true love?

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

3. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—Are about him.

4. Witches by Rold Dahl 

A young boy and his Norwegian grandmother, who is an expert on witches, together foil a witches’ plot to destroy the world’s children by turning them into mice.

5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond

A high-spirited teenage girl rebels against the narrow-minded ways of Puritan Connecticut and befriends a lonely old woman who is subsequently accused of being a witch. “Strong plot, fully realized characters, and convincing atmosphere distinguish this historical narrative.

6. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

And Warlocks….

Because a post about witches just wouldn’t be complete without the…

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Synopsis of the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.
All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley—a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry—and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable. For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

Or…

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter. After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.The Hatter sisters–Sophie, Lettie, and Martha–and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl’s castle?

YA Recommends–Ghosts!

Published October 16, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help  ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.

Part 4 of the Halloween themed book recommendations. Post 1, about zombies, is here. Post 2, about werewolves, is here. Post 3, about vampires, is here.

All Synopsis taken from Goodreads.

1. Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

2. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back…
…sort of.

Ava can’t see him or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here.
Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . . te a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.

4. Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations. But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind … and Suze happens to be in the way.

5. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Iris is ready for another hot, routine summer in her small Louisiana town, hanging around the Red Stripe grocery with her best friend, Collette, and traipsing through the cemetery telling each other spooky stories and pretending to cast spells. Except this summer, Iris doesn’t have to make up a story. This summer, one falls right in her lap.
Years ago, before Iris was born, a local boy named Elijah Landry disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers and hushed gossip in the church pews. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she’s certain it’s the ghost of Elijah. What really happened to him? And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris to come back to?

6. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.

top 6’s

Published October 15, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Warning: You will now be subjected to a highly biased post.

In compiling this list, I realized that while I’ve read a lot of vampirey books, and watched a lot of sanguine movies, there are still many I have not experienced. This will be remedied.

As you will see, I’m kind of an Anne Rice fan. Yet again, I blame my mother.

Favorite Vampires

6. Akasha

From Queen of the Dammed

Akasha is crazy. She is also strong, powerful, and extremely old. She is the villain of the Queen of the Dammed, but she is by no means evil. A little zealous in her convictions, but not evil.

5. Hanabusa Aido

From Vampire Knight


Aido is what I would call a sneaky character. He is a secondary character and the comic relief in the series. He is cute and charming, and knows it. Despite this seemingly frivolous behavior, he is loyal, often risking his life for the Kurans.

4. Erik Northman

From True Blood

I like vampires. I like Vikings. Vampire Viking? Even better. Especially ones that look like Erik.

3. Damon Salvatore

From the Vampire Diaries


Damon is another crazy vampire. He does what he wants, when he wants, and doesn’t a damn what others think. Well, except for Elena.

2. Spike

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If you have ever seen Buffy, then you know why I love Spike. If not, well, what are you waiting for?

1. Lestat de Lioncourt

From The Vampire Chronicles

Lestat is the ultimate vainglorious vampire. He is willful, psychotic, and self-indulgent.

I’m starting to see a pattern in the characters I like. Charming. Crazy. Funny. That about sums the list up.

Favorite Movies/ Shows

6. Blood: the Last Vampire

5. Daybreakers


4. Lost Boys

3. Interview With the Vampire

2. The Vampire Diaries

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Favorite Books

6. Red Headed Step Child by Jaye Wells


5. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

4. I am Legend by Richard Matheson

3. The Queen of the Dammed by Anne Rice

2.  Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino

Speaking of Vampire Knight, I bet the next chapter is available. *disappears*


1. The Vampire Lestat
by Anne Rice

Things I would like to see more of in vampire fiction

6. Less sparkle, more sharp, pointy teeth please.

5. More YA vampire horror a la Lost Boys. That’s not really horror. Um, more horror, more stories like the Lost Boys. Something like that.

4. More vampires based on other cultures versions. As you can see, there is a plethora of vampire mythos to choose from. Some far more interesting than the traditional Western European vampire (still dibs on the Indian girl myth).

3. More novels based in a historical setting. I think that’s why I love Anne Rice so much. I’m a sucker for a good historical fiction.

2. More girl vampire protags, or love interests. I think the sexy male vampire falling in love with the average human trope has been done to death. I want to see a female vampire protag fall in love with an average male. Or a nerd (see below).

1. Nerdy vampires. That just goes without saying.

What are your favorites? What do you want to see more of? Or less of?

Don’t Move, or You’ll Get Staked

Published October 12, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Defending yourself against the undead depends entirely on which type you are dealing with. So in an effort to keep this post short, I will focus on the traditional European vampire.

Of course, in order to properly defend yourself, you must first be able to identify the fiend in question. Sometimes it isn’t always as easy as pointing out the pasty person with pointy teeth, an extreme aversion to the sun, and weird eating habits. Sometimes, it involves more detective work.

Old beliefs thought virgin boys and stallions were the only way unroot the fiends, but since either is hard to come by in this day and age, here are a few tips:

1. If a person prefers their stake on the barely dead side, or refuse food altogether, be alert. they may only be befriending you because you look like a tasty snack.

2. Vampires are said to be unable to cross consecrated grounds. If you are suspicious, invite the suspect to church. If this fails, you can also suggest a walk through the park, but make sure your path contains a bridge, for vampires can’t cross running water either.

3. If they request permission to enter your abode, think twice. that harmless old bitty asking for a cup of sugar may be after something far more sinister. Like your blood.

4. If your loved one suddenly possesses usually sharp teeth and an enhanced sense of smell, well then you’re probably Little Red Riding Hood, and grandma is the Big Bad Wolf. However, this shouldn’t discount vampires. Offer grandma some spaghetti and garlic bread before you make your decision. Your life could depend on it.

5. If your friend likes to lurk in dark corners of clubs, alleyways, and malls and wears horribly outdated dark clothing, then you may have reason to be suspect. Or, your friend is a tragic hipster. It could go either way.

You should also remember that while in some traditions vampires can’t walk in the sun, this isn’t always the case. Dracula could walk in the sun–he was powerless, but still cleverly fiendish.

OFFENSIVE MEASURES

Stake

The most popular weapon is easily the stake. Handy and easily concealable, a stake is quite possibly the most effective weapon, except for maybe fire. This weapon is typically made of ash, hawthorn, or oak. A stake through the heart* is a sure way of destroying the undead. A stake can be either a hand weapon, like the one above, or shot from a crossbow.

there are some traditions that say pinning a vampire in its coffin with a metal stake will keep it secure and out of trouble. If you are going to choose this method of combat, I would combine it with one of the next two techniques.

*Parts of Serbia believed in piercing the stomach.

Fire

There is no denying the destructive capabilities of fire. That’s really all. Set fire to that fiend! Preferrably with burning bolts.

Decapitation

Really, any sharp weapon will do, but my favorite is the katana for a variety of reasons. Designed to be an extension of your body, a katana is the forerunner of swords. they can cut through anything, and I mean anything. I watched one pierce through metal armor, and leather? Leather doesn’t stand a chance. Neither do the bloodsucker’s heads.

DEFENSIVE MEASURES

Holy items

According to Christian folkloric beliefs, any sacred item will ward off the evil undead. Holy water, rosaries, and crosses provide ample protection.

Organic items

Obviously garlic takes the forefront of organic repellants, but rose and hawthorn branches have also been proven to ward off the undead bloodsuckers. they  also smell better.  Unless you think smelling like you were soaked in a vat of garlic sauce is sexy, then, well, you’re weird.

Alright, this should start your journey on becoming a savvy slayer, but like an profession, it requires a lot of work. And ingenuity. Look at Buffy. She survived for so long for being so creative. She also had the help of friends. It’s always good to have a sidekick or two when hunting.

Safety in numbers, my friends. Safety in numbers*

*Also, the more of them, the less chance you have of being eaten. Pure and simple logic.

 

What tips and tricks do you have for detecting and defeating vampires?

A Tale As Old As Time

Published October 11, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Recently, I was talking with my family about something (can’t quite remember what it was), and the show True Blood came up. My two cousins groaned—they were sick of the proliferation of vampires in our entertainment. My response was to shake my head. Oh, how ignorant of vampire lore and legend they were. But in a way, they were right. Everywhere you turn, there are books, movies, TV shows, and music about the blood-sucking creatures. Perhaps it is oversaturation–but, really vampires are nothing new. And why shouldn’t they continue to be popular decade after decade, generation after generation? After all, vampire legend and lore is as old as civilization.

Seriously.

While the term vampire has only been around since the 18th century, the first know mention of vampires, or bloodsuckers were found in Sumerian texts that date back nearly 6000 years. Since then, tales of blood drinkers have cropped up on every continent, in every civilization (with exception to Japan and the Native North Americans). Whether they were demons of China and India, twisted gods of Greece, fearsome serpents of South America, ghosts and the undead of Eastern Europe, vampires have been the nightmares of humanity for as long as humanity can remember.

In the dawn of pre-history, vampires took the form of malevolent gods and demons. In Mesopotamian mythology, there was Lamashtu, a female demon who terrorized pregnant women and stole children to feed on their blood. There is also Rabisu, a demon that lurked in doorways, and dark corners, just waiting to attack people. The Babylonians had Lilitu, who gave rise to the Hebrew Lilith.

In ancient Greece, these demons took the form of beautiful women and goddesses, who much like a Succubus, would prey upon young men and children. There was Empusa, the daughter of Hecate, who seduced young men in their sleep, then feasted on their blood and flesh. Or, Lamia, a Syrian queen turned demon that went after children.

In China, the blood sucking creatures were more zombie-like. They were stinking, putrid corpses that stalked the dark corners of your consciousness just waiting to feast upon you. They were called the Jiang Shi.

Again female monsters crop up in Southern Asia. Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia was riddled with these creatures. In the Philippines, there was the mandurugo, a being that appears as a pretty girl by day, and by night reverts to a fearsome beast. The Langsuir in Malaysia was a woman who died in childbirth, and then reanimated to seek revenge upon the villagers. They also had the Penanggala, a pretty gruesome creature that either appeared as a pretty girl or an old woman. But the scariest part of this demonic being was that it was able to detach its fanged head, which would then fly around in search of blood, usually from pregnant women.

In India, they took the form of demons and frightening gods full of blood lust. Vetalas were ghouls that inhabited corpses, and then terrorized the living. Alternatively, they were also used to protect towns. There is also the tale of a little girl who would descend the mountains and prey upon the citizens of the surrounding towns (dibs on that story). The goddess Kali even had vampiric tendencies.

The Ashanti people of Western Africa have the tree-dwelling asanbosam, and in Madagascar, there is the ramanga, a living vampire that roams the countryside in search of victims.

The Aztecs had the Cihuateteo, a lusty skeletal-faced creature that had died in childbirth. In Chile, the Mapuche people were terrorized by the Peuchen, a blood-sucking serpent.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and the blood-sucking creatures had migrated to most parts of Europe. In Western Europe, they were ghastly corpses risen from the grave to prey upon the innocent souls of the living. These beings are closer to the vampire we know and love today. The Romanians had the Moroi and strigoi. The moroi were phantoms, while the strigoi could be either living or dead. Modern Greece has the vyrkolakas. In Scotland, there were the Baobhan sith, in Ireland the Dearg-due, the Lhiannan Shee of the Isle of Man, and revenants of England.

These creatures were bringers of death, things to be feared, reviled, and avoided at all costs. Some were beautiful, others so hideous, their countenances said to cause rivers to boil. Vampires have the amazing ability to shape-shift. They are molded to the fears and superstitions of the cultures they haunted. In ancient times, where primordial gods were unforgiving, vampires were demons. In the tumultuous religious environment of Western Europe during the middles ages, is it any wonder that vampires became walking corpses of the impure wrong-doers that terrorized and hauted the living? Should it be any surprise now in our own uncertain times that vampires take the form of attractive men and women who fall in love with us just as often as they eat us?

I don’t think so. While once they were tales to frighten children, they are now cautionary tales to our teens of the pain and heartbreak of love. As you can see, vampires have been associated with sex since ancient times. In Medieval Europe, where Christianity reigned, and a pious living was encouraged, they were the epitome of impure thoughts, of lascivious behaviour that was sure to send you straight to the fiery pits of hell. Attractive vampires are nothing new. They just happen to be what’s popular right now.

Note: In conducting my research, I also noticed that most vampiric demons and gods were female. Very interesting. Then again, maybe not. In Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the Bronze age, women were worshipped in revered more often than men. On frescoes and pottery, women were depicted as larger-than-life, while men were insignificant, barely noticeable next to their female counterparts.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the many ways to combat these blood-sucking fiends. Mwahaha!