All posts tagged vampire

S is for Slavs

Published April 29, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

The slavic people are an Indo-European group of Eastern Europe with many mythic beliefs similar to other Indo-European cultures.

The most popular creature in Slavic folklore is the Vampire. The Slavs believe that a person could become a vampire by being a magician or an extremely immoral person. Improper burial rites could also cause a person to come back as one. I talked more about vampires here.

Baba Yaga is a haggish creature in Slavic folklore. She flies around on a giant mortar and pestle and kidnaps small children. Probably to eat them. She lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs.

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin

There is also Koschei, an nefarious immortal man who was often the antagonist in many folktales. He is often represented as being old and ugly. Koschei can’t be killed by conventional means. He can only be destroyed by going after his soul, which is inside a needle, in an egg, which is in a duck that is in a hare locked in an iron chest and buried under a green oak tree. A person will be able to control Koschei if they possess his egg, and he will weaken and lose his magic. The egg also acts similar to a voodoo doll that if you toss it about, so won’t his body.

The Firebird is a magical bird that is typically the object of desire in a difficult quest. The bird is described as having fiery plumage that do not stop glowing, even after being removed. The Firebird is usually both a blessing and a bringer of doom to its captor.

Book recommendations for reading challenges:

Fantasy                                                                                                                Sci-fi


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?

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.


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!