The legend of the vampires. History and characteristics

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Origins and appearance of vampires

The vampire a creature of folklore of many cultures of the world that subsists feeding on the blood of the living. In European folklore, vampires are undead creatures who often visit their loved ones and caused misfortune and death in the neighborhoods they lived in while they were alive.

Vampires were described in many ways, the most common being a swollen appearance and reddish, purplish, or dark in color, these characteristics attributed to the consumption of blood. When they were in his coffin, you could see blood coming out of his mouth and nose and his left eye was often open.

history of vampires

Vampirism has been around for thousands of years.. Mesopotamian, Hebrew, ancient Greek, Meitei, and Roman cultures already had stories of demons and spirits that are considered the precursors of the modern vampire.

Lilith. Credit: Wikipedia / Public Domain

In India, stories of vet themmacabre beings that inhabit corpses.

The Persians were one of the first civilizations to have stories of blood-drinking demons.

In Jewish folklore, Lilith is considered a demon who drinks the blood of babies to survive.Estries are shape-shifting female demons who drink blood as they roam the night looking for victims.

In the Greco-Roman mythology is described at empusasthe Minethe mormo and the strigasall of them they devoured children or drank blood.

Many vampire myths originated in the medieval periodthe norse draug is another example of undead vampire-like creature.

The modern vampire emerged in southeastern Europe at the beginning of the 17th century.when the verbal traditions of many ethnic groups in the region were recorded and published.

In most cases, vampires are ghosts of evil beings, suicide victims or witchesbut they can also be created by a malevolent spirit that possesses a corpsero for being bitten by a vampire.

The belief in such legends caused mass hysteria and even public executions of people who were believed to be vampires.

In the slavic traditions Y chinese, it was believed that any corpse an animal jumped on would turn into a vampire. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk of becoming a vampire.

In it russian folkloreThe vampires they had been witches or people who they had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church.

How to avoid becoming a vampire

To prevent a deceased loved one from becoming a vampire the corpse was buried face down or earthly objects were placed nearby as scythes and sickles so that the body would prick if it swelled.

The mite that ancient greeks placed in the mouth of the corpse to pay the boatman in the afterlife, he was able to influence the belief that it was used to cover the mouth so that malevolent spirits could not enter the body.

This tradition continued into the modern greek folklorein which A wax cross and a ceramic piece with an inscription were placed on the corpse. to prevent the body from turning into a vampire.

Other methods used in Europe were cut knee tendons either plant poppy seeds, darling either sand on the floor of the grave to keep the vampire busy all night counting the fallen grains.

How did they identify vampires?

They were used many rituals to identify a vampire. One method of finding a vampire’s grave was carry a virgin child through a graveyard on a virgin stallion, where the horse would resist going through the grave that belonged to a vampire. if they appeared holes in the ground over the gravewere considered as a sign of vampirism.

Vampire. Credit: Wikipedia / Public Domain

Corpses thought to be vampires are described with a healthier appearance than expected, plump with little sign of decomposition.

In some cases, upon discovering the grave, the villagers describe that the corpse had fresh blood from a victim all over its face. The death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbors in a certain locality, made believe that there was an active vampire.

Folklore vampires could move household objects without touching them and press on people’s chests while they sleep.

protection against vampires

To ward off all kinds of evil creatures, the apotropaic magicfolklore included vampires among creatures sensitive to this magic.

The Garlic is he most common object to defend against vampires, a wild rose and hawthorn branch it can also be very damaging to vampires. In Europe it was said that spread mustard seeds on the roof of a house kept them away.

Other apotropaics include the sacred elements for Christianitya crucifixa rosary beads either Holy Water. It was said that vampires they could not walk on consecrated groundssuch as churches or temples.

The mirror It is considered another of the apotropaics that works against vampires. were used for scare away vampires when placed on a door looking out.

In the modern culturethe Vampire does not reflect in mirrors due to its lack of a soul, but in ancient times it was not always like that.

Some traditions hold that a vampire cannot enter a house unless invited by the ownerafter the first invitation they can come and go as they please.

Although their main activity took place at night, they were not considered vulnerable to light.

how to kill a vampire

The methods for destroy the vampires they varied over time.

The stake It was him most common methodcoming from the south slavic cultures. In this sense, the ash tree it was the preferred wood in Russia and the Baltic states to make the stake, in Serbian was used the Espino and in Silesia the Oak. The aspen was used since it was believed that the Cross of Christ was made from this tree.

potential vampires they were pierced in the hearteven though the The mouth was targeted in Russia and northern Germany and the stomach in northeastern Serbia.

In German and West Slavic areas decapitated potential vampires and they placed the head buried between the feet or behind the buttocks.

Kit to kill vampires. Credit: Wikipedia / Public Domain

The roma, a nomadic tribe from Europe, they stuck steel or iron needles into the heart of the corpse and they placed pieces of steel in the mouth, eyes, ears and between the fingers at the time of burial to prevent the transformation of a vampire.

Other measures included pour boiling water on the grave wave cremation of the body.

In the balkans a vampire could be shot or drowned by repeating a mass, sprinkling holy water over the body, or through an exorcism.

In Romania, garlic was put into the mouth and in the 19th century a bullet was shot through the coffin.

In case the vampire resisted, the body was dismembered and the pieces were burned.

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The legend of the vampires. History and characteristics