Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vampires: Day 5 -- Vampire Slaying

Assuming you haven't used the information from earlier this week to become a vampire or have plans to become a vampire, you may want and/or need to know how to get rid of a vampire(s) should you ever have a vampire infestation. If possible, call on a professional vampire slayer. Yes, these exist. Okay, mostly, they exist in Europe, but, still, there are people that go around and slay vampires. For a fee.

Unlike with Buffy
or Van Helsing,
"actual" vampire slayers do most of their work with bodies that need to be dug up rather than engaging in property-damaging combat. Fortunately, for you, this is the more appropriate way to go about things. Usually.

But! If you ever do get stuck facing a "living" vampire, here are some thins to know:

  1. According to many legends, vampires cannot cross running water, so, if you steal the vampire's hat (no, don't ask me how to go about doing that and, yes, vampires are just assumed to be wearing hats, I guess) and throw it out into a river or stream or whatever, and taunt him about the hat, he will be unable to help himself and go after the hat. Yeah, vampires have some behavior issues beyond just the biting thing. Attempting to cross into the running water to retrieve the hat will cause the vampire to drown.
  2. Staking a vampire will not kill a vampire. This is not a Buffy thing where the vampire turns to dust or, even, just dies. The staking only incapacitates the vampire, effectively paralyzing it. Once that's accomplished, other things which can actually destroy the vampire can be done. [On an interesting note, Joss Whedon wanted to do something like this in Buffy but decided that having the characters always having to deal with paralyzed vampire corpses would become too cumbersome so decided on the "dusting" as a way to deal with that.]
  3. Vampires are not killed (or even hurt) by sunlight. Potentially, it may make them less strong and fast, but it's not going to cause them to burst into flame. If you will note (and you will need to have read Dracula), Dracula had no issue moving around in sunlight. [The idea that vampires can't go about in daylight seems to stem from early 20th century movies. In actuality, vampires don't cast shadows (which is related to the whole reflection thing), so filming at night was the only way to get around that.]
  4. Vampires, actually, can be "killed" through physical means just like a person can. Of course, going hand-to-hand with a vampire is not the best way to accomplish that since they are faster and stronger than humans. However, a vampire is just as susceptible to swords, arrows, and bullets as anything else. The problem is in getting the vampire to stay "killed."
And this is why vampire slayers mostly work with bodies that are already in the ground. If you really want to "kill" a vampire, that's the place to do it. So...

  1. The stake. The stake is used to immobilize the vampire. Ash and hawthorn have been very popular and, also, oak to a lesser extent. Most legends say the stake should go through the heart, but some say the stomach and some say the mouth. Theoretically, burying a staked vampire will prevent the vampire from ever rising, although it won't destroy it.
  2. Beheading. Beheading is a much better way to kill a vampire but, still, not a sure thing. Just cutting off the vampire's head isn't enough to make sure it will stay dead. Some legends say it needs to be buried between the vampire's feet or "behind" the buttocks (I'm not quite sure what "behind" the buttocks means in this context). Others say the head needs to be carried off and buried somewhere else entirely.
  3. Garlic. Garlic could be used to keep a vampire in its grave. Stuffing it in the mouth was common, but some sources say it had to be stuffed  in all orifices. I'm not sure if it means all when it says all, but, if it does, ew!
  4. Boiling water. Once a vampire was in the ground, pouring boiling water over the grave would keep it there.
  5. Dismemberment. Sometimes, vampires were persistent. In those cases, the body was dismembered and buried in separate locations.
  6. Cannibalism. In some cases, the vampire was even more persistent. In such extreme cases, after the dismemberment, the body was fed to the family of the deceased, whom it was usually "haunting." The "victims" generally died anyway.
  7. Cremation. Ah, burning. Burning  the body has long been viewed as the most effective way of destroying a vampire, yet, throughout history, it has often been the last resort. Why? I can't really answer that question, but, almost always, other methods for banishing the vampire were tried, first, before the body was finally burned.
Oh, of course, you could always appeal to the vampire's arithmomania by placing the irresistible bag of rice or sand in the coffin, which would keep the vampire occupied all night with the need to count every grain. No, the vampire's not destroyed, but, man, that sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder, if a vampire came at you, if you could throw rice at it and cause it to stop and count the grains. That sounds like the best way to deal with any vampire attack in my book.

And thus ends vampire week. I didn't cover everything, but there's been a lot of information over the course of the week, and I hope you've enjoyed it. There may even be some vampire lore worth turning into stories. The one thing I'm quite certain of, though, is that nowhere in anything I read was there any mention of vampires and sparkling. Not once. And, now, I'm scared that in 100 years people will think that vampires do sparkle just like we think vampires can't go out in the sun. What a horrible thought...
Now that is frightening!

But here are some things that are not:

1. The "Oh, How I Miss You" blogfest is coming up. Go here to read about it and sign up.
2. There's a big serial giveaway and rafflecopter thing happening, right now. Go here to find out about that. You can also find out about it at the following sites:
Susan Kaye Quinn
E.J. Wesley, Author
RaShelle Workman
Confessions of a Watery Tart


  1. This reminds me of vampire books by Saberhagen, back in the day, like "An Old Friend of the Family." Those had realistic limits on vamps and rules like those you mentioned. I loved those books.

    Fun post! :-)

  2. I've learned a lot of new things about vampires today. The legend and lore is so wide, it's amazing.

  3. Not stuffing garlic up a vampire's butt, that's for sure. Rather just burn him and be done with it.
    I wonder if the inability to move in daylight stemmed from their pale skin? Those of us with pale skin need a lot of sunscreen.

  4. Wow, lots of good info. Now I need to go back and read all of the other. Sparkling vampires? Is that a Twilight thing? Haven't seen or read that drivel...
    Tina @ Life is Good

  5. Yeah I think I'd burn them before I try to eat them. I remember in a Batman graphic novel where he became a vampire they staked him through the heart but he was only in limbo because they didn't cut off his head and then when they took the stake out he was all decomposed and gross and insane. But there's probably not much truth to that, so whew.

  6. Dracula is one of my fave books. Just love it.
    I'm still trying to think of someone for the blogfest. i don't know if I can enter if I can't think of someone to miss. lol

  7. I'm glad the Batman Vampire is "not much" true.

    Arithmomania? Did I miss something? I have to go look that up. Vampires are compelled to count things? And to chase their hats?

    How long did the boiling water keep them in their graves? Forever? Or just until it dried up. This series needs to go on! I have so many questions.

  8. I've long wanted to be a vampire slayer when I grow up. Apparently, I need to move to Europe. Which is all right because I've long wanted to do that too. Win Win.

  9. This post is fantastic~ who knew that garlic needed to be stuffed into every orifice? Seriously, though, from the hat-in-the-water trick to cremation as a way to keep a dead vampire dead, this is all so fascinating. It makes me want to tuck away this post so that, some day, I can better attempt a middle grade vampire slaying novel. Very cool stuff, Andrew!

  10. You just taught me so many things about vampires. I was going by the "new" vampire rules that are in place today. This was really good!

  11. Lexa: I don't think I've read any Saberhagen... maybe... bah, now, I need to check.

    Sheena: It's pretty interesting stuff.

    Alex: From what I can tell, it really all started with Nosferatu. Although, if people know that vamps don't have shadows, it might make a vamp not want to go out in the day.

    Tina: Yeah, that's a Twilight thing. We just have to hope that it fades away.

    GP: Well, yeah... because everyone knows Batman isn't -really- a vampire. (I have that graphic novel.)

    Pk: Well, whose blogs would you hate to see disappear?

    Briane: Yeah, I was talking about the counting thing in another post. Day 3, maybe?

    M.J.: Well, now, you know what you need to do. You should find out if anyone's hiring and what you can charge. It might be enough to set you up. Oh, there are issues with the authorities, upon occasion, and the whole digging up of graves thing.

    Jessica: I think the hat thing would be a cool bit to have in a novel. And can you imagine the garlic thing in a MG book? "I'm not putting it there! You do it!" "No, you do it!"

    Elsie: It's funny how we often think of these "rules" as so firm when they're only a few decades old.

  12. Isn't it amazing all the legends and stories which have sprung from the existence of a very unpopular count.

  13. Jo: Oh, they go back way before that.

  14. I didn't know the whole vampire-sunlight think came about because of the movies. That's pretty cool. The arithmomania thing is the most interesting thing you've covered, though. I wonder where that part of the legend came from.

  15. Jeanne: I don't know. I couldn't find an origin. Granted, I didn't spend hours looking, either. But it goes back a looong time, so it may not be known anyway.

  16. I have a tendency to count things, and I have this one hat that I absolutely love. I think I might be a vampire.

  17. MP: If I throw your hat, will you chase it?

  18. Wow again. Quite the illuminating week. Which I didn't finish reading until well after it was over. Taunting a vamp about it's hat, quite honestly, I can see why they kill us, people can be such jerks.

  19. Rusty: That's true. People are certainly jerks, especially that part where they don't want to share their blood.

  20. Doing some catch up weekend reading and stumbled on your Vampire postings. Right before Halloween I watched a very old Bela Lagosi Dracula movie. Besides Barnabas Collins, Bela Lagosi was hands down the best and scariest vampire! Also after reading this posting it sounds like a lot of hard work. I don't think I'll be adding it my resume' that's for sure!

  21. G_G: I don't know; I think it could be a pretty sweet gig if you do it right.