The legend of Dracula

Dracula, the Vampire
Dracula is the best known sort of vampire. Vampires have lots of faces, behaviours, powers and names. Vampires can change their shape into a bat, rat, wolf, cat, spider or a raven. They can even transform their body into a cloud of mist. Vampires are very strong, have senses far beyond humans and can even control some type of animals. Vampires have to sleep in their coffin during the daytime. Originally the coffin was made so that animals chouldn't dig up the body. Vampires are harmed or killed by the sun. Religious symbols can harm a vampire, but there has to be a very strong faith in the symbol and it's efficiency as a dispeller of evil. Vampires have no shadow and no reflection in mirrors because they don't have a soul. When a vampire stands directly between two mirrors it would see into eternity, so could be killed. Vampires cannot cross running water, because of their reflection.
How to kill a vampire
Drive a wooden stake in one blow through the vampire's heart (his source of life and power). Behead the vampire with a gravedigger's shovel and remove his brain from the body (the brains are his lifeforce). You can also burn the vampire's body or smelt him in the sunlight. Dispelling the vampire with the Holy Cross can kill him too. If it is suspected that someone dead is likely to become a vampire, prevent the change by burying the facing the body downwards. Protect yourself with lots of garlic!
How to become a Vampire
Being bitten by a vampire or drinking the blood of a vampire is the most common way. Not having been buried properly or your dead body reflected in a mirror could turn you into a vampire. If a cat jumps over your dead body before being buried, you could become a vampire. (In Romania this is cured by putting a piece of iron into the body's hand). If you have red hair, after death you'll turn into a vampire (according to the Egyptian and Greek mythology). If you are a wizard/witch or the seventh son, you could become a vampire. Victims of unavenged murder are also likely to become vampires.
Types of vampires

Asasabonsam are African vampires with hooks instead of feet. They tend to bite their victims on the thumb.

Baital is an Indian race of vampires, half man, half bat, standing roughly one and a half meter tall.

The Baobhan Sith (buh-van she) is an evil scottish fairie who appear as a beatiful young woman and will dance with men they find, 'til the men are exhausted; they then feed upon them. It can be killed by cold iron.

Bruja is the spanish name for a witch, it was very similar to the Italian Strega and the Bruxa from the neighboring Portugal. It's a living woman able to transform herself into various kinds of animals and attack children.

In China there are vampire-like creatures called Ch'Iang Shih; created by a cat jumping over a dead body. They appear livid and may kill with poisonous breath in addition to draining blood. If a Ch'Iang Shih encounters a pile of rice, it must count the grains before it can pass on. Their immaterial form is a sphere of light.

In Ireland many druids speak of Dearg-Dues which has to be killed by building a cairn of stones upon the grave. They can't change their shape.

Ekiminus are Assyiran malignant spirits (half ghost, half vampire) caused by no proper burial. They are naturally invisible and are capable of possessing humans. They can be destroyed by using wooden weapons or by exorcism.

The Crete vampire Kathakano is much like the originals, but it can only be killed by chopping its head off and boiling it in vinegar.

The Krvopijac are Bulgarian vampires also known as Obours. They have only one nostril and a pointed tongue. A Krvopijac can be immobilized by placing roses around their graves. It can be destroyed by letting a magician order it into a bottle and throwing it into a bonfire.

Lamias were known in ancient Rome and Greece. They were exclusively female vampires, which often appeared half human, half animal (most often a snake and always the lower part) form. They ate the flesh of their victims as well as drinking the blood. Lamias could be attacked and killed with normal weapons.

Nosferatu is another name for the original vampire, which is also called Vampyre.

Rakshasa is a powerful Indian vampire and magician. They usually appear as humans with animal features or as animals with human features. The animal side is very often a tiger. They eat the victim's flesh in addition to drinking their blood. Rakshasas may be destroyed by burning, sunlight or exorcism.

Strigoiul is the Romanian vampire, much like the original vampires, but they like to attack in flocks. They can be killed by putting garlic into its mouth or removing its heart.

Succubus is a less known European race of vampires. The general way they feed is by having sexual relations with the victim, exhausting them and then feeding on the energy released during sex. They may enter homes uninvited and can take on the appearance of other persons. They will often visit the same victim more than once. The victim of a Succubus will experience the visits as dreams. The male version of a Succubus is an Incubus.

Vlokoslak, Serbian vampires are also called Mulos. They normally appear as people wearing white clothes. They are active both day and night and can assume the shape of horses and sheep. They eat their victims as well as drinking their blood. They can be killed by cutting off their toes, or by driving a nail through the neck.

Upierczi are Polish and Russian vampires and, called also Viesczy. They have a sting under the tongue instead of the fangs. They are active from noon to midnight and can only be destroyed by burning. When burned, the body will burst, giving rise to hundreds of small, disgusting animals. If any of these creatures escape then the Upierczi's spirit will escape too and will return to seek revenge.


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Author: Arthur Schwimmer, (c) 1997
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