This is the second part of our three part series about Vampires.
Detecting a Vampire
Vampires share many physical characteristics with humans, they are so close in physical appearance that sometimes it’s incredibly hard to distinguish a vampire from a normal human being. As similar as a vampire may appear to a human it can’t be completely the same. There are some characteristics that a vampire can’t hide and those same characteristics can give them away.
The biggest difference is that vampires cannot stand sunlight and that’s one of the many reasons they ‘apparently’ sleep in coffins or, in older lore sleep hanging upside down. If they do come out in broad daylight they use sunglasses because their pupils cannot stand the same amount of sunlight a human eye can and they tend to stay in shady places. Much folklore points to their sense of smell being far stronger than that of the human and that’s why they can’t stand garlic, they can smell blood and that gives them a sense of excitement.
One of their major physical characteristics of a vampire is that they have severely pale skin, as though they had been ill for a long time. They also have long canines or teeth strong enough to puncture human skin so they can effectively drink blood.
There is one very easy way of finding out if someone is a vampire. If you can get them to stand in front of a mirror and they don’t case a reflection then you are standing with a vampire. If you see a reflection in the mirror then they are human and you can relax.
Killing A Vampire
As long as there have been legends of vampires, there have been methods that can be used to either kill them, or protect yourself from them. Before Christianity there were legends of vampires; what then of the use of holy symbols and idols to stave off the visits of a hungry undead individual? Before Christianity it was believed among Slavs and Balkans, and other Eastern European cultures that vampires were obsessive compulsive in their need for order. Some ways to deter vampires would be to hang a tangled net on a gatepost, or sprinkling seeds, or grain outside your home. It was believed that the vampire would become so busy counting the seeds or untangling the net that he’d forget about his victim and become fixed on completing his task.
One of the major protections has always been, of course, garlic; either wearing it, or spraying a thin garlic mist mixed with water in the air or hanging it over doorways. Keeping holly placed around the house is another technique as well as keeping a log of juniper in your home. Ringing bells are even said to keep vampires away, as well as placing mirrors around a home or on doors, and also crossing over running water. Holy water, the consecrated sacrament, crosses, eating blood bread, drinking blood brandy, or even burying wine nearby are also supposed to be protection against vampires.
Killing a vampire can be accomplished by touching the gravestone of the vampire with lead, beheading the vampire, or hammering a stake through its heart. Cremating a vampire is also a sure way to kill it, and piercing it with a blessed sword is also said to kill a vampire.
Vanessa A. Ryan is a writer/actor in Southern California
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