The Greeks sure love their vampires, part 4: Sarkomenos

Quick reminder

From now until Jan 7th, watch out for the Callicantzaros.

The Greeks sure love their vampires

There are a lot of vampires in Greek folklore. In fact, where we have one name for undead creatures who inhabit corpses and suck the blood of the living, they have a crapload of them. I’ll feature one of them today, the sarkomenos, who have a cool name.

Sarkomenos

If you happen to be on either the island of Crete or the island of Rhodes (which is different than Rhode Island), watch out for the vampires called “sarkomenos”. Their name means ‘the fleshy ones,’ so maybe they’re vampires who played too many video games and ate too many potato chips while they were alive.

Bonus fact (because the info on sarkomenos is slim)

In Greek folklore, all kids born on December 25 are vampires as a punishment to their mothers for conceiving on the same day as the Virgin Mary.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Seriously fishy characters 6: The Wahwee

At thirty feet, the Australia Wahwee is possibly the biggest creature featured on this blog to date–but hold onto your seats, it won’t be our last supersized buddy!

The Wahwee isn’t technically a demon, but he’s got six legs, a froggy head and a massive serpent tail and frankly, who’s going to argue with him?

This amphibian lives in deep water-holes in Australia and will dig himself a burrow in the muddy banks where he will live happy as a clam. Part of the reason for this is that his wife and offspring live elsewhere.

The Wahwee will eat everything in sight. Three or four dozen humans are just an appetizer for him.

According to R.H. Mathews, Aboriginal wise men go to the Wahwee to bring back new songs for the tribe. First, the wise man paints himself with red ochre before swimming into the Wahwee’s burrow. The monster then teaches the wise man the new song, repeating it until the human can sing it by memory.

I’m just noticing how many of these water spirits are associated with creativity and inspiration. Maybe it’s because the human creative spirit ebbs and flows like water.

Sources

  • R. H. Mathews, Folk-Lore, vol. 20 (1909), pp. 485-87.

A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits

by Carol K. Mack, Dinah Mack

That Voodoo That You Do 3: Jumbie/Duppy

No, not the drink, I’m talking about another kind of spirit.

A jumbie is a general term for a spirit, but also the specific term for a restless spirit of the dead. Caucasian cultures usually portray ghosts as white, but the Caribbean jumbie manifests as a black shadowy figure. (The term duppy refers to the same thing.)

The aspects and ways of dealing with the jumbie vary in different Caribbean cultures. In some parts of Montserrat, there’s a jumbie dance (Not this one, but cool anyway. (Notice the people on the stilts in the background of that dance? Check this out.)), which goes on until someone is possessed by a jumbie.

To deal with a jumbie, leave a pair of shoes outside your house. It will spend the night trying to put them on (but they don’t have feet, so it won’t succeed — but still, one appreciates the fashion sense).

Jumbies/duppies can be vampiric, as well. Bob Marley’s song Duppy Conqueror is actually talking about his human leeches, though.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Vampires we know and love #5: Abchanchu

Think vampires are all the same? Think again! Vampires come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins ice cream. So, this special DotW feature, Vampires we know and love, spotlights different kinds of bloodsucking fiends from around the world.

Abchanchu

Suppose you happen to be traveling through Bolivia and you find an old man who seems to have lost his way. He looks kind and harmless. Should you help him?

Don’t do it. In this case, being a good Samaritan might cost you your O-Negative. Oh sure, he’s a dottering old guy now, but just wait until you escort him back him. Then it’s all with the ‘I want to suck your blood.’

Best to just keep walking. If possible, with an amulet that has a drop of garlic oil in it.