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 Keres, who just love to steal corpses (although why they’d want to is beyond me).
I’m cheating here. Keres are not exactly vampires. What they are is spirits of the dead that escape from the jars that the Greeks used to use as coffins (I’m going to write something about Greek death rituals pretty soon. It’s interesting stuff).
Keres aren’t that interested in sucking blood–that’s the part that makes them not vampires. Technically, they’re ghouls. What they love to do is to steal corpses. Frankly, I don’t want to think about what the keres do with those dead bodies. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it’s not sunshine and rainbows.
Now just because keres are more interested in the arteries of the dearly departed doesn’t mean we should invite them into our homes with open arms. You see, keres spread disease faster than the most flea-bitten plague rat.
Luckily there is a preventative measure you can take that will keep keres out of your humble abode. Just paint tar or something equally sticky on the doorframe of the entrance to your house. If any keres tries to get in, they will get caught in the stickiness like one of those fly strips with disgusting dried fly corpses on it.
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley