Vampires we know and love #13: Lobishomen

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.

Lobishomen

Despite the last syllable of their name, the lobishomen of Brazil are not men at all. A woman becomes a lobishomen by being bitten, and there must be a whole lot of them because lobishomen don’t kill, they just drink enough blood for survival. Once turned, the lobishomen will take any kind of blood they can, including children’s.

A slight side effect: lobishomen become nymphomaniacs, which is kind of awkward, since they are ugly hunchbacks with short legs and bristly hair all over their bodies. They have a yellow cast to their skin, except for their faces, which are pretty white.

Don’t try the old garlic trick on lobishomen. Use Wolf’s Bane instead, and that’ll keep the girls in their graves. For extra protection, mix Wolf’s Bane with sweet onion and put it on the doors and windows of your house.

Bloodsucking podcast

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting System) Radio’s Quirks and Quarks program featured expert Bill Schutt talking about vampire bats in November 2009. Apparently there’s been an explosion in the population recently due to deforestation, and the introduction of a new food source in large herds of cattle.

He also talks about other bloodsuckers, like leeches and bedbugs.

Sources

Dark Banquet
Bill Schutt

Vampires we know and love #18: Pelesit and Polong: Vampires in my pocket

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.

Pelesit and Polong: Vampires in my pocket

Aw! Mini vampires! They’re so cute! Or, maybe not.

The Pelesit and Polong are a tiny Malaysian vampire tag-team, each smaller than your index finger. The Pelesit goes into the ring first. It turns into a cricket to enter a house and find an unsuspecting sleeper. When it does, it cuts a hole in the person’s skin and uses its amazing cricket powers to call for its Polong partner in crime, by, er… chirping (I guess that’s why it needs a partner).

The Polong–who looks like a tiny woman–then crawls under the person’s skin and takes possession, making him/her die, raving like a lunatic.

But there’s another factor in the Pelesit/Polong combo: their master, a Malay magician, a jinjangan. The Polong that does the actual dirty work isn’t born, but created, to serve a wizard (or witch), and then sent after a certain target individual.

If you’d like to create your own Polong at home, naturally I’ve got the recipe. First, get yourself the blood of a murdered man (have fun with that), put it in a bottle, and recite secret charms over it. After seven or fourteen days, a bird-chirp will announce the birth of a Polong of your own. Feeding of your Polong is simple. It wants you. Cut your finger and put it in the bottle every day. This will sting a little.

The Polong has a couple weaknesses. Apparently it can’t take the heat because black pepper will drive it away. A good Muslim Imam should also be able to make a Polong that’s infected a person confess the name of its owner. But they lie sometimes, so don’t always trust what they say.

If you want a Pelesit to go with your Polong, that’s harder. My sources give two different methods, but they both have two things in common: an anthill and the tongue of an infant (not attached). R. O. Winstedt says it can only be created by women, and that she has to go into the forest, turn her back to the moon and her front to an anthill, recite a charm and catch her own shadow. With patience, a child appears. She has to grab its tongue. The rest of the kid then disappears. It turns into the Pelesit.

William Walter Skeat, in his Malay Magic: being an introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the Malay Peninsula (1900), says that the method is this:

Go to the graveyard at night and dig up the body of a first-born child whose mother was also first-born, and which has been dead less than forty days. On digging it up, carry it out to an anthill in the open, and there dandle it… After a little while, when the child shrieks and lolls its tongue out… bite off its tongue and carry it home. Then obtain a cocoa-nut shell from a solitary ‘green’ cocoa-nut palm, and carry it to the place where Three Roads Meet, light a fire and heat the shell till oil exudes, dip the child’s tongue in the oil and bury it in the heart of the three cross roads… Leave it untouched for three nights, then dig it up and you will find it has turned into a Pelesit.”

Vampires we know and love #17: Pijawica

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.

Pijawica

If you happen to be in Eastern Europe and hear the word pijawica, that is, ‘red-faced with drink,’ you might not be about to meet something deadlier than the town drunk. The drink the pijawica is red-faced with is also red itself.

The pijawica is condemned to a soulless existence because it was a sinful person in life. Various sins can bring this down on your head, but the one guaranteed to make you a pijawica is incest, particularly between a mother and son.

When it’s awake, only fire will kill it. When in its grave, use the old decapitation method, and put the head between the corpse’s knees–according to Bunson. Maberry says an exorcism ritual works. I’d err on the side of caution with that one and do a double-whammy. Some things you don’t take chances with.

To keep it out of your house, mash garlic and wine around all entrances.

The Vampire Encyclopedia
The Vampire Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry

Vampires we know and love #15: Nelapsi: The vamp with a lotta heart

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.

Nelapsi: The vamp with a lotta heart

In the Czech Republic and parts of Slovakia, having a lot of heart can be a bad thing. It means that when you die, you’ll become a nelapsi, an incredibly powerful vampire. The nelapsi can rise from the grave because it’s got two hearts and two souls, so when one stops beating and the other departs, the secondary ones start up. Too bad they’re so evil.

Like the Nachzehrer, the nelapsi has a fondness for church bell towers. But instead of ringing the bell and everyone who hears it dies, the nelapsi looks down from his perch and anyone he sees dies. Not only powerful, the nelapsi is also vicious, drinking human blood (after falling on and smothering its victims), killing livestock and massacring entire villages.

The best defense is a good offense. Bury any corpse with coins, Christian iconography, or fill the mouth and nose with poppy seeds or millet. Also good to scatter seeds along the path to the cemetery.

Even before you get to the cemetery, you need to take some precautions. Remove the body from the house head-first. Bunson says you should avoid hitting the head on the threshold of the house as you leave, but Guiley and Maberry disagree, saying you should make sure that you do. You would think that the classic principle of treating the corpse with the respect it deserves would apply here. But Maberry’s says hitting the body on the head knocks the bad luck loose, so that makes sense.

Once you have your potential nelapsi ‘safely’ in the coffin, you can also pin down the hair so that it can’t eat the flesh it needs to gain the strength to rise–its own flesh, that it. To be extra sure, strap the jaw shut with fabric or leather.

Vampires we know and love #19: Vampires: Soucouyant/Soucriant: Great balls of fire

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.

Soucouyant/Soucriant: Great balls of fire

There are a couple of vampires who turn themselves into balls of fire to hunt. The Soucouyant/Soucriant of the Caribbean (my sources say especially either Trinidad or Dominica in the Lesser Antilles) is one of them. In its flaming form, the Soucouyant attacks people, draining their blood. The Soucouyant rarely kills, just leaves victims comatose. If it does happen to go the extra mile, the victim will rise as a Soucouyant herself.

By day, the Soucouyant is that little old lady who lives next door. (So, I hope that if she does actually kill by mistake, she kills a woman, or else some dude will have an extra nasty surprise.) The Soucouyant has to make sure she gets back into her skin every morning before dawn. If the rays of the sun hit her, her energy will disperse and she won’t be able to re-form, though she won’t be dead either.

To protect against this vampire, sprinkle rice or flour in front of the door to your house. Like other vampires, the Soucouyant has to stop and count the grains before entering. This will keep her occupied until the sun hits her.

If you can manage it, try to find the skin left behind and sell it to your local magic practitioner. In Obeah (Caribbean magic), these skins are used in charms and potions. If you manage to find the skin while the vampire is out of it, you can prevent her from crawling back inside by sprinkling it with either salt (Maberry) or hot pepper (Guiley). Just to be safe, you can season it up with both.

Sources

Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry

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 #9: Jaracaca

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.

Jaracaca

A snake-shaped vampirical demon from Brazil, with a taste for human… milk?

The jaracaca loves to slip between a feeding baby and the nursing mother to drink the milk before it gets to the child. To keep the baby from naturally objecting to this, it sticks its tail in the child’s mouth.

Unlike other vampires, the jaracaca considers blood a secondary treat, and will only drink it if milk isn’t in ready supply — does that make it a vegetarian vampire? If it has to go for the sloppy seconds, it will wrap itself around the upper arm of a man and drink its fill.

The jaracaca has a secondary power. Like other snakes, it can secrete or spit a poisonous venom that causes insanity. So any person it sucks blood from during the night wakes screaming and crazy. Fun!

To avoid becoming the victim of the jaracaca, talk to your local Brazilian Catholic priest. Or jungle shaman.

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.

The Greeks sure love their vampires, part 2: Callicantzaros

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 callicantzaros, who have the dubious distinction of not being very scary–most of the time.

Callicantzaros

The good news is that you’re safe from the callicantzaros for fifty weeks of the year. They live in the underworld pretty much all the time, so from January 8-December 24, you just don’t have to worry about them.

Now for the bad news… The callicantzaros don’t live in the underworld all the time. For two weeks every year, they get unleashed on the unsuspecting earth and are allowed to do what they please. Since they’re vampires, what they please is not very pleasant for the rest of us.

Even more bad news is that the callicantzaros have really long talons where their fingernails should be.

So, if you happen to be out late on New Years and you run into someone with really pointy fingers, try offering her a manicure before she heads back to Hades. It could save your life.

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 #3: Nachzehrer

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.

Nachzehrer

Like the krsnik/kudlak, the German Nachzehrer starts out as a cute little baby born still in his amniotic sac. And like the kudlak, that kid is doomed to become a vampire after death, a Nachzehrer.

I did my best to figure out the German (mine is a little rusty) and the best I could do was ‘after devourer.’ If anyone out there has any more info, I’d appreciate the help.

While in its grave, the Nachzehrer keeps its left eye open and holds one thumb in the other hand.

The Nachzehrer has an interesting diet… even more interesting than your usual vampire fare. Before starting out of the grave to drink the blood of its family, the Nachzehrer needs a little snack, some fiber. The Nachzehrer eats its own graveclothes before it can rise. And as if that’s not enough, it also takes a bite out of… itself. A little nosh here and there gives it the strength it needs to get up and go.

Once it has finished on the kinfolk, the Nachzehrer climbs the nearest church belfry and rings the bell. Anyone who hears it will die.

Use garlic against the Nachzehrer, and put a pair of scissors under your pillow, with the points toward the head of your bed. This will protect you, but you’ll still need to do an exorcism ritual to get rid of it completely.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, come back for the next thrilling installment of live-action demon hunting!

Sources

  • Rosemary Ellen Guiley,The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
  • Jonathan Maberry, Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us, Citadel, 2006
  • Matthew Bunson, The Vampire Encyclopedia, Random House, 2000