Lauma/Laumė

Once, Laumas (Latvian, Lauma/Lithuanian, Laumė) were sky spirits who looked down on the Earth and saw the suffering of orphan kids, so they decided to leave their place in the heavens to become fairies help children with no parents.

Laumas are great at housework–washing, spinning, weaving. Any job that traditionally falls to women. They are hard workers, but have two fatal flaws: They can’t start a job, and they can’t finish a job. So they might come at night and work on a weaving that you started, but they will leave before the final threads are placed.

One of my sources, R.G. Latham’s The nationalities of Europe (Wm. H. Allen & Co., 1863) says that the fairies aren’t malicious, only mischievous, but goes on to say they kidnap children and replace them with fairy changelings. Uh, how that isn’t malicious I don’t know. Also, where do they get these fairy doubles, since they can’t have kids themselves?

A Lauma might take on a child who has lost both its parents as a project, Fairy Godmother-style, but when they give a gift with a warning, they mean it. So if a Lauma gives you a length of fabric and says don’t measure it, DON’T MEASURE IT.

Some say that Laumas spin and weave the fabric of life, weeping while they do, for the fate of mankind.

Some also say that the Laumas have lost their beautiful looks, due to disrespect from humans, and now look like ugly old hags.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauma

Marija Gimbutas, Miriam Robbins Dexter, The Living Goddesses, University of California Press, 2001

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Vampires we know and love 22: Eretik/eretica

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.

Eretik/eretica

One of the Russian words for vampire, eretik/eritika, sounds a whole lot like the word ‘heretic,’ doesn’t it? It might be because the idea of vampirism is associated with the loss of your soul, sort of a trade of eternal life in heaven for a shaky eternal half-life on Earth (There might even be an interesting connection with Judas Iscariot, the guy who betrayed Jesus, but I might look at that in another blog post sometime).

We’re pretty used to concept of vampirism being a sort of plague spread by passing the infectious blood of a vampire to a human after the human blood is sucked out. It’s classic, portrayed in many a fine novel/movie/tv show.

But actually, that’s not how the granddaddy of all fictional vampires was born. Dracula wasn’t made, he was born, by rejecting God. (He did then have the power to create vampires, fyi.)

Same with the eretica, a woman who sells her soul to the devil for the power of sorcery during her lifetime. After death, she becomes a vampire. During the day, ereticy (that’s the plural) look like hags in rags. When night falls, they gather and perform vampiric rituals.

Do not look at an eretica. They all have the evil eye, which means that if you do, you’ll die a slow, withering death.

The Vampire Encyclopedia
The Vampire Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

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 #11: Kozlak/kuzlak: If I’m a vampire, blame my mom

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.

Kozlak/kuzlak: If I’m a vampire, blame my mom

There seem to be more vampires whose names start with ‘ku/ko’ than any other sound. Period. Hands down. Frankly, it’s just odd.

I wish I knew a little more about Eastern European languages so that I knew why that was, exactly. Because these ‘ku’ vamps all seem to come from Eastern Europe. Maybe it means something, or maybe there’s just something scary about that sound.

In any case, there’s the kosci, the kozlak, the krvopijac, the kubikajiri (that one’s a Japanese ghost, actually) and the kudlak.

The kozlak seems a good place to start.

Most vampires are created by some bad event. Selling your soul to the devil, being impious, being bitten by a vampire, etc. There are few ways that other people can turn you into a vampire. The most common one is other people not performing the right rituals the right way when you die.

This is not the way you become a kozlac in the Dalmacian region of Croatia. Nope. You become a kozlac if your mom doesn’t breastfeed you properly when you’re a baby. Somehow this just does not seem fair. Why blame mom? Like a new mother doesn’t have enough trouble, she’s got to worry about turning her kid into a vampire, too? Talk about stress.

If a baby dies from the lack of breastfeeding, or an adult who wasn’t breastfed the right way as a baby dies in a violent way, they come back as a kozlac.

The baby comes back as a troublesome ghost, throwing crockery, making animals sick, and generally making trouble in the community. It can sometimes manifest the physical form of a small flying animal. A bat or a bird.

If he’s an adult when he dies–by murder, violence, or suicide–then you’ve got a real problem. The physical body digs its way up out of the ground and ripping the throats out of its family. This is when that Franciscan monk you have tied up in the closet comes in handy. He can create amulets against the evil of the kozlac for protection. Also, he can help in the only way of killing it.

The monk has to find a hawthorn bush growing in the mountains, in a place where you can’t see the sea. He has to make a stake out of it, with which he impales the corpse. This breaks the link of the demon possessing the body. Then he has to cut off the head, stuff the mouth with garlic, rebury it… you know, the usual.