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Our Vampires Are Different / Mythology

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  • To be blunt, folklorists will label any nocturnal carnivorous or parasitic supernatural being as a "vampire"; entire books have been written on the subject.
  • Romanian mythology has what's called strigoi. Quick notes:
    • Unlike Russia's upir, which is a walking, bloodsucking corpse from day one, strigoi start as harmless poltergeists.
    • Some ill-omens can point to a human rising as a strigoi, but they're just indicators of what's possible: stuff like a black cat walking across the grave, moonlight falling on it, monkshood growing nearby, the list goes on and isn't conclusive.
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    • Driving a stake through the heart of a recently deceased strigoi vio (or human doomed to rise as a strigoi mort) will keep it from rising altogether. If that can't be done, wait until the spirit manifests through poltergeist activity and then call in the priest to exorcise it.
    • The ghost grows increasingly more volatile until it's spent seven whole years in the town it inhabited in life. Then it's free to wander around the land.
    • Full-fledged strigoi mort can be identified by red eyes, red hair, and a pale complexion.
    • Feasts on human blood. Also has two hearts.
    • Makes more of 'em by fathering children instead of with an infectious bite. The kids will become strigoi mort after death.
    • Strigoi are also frequently described as being able to turn into owls, much like modern vampires turn into bats. "Strigoi" in fact is etymologically related to the word "Strix", "owl" or "screecher" in latin.
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    • It can be destroyed by cutting out its heart, burning it and mixing the ashes with water for the victims to drink. This practice was also common in Rhode Island.
  • Romanian lore also includes an Eldritch Abomination variant called a Varcolac, that apparently has the ability to swallow the moon for a small amount of time.
  • A majority of European vampires (or revenants, see first point) are corpses with a ruddy complexion, skin and nails that have fallen off to reveal new ones below, and have gained weight/bloated up. In short, they look like bodies in the natural process of decay. They may also appear similar to victims suffering from a number of severe illnesses that were more common at the time.
    • As a potentially-interesting side note, hawthorn was considered vampire kryptonite in Central Europe (although garlic was seen as having some anti-vampire properties) and the same was thought of mustard in the Middle East and salt in the Philippenes.
  • The strangest vampire this side of the Yara-ma-yha-who is the German Neuntoter, whose name translates to "Killer of Nine". Neuntoter are covered in pus and sores and appear in times of plague. Lemons, not garlic, ward them off, and they can be killed by cutting of the head and stuffing the mouth with a lemon. For added weirdness, they are created from children born with an (apparently literal) spoon in their mouth.
  • The Bajang of Malaysian Mythology is a cross between this and a Familiar. Bajangs are ghosts in the form of polecats who are kept by sorcerers in bamboo jars, fed on milk and eggs and released to drink the blood of the sorcerer`s enemies.
    • Malaysian vampire lore also includes the Pontianak, a ghost of a woman who died in childbirth who lures victims to her by making noises like a crying baby. They have a hole in the back of the neck that if plugged will turn the pontianak back into a human.
    • Another Vampire-meets-Familiar type creature is the South African Impundulu, a human-sized black hen that drinks blood, can emit lightning from its claws and works for witches. Like many mythical vampires, they are vulnerable to Kill It with Fire.
  • Malaysian vampire lore includes a truly bizarre creature called a Penanngalan, which looks human by day, but by night detaches its head and flies (trailing its intestines) to people's windows where it uses its long, thin tongue to suck blood. It can be killed by filling its body with glass (so it shreds it's organs on re-entry) or trapped with thorns on a windowsill. Notably, this vampire, unlike most mythological variants, is vulnerable to sunlight, but only in its detached form, which is why trapping it until sun-up is a viable way to kill it.
    • Filipino mythology has basically the same creature, but instead called a Manananggal, that detaches its entire upper body and grows bat wings.
      • Tagalog uses the same word for vampires (of which there are two sorts, the other kind has a long, proboscis-like tongue), ghouls, and witches: "aswang," which is closer to "spook" than anything specific.
    • Bali folklore has yet another similar creature known as the Leyak, except it only drinks blood from the fetuses of pregnant women.
    • The Japanese have two very similar creatures, one that detaches its head and is basically the same as a Penanggalan, and one that simply stretches its neck out. They are respectively called the Nukekubi and the Rokurokubi, and likely originated from the importation and distortion of the Penanggalan myth from Southeast Asia to China to Japan.
    • And finally, Burma has an all-male variant called a Kephn, that is arguably worse than all of the above because it feeds on people's souls. In mainland Southeast Asia, these kinds of vampires are called krasue.
  • In the Andes, there is the Pishtaco. Instead of drinking your blood, he drains the fat out of your body and sells it to the white man on the coast, who uses it to grease his machines. After he's dried you out, he cuts you up. Makes an appearance in Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa and on the ninth season Supernatural episode "The Purge".
  • India has the Vetala (or Baital), an evil spirit that inhabits a corpse, transforms it into a batlike monster and drinks blood. It's notable for functioning more like a trickster spirit then a vampire, and enjoys rhymes and riddles.
  • Greece gives us the Vrykolakas, a bloated, ruddy, superhumanly strong walking corpse with a taste for livers and a habit of spreading plagues. If a vrykolakas is invited into a home, the home`s inhabitants will become vrykolakas. They are vulnerable to Kill It with Fire, a Wooden Stake, decaitation, exorcism or severing the tendons. Placing a wax cross and a pottery shard with the inscription "Jesus Christ Conquers" in its coffin will prevent it from leaving. Like many mythical vampires, they have an obsession with counting, specifically sand and poppy and sunflower seeds.
  • Ghana has the Adze, a disgusting, hunched gnome that takes the shape of a firefly to feed on blood. Also from West Africa are the Asanbosam and Sasabonsam. The former is described as a humanoid with hook-like legs, while the latter is a monstrous bat-like ogre. Both are agreed to be tree-dwelling blood-drinkers with teeth made of iron, so they are often synonymous.
  • In Finnish folklore, a child born out of wedlock, murdered by its mother after birth and buried in forest would stalk after her for the rest of her life, seeking to suck her breasts, not for milk but for blood, until she died. If they couldn't find their mother, they could go after any unfortunate woman. The stories usually depicted them as naked, paper-white toddlers, in spite of the murder taking place when they were newborns.
  • In Albanian folklore, a 13th century tale speaks of the Dhampyr. A soldier goes to war but he promises his wife to come back to give her a son, legacy and stuff. Of course, he dies, yet still comes back, undead. He has the son and raises him, all this time not going in the sun. When his wife tells his mother that she is living with him she tells her that the dead are dead and the living should not mess with that. They get him high on weed (not making it up) and expose him to the sun. The end. How do we get from this to Blade, Blood+ and Vampire Hunter D? Who knows.
  • The Russian Eretica (plural ereticy) is a vampire that always takes the form of an old woman dressed in rags. They were believed to have been witches who became vampires after death as punishment for sin. They sleep in coffins of blasphemers, gather with other ereticy in ravines and can curse someone to have a slow and painful death.
  • Greek kathakano were thought of as vampires by the Medieval era, who transmitted their curse by vomiting scalding blood onto people. In addition to being a Daywalking Vampire, they were also strongest at noon. They can be killed by decapitating it and boiling its head in vinegar, trapping it in seawater or burning the toenails. Additionally, they are sometimes called "The Happy Vampire" for their constant Slasher Smile.
  • In China, there are the Jiangshi, which are something of a mix between the traditional Slavic vampires and zombies. One notable difference is that the Jiangshi is not free of rigor mortis: Given enough time after its death, the creature will get so stiff that it will be able to move only by hopping. Oh, and they feed on the moisture in the breath of the living instead of blood.
  • Asturias (northern Spain) has the Guaxa, a nocturnal creature with the aspect of an extremely old woman with big owl eyes and a single, needle-like tooth that uses to suck the blood of children. It can squeeze in through any crack, and sleeps by day in a cave or a hole in a tree - making it oddly similar to the "Teliko" seen in The X-Files.
  • Brazilian Folklore features the urban legend of the "Papa Figo" ("Liver Eater") who's always described by roaming the night in search of children to drink their blood and eat their liver (thus his name) because of some sort of rare disease, for which only the liver of children can serve as medicine. Further more, he's often described as very skinny, pale, tall, with long fingernails and long teeth. He also tends to be a very wealthy man with the means to hire thugs to find suitable children, making him basically a Brazilian Count Dracula of sorts.
  • Aboriginal Australian Myths contains a creature called the yara-ma-yha-who, which can be roughly described as their equivalent of a vampire. It's a monstrous humanoid that Was Once a Man and can transform another human being into a creature like it by drinking their blood, but the similarity ends there, which isn't nearly as reassuring as it might sound. The yara-ma-yha-who is a little red man with a large head, an even larger toothless mouth, and incredibly long tentacle-like fingers, which lurks in fig trees waiting for unsuspecting travelers to pass by. When they do, it reaches down and entangles them in its tentacle-fingers, draining their blood with the Lamprey Mouth-like suckers that line them. Not for sustenance, but just to keep its prey nice and weak so it can swallow them whole. After that, it regurgitates them, and when it does, they come out ever-so-slightly redder an ever-so-slightly shorter, with an ever-so-slightly larger head and ever-so-slightly longer fingers. Then it lets them go, falls asleep, and waits to catch them again another day so it can repeat the process, again and again until its hapless victim is completely transformed into a yara-ma-yha-who themselves. Oh, and in some versions of the tale, it specifically preys on children. Australia has a few other vamps, such as:
    • Garkain, a giant bird from Arnhem Land that drinks people`s blood and forces their soul to wander the jungle forever
    • Mrart, ghosts of improperly buried people who kidnap people and are capable of Demonic Possession.
    • Namorado, a clawed flying skeleton used as a bogeyman.
  • Judaism has the estries. Although they are all women, it is unclear if the estries are a One-Gender Race or women who have become cursed. They have Voluntary Shapeshifting and flight. The estries need to feed on blood to survive. They cannot fly if their hair is bound. If someone injured them, the estries must eat the bread and salt of there person responsible or die. More recent depiction of them tend to give them more traditional vampire weaknesses including silver and wooden stakes.
  • Scotland has the baobhan sith (pronounced Baa-VAN-Shee), which is usually depicted as a stunning fairy-like woman with feet resembling deer hooves, which she often conceals with a long dress. Rather than bats, they're also said to shapeshift into crows or ravens.Like other faeries, they can be warded off with Cold Iron.
  • The Soucouyant (a.k.a Loogaroo/Lagaroo/Asema)is a kind of witch empowered by a Deal with the Devil from Caribbean folklore that by day appears as an old woman, and by night, removes her skin and transforms into a ball of fire to fly through the sky in search of homes to infiltrate and sleeping victims to drink the blood of. How a fireball drinks blood is unclear. Soucouyant victims possess blue-black marks on their arms, legs and soft parts, and if drained of enough blood, they will die and possibly become a soucouyant themselves, leaving their killer to assume their skin. Apparently they have OCD, because if rice or sand is scattered in its path it will drop whatever it's doing to count the grains, and will die if still in vampire form by dawn. The other way to kill them is to find the skin (helpfully left on a tree) and rub it with salt or pepper, which will make the soucouyant explode when it puts the skin back on.
  • The Chupacabra is considered by some to be a modern take on the vampire myth, changing the monster from an undead human to either an extraterrestrial creature or a canine mutant. However, unlike most other versions of the myth, it prefers to pry on livestock rather than people.
  • Many myths amongst the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest claim that mosquitoes and other bloodsucking insects are in fact the spawn of a single gigantic mosquito monster (sometimes a child-eating boogeyman instead) that was defeated by brave humans after terrorizing the world for years. In most stories, the humans burned the monster to death, and then mosquitoes, blackflies, horseflies, etc. were born from its ashes so it could continue to feed on humanity as thousands of tiny creatures rather than one giant creature.
  • Of all things, pumpkins, squash, and melons can become vampires in the folklore of some Balkan countries. If they're left ripe in a storm, (or left out for ten days after Christmas) they fill with water, which coalesces into a Living Shadow, who endeavors to fill its gourd with blood so it can become a corporeal creature. It takes to moving its house around to collect said blood from unsuspecting travelers. Once full, it hatches into one of the vampires we know and... well, know. They can be slain by dunking in boiling water, beaten with a broom and the broom being burnt.

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