It’s Halloween, and who knows what kind of ghoulish goblins are lurking outside your windows once that great orange sun sinks below the horizon? Can you hear the wolf howl? Do you see the bats gathering about your street light? Is that the neighbor’s sheet pinned to the clothesline or is it the ghost of dear old Aunt Betsy? What about that skeletal scratching on your window pane? Is it a ghoul come visiting or a branch being blown by the wind?
Hard to say.
Vampires and other bloodsucking entities are found in every culture across the globe. Here is the perfect storm – a creature that brings destruction, disease, and doom, a devil that can be blamed for death and ill fortune, and a monster that stirs terror in the hearts of the bravest.
When the word vampire is mentioned, images of opened coffins, of graves that cannot hold the dead, and of caped creatures dressed in mourning black come to mind. Vampires exist in the black pit of superstition and the darkest realms of fiction.
Writers imagine a character that is alluring, dangerous but sexy, sophisticated and hypnotizing. But is this just a way to confront out deepest fears face on?
What about the ‘real’ vampire killers?
The Vampire of Sacramento
Richard Chase (1950 – 1980) started killing because he believed the blood in his veins was disappearing.
As a child, he could not control his urine, liked to start fires, and was cruel to animals. As he matured, he discovered drugs and alcohol. 1
Unusual complaints: 2
- Someone stole his artery
- Cereal was poisoned with syphilis
- By holding oranges to his head, Vitamin C would diffuse into his body
- Could feel the walls of his vessels thickening
- His mother was poisoning him with laundry soap (adding it to his food)
- The Mafia and the Nazis were out to get him
- Only blood could counteract the poisoning being done to his body
- In his apartment, he put animal organs into a blender and drank the mix to keep his heart from shrinking (A Bloody Mary – hold the hooch and heavy on the hemoglobin!)
Institutionalized in the 1970s: 3
- Nicknamed Dracula by the staff because of his fixation on blood
- Killed birds and drank their blood
- Extracted blood from therapy dogs with stolen syringes and drank it
1976 – released from institution into mother’s custody 4
- Family pets start disappearing
1977 – Kills 1st known victim in a drive-by shooting because he’s enraged that somebody poisoned the dogs he’d been killing and eating with battery acid
- Decides he must have human blood.
- Walks down a street and knocks on a door. A woman lets him in.
- Kills pregnant woman. Rapes her corpse. Cuts off one of the woman’s nipples and drinks her blood. Stuffs her dog’s feces in her mouth before exiting the home.
- Goes home and watches TV
- A few days later, he goes to home. Kills a woman, a man, and a baby. After taking the body of the baby home, he drinks its blood and throws the corpse in the trash.
- Convicted of first-degree murder. He died in prison of an overdose of medication he’d hidden for several weeks. 5
What about vampire babies?
In Slavic legend, a living vampire is born from a dead vampire’s union with his living widow. In these cultures, it is believed that vampires are attracted to women. Some women have claimed that their pregnancies are results of visits from vampires. Other men have claimed to be vampires to win women’s hearts. 6
- The progeny is always male.
- The boy will grow up to be a magician
- The dhampir can destroy all vampires
But how is a parent to know if her son is a dhampir? 7
- In Albania, he will have untamed black hair and leave no shadow
- In Bulgaria, he will have no bones, no nails, and a tail-like mark
- Big eyes, ears, nose, and teeth
- In some cultures, the dhampir can pass his ‘gifts’ down to his sons
So, you’re out in your favorite Halloween costume and maybe, just maybe, you think you’ve run up on a vampire.
How do you know?
Out and about in a cemetery on Halloween night?
Don’t forget your garlic.
Garlic is a member of the onion family.
- Hang it about your neck.
- Rub it around entryways into your house – doors, windows, chimneys
- Eat it – it proves in some cultures that you’re no vampire 12
Other items used to ward off those pesky creatures:
- Wild rose branch
- Mustard seeds
- Holy water
And what about that pumpkin you’ve got carved or painted and sitting out on your front porch?
LOOK OUT. IT MIGHT BE A VAMPIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
According to gypsy legend, pumpkins and watermelons are vampire fruit. Just go ahead and keep that thing longer than 10 days. Hang on to it until after Christmas. Leave it outside on a full moon night. And man, oh man, if you see a blood drop on the skin of one of those things, head for the hills! 13
Your vampire pumpkin is about to shake, rattle, and roll. How’s a body to get a good night’s sleep if pumpkins are whirling about the place making ‘brrrring’ noises?
Since you’re gonna be up anyway, maybe now’s the night to creep out to the local bone yard and scatter some ashes around a few graves.
Then again, maybe it would be better to curl up on the couch with a huge bowl of popcorn, cut off all the lights, and scare the bejeebers out of yourself by watching some good old classic horror movies.