24 June 2009

Crosses & Crucifixes

Crosses and crucifixes are so entrenched in vampire legend, that we have a hard time imagining a story without them. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the crucifix has the power to dissolve a vampire's anger:
When the Count saw my face, his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury, and he suddenly made a grab at my throat. I drew away and his hand touched the string of beads which held the crucifix. It made an instant change in him, for the fury passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there.

"And against the vampire there is no more potent a device than the crucifix -- representing the cross that bore the crucified body of Christ" according to Constantine Gregory & Craig Glenday in Vampire Watcher's Handbook. This "Handbook" goes on to declare:
Alone, the cross is invaluable as an anti-vampiric; not only is it the most ancient and universal of all symbols, but, unlike other religious imagery, it can be quickly improvised with anything from stakes and swords to sticks and fingers. It can even be drawn in the air or across the chest to provide the vampire hunter with instant divine protection.

The major fallacy with this argument is that the crucifix is not the most ancient of symbols. Truly, tales of vampires and blood drinkers resonate from times long before the invention of the crucifix or its association with the Christ. What of these archaic vampires? Are ancients felled by the crucifix--it's unlikely.

There are two disparate arguments regarding the crucifix. The first is that its power is determined by the faith of the bearer, and the other is that the power comes from God and has effect over any vampire whose former life was contained within the Christian society. The question that arises is: Will other symbols have similar effect? Will a Durga effigy in the hands of a Hindu smite a vampire? And what about vampires that were never of the Christian faith--will the crucifix affect them?

Is there any innate power of the crucifix or is it merely a lucky charm to ease the fears of the bearer?

Do svidanja,

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