28 April 2010

What you shouldn't say to a vampire

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time entrenched in human society. It's not all bad, but I could do with a conversation devoid of trivial annoyances. For example: say "bite me", "suck me", or anything similar, and you may get what you wished for...of course, it won't be served in a pleasant manner. For your benefit (and mine), I'm compiling a list of things you shouldn't bring up in a conversation with a vampire.
Responses may vary depending on the individual and his hunger-level.

"How do I know you're real?"
What you don't know can't hurt you. Okay, I lied. It can hurt you, but you won't see it coming.

"I will slay you!"
Slay me with what--boredom? Killing me is a little redundant. Don't you agree?

"Grow up!"
I would if I could.

"It's daytime. You should be asleep in your coffin. Don't you guys explode in the sunlight or sparkle or something?"
Look around. Do you see any fireworks?

"Want to go for a bite?" (This includes "How about a drink?" & "Want to grab some dinner?")

"What's your favorite food?"
Er...I thought that was obvious.

"Are you from Transylvania?"
No. Are you from the Garden of Eden?

"Oh, you're a vampire! Do you know Edward/Dracula/Lestat?"
Oh, you're American! Do you know George Costanza/Jefferson Davis/Tom Sawyer?

"I want to be a vampire. Will you change me?"
No. Do you really think I like you enough to have you tagging around after me forever? Bah!
Anyway, I'm not entirely sure how that happens. Any ideas?

22 April 2010

Green Vampires

Why don't vampires obsess about climate change, global warming, or whatever you're calling it now? If someone is going to fret about the future of the planet, shouldn't it be the creatures who will witness its demise?

Well, it's not that I don't care. It's that I have absolute faith that you can handle this on your own. (I don't say things like that often, so there must be a catch.) Once everyone feels the threat of extinction, technology will suddenly offer a way out of the dilemma. Panicked people will scrabble against each other for self-preservation. From the maelstrom of competition, a solution will emerge. Humans are creative creatures, even if they are dim-witted and slow to act.

In the meantime, I will continue not living my green lifestyle. Anyway, I have a comparatively low carbon footprint. Don't believe me? Consider this:

I'm comfortable in low-level lighting, so other than powering my laptop and charging my phone, I use very little electricity. Along the same lines, I don't feel the need to power the energy-draining appliances in my home: the refrigerator, the stove, the dishwasher. Who needs those? Mine are unplugged.

I rent an apartment. That's an Earth-friendly residence, and it has the added bonus of discouraging angry mobs with burning torches and pitchforks. Speaking of which, put out those torches! Don't you know better than to start unnecessary fires? You're trying to kill yourself with smoke, aren't you?

Moving on: I have the tendency to reuse items instead of dispose of them. Why? Well, I remember when raw materials were hard to find and everything was handcrafted. Along that same line, I don't need an automobile. I existed years-upon-years without one. It's true: I don't fly like the vampires of certain stories. If I did, then I would certainly win a prize for green traveling.

Finally, I consume one of the biggest threats to the Earth, and the best part is that I don't need to cultivate my food. My food source grows wild. It's free-range, and I prefer it to be pesticide-free. Furthermore, I almost always shop locally for my dinners.

Pirkano oka yan,

12 April 2010

Care for some claret?

"I never drink. . . wine." The character, Dracula, utters this famous line in the 1939 movie. "The scene created a use of wine, the blood of the grape, as a metaphor for human blood," (Melton 779).

Dracula is hardly the only fictional work that associates wine with human blood. Anne Rice's Lestat reports sitting in taverns clasping a cup of wine while drinking in the vision of human life, in the book The Tale of the Body Thief. In the film rendition of Interview with a Vampire, the same character is shown draining the blood of a rat into a wine glass to serve to thirsty Louis. At times, vampiric characters may imbibe wine in an attempt to placate their desire for the other red drink. "Unlike Bela Lugosi's Dracula. . ., Varney enjoys a good glass of claret, 'for it looks like blood and may not be it'" (Jenkins 83).

Similarity in color encourages the association of blood and wine, but symbolism makes the correlation irresistible. Buried in vampire legend are elements of Christianity. Vampire fiction is imbued with Christian symbolism, dogma, and mysticism. It is no wonder that writers have translated the Eucharist into their vampiric stories. Jesus calls the Passover wine his blood, and so the vampire calls the blood his wine.

Anyway, it makes for a convenient cover-up. Doesn't it? A wine glass in hand doesn't scare away dinner guests like a bleeding heart does.



Jenkins, Mark Collins. Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Encyclopedia.

Vampire Vineyards. www.vampirevineyards.com [photo]

06 April 2010

Old Maids and Easter Nudity

Did you attend Easter mass naked? --No? Well, it's for the best.

Albanian folklore speaks of the mysterious Shtriga, who is a witch that loves "to eat human beings, especially young boys," but in a crunch she will also eat anyone whom she dislikes. "Though any woman, young or old, can be found to be a shtriga, they are usually ugly old hags [read: 'old hags' as unmarried twenty year-olds] who live in hidden places in the forest and have supernatural powers" (Elsie).

But, how will you know if the woman you suspect is a Shtriga or if she is just weird? Well, "if a woman's hair turns white when she is twenty, this is a sure sign that she is a shtriga" (Elsie). Young men should be wary of this woman. She is a heartbreaker. She will tear out a man's heart [literally] and "fry it for dinner" (Elsie).

Derived from Latin 'striga', meaning witch, these creatures will "often plot to eat one another's sons" should more than one striga exist within the same village. When afflicted women fall asleep at night, "their souls wander off, leaving their lifeless bodies in bed. On the night before Ash Wednesday, they fly down their victim's chimney and drink his blood, whereupon the victim dies" (Elsie). However, there is hope for avoiding death by Shtriga. "If you catch the shtriga in time, you can save the victim's life by forcing the shtriga to spit into his mouth" (Elsie). Furthermore, you can create a "grim safeguard . . . against Shtrigas, but it is hard to get. You must secretly and at night track a woman you believe is a Shtriga." If she was sucking blood, then she will venture "out stealthily to vomit it, where no one sees. You must scrape up some of the vomited blood on a silver coin, wrap it up and wear it always," (Durham 64).

A striga's spirit must return to her body through the mouth. "Should someone have turned the bodies over in their absence, the shtrigas will cause great commotion in their attempt to get back in. Equally, if you turn a sleeping woman around so that her head is where her feet were, and then wake her up, she will die on the spot if she is a shtriga because the spirit cannot find its way back into her body."

"One can prevent shtrigas from entering a house at Shrovetide [the days preceding Lent] by placing a sack in the chimney." A resourceful hunter may also trap the Shtrigas in the church on Easter Sunday by nailing a piece of old pork [leftover from Shrovetide] to the cross or by forming a crucifix from pig bones. Do this, and the Shtrigas attending Easter mass will be caught inside the building. On he who traps them may release them, and if "they are caught, they will pay handsomely for their release." (Elsie).

Surely the Shtriga will pay, for in order to release them from the church the trapper must enter the church naked and wash off the cross" (Elsie). And what vile woman wouldn't pay to have their young hunter enter the church nude during Easter mass?


Durham, M Edith. High Albania. P 64.
Elsie, Robert. A dictionary of Albanian religion, mythology, and folk culture. P 237.