Becoming a Vampire:
According to eastern European legend, there were many events in a person's life which could lead to Vampirism (although the transformation itself was though to occur after death). These events can be divided into three sections - those occuring at birth, those which occured during the individual's life and those which occured at death. They are as follows:
- Born with a tooth already erupted
- Born with red hair
- Born the seventh son of a seventh son
- Born to a mother who had slept with demons (Zerotime informs me that this was often determined by the woman in question denying the fact...hmmm)
- Born with the placenta still over your head
- Being promiscuous
- Drinking the blood of a Vampire (knowingly or otherwise)
- Being bitten by a vampire
- Dying excommunicate
- Dying unbaptized
- Dying apostate
- Dying while recovering from being a werewolf
- Dying while under a curse from your parents
- Commiting suicide
- Dying from a fall from the left hand side of your wagon (not really applicable today I suppose)
Of course there was also a multitude of suggested remedies for many of these (and indeed preventative medicine was practiced for almost 300 years in Europe to prevent Vampirism and lycanthropy). A compilation of "vampire medications" was created in A.D.909 by Brother Constantine of Barvaria. It contains over 1,100 items thought to aid the prevention of vampirism.
Variations on the myth:
Many cultures believe/have believed in the existence of Vampires. Here are some of the lesser known variants:
Asanbosam (Africa): Has hooked feet. This vampire goes for the victim's thumb rather than the neck.
Bajang (Malaysia): They often appear as polecats. The Bajang are believed to prey on a single family for generations.
Baobhan Sith (Scotland): Disguised as young women, these creatures would dance with young men until the victims were too weak to fight back.
Empusa (Europe - Mediterraniean region): Much like the Succubus these vampires appear as beautiful women when they hunt, and old hags when they have finished.
Jaracara (Brazil): Snakelike creatures which steal blood and breast milk from sleeping women.
Kropijac (Bulgaria): Only a magician can bottle the spirit of the Kropijac and burn it (killing it in the process). Also believed to have only one nostril.
Mulo (Serbia): They wander the roads day and night in search of blood. Mulo are said to consume the flesh of their victim as well.
Nosferatu (Europe): Elegant, charismatic and refined - this is the vampire on which the dracula legend was based.
Wampir (Russia): They appear as normal humans and can walk through the daylight undaunted. Instead of fangs the Wampiri have a stinger under their tongue.
Porphryia is a rare genetic condition which prevents the metabolism of iron in the bloodstream. It has been reffered to as Vampire's Disease since the 1980s when research provided this illness as an explanation of the vampire myth. Some Porphryia patients exhibit symptoms such as:
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Red/brown discoloration of teeth and urine
- Congenital defects of the face and fingers (including the pointed ears associated with devils, demons and vampires)
Despite these symptoms porphyrics
have no cravings to drink blood. They don't exhibit aversion to holy symbols or garlic
either, so this may not provide the complete picture...