The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and other Monsters
By Rosemary Ellen Guiley
The vampire is the entity, force or present that brings illness, misfortune, death and destruction. It is the demon parasite that threatens to suck health, vitality and life away from its victims. It can be blamed for blight, pestilence, plague, stillbirth, sudden death, and wasting death. It is the embodiment of out darkest and most primeval fears, of the dark, the unknown, the grave and the uncertainty of what, if anything, comes after death. –REG
ashes–in folklore, the ashes of the burned corpse of a destroyed vampire have the power to heal the victims of vampires. The ashes are mixed and taken as medicine.
An anecdotal account from the late 19th century in Romania tells about an old peasant woman from Amarosti who died and because a vampire. A few months after her death, the children of her eldest son died one by one. Then the children of her youngest son began to die. Suspecting that their mother had become a vampire, the sons dug up her body, cut it in two and reburied it. Still the deaths of the children continued. The sons dug up the body a second time and were astonished to find it whole and without any wounds. This time they carted the corpse deep into the forest and laid it under a tree. They disemboweled it and removed the heard. Fresh blood flowed from it. They cut the heart into four pieces and burnt them to ashes, which they saved. They burned the rest of the body to ashes and buried them.
The sons mixed the ashes of the heart into water and gave the potion to the remaining children to drink. This remedy destroyed the vampire and stopped the deaths.
In a similar Romanian case from the late 19th century a crippled, unmarried man from Cusmir died. Soon thereafter, his relatives fell ill and some of them died. Several complained that one of their legs were withering. The association of an affliction of the leg pointed to the crippled man as a vampire, so the village dug him up on a Saturday night. They found him “red as red” and curled into a corner of the grave. They cut him open, removed the heart and liver and burned the organs to ashes. These were mixed with water and given to the ill relatives, who included the dead man’s sister. They all regained their health.
Another case from the Cusmir region tells of a family that fell ill and suffered several deaths. An old man who had been dead a long time was suspected of being the vampire. When disinterred, the corpse was found “sitting up like a Turk, and as red as red, just like fire”. The vampire “unclean and horrible”, resisted attempts to take him out of the grave. The villagers quelled him by chopping at him with an axe, and finally got him out. They found, however, that they would not out the body with a knife. They took the axe and a scythe, and out the heart and liver and burned them. The mutilated corpse was reburied. The ashes were given to the sick to drink with water. All of the ill persons regained their health.
In some areas, the smoke of burning vampire organs is believed to protect against evil. Villagers passed through the smoke to acquire the protection.
In another Slavic lore, the consumption of the ashes of one’s Caul can prevent one from turning into a vampire after death.
In vampire cases in New England in the 18th and 19th centuries, several corpses were disinterred so that their organs could be burned and mixed into medicine for victims of consumption.
Baital–Indian vampire. The term baital succeeded the older term of Vetala. The baital is an evil, mischievous spirit that inhabits and reanimates corpses. Its form is half man, half bat, and stands approximately four to five feet tall.
The baital has iron like skin that makes it impervious to blows. He is willy and clever.
Bats–one of the shape shifted guises of vampires. Bats seldom appear in European vampire folklore; vampires are more commonly described as assuming the shapes of cats, dogs, sheep, wolves, snakes, birds and horses. The presence of bats increased in European vampire lore after Spanish conquistadors returned from the new world with stories of Blood-drinking vampire bats.
Bram Stoker has Count Dracula shape-shifting into the form of a huge bat in Dracula (1897). However, bats make no appearance in the novel in the chapters set in Transylvania. Only in England after the Count arrives there. Dracula favored animal is the wolf.
In Nosferatu (1922), the first (and unauthorized) film of Dracula, there are no bats but plenty of rats, who are commanded by the vampire Graf Orlock.
Bats have become a staple of vampire films and fiction as one of the guises of vampires.
Black stallion–in Slavic lore, a vampire detector. To find the grave of a vampire, a black stallion that has no spots or marks is led around graves. It will not step over the grave of a vampire.
Blue–in Greek lore, a color that repels vampires, as well as other evil entities. Blue paint applied around doorways and windows prevents vampires from entering a home.
Brahmaparusha–Indian vampire spirit similar to the Bhuta. The brahmaprusha is a male demon wearing a wreath of intestines around his head, gnawing the flesh off a man’s head and drinking blood from a skull.
Bouda–in the lore of Moroccan Berbers, were-hyenas. With the help of magical herb potions, certain men have the ability to shape-shift into hyenas at night- especially after midnight- and resume their human form during the day. They have the ability to imitate human voices and can lore their enemies to their deaths.
Boxenwolf–in the lore of the Schaumberg region of Germany, a werewolf who is in league with the devil. The boxenwolf dons a magical girdle to achieve its transformation. In wolf form, it torments people. A boxenwolf can be forced to reveal its identity by holding a piece of steel over it.
Burial customs–numerous customs exist for the treatment, handling and burial of corpses to prevent them from becoming vampires or servants. An unburied corpse or improperly buried corpse is at risk. Among the most common practices are:
Ritual cleansing of the body and household. Washing the corpse with soap, water and sometimes wine purifies it to protect it against take over by a demon. In parts of Greece, folklore holds, that at the moment of death, Charos, the angel of death, slashes the throat of the person, releasing the soul out through the mouth, an act that symbolically bathes the corpse and the entire household with blood. The dead person’s clothes must be changed and taken out of the house, and all members of the household must change their clothes as well. An older custom calls for washing down the rooms in which the death occurred, and then whitewashing it later.
Weighing down the corpses eyelids with coins. The money serves as payment for the transport of the soul to the afterworld. Once there, the soul cannot return to the land of the living.
Tying the mouth closed. According to lore, the soul escapes from the mouth at death. A lingering soul might return to the body to subsist as a vampire. Tying the mouth shut will prevent it from leaving the grave.
Stuffing the mouth with garlic, gold coins, crosses or dirt. Garlic wards off vampires. Stuffing the mouths thus prevents vampirism as well as stops any vampire soul from leaving the corpse. It also prevents the corpse from chewing on itself, a sure sign of vampirism. In China, jade is used to fill a corpse’s mouth to keep the soul from becomes restless, while elsewhere in the world plant fibers and wool are used.
Covering the mirrors in th house upon death. According to widespread lore, mirrors are soul-stealers. If a corpse is seen in a mirror, then the soul will have no rest and thus is at risk to return as a vampire.
Stopping the clocks in the dead person’s house upon death. This puts the corpse into a suspended, protected state until its safety is attained by burial. The corpse has some measure of protection from invasion by demonic forces.
Putting a lighted candle near or on the corpse or in its hands. Souls get lost in the dark, so a lighted candle will prevent the soul from wondering away and becoming a vampire. Instead, the light will help the soul get to heaven. In Greek lore, the most important candle is the isou (“equal”), made soon after death and placed in the corpses navel. The isou provides light to the soul for 40 days that it remains connected to the earth.
Keeping a vigil over the corpse. Watching a corpse until burial prevents such unlucky occurrences as animals stepping over it or under it, which doom the corpse to vampirism. In fact, nothing at all should pass over a corpse, and people must take care not to hand things to each other over the body when preparing its body.
Painting a cross in tar on the door of the deceased’s house. Tar remedies abound in magical lore for stopping all manner of evil entities from crossing a threshold. The time between death and burial is a dangerous one, when the corpse us vulnerable to contamination by evil. The cross shape reflects the influence of Christianity.
Removing the corpse from the house with great care. A corpse should never be taken out through the front door, which enables the revenant to return to plague the living. The proper removal varies. In some cases, corpses are removed feet first, or through the back door, or out a window or a hold in a wall cut especially for the purpose, in other cases, they are taken out head first.
Traveling to the grave in a certain direction. The coffin should be taken “with the sun”, that is, or an east to west direction, to its grave. Otherwise both the dead and the living will be ill-omened.
Pinning the burial garments. Shrouds and clothing should never touch the face of a corse, lest the corpse will eat them for sustenance and thus be able to leave the grave. Pinning the burial garments to the coffin will help to keep the corpse in its grave.
According to a 19th century case in Laver Sorbia (a region in Germany), two daughters in a family died. Someone remembered that the burial death that covered the face of the first daughter’s corpse was left in the coffin by mistake. She was exhumed and the cloth was removed so that no more relatives would die.
Burying the corpse face down. This will prevent the vampire from finding its way to the surface. It also protects the living who must bury the corpse, as well as those who have to dig it up later if necessary. the gaze of a vampire is considered fatal, so turning the corpse face down prevents its baleful glance from falling upon the living.
Burying the corpse at a crossroads, boundary or remote location. The vampire is trapped by the unhallowed ground of a crossroads and cannot wonder among the living. Boundaries provide the least offensive neutral zone for unwanted corpses. The easiest prevention of vampirism is to bury the body as far away from the village as possible.
Staking and mutilating the corpse. The physical vehicle of a vampire can be ruined by driving stakes through the shoulder, back, heart, belly or head; decapitating it; cutting out the heart; or cutting off the limbs. Other measures are slitting the souls of the feet, the tendons behind the knees, or the palms of the hands, or inserting nails into the feet.
Wrapping the corpse in a net. Superstition holds that a vampire will be forced to untie all the knots before being able to leave the grave. According to German lore, the vampire can untie the knots only at the rate of one per year.
Tying body parts together. Binding the feet, knees or hands together imprisons the vampire in the grave.
Weighing down the corpse, coffin or grave with stones. Stones prevent the vampire from escaping the grave. The tombstone not only serves as a record of the dead, but also helps to hold the dead in their graves.
Filling the coffin with sand or seeds. The vampire will be forced to collect all the grains of sand or all the seeds or eat all the seeds- one at a time and one per year before being able to leave the grave. Favored seeds are poppy (which has a narcotic effect and might be intended to put the corpse to sleep), mustard, linen and carrot. Millet and oats also serve the same purpose.
Placing food in the coffin. A well fed corpse will not feel the need to leave as a vampire and suck the blood of the living. This practice ties in with ancient and universal beliefs that the soul requires food, water and money to make its journey to the next world.
Placing an object on the corpse, especially its midsection. Sharp objects such as needles, skewers, spikes, thorns, daggers, nails and sickles, as well as tin-plates and crucifixes buried with corpses will prevent vampirism. Metal objects may be headed first. In Romanian lore, the sickle is placed around the neck, so that if the vampire tries to rise from the grave it will decapitate itself. Sickles also are imbedded in hearts believed to be the seat of the soul.
Driving stakes into the grave. In Romanian lore, three stakes driven into the grave of a suspected vampire will automatically impale and kill it if it tries to leave the grave.
Burning the body and scattering the ashes. The most certain way to prevent vampirism is to annihilate the revenant’s physical vehicle altogether. Cremation, however, was not always easy in earlier times-corpses are difficult to burn unless a fire is exceptionally hot.
A contradictory superstition holds that one should save the ashes of a cremated vampire, for they hold the power to cure terrible illness, and should be fed to the sick.
Performing a supplemental burial. A custom among some Serbs called for disinterring a corpse three years after the death for a ritual cleansing of bones. Clean bones ensured that a soul will rest in peace and not attack the living. In Greece, the color of the bones is important, white indicates a soul at peace, but dark bones reveal the presence of skin, which requires intercessory prayers.
Butterfly–in Slavic lore, a shape assumed by the soul, when it leaves the body, either during sleep or at death. The soul can appear in the form of a moth, fly or a bird. When the corpse of a vampire is impaled, witnesses watch anxiously for the appearance of a butterfly or moth around the grave, which indicates the vampire is attempting to escape its destruction. If a butterfly is seen, every attempt is made to capture it. The butterfly is thrown into a bonfire, which completely destroys the vampire. If the butterfly escapes, the vampire will wreak vengeance on the village for seven years.
Cats–in vampiric folklore, the animal most likely to doom a corpse is to vampirism. Folklore beliefs hold that vampirism will result if an animal jumps over a corpse before it can be buried. Dogs, donkey, birds, horses and cats are cited most frequently and cats top the list, especially in Greek lore.
Widespread folk beliefs hold that cats are intrinsically evil. They are both domestic and unsocialized, and thus it is difficult to control their behavior. In Greek lore the phrase “the cats will eat him” refers to the unhappy fact that awaits someone after death.
Cock–symbol of light and goodness and thus the enemy of all evil spirits, ghosts and vampires. The cock has a long association with sun deities, which gives it a power to banish evil. It heralds the dawn, which brings an end to the powers of infernal night creatures such as vampires. One widely held superstition says that on judgement day all cocks will set up an enormous crowing, even the iron ones in church spires, and the cacophony will awaken both the living and the dead. The crowing of a cock is used in many vampire movies as a signal that the vampire is about to be rendered harmless and risks destruction under the rays of the sun.
in parts of Europe, folklore holds that black cocks are servants of the devil. In the lore of some gypsies, vampires fear black cocks, keeping one inside a house will deter a vampire from entering.
Corpses–in vampire lore, corpses exhibit tell tale signs of vampirism. However, these signs are due mostly to national decomposition and variations, which were not known in earlier times.
In vampire scares in eastern Europe, almost any sign of decomposition might be greeted as a sign of vampirism.
Signs of vampire corpses.
Conditions of corpses often taken as proof of vampirism are:
Bloating. A puffy corpse reveals that a vampire is sating itself full on the blood of the living. Bloating actually is caused by a build up of gases, mostly methane, in the tissue and cavities.
Oozing blood. Trickles of blood from the body orifices, especially the mouth and nose are signs of a vampire. Since it was believed that corpses could not bleed, the blood therefore had to have come from the living-thus bolstering the notion that vampires sucked blood. However, blood inside a corpse coagulates and can sometimes reliquefy, especially if death was sudden. The gases of decomposition are capable of forcing the corpse’s own blood up through the mouth and nose. If the body was buried face down- a common prevents the measure against postmortem vampirism- then the body’s blood would naturally follow gravity to the mouth and nose.
Bright blood. A vampire exudes flesh-looking, bright red blood. Actually, a corpse’s blood darkens as the oxygen in the blood is consumed. But some postmortem conditions, such as low temperatures, can prevent all the oxygen from being used up, thus giving the blood a brighter red color.
Ruddiness of skin. Immediately after death, flesh assumes a bluish gray color, and gums become pale. Thus when weeks-old corpses are disinterred and found to be pink and red in complexion, as though in the bluish of health it is a sign of vampirism. However, ruddiness is a natural phase of decomposition, caused by the pooling of the body’s own blood in capillaries.
Flaccid limbs. Burial in earlier times usually was swift, especially if the dead were victims of plague or other illness. Consequently bodies were interred while still stiff from rigor mortis. But rigor mortis is only a stage, followed by flaccidity once again. Of a flaccid corpse was handled- as it often was later by investigators- it might appear to move on its own accord, when actually it was being shifted by gravity.
Warm to the touch. Corpses that feel warm seem still alive. However, heat can be generated by decomposition and its possible that the temperature of a corpse may actually- albeit temporarily- increase.
Erection. If male corpses exhibit an erection, it is taken as proof of vampirism, for vampires are known to be sexually insatiable. In fact, normal decomposition bloats corpses and can inflate the penis.
Movement in the coffin. Corpses naturally shift due to the expanding gases of decomposition. Some modern researchers have suggested that premature burial accounted for the shift in positions found in disinterred bodies- victims awoke in their graves and attempted to claw their way out. This may account for a small number of vampire cases, but the most likely explanation is natural post mortem decay.
Incorruption. Disinterred bodies found not decomposed- or not decomposed enough according to local opinion- are vampires, for the soul cannot be free so long as the body is not decomposed. A trapped soul is unhappy and as a result seeks to avenge itself on the living as a vampire. However rates of decomposition vary significantly due to a number of factors, such as the means of death, the heath of the victim at the time of death, the season (cold slows the process) and the presence of insects, microorganisms, air and noise. Some vampire accounts tell of bodies found with few obvious physical signs of decomposition, yet giving off a tremendous stench- the most obvious olfactory sign of a normal decomposition progress.
“New” skin and nail growth. A vampire corpse has new growth of skin and nails, thus proving an unnatural life beyond death. This new growth is found beneath skin and nails that had sloughed off. The sloughing off is really a normal phase of decomposition, and merely exposes row areas of skin and nail beds beneath that appear to be flesh.
Chewed shrouds and limbs. According to lore, the undead chew on their shrouds or on their own limbs. In Slavic lore, vampires whose teeth are like steel can gnaw through anything. As vampires eat their hands and feet, the living relatives and neighbors sicken and die. The vampires then go forth to attack cattle and babies and other living next of kin.
Natural explanations can be found for chewed shrouds and limbs, however, a “chewed” shroud may have been nothing more than a bit of the cloth clinging to the mouth “chewed” limbs were merely particularly decomposed.
Noises. When staked, vampire corpses often make noises in protests-even shrieks according to the story of Arnold Paole, an ex-soldier from Serbia who died after falling off a hay wagon in the early 1700s. Nurses through to be shrieks and groans most likely were gases forced by the pressure of staking to make noises as they passed the glottis, the slit like opening between the windpipe and pharynx.
Finding vampires–means for identifying unknown vampires. In some cases the identity of a vampire may be known to its victims or others who can identify characteristics and appearances. If the identity is not known, certain procedures can be followed to locate the right grave.
In southern Europe, the search is best done on a Saturday, because that is the only day of the week that vampires are obliged to be in their graves. Professional vampire hunters such as the dhampir may be employed. Various ways of finding and identifying vampires are:
Footprints. Have salt scattered about graves will reveal the imprint of the vampire’s feet.
Horse sense. Find a white horse and lead it around the graves. Horses are sensitive to spirits and the supernatural, thus the horse will refuse to step over the grave of a vampire. The best equine candidates for the job are ones that have never stumbled. Ideally, a virgin boy should ride the horse. The purity in both boy and horse will recoil in horror in the presence of the evil of the vampire.
Blue light. A vampire’s grave may give itself away by the presence of an eerie, bluish flame at night. In European folklore, the blue glow is the soul.
Grave oddities. Other tell tale signs are graves that have holes in them, graves that are sunk in, and graves that have crooked crosses or tombstones. All of these indicate that a vampire is dwelling underneath. In Greek lore, a vampire grave has a hole about the size of two cupped hands, located in the area of the head or chest. Those who are brave enough to look into the hole will see the vampire’s gleaming eyes.
Random digging. Without obvious signs, vampire hunters are forced to randomly dig up graves and examine corpses.
Footprints–in werewolf lore, drinking water that collects in the footprints of wolves, especially those left in clay, will give a person the power to become a werewolf.
Girdle–a magical belt that enables a person to become a werewolf, or transform into other animal shapes. In werewolf lore, the girdle is usually bestowed by the devil in return for a pledge of allegiance and service to him.
Confessed werewolves said that their girdles were made either of wolf pelts or human skin. Other magical girdles used by witches were made of the skin of the animal in tow which the wearer transformed. If made of human skin, it had to come from a murderer or criminal who was broken in the wheel of torture. The girdle was the width of three fingers.
Demonologists said that this infernal girdle mocked the girdles worn by the Augustinian Order of Saints and by St. Monica, who was given a black belt by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In his book Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605), historian Richard Verstegan wrote of werewolves and girdles.
Werewolves are certain sorcerers, who having anointed their bodies, with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certain enchanted girdle, do not only to the view of others seem as wolves, but to their own thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves. So long as they wear the said girdle and they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in worrying and killing, the most human creatures.
Hannya–a Japanese vampire like entity. The Hannya is a demon-possessed woman who eats children and drink their blood.
Hartpare–an Asian vampire. The Hartpare attaches itself to running sores and sucks blood through them.
Holes–in European lore, vampires exit and re-enter their graves by holes in the ground. One way to find a vampire is to look for a grave that has a serpent-sized hole on it or near it.
A Bulgarian custom calls for placing bowls of human excrement or poison by the hole to deter the vampire from leaving. According to lore, the vampire will eat the excrement instead of desiring the blood of the living.
In Romanian lore, a hole is made on the stomach of a corpse in order to prevent it from becoming a Strigoi.
Huli Jing (fox fairy)–in Chinese lore, the malevolent spirit of the returning dead who vampirizes victims sexually. The Huli Jing rises from its grave and shape-shifts into a seductive woman, scholar or old man. It seduces victims and sucks the victim’s life force during orgasm. When the victim falls ill with consumption, the Huli Jing leaves it for another victim. Female Huli Jing especially like scholars for their virtuousness.
The Huli Jing has other powers and abilities that make it one of the most feared of all spirits in Chinese lore. It can shape shift into dead people, haunt places and terrify the living. It can take on the appearance of living people. It can transport people through the air and enable them to pass through walls and closed windows. The Huli Jing is invisible during the day but can often be seen at night, especially lurking on the rooftops of homes. The power of the Huli Jing results in its tail.
The Huli Jing is responsible for a form of possession that reduces a person to insanity. If madness affects generations of a family, it means an ancestor once injured a Huli Jing. The Huli Jing is so feared that it is treated with great respect, above all, great care must be taken never to harm anyone. However, if one cuts off the tail, it will leave a home and never return. If a female Huli Jing can be given enough wine to become drunk, it will revert to its true form and will vanish.
One remedy against the Huli Jing is similar to that found in European and American folklore, especially in cases where victims contacted consumption. Paper charms (written prayers) are burned and the ashes are mixed in tea and drunk.
Ikiroyoh–in Japanese folklore, a spirit that is born of evil thoughts and feelings harbored by a person. The Ikiroyoh, energized by hatred, becomes powerful enough to leave its source and enter and possess the object of the person’s hatred. Once inside, it kills the victim in a vampire-like fashion by slowly draining the person’s energy. The Ikiroyoh is extremely difficult to exorcize. Rites to drive it away include the reading of Buddhist Sutras.
Iron–in folklore, iron-like silver-is protection against evil, including vampires, witches and evil spirits and against fairies. Iron repels the djinn, the demonic children of Lilith and the devil and vampiric childbirth demons. Iron scissors or small implements are placed at beds to ward off attacks by vampiric entities that drain off the life force of the living.
Iron objects placed in coffins and grave sites, and iron nails driven into coffins and graves will prevent vampires and restless ghosts from leaving their graves to attack the living. A Romanian tradition calls for stabbing iron forks into the heart, eyes and breast of a vampire and reburying the corpse face down. In Bulgarian tradition, a red-hot iron is driven through the heart.
According to Romanian lore, if a dead man who is a vampire has a brother who was born on the same day of the year or in the same month, a danger exists that the dead vampire will turn his brother into a vampire. This can be prevented by a procedure called “taking out the iron”. An iron chair, such as one used to hang a pot over the fire, or used in bullock carts, is wrapped around both brothers. The ends are solemnly closed and opened three times while a priest reads a religious service. When the ends are opened the third time, the living brother is freed from the danger of becoming a vampire.
Kappa–in Japanese lore, a horrible water imp who likes to drink human blood and eat entrails. The Kappa is named after the river god Kappa whom it serves as a messenger.
The Kappa resembles a monkey. It is about the height of a 10-year-old boy and has webbed hands and feet, a monkey face, a long beak like nose and a tortoise shell in its back. On top of its head is a bowl-like indentation that contains a clear, jelly like substance, which is the source of the Kappa’s power. Short black hair rings the indentation. The Kappa lives in swamp areas, ponds, lakes and rivers, where it taunts it victims-men, women and children-into treacherous or deep waters so that they drown. It also attacks animals. After the victims are dead, the Kappa enters the bodies through the anus, drinks their blood, and sucks out their entrails. It is especially fond of livers. Sometimes, it will devour some of the flesh.
The Kappa offers a supernatural explanation for a phenomenon of drowning: a bulging anus.
Folklore stories about the Kappa tell of it losing an arm in an attack. It goes after its arm and promises people favors in exchange for the limb. It promises not to attack the local people any more, or it teaches someone how to heal.
Kappa-like beings have been reported in UFO and extraterrestrial encounters in South America. The creatures are described as about two to three feet tall and covered with reptilian scales. They have webbed and clawed hands and feet, skull like heads, pointed ears, and slits for noses and mouths. They have not taken blood directly, but seem to vampirize eyewitnesses of energy and leave them feeling week, anemic and faint, similar to the effects experienced in Chupa-Chupa attacks.
Kiangshi–in Chinese lore, a corpse that becomes a vampire demon. Kiangshi means “corpse specter”.
In Chinese lore (as well as Slavic lore), a human being has two souls, one good and one evil. If an unburied corpse is exposed to the rays of either the sun or the moon, the evil soul will be strengthened and will not depart from the body, but will go forth at night to seek human blood for sustenance.
A folktale tells about a Kiangshi that vampirizes a man from Wakiang Liu N. N. , a low level literary graduate, goes home on holiday to sweep out the tombs of his ancestors. He does this and prepares to return to his post. He instructs his wife to cook him a mean early in the morning and wake him. She does so, fixing some rice and vegetables. But when she calls him, he does not answer. She find him in his room, dead and headless, but without a trace of blood.
The terrified wife tells her neighbors, but they suspect her of adultery and murder, and report her to the magistrate. The magistrate opens an inquest and has the corpse put into a coffin. He arrests the wife and lets her languish in prison for months.
One day one of the wife’s neighbors stumbles upon a neglected grave with the coffin visible and the lid slightly raised. He suspects thieves and summons other villagers. They raise the lid and discover a corpse with the features of a living person and its body covered with white hair. Between its arms it holds a head, which the villagers recognize as Liu. They report their discovery to the magistrate.
Corners order the head to be taken away, but no one can pry it from the grip of the Kiangshi. Finally the arms of the corpse are chopped off in order to free the head. Fresh blood gushed out of the wounds-but Liu’s head has been drained of every drop of blood by the Kiangshi. The corpse is burned and the wife is released from jail.
Kubikajiri–in Japanese folklore, a head-eating ghost that lurks about grave yards late at night searching for its own lost head. The Kubikajiri eats the heads of both the living and the dead. It announces it presence with the smell of flesh blood. To see it means one will likely to lose his own head.
Porphyria–a rare congenital disease sometimes associated with clinical vampirism and Lycanthropy. Porphyria is due to a recessive gene and affects men more than women. It has been reported more in Sweden and Switzerland than in other geographic areas.
In porphyria, the body has an inability to convert porphobiliogen to porphyrin in the bone marrow. Part of the hemoglobin goes into the urine rather than into the cells. The porphyrins reach toxic levels and affect the nervous system: the resulting conditions and symptoms are:
Reddish brown urine and teeth
Severe anemias, including haemolytic anemia
Pale and yellow, jaundiced skin
Ulcerated skin lesions
Progressive deformation of cartilage and bone, affecting especially the nose, ears, eyelids and fingers
In acute cases, nervous disorders such as hysteria, delirium and manic-depression (bipolar disorder)
The symptoms are consistent with descriptions of werewolves in older literature and with some people who exhibit a craving for blood as seen in cases of clinical vampirism. However, porphyria is rare and so is unlikely to provide an explanation for many cases of either lycanthropy or clinical vampirism.
Porphyria is known as “King George III’s disease” after the English monarch ( r. 1760-1820) who suffered headaches, convulsions and insomnia. He abruptly and inexplicable recovered, but 13 years later a relapse sent him into a stupor.
Tengu–Japanese vampire demon in the shape of a man with a bird’s wing and beak.
Xiang Shi (Ch’iang Shih)–in Chinese demonology, a vampire created from the po, one of the two souls possessed by every human. Either the po or the hun, the higher soul, can remain with the corpse, but only the po has the power to become an evil spirit in the form of the Xiang Shi. The vampire, which has red, staring eyes and long crooked talons, lives inside the corpse and keeps the host alive by preying on other corpses or living persons. It wreaks death and destruction. According to Chinese tradition, an unburied corpse is a greater danger because it invites inhabitation by the evil spirits believed to be present everywhere at all times.
The Xiang Shi story has different versions. According to one Xiang Shi folktale, four travelers arrived late one night at an inn near Shangtung. There were no rooms available, but the travelers persuaded the innkeeper to find them ans space where they could sleep. They were placed out in a little shack, where, unbeknown to them, lay the unburied corpse of the innkeepers daughter, who had died earlier in the day. Her body laid out on a plank behind a curtain.
Three of the travelers fell asleep immediately, but the fourth could not because he had a fore boding of danger. Presently he saw a bony hand pull the curtain aside. The corpse, green and with glowing eyes, emerged and bent over the sleeping travelers, breathing the fowl breath of death upon them. They died instantly. The fourth traveler managed to pretend to be asleep and held his breath while the Xiang Shi breathed on him, thus saving his life. When the monster returned to its plank, he ran out the door. The monster heard him and gave chase.
The man hid behind a willow tree, but the Xiang Shi found him. With a shriek it lunged at him. He fainted from terror, an act that saved his life again, for the monster missed him and sank its claws so deep into the willow tree that it could not extricate itself. The next morning, others found the corpse, now no longer animated by spirits, and the man who was still unconscious.
Yuki-Onna–in Japanese lore, a demon who appears as a maiden and whose vampire breath sucks the life force from her victims. Yuki-onna means “lady of the snow”.
The Yuki-onna appears as a beautiful maiden, dressed completely in white, which enables her to slip into homes via cracks and under doors. If seen, she may look like a white mist hovering over the body of her victim. She gives fatal kisses and breathes her killing mist into the victim.
The Yuki-onna especially likes to attack travelers who are stuck in snow storms. If a Yuki-onna takes a liking to a man, she will become his wife, but he will always have the threat of death over him.