Vampires Around the World
Vampire myths have been around for nearly as long as humans have. In each part of the world, in nearly every culture, and throughout all time periods, we've cultivated, studied, debunked, and sometimes fawned over these mythical monsters. Below, you'll find some interesting takes on vampires from various places around the world.
Unlike the best known vampire myths, the Talamaur do not feed on blood, but the life-force of the soul of recently deceased persons. After the death of a person, the Talamaur would consume their soul and therefore gain control of it. With control of souls came power; the Talamaur were able to use the souls to drain vitality from the living. Because of these benefits - gaining vitality - some aspired to be Talamaurs. They would eat pieces of a corpse to try to gain the power of a Talamaur.
If you ever get a particularly large mosquito bite while visiting the island of Trinidad, be prepared to hear the stories of the evil soucouyant. By day, the soucouyant takes form of an old hag. By night, in the form of a fireball, it flies into homes of innocent victims to suck their blood. If the soucouyant takes too much blood, the victim will die and be transformed into a soucouyant too.
Two hearts, two souls, two sets of teeth, and a blood sucker to boot. The Stryzga is a Slavic demon thought to roam the night sky in the form of an owl, attacking its victim, sucking their blood, and eating their insides. Though they are born human, these beasts often die young. At death, only one soul departs to the afterlife. The other soul inhabits the body of the dead person and together they become the Strzyga.
The Yara-mah-yha-who is a vampiric creature from Australia's Aboriginals. The creatures - short, red animals, with gaping, toothless mouths, and suckers on the pads of their fingers and feet - live in fig trees and hunt by night. They capture their victims by dropping down on them from the trees. Then, using the suckers on their fingers and feet, they drain the victims of blood. Once the victim is weak, the Yara-mah-yha-who swallows them whole. After a quick drink of water and a nap, the creature regurgitates the body of the victim, who may still be alive.
If a victim is attacked by a Yara-mah-yha-who several times - and lives through the experience each time - that person may eventually become a yara-mah-yha-who themselves. Each time they're attacked, they would get shorter and a little redder, until the transformation is complete.
According to Polish folklore, the Vjesci are human-born creatures destined to be vampires. A Vjesci can be spotted at birth if it's born with caul (a thin piece of membrane that sometimes sticks to new babies at birth). When this happens, you can prevent the child from eventually becoming a Vjesci by removing the caul, drying it, grinding it up, and feeding it to the child on its seventh birthday.
If that doesn't work, the child can still live a full and happy life. It won't become a Vjesci until after death. When a person destined to be a Vjesci dies, they become one of the undead. The first thing you'll notice is their refusal to take the final sacrament. Once dead, their bodies will stay warmer for much longer than the average body. Their bodies will remain limber, their cheeks remain rosy, and specks of blood will show up on their faces and under their nails.
If a Vjesci is not then buried with the right precautions, on the day they're buried, they will return to life just after midnight. They will eat their clothes and flesh, dig themselves out of their graves, and then return to their homes to feast on the blood of their families, friends, and neighbors.
But there are ways to prevent that from happening. Before dying, the Vjesci must receive the sacrament. After death, the body should be buried, faced down, with a coin or crucifix underneath the tongue. Soil should be placed inside the coffin and underneath the body, and a net (with knots) should be placed over the body.
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