Author James Crofoot and I once got into a conversation on Facebook all about vampires (like you do). James is a fund of knowledge, and I was so intrigued by his retelling of the old myths that I asked if he’d like to write some more about them for the readers of my blog.
So here’s James with some of the old tales. Tales about real vampires, what they were like, and how to bury them. (And you never know when that sort of information might come in useful…)
Real Vampire Myths
First, forget the vampires in your modern world. The glittery, romantic undead who seduce with bad-boy/bad-girl, troubled portraits. These owe their existence to the great writer, Bram Stoker and his Dracula.
The vampires of European myth portrayed a very different part in the everyday village life. Unlike Vladimir Dracul, Dracula, they held no promise of everlasting glory and fame. They were really simply dull-witted, lumbering hulks that made villagers sick by draining life, leaving only red patches on the foreheads of their victims. Also, they held no sway over creatures of dark night such as wolves and bats. Indeed, so vulnerable to being waylaid that all you had to do was spread rye seed on the path from your local cemetery. Each and every seed would have to be picked up by the poor fellows, preventing them from reaching the village of their old home before sunrise (this similarity still held by Dracula).
Many things could make you susceptible to being a vampire upon death, one as simple as being the seventh son of a seventh son. In addition, if, upon your death and burial, a villager took ill you would be dug up and examined. If you were bloated, or you smelled of sulfur or death in any way, you would be pronounced an undead villain.
The ways to deal with this would be beheading and/or reburied upside down. Thus, preventing you from digging back to the surface.
These beliefs stayed with us well into the early twentieth century. A doctor in the hills of the southern U.S.A. went on record as stating a body recently exhumed exhibited all the signs of being a dreaded vampire. The body was treated in the above manner.
Now then, in light of these myths of old, do you still want to be a vampire?
The Journeys of a Different Necromancer started as a single short story. Then more just grew as the ideas took a life of their own. As a collection of short stories, it was pitched to the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing Company and the decision was made to collect them all into two book series, the first of which is now available. Check out this excerpt:
“I was with Xavier,” Thomas replied. With head bowed, he stared at his stew, sensing he would not be allowed to eat.
“Who?” His mother’s voice, her angry voice, the high-pitched voice.
Thomas looked up at his father to see a pipe halfway to a gaping mouth. “Xavier, you know, he lives in the tower. He wants to teach me to read and write, he wants me to be his apprentice.”
His mother sat down hard and stared at him.
“He’s got lots of books, scores of them. He showed me a book with lots of animals in it.”
His da sat back in his chair, silent. His mum folded her hands in her lap, also silent.
“Think of it,” Thomas continued excitedly. “Think of the things I could do if I could read. I could go and work for the prince in Targon, I could see the whole kingdom.”
“Go to bed, Thomas,” da said.
The boy gazed down at his untouched food. It smelled good and looked even better, but his father had spoken. Thomas got up and climbed the ladder to his loft. Deep into the night, even after his parents stopped their whispered arguing, he lay in bed thinking of the map Xavier had shown him of the kingdom. He would find a way. He would be…what word had Xavier used? Necromancer. He would be a necromancer and he would see the whole kingdom.
You can find this young adult novella at the MuseItUp Publishing book store
It is also available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble
James J Crofoot has been telling stories since he learned to talk. It took some years before he could put them on paper and later on screen. He’s climbed and stood on the top of a mountain or two, in the Rockies and Appalachians, and gazed in wonder at the sight stretching before him. In travelling he even managed to obtain a couple degrees, in business and electronics.
Through it all though, his first love has always been writing. Placing words upon paper and screen. He has so many stories to tell, I really hope you’ll join me. If you like what you read, leave him a reply, and maybe join him on Facebook.
Find James at:
Website – www.crofootwrites.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/jamcrofoot626
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/JamesJCrofoot
Thanks for coming today, James. It was interesting to hear the original vampire stories…and strange to think how people believed in them even recently!
Do you like vampire stories? Why do you think they still hold a fascination for us? If you have any questions or comments for James, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
4 thoughts on “Real vampire myths (and how to make sure a vampire is really dead)”
Mmmmm – they certainly don’t sound as alluring as the more modern day vamps. What a gruesome job to have to dig up the graves and inspect and behead the corpse! A very interesting post and best of luck to James with his book.
Hi Tina, you’re right, the myths have evolved so much over the years. Vampires are sexy aristocrats nowadays! James offered to write this after I posted what Margaret Atwood said about our monsters becoming more attractive, and less monstrous. Interesting topic – thanks for your comment!
Fascinating stuff, James. Thanks for sharing!
I added necromancer to my vocabulary–not sure where or when I will use it though.! I am a tenderfoot when it comes to all things vampire. I’ve read how our monsters are becoming more “likeable”–even villains have a soft side anymore. What is that??? Best wishes on your story collections, James.