Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year!
readersfavorite.com will have all two of my available books listed as prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway /Rise or/and here: book-giveaway/lost
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms will be at Planet Funk Con! This event is taking place from June 25th -27th at The Rivercenter in Davenport, IA. To learn more visit: planetfunkcon.com
We are scheduled to participate at Raptor Con! The new dates for the event are August 21st and 22nd. This event takes place in Evansville Indiana. To learn more visit: www.RaptorCon.com
(Events that were canceled outright are not included below- awaiting new dates for these 2020 events)
Concealed Realms will be participating in the Dupage Mighty Con. This event takes place at the Dupage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL on Saturday May 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Concealed Realms will be participating in Porter County Comic Con. The Porter County Mighty Con event takes place Saturday, June 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Porter County Expo Center, 215 E Division Rd, Valparaiso, IN. We will be returning to The Madison Comic Con! This event takes place Sunday, July 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Exhibit Hall, 1 John Nolan Drive, Madison WI. Concealed Realms will be at the ST. Louis Mighty Con! This Mighty Con event will take place July 18th and July 19th at the St. Charles Convention Center. We will be participating in Oddmall: Hallowondrous on October 16-17, 2020. The event takes place at Lakewood Masonic Temple – 15300 Detroit Ave. Lakewood, Ohio 44107. We will be participating in The Milwaukee Comic Con! This MightyCon event takes place at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds Products Pavillion located at 640 S 84th St., West Allis, WI 53214 on ( September 12th) October 10th. Concealed Realms will be at Oddmall: Chrishanukwanzmadan, December 4-6, 2020. The event takes place at the Cultural Center for the Arts – 1001 Market Avenue, Canton OH 44702. We will be participating in Quad Con on December 6th! This show takes place in Burlington, IA at the Pzazz Event Center. To learn more about the Quad Con shows visit: quadcitycon.com.
“The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him.” – Garrett Fort
“I am neither good, nor bad, neither angel nor devil, I am a man, I am a vampire.” – Michael Romkey, I, Vampire
“A starving child is a frightful sight. A starving vampire, even worse.” – Anne Rice
“Vampires can live a very long time, theoretically forever, which means their idea of getting down to business can be damn leisurely.” – Laurell K. Hamilton
“Mortal terror reigned
Sickness now then horrible death
Only Lucy knew the truth
And at her window
Nosferatu” – Blue Oyster Cult, “Nosferatu”
“A vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age.” – Gail Carriger, Soulless
“If there’s one thing real vampires seem to have in common, it is their reluctance to tell the world about who, and what, they are.” – Kim Wall
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” – Bram Stoker
“When other little girls wanted to be ballet dancers I kind of wanted to be a vampire.” – Angelina Jolie
“There’s nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what’ll happen to you. Your own imagination can be crueler than any captor.” – Richelle Mead, Frostbite
Definition of Vampire:
Noun “a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night..”– www.dictionary.com
Noun “the reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave at night and suck the blood of persons asleep“– merriamwebster.com
Vampires may very well be the most popular monsters of all. Contrary to common belief these creatures have been around since long before they were popularized in fiction books and on the big screen. Legends of gods, demonic entities, and blood drinking spirits have been told for millennia in almost every country around the world by many cultures including the Mesopotamians, Manipuri, and the ancient Greeks.
A good example from Ancient Greek legend would be Empusa, the daughter of the goddess Hecate. She was described as a demonic creature that could transform into a young woman who would then seduce men as they slept in order to drink their blood. In the Mesopotamian Empire, demon-like creatures called Ekimmu were bitter spirits said to roam the earth, feeding off of the life forces of plants, animals, and humans by tapping into their aura.
Other examples of ancient entities with vampiric qualities would include the feline warrior goddess Sekhmet from Egyptian mythology who was said to drink blood and the goddess Kali from India who is also linked with the consumption of blood and is often depicted with fangs.
Although they weren’t called vampires at the time, and their characteristics differ, occurrences of vampire-like creatures from these ancient civilizations are considered precursors to the modern vampire. In this brief account of Vampire’s, we will take a look at the characteristic’s of modern vampires and have a peek at a few of the many vampire legends.
Common Vampire Characteristics
Due to the long history of bloodsucking creatures in lore and legends of the walking dead, it is difficult to pin down a single set of characteristics that are consistently and solely attributed to vampires. Typically, more modern vampires are said to have pale skin and depending on the legend, range in appearance from the freakish to the exceptionally beautiful. They are also frequently noted to have super strength, the ability to enthrall victims, and in some instances are able to transform into a bat or wolf. Another physical characteristic that is mentioned often, is that they are unable to cast a reflection or shadow, which can translate into an inability to be captured on film.
In most depictions, vampires are “undead”, meaning that they have been revived after death. Since in general sunlight is rumored to weaken them, many are said to rise from their graves nightly in order to prey on humans.
According to lore, there are several methods to repel these creatures of the night. Vampires are often said to have an aversion to garlic, running water, and crucifixes. In some stories vampires may only enter a home if they have been invited in by the potential victim, yet in others they are depicted as having a compulsion to count and therefore are said to become easily preoccupied by scattering things like seeds or grains.
Vampires usually do not die of disease or other normal human afflictions, and they are generally said to have faster healing capabilities than would be considered normal, although according to legend there are several ways in which to destroy them, including a wooden stake through the heart, burning, and decapitation.
Creating more bloodsuckers
Most vampiric entities are said to use sharp fangs or teeth to drain their victims’ blood, bodily fluids, or psychic energy. The subject doesn’t always die permanently after such an encounter, some would in turn be said join the ranks of the undead themselves.
Although being bitten is probably the most common way of becoming a vampire in modern stories, it is not the only way mentioned in lore. Some people believed that babies born at a certain time of year, or with certain characteristics were predisposed to becoming vampires. A few other ways were contagion, sorcery, or having a feline jump over a person’s corpse.
We’ve long associated vampires with Transylvania, an historic region of Romania. This is in part because it’s where Bram Stocker’s popular fictional character, Dracula (1897) originally hailed from and considering the area’s lore, it seems a fitting choice.
Romanians tell tales of the strigoi and the moroi. The strigori were said to be the deceased that returned from the grave with a thirst for blood and the ability to shape-shift. Generally, the strigoi was only able to roam during the night hours and could be repelled by sunlight or candlelight.
It is rumored that the only way to permanently destroy a strigoi is to pierce its heart via wooden stake, remove it’s head, and burn its body. There were many theories about what caused a person to become a strigoi in the first place, ranging from being unmarried at the time of death to being born under the wrong astrological symbol or with an unusual birthmark.
The moroi, on the other hand were said to be ghostly apparitions that lived off of blood. Some earlier legends of the moroi claim them to be the undead offspring of two strigoi, while other later story’s say that a moroi is the reanimated corpse of a un-baptized child.
Germany and Albania
There are of course many more vampiric creatures talked about by cultures around the globe. In Northern Germany, they tell story’s of the Nachzehrer (night waster), a creature created most commonly after suicide or accidental death. It is said that a nachzehrer not only devours its family members after returning from the dead, but also feasts on their own bodies. The legends say these creatures can be killed by placing a coin in its mouth, and then chopping off its head.
In Southern Germany the blautsauger,(bloodsucker) also returns from the dead to prey on the living, but only at night as it loathes the sun. This rare reanimated corpse is said to come back from the grave covered completely in fur and lacking a skeleton. In order to kill one, it is noted that you must drive a stake though their heart and stuff garlic in their mouths.
Interestingly, the shtriga in Albanian mythology was a witch that would suck the essence out of people at night while they slept and would then turn into a flying insect. This witch, that takes human form during the day and transforms into a hag at night, is said to prefer children and infants over adults. Those affected would most likely sicken and die, unless the shtriga that had drained them would return and cure them.
It is rumored that after the shtriga feeds, she would generally go off into the woods and regurgitate. The story’s suggest that if a silver coin were to be coated in that mess and wrapped in cloth, it would become an amulet offering permanent protection from any shtriga. Although it’s mention that while having superhuman strength and speed, Shtriga’s are very difficult to kill, it is thought that if you come upon one as it is feeding, iron bullets could do the trick.
Those few examples barley scratch the surface. Greece, China, India, Scotland, and Ireland, all have popular legends that speak of this type of monster. If you are interested in learning about more types of bloodsucking entities, you could visit: Vampire myths, or theculturetrip.com
Since idea’s of a humanesque creature that drain the life essence of others in one way or another have existed for thousands of years, you might wonder why there are so many varying, yet somewhat similar legends all over the world. These vampire superstitions of old are thought to have been fueled in part from a lack of knowledge about decomposition, disease, and medical disorders. Across the continents, these monsters were blamed for phenomena that people didn’t yet understand and up until the 20th century, many people still believed vampire stories were true.
After death dehydration causes the skin and other soft tissues to shrink. As the skin retracts it exposes more of the nail and hair causing them to appear to have grown longer. Furthermore, breakdown of the gastrointestinal tract results in a dark, liquid called “purge fluid” that is forced out of the nose and mouth due to gas pressure in the intestine. This liquid can leak out of the nose and mouth and could be mistaken for blood. Add in the the fact that rate of decay can vary greatly , depending on different factors including environment and its not hard to see how a lack of knowledge about decomposing corpses could have played a part in these creepy tales
Diseases and Plagues
In the Middle Ages, variations on early vampire mythology spread across Europe, with the monsters often used to explain medical conditions. One of the diseases thought to spread this belief in eastern Europe according to Scientific American, is a rare blood disorder called porphyria since it causes certain physical characteristics attributed to vampires. Porphyria symptoms include sensitivity to light which can result in blistered skin or burns when exposed, hallucinations, and receded gums that give the impression of elongated teeth.
Due to the bizarre behavior rabies causes and since the infection is primarily obtained through animal bite or blood to blood contact, it has been mentioned that many of the attributes of vampires show similarities to the symptoms of this illness and while dogs are the most common animal associated with this viral disease today, there have been many documented cases of infection caused by bats both in Europe and the United States. Other common symptoms of rabies can include biting, and general sensitivities that often lead to repulsion of light and/or garlic. In addition, humans that have contracted rabies typically die of suffocation or cardio respiratory arrest, which according to some sources are said to cause slower decomposition due to lack of blood coagulation. Given this information, it is hard to believe that it is simply a coincidence that during the period when dramatic tales of vampires were first emerging from Eastern Europe, a major epidemic of rabies was recorded in the 1720’s.
Another disease, Tuberculosis or “consumption” was believed to be caused by the deceased consuming the life of their surviving relatives after they had died of consumption themselves, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, in fact it has long been thought that Tuberculosis inspired the 19th century New England Vampire Panic. Tuberculosis had a number of symptoms that related to vampires and the undead such as labored breathing and coughing up blood. furthermore, as high fevers set in the infected would often have hallucinations and speak gibberish or sink into comas and be mistaken for dead, then buried alive.
When the plague swept across Europe leaving an endless trail or corpses as it wiped out entire families and decimated towns, vampire superstition thrived. The disease often left behind bleeding mouth lesions on its victims, which seemed be a sure sign of vampirism. Soon legends of walking corpses that drank the blood of the living spread, along with rumors that those who turned into the monsters would first prey upon their own relatives.
Today, we know that the Black Death, now called “bubonic plague”, originated in the Byzantine Empire sometime in the 6th century and was carried by fleas when it came to Europe in the 1340s, but since no one had any medical knowledge of its origins and lacking a modern understanding of infectious disease or the way they spread, it’s easy to see how, as the plague was carried from port to port and village to village, so too were its supernatural explanations.
It’s clear that multiple natural factors have influenced the lore and belief’s of vampirism and although it’s true that the current idea of vampire’s as we knew them now seem to be more closely related to European lore, throughout the ancient world there have been many vampire like beings. Since the people of the time did not possess the knowledge of modern sciences that we do today, the myth’s and superstitions were told in an attempt to grasp an understanding of how the world functioned by explaining away the mysteries that were encountered.