Monday, March 28, 2016

Extirpation of Vampires

The commonest methods of the extirpation of vampires are –
(a) beheading the suspected corpse;
(b) taking out the heart;
(c) impaling the corpse with a white - thorn stake (in Russia an aspen), and
(d) burning it. 

Sometimes more than one or all of these precautions is taken. Instances are on record where the graves of as many as thirty or forty persons have been disturbed during the course of an epidemic of vampirism and their occupants impaled or beheaded. Persons who dread the visits or attacks of a vampire sleep with a wreath made of garlic round the neck, as that esculent is supposed to be especially obnoxious to the vampire. When impaled the vampire is usually said to emit a dreadful cry, but it has been pointed out that the gas from the intestines may be forced through the throat by the entry of the stake into the body, and that this may account for the sound. The method of discovering a vampire's grave in Serbia is to place a virgin boy upon a coal - black stallion which has never served a mare and marking the spot where he will not pass. An officer quartered in Wallachia wrote to Calmet as follows, giving him an instance of this method: 

"At the time when we were quartered at Temeswar in Wallachia, there died of this disorder two dragoons of the company in which I was cornet, and several more who had it would have died also, if the corporal of the company had not put a stop to it, by applying a remedy commonly made use of in that country. It is of a very singular kind, and, though infallibly to be depended on, I have never met with it in any Dispensatory. 

"They pick out a boy, whom they judge to be too young to have lost his maidenhead, and mount him bare upon a coal - black stone - horse, which has never leaped a mare. This virgin - pair is led about the church - yard, 2tnd across all the graves, and wherever the animal stops, and refuses to go on, in spite of all the whipping they can give him, they conclude they have discovered a vampire. Upon opening the grave, they find a carcass as fleshy and fair as if the person were only in a slumber. The next step is to cut off his head with a spade, and there issues from the wound such a quantity of fresh and florid blood, that one would swear they had cut the throat of a man in full health and vigour. They then fill up the pit, and it may be depended on that the disorder will cease, and that all who were ill of it will gradually get strength, like people that recover slowly after a long illness. Accordingly, this happened to our troopers, who were attacked with the distemper. I was at that time commanding officer of the troop, the captain and lieutenant being absent, and was extremely angry at the corporal for having made this experiment without me. It was with great difficulty that I prevailed with myself not to reward him with a good cudgel, a thing of which the officers of the emperor's service are usually very liberal. I would not, for the world, have been absent upon this occasion, but there was now no remedy." 

A Bulgarian belief is that a wizard or sorcerer may entrap a vampire by placing in a bottle some food for which the vampire has a partiality, and on his entry in the shape of fluff or straw, sealing up, the flask and throwing it into the fire.

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