Bram Stoker

 

You cannot truly talk about vampires without talking about Bram Stoker himself. He can be seen as the father of the monder vampire, though vampires have exisisted long before Stoker, without him they very well might have faded into the background as nothing more then an old myth or folk-talk no longer relevant to society. It was Bram Stoker’s work that really brought the vampire into the public eye and made the vampire a pop icon, from Stoker’s work future generations of film makers and story writers would be inspiered to create and recreate the vampire. So most of us are familar with his work, what about the man?

Stoker was born in 1847, in Dublin, one of seven childern. As a boy he was sickly and spent most of the first seven years of his life bed ridden, where his mother would read myths, legends and true horror stories of Ireland about ghosts, banshees, demons, and ghouls. 

Bram later regained health to such a degree that at Trinity College he became a champion athelete. He was equally devoted to theater and in 1871 became the drmae critic for the Evening Mail. 

His fascination with Henry Irving, the greatest actor of his day led to his becoming Irving’s stage manager in 1878, a posistion he would maintain for 26 years. Irving was a brilliant but volatile and tempromental man, and at least one critive has claimed that Bram and Irving had a vampire like relationship.  It may be that some of the actors power helped inspire Bram to create his Dracula.

Stoker married Florence Balcombe a beautiful but cold woman who frustrated him a great deal, so much so that he sought escape with prostitues. At least one biographer suspects that his death might have been caused by syphilis not exahaustion as was officially listed on his death certificate.  The Lair of the White Worm was a bazzar novel even for him which may have been in part the work of his illness.

The idea for Dracula came from several different soruces. As a young man he read the novella Carmilla by Le Fanu, a story about a sad, lonely and beautiful woman who turns out to be a vampire. He also met Sir Richard Burton, the adventuer and Orientalist. Burton had translated into English The Aribian Nights within the volume there was a story about a vampire. In his reminiscences Stoker wrote how impressed he was by the man’s comanding apperance which included fang like canine teeth.

In his research and writing Stoker read old books on Transylvania and Vlad the Impaler, at the Brittish Museum and spent summer at a Scotoish village in the shadows of a ruined castle. 

The original titile for Dracula was The Un-Dead but he was later inspired to change the title to Dracula. The very first sucessful stage preformance of Dracula was put on by actor-manager Hamilton Deane who read the novel in 1899 and decided that there could be money in it if it were adapted into a play. The play was a hit in Ireland and then Londan, and eventurally at the Fulton Theater on Broadway.

The Teutonic Order

 

Becasue of its mention in a previous post. Here is some background infomation on what the Teutonic Order is.

A medieval military order modelled on the Hospitallers of St. John, which changed its residence as often as the latter. These residences, marking as many stages in its development, are: (1) Accon (Acre), its cradle in Palestine (1190-1309); (2) Marienburg, Prussia, the centre of its temporal domination as a military principality (1309-1525); (3) Mergentheim in Franconia, which inherited its diminished possessions after the loss of Prussia (1524-1805); (4) finally, Vienna in Austria, where the order has gathered the remains of its revenues and survives as a purely hospital order. A Protestant branch likewise subsists in Holland.

(1) There was already a Teutonic hospital for pilgrims from Germany in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, with a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who is still the patroness of the order and after whom the name Mariani is sometimes given to its members. But this establishment, which was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Master of St. John, was broken up at the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin (1187). During the Third Crusade German pilgrims from Bremen and Lübeck with the Duke of Holstein established a temporary hospital under the besieged walls of Acre; this was a large tent, constructed from the sails of their ships, in which the sick of their country were received (1190). After the capture of Acre this hospital was permanently established in the city with the co-operation of Frederick of Suabia, leader of the German crusade, and at the same time religious knights were attached to it for the defence of pilgrims. The Order of Teutonic Knights was founded and took its place beside the other two orders of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers and the Templars. As early as 1192 they were endowed by Celestine III with the same privileges as the Order of St. John, whose hospital rule they adopted, and as the Order of the Temple, from which they borrowed their military organization. Innocent III in 1205 granted them the use of the white habit with a black cross. The emperors of the House of Suabia heaped favours upon them. Moreover, they took sides with Frederick II even after he had broken with the papacy and in opposition to the other two military orders. During the Fourth Crusade, when the gates of Jerusalem were for the last time opened to Christians, under the command of this emperor, the Teutonic Knights were able to take possession of their first house, St. Mary of the Germans (1229). But it was not for long and before the end of the century they left Palestine, which had again fallen under the yoke of Islam (1291).

(2) A new career was already open to their warlike and religious zeal, in Eastern Europe, against the pagans of Prussia. This coast of the Baltic, difficult of access, had hitherto resisted the efforts of the missionaries, many of whom had there laid down their lives. To avenge these Christians a crusade had been preached; a military order founded with this object, the Sword-bearers (see MILITARY ORDERS, THE), had not been very successful, when a Polish duke, Conrad of Massovia, determined to ask the assistance of the Teutonic Knights, offering them in return the territory of Culm with whatever they could wrest from the infidels. Hermann of Salza, fourth Grand Master of the order, was authorized to make this change by Honorius III and the Emperor Frederick II, who, moreover, raised him to the rank of prince of the empire (1230). The knight Hermann Balk, appointed Provincial of Prussia, with twenty-eight of his brother knights and a whole army of crusaders from Germany began this struggle which lasted twenty-five years and was followed by colonization. Owing to the privileges assured to German colonists, new towns arose on all sides and eventually Germanized a country of which the natives belonged to the Letto-Slavic race. Thenceforth the history of this military principality is identified with that of Prussia. In 1309 the fifteenth Grand Master, Sigfried of Feuchtwangen, transferred his residence from Venice, where at that time the knights had their chief house, to the Castle of Marienburg, which they made a formidable fortress.

The number of knights never exceeded a thousand, but the whole country was organized in a military manner, and with the constant arrival of new crusaders the order was able to hold its own among its neighbours, especially the inhabitants of Lithuania, who were of the same race as the natives of Prussia and, like them, pagans. In the battle of Rudau (1307) the Lithuanians were driven back, and they were converted only some years later, with their grand duke, Jagellon, who embraced Christianity when he married the heiress of the Kingdom of Poland (1386). With this event, which put an end to paganism in that section of Europe, the Teutonic Knights lost their raison d’être. Thenceforth their history consists of incessant conflicts with the kings of Poland. Jagellon inflicted on them the defeat of Tannenberg (1410), which cost them 600 knights and ruined their finances, in order to repair which the order was obliged to have recourse to exactions, which aroused the native nobility and the towns and provided the Poles with an opportunity to interfere against the order. A fresh war cost the order half its territory and the remaining half was only held under the suzerainty of the King of Poland (Treaty of Thorn, 1466). The loss of Marienburg caused the transfer of the Grand Master’s residence to Königsberg, which is still the capital of Prussia properly so-called. To maintain itself against the kings of Poland the order had to rely on Germany and to confide the office of Grand Master to German princes. But the second of these, Albert of Brandenburg (1511), abused his position to secularize Prussia, at the same time embracing Lutheranism (1525). He made Prussia an hereditary fief of his house under the suzerainty of the Crown of Poland.

(3) Nevertheless, the dignitaries of the order in the remainder of Germany faithfully preserved its possessions, and having broken with the apostate chose a new Grand Master, Walter of Cronenberg, who fixed his residence at Mergentheim in Franconia (1526). After the loss of Prussia the order still retained in Germany twelve bailiwicks, which they lost one by one. The secession of Utrecht (1580) meant the loss of the bailiwick of that name in the Low Countries. Louis XIV secularized its possessions in France. The Treaty of Lunéville (1801) took away its possessions on the left bank of the Rhine and in 1809 Napoleon abandoned its possessions on the right bank to his allies of the Confederation of the Rhine. The Teutonics retained only the bailiwick in the Tyrol and that in the Austrian States.

(4) Thus the order became purely Austrian, under the supreme authority of the Emperor of Austria, who reserves the dignity of Grand Master for an archduke of his house. Since 1894 it has been held by Archduke Eugene. There are at present 20 professed knights who are bound to celibacy while they enjoy a benefice of the order, and 30 knights of honour who are not bound to this observance, but who must furnish an entrance fee of 1500 florins and an annual contribution of 100 florins. Moreover, their admission exacts a nobility of sixteen quarterings. The revenues of the order are now devoted to religious works; it has charge of 50 parishes, 17 schools, and 9 hospitals, for which object it supports 2 congregations of priests and 4 of sisters. Moreover, it performs ambulance service in time of war; it pays the cost of the ambulance, while lay Marians are engaged as ambulance bearers. Thus, after various vicissitudes the Teutonic Knights are restored to their original character of hospitallers. Besides this Catholic branch in Austria the order has a Protestant branch in the ancient bailiwick of Utrecht, the possessions of which have been preserved for the benefit of the nobility of the country. The members, who are chosen by the chapter of knights, must give proof of four quarterings of nobility and profess the Calvinistic religion, but are dispensed from celibacy. When Napoleon took possession of Holland in 1811 he suppressed the institution, but as early as 1815 the first King of the Low Countries, William I of Orange, re-established it, declaring himself its protector. The present order comprises 10 commanders, Jonkheeren, and aspirants (expectanten), who pay an entrance fee of 525 florins and have the right to wear in their buttonhole a small cross of the order.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Published 1912. New York

Johan Berhard

Witchcraft trials in Würzburg sparked off trials in Mergentheim. “Bernhard Reichardt, a magistrate and wealthy man of Markelsheim, had tried to give his young son, Johan Bernhard, a decent education by sending him to school at Neuen Münster in Würzburg. In December of 1627, however, the father became convinced that his son had been seduced into witchcraft there, and tranferred Johan Bernhard to the Jesuit school at Dettelbach” (Midelfort 144. By the middle of March 1628, Würzburg authorities knew that this nine-year-old boy was involved in maleficum. They wrote a polite letter to the Teutonic Order in Mergentheim asking for assistance in the boy’s extradition.

The Administrator of the Teutonic Order, Johann Caspar, replied at once. Johan Bernhard was to be formally delivered to authorities at the border. By the end of March, Johan Bernhard was in custody of the Würzburg authorities. However, the authorities did more than simply question him. On April 8, the court had Johan Bernhardt sign a confession that a classmate had seduced him into witchcraft.

Among other horror, he had denied God, Mary, and all the saints and angels. With his own blood he had written “Ich, Johannes Bernhardus Reichard, hab mich tem Teüfel vergeben.” He had flown to numerous dances and, although only nine years old, had had intercourse with the devil on numberous occasions. Like adults, Johan Bernhard always found the devil “hard as horn” and “of a cold nature.” Implicating his complices, the boy noted that he had seen three other persons known to him at the dances (Midelfort 144).

On May 9, 1628, Würzburg authorities burned Johan Bernhard along with four others. Only hearing of the execution after the fact, Johann Caspar agreed with its necessity.

Würzburg was the site of the executions of many children. From 1623 until his death in 1631, Prince-Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg had “tortured, beheaded and burned 900 persons, including at least 300 children three to four years of age” (Guiley 1989 21).

How to Kill a Vampire

 

1. As we all know one of the most classic methods for killing a vampire is the stake in the heart. According to folk lore, the perferable wood for the steak is aspen. Ash, hawthorn, maple, or black thorn will aslo work well. The steak is best pounded in with the flat of a shovel. In addtion to a steak, throns, nails, or red-hot iron bars will aslo work. According to some the steak my be driven into the navel as well as the heart. The original notion of this idea was to pin the soul to the body but in more monderized verions a steak causes the vampire to dissolve into dust.

I would just like to add that some intresting and original takes upon the steak can be seen in the TV show Moonlight in which a steak can paralyze a vampire but not kill it. And in the book Cold Kiss in which all wood is seen to act almost as a posion to the vampire, and having contact with wood in genral can cause the vampire injury, and or death.

2. A suspected vampire corpse can be washed in boiling wine or the coffin filled with garlic or poppy seeds.

3.  Of course everyone knows fire is perhaps by fore the most sure fire way as this one had been mentioned here before. Even in mondern accoutns of vampires fire works quite well.

4. Another common one is cutting off the head, preferably with a sword or with the shovel of a grave digger.  Some say the head should then be stuffed with garlic, but it is often prefered to just cremate body and head after the decapitation.

5. Dig a vampires corspe up and reburry it again, but at a crossroads. In come locations however the crossroads do not keep restless spirits and vampires from straying, but rather sets them free.

The Klein Boys

Southwestern Germany experienced several witch hunts involving children. In the county of Lowenstein-Wertheim on Christmas Eve of 1628, thirteen citizens presented a petition urging an attack on witchcraft. These citizens believed that a particularly evil plague of maleficum was plaguing their county. Their most recent crisis involved “our dear children [who] even without this poison prefer evil over good” (Midelfort 139).

The counts took the advice of the concerned citizens, and an investigation was ordered. Two boys, aged five and ten, were arrested. These boys was the sons of a chimney sweep named Barthol Klein. The children claimed they were witches, reluctantly supplying the names of other witches they had seen at the Sabbat. By the middle of February, fifteen people were known as accomplices. When the boys’ grandmother was examined, she quickly confessed and thirty-three more people were denounced as witches. When she was questioned a second time, twenty-two more suspects were produced. By the end of February, there were at least eighty-six different people had been accused of witchcraft.

The panic was intensified in March when more children claimed to have attended the Sabbat. In the village of Bettingen, nine children underwent examinations. “With so many suspects, it is surprising that only nine women and one man were executed during 1629. . . . The suspicions awakened in that year, however, poisoned Wertheim for 15 years; trials of persons first named in 1629 continued until 1644″ (Midelfort 139, 140).

In 1634, sixteen women were accused of witchcraft and executed in trials that involved schoolboys. Four boys were so very inficirt (infected) they were kept under lock and key in the hospital. There they were watches carefully by the schoolmaster, who denied the boys’ claims they flew off to dances at night. However, examination of the boys led to more denunciations, including the accusations of ten more children. When the son of the rector of the Latin school was denounced, the upset father begged the magistrates “to rather do justice to the boy so that his soul may be healed, and so that I can be more certain of his eternal salvation” (Midelfort 142).

The Silver Wolf

I just finnised reading The Silver Wolf, by Alice Borchardt and funny thing I had first started reading this book shortly after I wrote my article about women and werewolves, so you can guess what this book was about. It was a werewolf tale and furthermore one that stared a female werewolf as the main charachter.

There were several things which I enjoyed about this book, and found unique how it protrayed the werewolf. It just so happens that Brochardt is Anne Rice’s sister, and so though they have very different writing styles, in a way Brochardt did for werewolves what Rice did for vampires, she humanized them and portrayed them in a different light.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the fact that the werewolves of the story for one were cast in the role of hero, or protaganist, and the fact that when they were transformed they were more along the lines of true wolves, they enjoyed hunting, and running free in the woods and acorss meadows, of smelling the fresh cool breeze and drinking from streams and romping with thier own kind. Though they were bigger, stronger, and more magnicant than regular wolves, they did not turn into senseless killing machines.

The other thing I really liked is how the story took place in Rome which as discussed in a few other posts has a history with wolves and werewolves.

One thing I found very unique in the book was the way in which the woman and the wolf, were always aware of each other, and had thier own sperate voices, and almost acted like a conscious. For example when Rageane the main char was a woman she was still aware of the pressence of the wolf within her and she though the wolf did not “speak” to her in human voice, she could call upon the wolf, and get the wolfs feelings and instincts or she could feel the wolf being distracted by other things. Like if she were at a dinner party, she could feel the wolf in her mind, romping off among the gardens, almost as if when she was a woman the wolf was simply asleep and dreaming.

And then she turned into the wolf, the voice of the woman could still come into her mind, and speak and comand the wolf, and sometimes the two voices would battle a contest of wills.  Becasue they understood the world differently they had different ideas of what should be done.

I aslo thought it took a unique and intresting apporach on how won “became” a werewolf, in the story, it was not something a person was simply transformed into, but Ragenae was what she was becasue her father was a wolf, it was hereidatory, they were always what they were they were never turly human.

Also they were closer to the otherworld, werewolves were given accute sixth sense in which they could see and sometimes interact with the souls of the dead, and have memories of long past things.

It was a throughly intresting book.

To Keep A Vampire Away

Here is a collection of a few old folktale of how to keep your local, not so frinedly vampires at bay

1. Close the mouth of any corpse burrised, or stuff the mouth with garlic, coins, or dirt.

2. Rub windows, doors, keyholes, chimneys, and farm animals with garlic

3. Strew throns, poppy seeds, grains of salt or grains of rice on the floor in your bedroom, a vampire will be compled to stop and count every thron, seed or grain.

4. Fill any holes by the grave of a vampire with water. The vampire will not be able to get out.

Just a note on this one, this is not the first reference I have heard concenering water as a repplent to vampires, I have read before that vampires cannot cross water. 

5.  Build a big fire in the fireplace, and light torches to place outside your home.

6. Find a big black dog and paint an extra pair of eyes on its forehead. A vampire who sees this dog will be scared away.

7. Put a knife made of silver under you bed.

I have heard before in movies and other sorcues of using silver as a vampire deterent, though I know silver is said to be posion to werewolves, I have never understood why silver would be equally harmful to vampires. And I have always questioned this one.

And here is another water one.

8. To prevent a body from becomming a vampire after death burry it on an isalnd since vampires cannot cross running water.

Witch-Children in France, Sweden, Bavaria, and England

 

“In the famous witch-hunt in the Basque country in 1610-14, when witches were given freedom to confess with impunity, more than 1300 of the some 1800 individuals who confessed were minors” (Levack 141). And in 1669 Mora, Sweden, over 300 children were deemed witches (Midelfort 139).

The Mora hunt began when a fifteen-year-old boy accused several children of stealing children for the Devil. In the following trials, “a number of children were condemned to death, while many others were given non-capital punishments on the basis of testimony by confessing witches that the children had allegedly accompanied them to the sabbath” (Levack 141).

In a particularly gruesome trial in 1600 Bavaria, ten-year-old Hänsel Pappenheimer was tortured and burned to death for witchcraft (see The Pappenheimer Trial) (Kunze 414).

Sometimes the accusations of children indirectly ended a witch hunt. In the Pendle Swindle of 1633 at Hoarstones, England, young Edmund Robinson claimed a woman had taken him to a witches’ Sabbat. There, along with about sixty participants, they had produced meat, milk, and butter by pulling on ropes attached to the top of a barn. With his father’s suggestion, Edmund named a number of these witches. Seventeen of them were convicted.

However, doubts surfaced about the guilty verdicts, and the Justices of the Peace requested an official investigation by the Privy council. During an interrogation conducted by the Bishop of Chester, Edmund admitted the story was a lie, and that his father had suggested the names “for envy, revenge and hope of gain” (Levack 163, 164). Upon hearing this admission, the convicted witches were acquitted, and disaster was averted.

*Image infro: Image from http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/

Two Sides of the Moon

Two Sides of the Moon
 
Before her lay offering
signing, sweet voice alluring
so very pure and disarming
seeming soft and assuring.
 
A consort, sweet raspberry
her story long history
sordid and contrary 
glory in the mystery. 

 

Kuru-Pira

The Kuru-pira is a guardian species of the Deana people in Brazil, also known as a boraro because of its distinctive call. He has red eyes that glow like burning emebers and jaguar like fangs. His ears stand erect and his form is a of a tall human with a hairy chest and large gentitals. He has no knee joints and has difficulty getting up when he falls. The Kuru-pira can be immediately recognized by his oversized feet that face the wrong way. His heels are in the front and his toes toward the back, it is fasioned to deceive they point in the direction that the creature had just come from leading victims directly into his path as they try to avoid him.

When a Kuru-pira attacks a victim he emits a distinctive boraro growl. His roar is similar to that of a jaguar only slightly more prolonged and considerably louder. He may kill his victims by two methods, either instnatly with his urine which is said to be leathal, or by holding a person tightly untill they are crsuehd. Once dead the Kuru-pira makes a small hole in the skull of the victim and sucks out blood and flesh.

After a Kuru-pira feeds upon its victim it closes the hole made in the head and a demon spirit pocesses the empty shell of a body and the “man” no longer who or what he use to be, lives with the wild animals. The Kuru-pira is a protecter of the forest and animals, and one becomes in danger if they take from the forest more then they can cary or eat.