The Vampyre: His Kith and Kin
"Would you consider putting that mad lamp with the naked man in the corner?" David Mlinaric, the doyen of interior decorators, has come to Transylvania. Jessica Douglas-Home, champion of Romanian culture, shuffles a 19th-century ambassador's uniform to the appointed position.
All countries have their heroes. Romania's most celebrated are the two princes of Wallachia who battled the Ottoman empire. The first is Michael the Brave who reigned from 1558 until his assassination in 1601.
A Dhampir in Balkan folklore is the child of a vampire father and a human mother, with vampire powers but none of the weaknesses. A dhampir is believed to have the unique ability to see vampires, even when these are invisible, and is unusually adept at killing them.
On Dominica there exists a creature known as the soucoyan. The "official" explanation of this creature's origin is that it is a curious combination of West African spiritualism and 18th Century Catholicism.
The Shtriga, in Albanian folklore, was a vampiric witch that would suck the blood of infants at night while they slept, and would then turn into a flying insect (traditionally a moth, fly or bee). Only the shtriga herself could cure those she had drained (often by spitting in their mouths), and those who were not cured inevitably sickened and died.
A baobhan sith (pronounced baa'-van shee) is a type of vampire in Scottish mythology, similar to the Manx Leanan Sídhe or Irish banshee. They are also known as the White Women of the Scottish Highlands.
Traditionally, vampires are undead mythological or folkloric beings who feed by draining and consuming the blood of human victims.
Are there vampires who dwell beneath the waters of the world, and if so, what myth, legends, and folk tales surround them? Are they normal vampires who just prefer water to the land? Are they blood-drinking mermaids? Are there any such vampires in fictional books or movies? To fully answer such questions, a whole book would be required. But let me give some telling examples.
In 2004, Romanian police were called to investigate the desecration of a grave in a remote village just south of Transylvania. What they discovered there could have come straight from a Hammer Horror film. Here, renowned cannibalism expert Dr. Timothy Taylor revisits the scene of the crime.
The modern culture is abundant with stories about vampires. Film producers make many movies about vampire hunters every year, lots of books about vampirism and vampires appear regularly. Feeding on blood has become one of the top issues discussed at a variety of forums, especially of Gothic teenagers. What is the official medicinal opinion about vampires today?