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Vampires And Bats
Wild shrieks have issued from the hollow tombs;
Dead men have come again, and walked about;
And the great bell has tolled, unrung and untouched
Blair, The Grave (1743)
There are bats and there are vampire bats, but are there vampires that can shape-shift into bats? And are there really vampires, like Dracula, the kind that Bram Stoker wrote about?
Vampire bats are hematophages (blood sucking) animals. They have specific mouth parts that enable them to make an incision in the skin, usually on mammals, birds or fish, then suck the blood out of the capillaries. Some vampire bats also feed on fruits, but the obligatory ones feed on blood only. I imagine this may be where Stoker got his original idea from - the obligatory vampire bats, those little creatures that fly around crazily only at night.
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1847 and died in 1912 in London, England at the age of 64. He was a quiet child who was bedridden until the age of seven. He wrote "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years." When he started school, fully recovered, he excelled in sports. He graduated from Trinity College in Dublin in 1870 with honours in mathematics. At Trinity he was auditor of the College Historical Society and served as president of the University Philosophical Society when he wrote his first paper on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society".
Sensational he was in his writing. Early in his career, he wrote a review of the performance of actor Henry Irving as Hamlet. Irving invited Stoker to dinner and they became friends which was to strongly influence and further Stoker's career. Stoker became Irving's personal assistant as well as the business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned. Stoker held this position for twenty-seven years.
Stoker married Florence Balcombe in 1878. Florence was admired by all for her beauty. One of her former admirers and suitors was Oscar Wilde. It was after the wedding that Bram and Florence moved to London and Stoker began his career at the Lyceum. Through Irving, Stoker was introduced to and became involved in London's high society where he met many notable people of the time.
Stoker wrote twelve novels, many fictional short stories and some non-fiction books. Yet he is best known for creating Dracula, the hated, feared and blood sucking vampire that captured victims with first his irresistible charismatic personality, superb sophistication, then his supernatural powers.
From ancient times the folklore of vampires around the world is full of the hideous undead who stalk at night the familiar homes and villages of their families, killing and destroying with vengeance. Unlike Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, these creatures are without manners, charisma or aristocracy. They have no preferences of who they attack. Yet, it seems regardless of their character or personality, all vampires must return to their coffin and close the lid before the morning sun hits them and turns them to dust forever more. Myths abound about the vulnerabilities of vampires. A stake driven through their heart when they are inactive in their coffins will surely end their eternal damnation. Or a silver bullet, shot accurately will stop them and drop them.
How, do you ask, can one protect thyself from a vampire? Well, for one thing, they hate garlic - they simply cannot stand the smell! Wear a string of garlic around your neck, eat lots of garlic, bathe in garlic, rub it all over everything! Carry a mirror with you everywhere you go at night, especially down those dark eerily quiet corridors that have that dreadful music coming from nowhere. Vampires hate to see themselves, so be ready to flash that mirror right up in their faces. It will scare the beegeesus out of them!
A crucifix will always protect you. It is very powerful and can overcome the powers of the vampire. Holy water splashed on them will destroy them slowly and tortuously. You can, if you have not already turned to run like the dickens, watch them wreath in horror.
If you are lucky enough to find a vampire's coffin during the day, and have the guts to do it - open the coffin, steal the sock off the left foot, fill it with stones and toss it in a river. That will surely end the existence of the unholy creature. But, wait! While you have the coffin open, you can also cut off the vampire's head as added insurance that you have destroyed him.
There are many other ways to destroy vampires and it might be wise to keep a journal on all the ways of overcoming them - if you believe in them, that is.
"But from out my coffin's prison-bounds
By a wond'rous fate I'm forced to rove,
While the blessings and the chaunting sounds
That your priests delight in, useless prove.
Water, salt, are vain
Fervent youth to chain,
Ah, e'en Earth can never cool down love!"
The Bride of Corinth
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1797
For more spooky stories and fun reading, you can purchase the following books by clicking on the Amazon links below.
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