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Easily clip, save and share what you find with family and friends. Easily download and save what you find. This is a featured article. Click here for more information. 1985 and received much media exposure, but has since been largely discredited. These reports, prepared between 1725 and 1732, received widespread publicity.
The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia. It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends. Although vampires were generally described as undead, some folktales spoke of them as living beings. The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk.
Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings. Many rituals were used to identify a vampire. One method of finding a vampire’s grave involved leading a virgin boy through a graveyard or church grounds on a virgin stallion—the horse would supposedly balk at the grave in question.
Generally a black horse was required, though in Albania it should be white. Holes appearing in the earth over a grave were taken as a sign of vampirism. Corpses thought to be vampires were generally described as having a healthier appearance than expected, plump and showing little or no signs of decomposition. In some cases, when suspected graves were opened, villagers even described the corpse as having fresh blood from a victim all over its face. Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours.
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Piercing the skin of the chest was a way of “deflating” the bloated vampire. This is similar to the practice of burying sharp objects, such as sickles, with the corpse, so that they may penetrate the skin if the body bloats sufficiently while transforming into a revenant. 17th and 18th centuries, were buried with sickles placed around their necks or across their abdomens. This act was seen as a way of hastening the departure of the soul, which in some cultures, was said to linger in the corpse. The vampire’s head, body, or clothes could also be spiked and pinned to the earth to prevent rising.
They also placed hawthorn in the corpse’s sock or drove a hawthorn stake through the legs. Further measures included pouring boiling water over the grave or complete incineration of the body. Tales of supernatural beings consuming the blood or flesh of the living have been found in nearly every culture around the world for many centuries. Almost every nation has associated blood drinking with some kind of revenant or demon, or in some cases a deity.