[First off, thank you for checking out my second installment into my folklore research. Just a click means the world to a blogger. :)]
Vampires have been a topic of discussion for decades. We all know the story of Dracula. We also know the story of Edward Cullen from Twilight. I’m here to tell you, these vampires do not sparkle. All jokes aside, Twilight was a great book series. I’m here to talk of the stories passed around the world. Some versions different then others, and some scarier then others.
This vampirical creature hails from the beautiful island of Bali – but trust me, there’s nothing attractive about this beast at all. The Leyak consists of a flying head, with body organs hanging off of its gory, severed neck. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the face is the stuff of nightmares – bulging eyes, tusks, straggly black hair, and an abnormally long tongue. Rather than relying on a good old set of fangs, the Leyak puts its unnatural tongue to good use, sucking out the blood of fetuses or newborn babies. If they can’t get their (metaphorical) hands on a baby, they’ll make do with corpses from local graveyards instead. Like all good vampires, the Leyak is a shapeshifter, with the power to appear like an ordinary human or a flying pig.
Disgusting right? Hang on because I have more..
Imagining a vampire is bad enough. Now imagine a vampire with creepy iron hooks instead of feet – and you’ve got the Asasabonsam. This highly unpleasant vampire lurks in the forests of Ghana, hanging from tree-branches and waiting for unwary victims to pass by. Once it spots you, it drives its hooks into your shoulders, lifts you into the trees, then eats you alive.This creature isn’t too fussy when it comes to its meals – if it can’t get hold of a tasty human, it’s more than happy with animals instead. And for some random reason, it likes to eat the thumbs first. Who knows, perhaps they’re the tastiest part?
That sounds like something pulled from a scary movie. Note to self; Do not walk into the woods alone at night.
Brace yourself, because this is a really unpleasant brand of the undead. The Neuntoter comes from Germany and doesn’t get off on drinking blood – instead, it likes to spread death in the form of deadly disease. The name translates as the “killer of nine”, as Germans believed it took a dead body nine days to turn into one of these vile creatures. It’s the appearance of the Neuntoter that is really a thing of nightmares. It’s coated from head to toe in open wounds and seeping, pus-filled sores. Not quite like your standard sexy Hollywood vampire, then… shame!
Yep, I just lost my appetite there!
The Soucouyant is a Caribbean vampire, who looks like a perfectly innocent old woman when the sun is up. Come nightfall, this monstrous creature shows its true colors, shedding its skin and emerging as a fireball. Like the Asema, this nasty ball of light can sneak through even the tiniest of spaces and into your home, where it then gets to work sucking your blood. Normally, it doesn’t kill its victims, but if it drains too much blood by mistake, there’s a risk that the corpse will rise as a fellow Soucouyant. Want to defeat one of these nasty vampires? You’ll need to track down their discarded skin and sprinkle it with salt, which prevents the fiery Soucouyant from slipping it back on. Good luck with that.
According to Greek legend, any children born between Christmas and Twelfth Night were at risk of becoming a dreaded Callicantzaros. These ‘feast-blasted’ individuals were destined to become one of the undead – a manic creature with long, talon-like fingernails, who grabbed its victims and ripped them to shreds. This belief was so entrenched in Greek culture, that many parents used to take extreme measures to save their ‘feast-blasted’ children. Their solution to the problem? Dangle the newborn baby over a fire until its toenails were singed. Hopefully not too many tiny toes were burnt in this process!
It will forever baffle me how one story we all know can be different in each country. I know for a fact 5 year old me never imagined a version of a vampire who had hooks for feet. I would not have slept ever if I did!
Until Next Time…