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V is for Vampire.....

First off, I have no intention in covering EVERY incarnation of Vampire out in the world. There are too many, and frankly, a few of them are quite silly.... (says the blogger who is posting about Vampires with all seriousness). *cough, cough* Edward *cough, cough*

Secondly, everybody already knows nearly every myth concerning Vampires out there--- they've been a part of pop culture and our own nightmares for decades, nay, centuries.

I really only want to talk about a type of Vampire whose name I had never come across until I chanced upon a newspaper article about 10 years ago. It was a current article, about a family in Romania who dealt with their Uncle's remains the way possible Vampires in Romania have been dealt with for centuries.

I think this is what stuck with me the most. This wasn't a historical account of Vampire-hunting in the Middle Ages, no, this was a month-old story that made me realize just how much we sometimes take for granted and what we forget might be real-life for some, while it's only entertainment for us.

Vampires, at their most basic definition, are parasitic-- feeding off the life force (usually blood) of a living entity---be it human or animal. How the Vampires come into being varies from mythology to mythology, from culture to culture.

But, the type of Vampire I'm focusing on for this 'V' entry are Strigoi (yes, I know it should have been my 'S' entry, but they are Vampires)--- the Romanian Immortal Vampires.

Strigoi are troubled souls rising from the dead. What is unique about these Vampires is they are not opportunistic. Most Strigoi feed from their family and friends, not just some random, warm food source that happens by. It is a strong belief in many small Romanian villages that if a relative dies and soon after someone else in the family becomes sick, the first relative that passed is to blame. And, the only way to rid the village of this newly risen Strigoi, or at least, to heal the newly sick villager, the recently deceased must be exhumed, their heart removed and burned, and the ashes mixed with water for the sick family member to drink---- this is how the family about 10 years ago dealt with a cousin who became ill after their uncle passed away.

To say I was startled when I read of a modern family partaking in such a ritual is an understatement---

Strigoi are a catch-all Vampire in Romania. It seems there are just as many ways of becoming a Strigoi as their are villagers in a village, and nearly everyone has the potential to become one after they die. Apparently, being born with a caul (placenta still attached) puts you at risk, as does dying unbaptized .... or, being born a Redhead!!

I don't know about drinking the ashes of a relative's heart.... I think I'd rather deal with the good ol' heart-staking that most Vampires are known to be 'killed' by.....

In Blood, In Ash Unending

In blood, in ash unending,
the cycle of life remains,
in darkness, in hope mending,
the soul's essence drained.

In fear, in night unrelenting,
as time creeps and slows and stalls,
the breath of the beast consenting,
your soul-cleansing rite at its fall.

                                                                                                     ---e.a.s. demers


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