Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Logical Vampire – A brief overview on removing these pests

I like vampire movies, but you know … you have to wonder sometimes.

There are several theories about vampires, depending on the culture you reference.  Vampirism is associated with the rising dead, that is to say, the undead such as ghouls and zombies.   They are a type of living dead or animated corpses – not as a dull a conversationalist as let’s, say a zombie, but still they are of the dead.

 The classic western culture vampire of literature is fairly modern, dating to only the 1820s although the folk stories go back farther, they don’t enter into mainstream literature.  It’s no accident that vampire stories became common in Western Europe in the Romantic Era and remained highly popular for 150 years given a great boost by the Victorians with their love of romanticism and exoticism.  Vampirism as a cultural, folk, and literature phenomena is pretty well documented, so I won’t belabor the reader with a rehash.

With modern western, gothic vampires. I will be dealing here with the typical evil spirit type, which can coalesce into different forms such as a human, a bat, and a wolf.  They drink blood to sustain themselves and are pretty much invulnerable to most physical attacks, except in a few circumstances.  Sounds tough doesn’t it, but in the right circumstances you can win.

Vampires do have vulnerabilities such as being destroyed by the light of day and they must sleep during the day in their native soil far away from light.  Secrecy is an important part of being a vampire.  The first part of the secret is that vampires exist at all; the second part is finding their vulnerabilities and then the physical location of their lair and resting place.  Really, once you identify vampire activity, know how and when to kill them, you pretty much got the problem licked.  Knowledge is strength, but just hope the vampire doesn’t know you are on to him/her and it tires to nip you in the bud before you begin.  An enraged vampire will backtrack his trail and entrap a vampire killer.

Locals and minions may thwart your inquiries through fear and domination by the vampire as well as getting substantial payback from the vampire for helping its enemies.  It’s kind of  like squealing on the Mafia, you know there is going to be payback, so expect a lot of reluctance and possible misdirection.  Also, since vampires can cloud people’s mind, there might be people who can’t give you information because they just can’t remember.  You know, “These aren’t the droids you are looking for”, gambit.  Trying to get clues from a frightened or mesmerized populace might land you in the middle of a mob who doesn’t want the status quo upset, so even victims might not want your help for fear of making it worse.

Presuming you have a classic gothic vampire, you are pretty safe in the sun, but if you have an ultra-modern vampire, the kind that just glitters, you might have a problem.  Generally though, the sun is your friend.  Also mirrors are useful because a vampire doesn’t throw a reflection and possibly an image in a camera.  Mirrors and photos make pretty good vampire detectors, but the problem is that you are probably standing with a vampire just a few feet behind you!  This is not a good to be in position at all. 

A note on vampire kits:  if you approach assembling a vampire killing kit in scope of a very specialized exorcism and eradication kits, then you might get something like the kits seen on the web.  In such a situation, the components would be highly charged religious items such as relics or items that have been deeply and powerfully consecrated as well as mundane tools.   Getting your hands on special religious items might be a campaign on its own.  Keep in mind that in Dracula, Bram Stoker's book, Van Helsing, assembled his kit on the spot and tossed it all into a hand bag for transport to the site.  He didn’t have a pre-made kit available. 

Religiously charged items will repel vampires such as a cross, a blessed host & etc.  They will stop and turn vampires, provided you have the right culture or religion.  You have to wonder, however, if the vampire was from another religion, how effective some holy implements would be in that case.  It’s like the old joke, “Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire”* shtick.  This could get very dicey if you don’t know the religious affiliation of a vampire.  Even worse, how do you kill/turn an atheist vampire -- with a copy or Darwin or Nietzsche?  Hopefully I haven’t offended anybody, I’m just thinking out loud, so to speak.

Ok, so you found the vampire’s lair, evaded traps, got away from minions and now stand in the center of the maze.  The vampire is asleep/dormant in his/her coffin, lying native soil, powerless – it’s time to stake him out.  Various lore suggests the best possible wood and these vary, but frankly anything that pierces the heart and remains there will work.  This is classic vampire staking at it’s finest.  So you hammer in the stake and maybe get some shrieking action and flailing as the body disintegrates.  So maybe it doesn’t turn into a foul wisp and you have a more corporeal vampire than you expected.  That probably means you have to cut off the head, move it to the feet and stuff garlic in its mouth.  A few crosses strewn about and some other holy items and you probably have it beat.

But I don’t understand why the intrepid vampire hunters just don’t finish the job on one of these corporeal jobs and just drag the staked stiff out into the sunlight for a bit of the old ultraviolet to do its job and fry that baby up!  Nah, by this time the credits are rolling and that vampire looks kind of heavy, so never mind.  Amateurs for sure; no doubt a movie sequel is going to be spawned due to this sloppy inaction.  Maybe I am being too logical after all.

The other possibility is to lure the vampire out into the sun either by keeping him up after bedtime or making an opening in a room to let in sunlight.  That scenario requires a lot of luck, timing and a really, really mad vampire who looses track of time.  In that case, give me a sleeping vampire every time.

So game on, my intrepid adventurers whether it be RPGs or LARPs and smite those blood suckers … do it logically, but just pay no attention to physical mass conversions during morphs and energy transfer and other things like physics.  Thinking too hard gets in the way of the fun and too much logic can rain on your parade.

    In this same series of blog entries, see also:
Also my previous post on a custom made Hourglass Vampire Hunting Kit
The truth about those Vampire Hunting Kits, appropriately named:  Vampire Hunting Kits Debunked, June 17, 2014

    Some additional links of interest on the subject::
Check out the extensive bibliography at the end of the Wikipedia article
Skeptics dictionary about vampires
An interesting show about vampirism

    Project Gutenberg free digital download of famous vampire stories:
download Varney the Vampire
download Carmilla 

    *movie quote, The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)

You want fries with that stake?