|Posted by bebowreinhard on August 22, 2017 at 3:40 PM|
I'm planning to present on the myth and history of a Vrykolakas and wonder if you'd be interested in hearing about why I wrote my book using this research:
A little background. Arabus Drake came to me in a dream. I knew he was Greek. I knew he was a vampire. I knew he was sexy. So far, pretty generic, right? But I also knew he demanded that I bring him back to life. So I thought first I would see what kinds of myths there were on Greek vampires in history. Now to put this in context, this was in 1983, and I had not yet even considered going to school for a history degree. But I could dig into some books on Greek legend easy enough, right?
You all know how to find stuff you’re curious about without a degree?
Okay, so here’s the first thing I found (Wikipedia):
he word vrykolakas is derived from the Slavic word vǎrkolak. The term is attested in other South Slavic languages such as Serbian vukodlak, ultimately derived from Proto-Slavic vьlkolakъ, see Polish wilkołak, and cognates can be found in other languages such as Lithuanian vilkolakis and Romanian vârcolac. The term is a compound word derived from вълк (vâlk)/вук (vuk), meaning "wolf" and dlaka, meaning "(strand of) hair" (i.e. having the hair, or fur, of a wolf), and originally meant "werewolf" (it still has that meaning in the modern Slavic languages, and a similar one in Romanian: see vârcolac). It is also noteworthy that in the eighteenth century story Vrykolokas by Pitton de Tournefort, he refers to the revenant as a "werewolf" (loups-garous) which may have also been translated as bug-bears, a strange word that has nothing to do with bugs nor bears, but is related to the word bogey, which means spook, spirit, hobgoblin, etc. However, the same word (in the form vukodlak) has come to be used in the sense of "vampire" in the folklore of Western Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro (while the term "vampir" is more common in Eastern Serbia, and in Bulgaria). Apparently, the two concepts have become mixed. Even in Bulgaria, original folklore generally describes the vârkolak as a sub-species of the vampire without any wolf-like features.
Because of this vague relationship to a wolf, I gave Arabus some extra horrific features, such as tearing the neck apart by chewing, and not just suck. And this, by the way, enables him to break the victim’s head off.
Why would I do that? Any guesses?
So that the victim doesn’t come back as a vampire. Right. And here, perhaps, is the biggest difference between my vampire and any other one you may have heard about. Arabus doesn’t create other vampires, or if he does, he takes care of them. There are occasions in my readings where you’ll see that he does create another vampire, and mostly out of curiosity to see what they do, but he always retains the upper hand to destroy them when (not if) necessary.
What else did I use from this research?
he Greeks traditionally believed that a person could become a vrykolakas after death due to a sacrilegious way of life, an excommunication, a burial in unconsecrated ground, or eating the meat of a sheep which had been wounded by a wolf or a werewolf. Some believed that a werewolf itself could become a powerful vampire after being killed, and would retain the wolf-like fangs, hairy palms, and glowing eyes it formerly possessed.
The bodies of vrykolakas have the same distinctive characteristics as the bodies of vampires in Balkan folklore. They do not decay; instead, they swell and may even attain a "drum-like" form, being very large, they have a ruddy complexion, and are, according to one account, "fresh and gorged with new blood". People with red hair and gray eyes at this time in history were thought to be vampires according to accounts near the region of modern Serbia. The activities of the vrykolakas are nearly always harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and "roaming about", through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis) — as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore.
Since the vrykolakas becomes more and more powerful if left alone, legends state that one should destroy its body. According to some accounts, this can only be done on Saturday, which is the only day when the vrykolakas rests in its grave (the same as with Bulgarian vampire legend) This may be done in various ways, the most common being exorcising, impaling, beheading, cutting into pieces, and especially cremating the suspected corpse, so that it may be freed from living death and its victims may be safe.
SEE MY BINDER OF MATERIAL
I’ve been working on SEO Optimization to get Adventures in Death & Romance: Vrykolakas Tales to show up quicker on a search on Vrykolakas.
Today, to talk about vrykolakas in historical context, I thought I’d use some of those links that came up ahead of mine.