The Vampire Hunter's Guide (Part 3 Vampire Weaknesses)


Everyone knows that Vampires are stopped by sunlight, crosses, wood, and mirrors, right?  Unfortunately, many of these legendary vampire banes are little more than Hollywood fabrications.  

The Sun

According to modern stories, Vampires melt or burn at the merest touch of the sun. "I don't tan, I implode" (Geriant Wynn Davies as Nick Knight in Forever Knight).  This part of the ancient legends is purely a modern idea.  The novel "Dracula"  by Bram Stoker, which most people consider the penultimate vampire defining book, Says that a vampire can walk around during the day, but is greatly reduced in power.  He is not clear as to what greatly reduced means.  You could probably expect that 'greatly reduced' makes the vampire a normal human, or he may get somewhat ill at sunlight.    Modern science has provided sun block that was not available in ancient times.  A modern vampire may be able to use this sun block as an armor.  The question also should be posed as to whether artificial sunlight (sun lamps) will harm vampires.  If you consider vampires magical creatures, only true or magical sunlight should be able to harm them, if you consider them diseased creatures (porphyrics), any bright or hot lights should harm them. 


Wood has been used to fight vampires in the form of wooden bullets, wooden spears, pencils, broken furniture, tree limbs, and other broken wooden items.  The knowledgeable character in "Dracula",  Dr. Van Helsing says; "Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right.  Then When we begin our prayer for the dead - I shall read him, I have here the book, and the others shall follow - strike in God's name, that so all may be well with the dead that we love and that the Un-Dead pass away" (Page 240).  His statement implies that it is not the wood, but the ritual and striking "in the name of God" that does the actual damage.  If this is true, then iron, steel, or any thing that is hard and sharp enough may be able to harm the creatures, as long as the name of God is used.  I used to wonder why would wood , and not steel or iron or stone stop a vampire, then I realized, wood is living material that takes a long time to die, so if you cut a fresh stake, then you are driving a representation of life into the un-dead.  By extension, you may (but I would advise against it) consider it possible for any living material to damage the creature as normal, but non-living items will not harm it.  It is possible that the fact that wood is a natural material, not refined or changed by man makes it a part of God's tools, not a man's tool as steel or cast metals.  This would make the 'strike in God's name' also a strike with God's weapon. 

Many vampire legends tell you to that vampires are stopped by staking them to the ground.  The stake does not actually destroy the vampires, but when it connects them to the ground, they are unable to move or free themselves.  This effect tends to agree with the biblical version of vampirism, by attaching the body to the ground, it makes the spirit unable to raise and reanimate it.

Only certain woods are considered usable as a stake against a vampire.  The most common woods are blackthorn, white thorn, hawthorn, juniper, ash, ironwood, and olive wood.  One type of wood that is not effective is evergreen woods.  This includes pines, cedars, and a few others.  These woods are not to be used against vampires as evergreen is a symbol of immortality, and as such will not end the life of the vampiric creatures.  


The best defense against a vampire is a cross.  At least that is what most people think.  Why a cross?  Why not a pentagram, or a Jewish star, or any other holy symbol?  Most film and book writers say it is not the symbol, but the belief in God that gives a cross power over the vampire.  "You have to believe for that to work on me..." (Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge in the movie "Fright Night").  If it is the belief, then most people could not stop a vampire with any holy symbol.  One thought of the power of the cross is "It reminds us of the one true light" (Geriant Wynn Davies as Nicholas Knight in the TV series "Forever Knight").  By that thought, the religion of the symbol's holder does not matter, but the religion of the Vampire does.  If you have a vampire that believed in Baal in his lifetime, only the symbol of Baal will bother him, the cross is meaningless to him.  In the Vampire Lestat books by Anne Rice, Vampires shy from crosses only because it is a rule that they are supposed to follow, it does not actually harm them.  One very important thought to remember is this: If a vampire can not pass a cross, how can it come and go in a cemetery where most of the headstones are crosses?  Think about it.


How does a mirror effect a vampire?  Legend says you cannot see a vampire's reflection in a mirror.  If he is not in the mirror, why can he not look at a mirror?  Is it possible that he can see his own reflection, but does not like what he sees? Or is it the fact that he does not reflect in the mirror that makes it painful to him?  Either way, most legends say that vampires do not like mirrors.  It may be again, that mirrors represent light and vampires hate the light. 


Trapping a vampire in his grave may be a possible solution to the problem.  There are many methods described in the many books and movies available.  A sun lamp pointed at the exposed coffin may work (Batman Comics) , large iron chains around the casket may hold in the vampire (Dark Shadows), wild roses , red peas, garlic flowers (not cloves), sesame seeds, rice, or holy items may also be used.  Whatever is used, remember, if it does not last forever, the immortal Vampire WILL rise again.


Certain animals are natural enemies of the vampire.  White stallions will attempt to stomp the vampire back into the grave.  Crows are said to attack vampires by pecking out their eyes.  Cocks are very protective against the undead, as are domesticated dogs.  While Vampires control hounds and wolves, they cannot control a dog that has been domesticated or trained, nor can they control a White Wolf.  White Wolves will often heed a vampire's call to the wolves, but only so they can attack him.  There is a Rumanian legend that tells of packs of white wolves that patrol cemeteries hunting for vampires.


Of course, magic is also a proof against vampires.  Various sorcerers are also able to fight vampires.  Some Malaysian and Bulgarian sorcerers have ways to "bottle" the undead as they would a genie.  The "dhampir"  or children of vampires, have some characteristics vampires, but are not undead, and as such have knowledge and abilities that can help find and stop vampires.  Dhampirs are, however not very trustworthy.  It is also said that a surviving victim of a vampire can feel the presence of vampires, and sometimes even get impressions from the beast's mind.


Sanctified ground is often considered as a safe haven from vampires.  This part of the legend must be regarded with some care.  There are many circumstances where a Vampire can enter holy ground.  The fact that vampires come and go as they please in the cemetery shows that certain holy areas are accessible to them.  In The Book Dracula, the beast lived in the Carphax castle which was an old abbey.  The implication was that the abbey had gone to ruin, and was no longer holy.  What it takes to desecrate a church enough to allow a vampire in is unclear.  With church politics silencing any scandals, graffiti on the walls, and the lower number of attendees to church, it may be that some holy places are no longer holy to the creatures.  There are some types of vampires that enter the church and kill from there.  The Russian vampire Nelapsi kills anyone it sees from the top of the church tower with just a glance, and the German vampire Nachzehrer tolls the church bells from inside the church, killing anyone who hears the sound.  Whatever the reason, it would be wise to consider holy places as areas that the creatures may enter, and be prepared.  


There are some little known items about vampires that may help you.  One of the ways to keep a vampire away from your home is to sprinkle sesame seeds or rice along the path he must travel.   The vampire, being an obsessively orderly creature,  must pick up every single seed or grain of rice one at the time before he can approach the house.  A hand tied net in his path will distract a vampire, as he will stop and try to untie every knot before proceeding.  Wild roses are as bad as garlic to a vampire.  The smell of the rose's perfume will keep him away.  Speaking of garlic, It is important to note that it is not the garlic cloves that are hateful to a vampire, but rather the flowers of the garlic plant.  A vampire cannot cross running water on his own, he must be carried or taken across (even if there is a bridge).  Vampires will tend to stay near their place of burial as they are unable to move their own coffin.  They may have minions move it (if they have minions), but it often does not occur to them.  A white horse (stallion) ridden by a virgin at sunrise will find the grave of a vampire and try to stomp it down and seal in the creature.


According to the oldest legends of Vampires, there is actually only one way to truly be rid of vampires, all other methods can be reversed.  A sun burned Vampire can return if blood is dripped over his ashes.  If a wooden stake ends a vampires unlife, a simple removal of the stake from the corpse will allow the creature to return.  Trapping a vampire always seems to be a temporary solution.  The only way to put a final end to a vampire is to behead it, stuff the mouth with garlic and holy wafers, remove the heart, cut the hamstrings and Achilles tendons, drive iron stakes through the calf muscles and into the ground below, and bury the remains at a crossroads.  The main problem with this method is the mess.  It takes a very strong person (or a sick one) to actually do all these things to a human body (even a dead one).  Since the blood of a Vampire may turn others into Vampires the vampire killers must be VERY careful to avoid any of the mess caused by this method of death.

© Virtual Reflections 2016