The Vampire: His Kith and Kin by Montague Summers
This by far is one of the best books about vampires I have ever read.Some for you might feel that Montague Summers is dated but in. Reality when people write about vampires they will invariably consult his works. The book talks about exactly whet the title says , Vampires and things that are related to vampires. Vampires are all over the place: they can be seen in China, Ancient Mesopootamia, Egypts, Malaysia, Europe and Iraq. They share many of the same characteristics yet they can be different .
To be come a vampire in Europe, usually you have to be a suicide or buried upside a proper cemetery , like the crossroads. If someone is excommunicated or cursed by a church official their body will not decay. To rectify this situation the church official who executed the ban or consequence must be called in to renounce what he uttered. If not available then some other church official can lift the ban. This non composition of body does not pertain to the vampire yet it is somewhat related . In Asian societies the ancestors are venerated or remembered. People will place food and incense by the grave to nourish the spirit. If the spirits are neglected they can be vengeful toward the neglectful family members. THese instances are related somewhat t0 vampires.
What are vampires supposed too bee like, well prior to the movies and novels which glamorized theme. THe real appearance is pale skin with patches of hair on the palm of the hand. The nails grow up real long and there are long fang like teeth in certain instances. The breath wreaks like foul flesh. Vampires can be turned into vampires by a bite from one. Or like mentioned earlier suicides and those buried outside a cemetery or had a violent death may end up becoming a vampire. Werewolves can be become vampires after death. THe big question remains is what is the nature of the vampire. Is it a demon that animates the body or is it the soul that is trapped and earthbound. Some think it is the persons astral body that turns into the the vampire. Another question is how do they exit their grave without disturbing the dirt, Some researches have found that there are small holes in the grave which enable the vampire to slip through. Now is this a demon making a new body, or does the p[hysical body have a way of slipping through. Maybe the astral body can materialized outside the grave suickinjg ectoplasm along with the astral body.
When vampires strike sometimes they bring a plague to a whole town. Someone wil waste away slowly. To kill one it would be necessary to burn it, cut off its head and or drive a stake through its heart. Many strategies are discussed in the book.
Sometimes family obligations bring about the vampire. In Greece if some one was murdered a family member must avenge the death or the dead relative becomes a vampire and seeks vengeance on their killer and the family member. THe family member them self might become a vampire.
In China the bones f a dead person can become reanimated by the po or the lower soul. The Chinese vampire is called a Chang Shieh. In Mesopotamia there are the Lilin, night time spirit creatures who seduce men and suck their energy and blood. THere is also the Emmiku a wandering spirit that is neglected by family or remains unburied. They suck the life energy out of a wandering person. In the Middle East there are ghouls that being female demon that feast on flesh. In other parts fun the world there is the bagjang and other vampiric creatures.
The book finishes off with an examination of the vampire in literature and plays. I found this p[art a bit boring and uninteresting. I like to stick with the legend and lore. THis book was awesome.
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