It’s rather popular to be undead right now. But not as a vampire (that’s so yesterday.) You, my friend, will reach utmost popularity if you are a zombie or, at least, a zombie-killer (better yet, an expert at zombie-apocalypse survival.)
Today, during your mythological creatures tour, please wrap a leather scarf around your neck (particularly your arteries and veins) and peer into the darkened shadows over there…
Vampires are folklore, and yet the popular thing nowadays is to step away from the well-known “don’t-look-in-a-mirror-or-step-out-into-sunlight” understanding of vampires and twist some of the old legends. Should we stick to the original lore or not? *Shrug* I don’t care one way or another, but for now let’s look at some of the history:
A vampire is an undead creature that sucks the blood of humans. There are myths about these creatures from all over the world with their own twists — Europe, India, Australia, America, etc.
- Blood around the mouth (though the long canine teeth weren’t one of the original attributes)
- Clad in the linen shroud in which the person was buried.
- Can’t see its reflection in the mirror.
- Must be invited into someone’s home.
Did you know. . . ?
- Vampires were originally described as bloated and ruddy with a dark countenance? I know, right? So much for the pale-skinned, sparkling (Edward Cullen, is that you?), sculpted creatures we’re so used to nowadays.
- Vampires often arise from the corpses of suicide victims, criminals, and sorcerers.
- In Greece, Vampires are known to arise from corpses that haven’t been mourned properly.
How to kill a vampire
There are many different ways and it’s changed over the years depending on the fiction, but here are the main ones:
- Drive a wooden stake through its heart
- Burn the corpse
- Cut off its head
- Shoot a silver bullet into its heart
- Force a vampire into sunlight
- Use holy water, church relics, or garlic to subdue it
- Any combination of the aforementioned death methods.
As with everything “fabled” (Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, etc.) there are people who claimed vampires really existed (with proof, I tell you! Proof!) and those who chalk it all up to lore. Vampires, even though they’re folklore, caused panic back in the day, leading to burnings almost as bad as the “witch trials.” Here are some books in which vampires can be found:
- Blood for Blood, by Ben Wolf
- Amish Vampires in Space, by Kerry Neitz
- The Twilight Series, by Stephanie Meyer (yes, I dare to include it)
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker (duh…)
Zombies want to eat you, too. And I mean…really eat you. Vampires just wanted your blood. Zombies want your flesh. The zombie lore arises from Hatian culture where it’s a dead body animated by magic. The legendary zombie is considered to be missing one half of its soul.
According to Zombiepedia (yes, there is such a thing. No, it’s not a very reliable source, but it’s interesting) there are different well-known types of Zombies:
- The generic zombie (riddled by virus, aggressive, curious.) Goal: kill and eat humans
- The runner zombie, and obviously the biggest threat. (Infected, long endurance, speedy.) Goal: chase and eat humans
- The stalker zombie (feral, walk on all fours, twitchy, attacks other zombies.) Goal: stalk and eat humans…and zombies.
- The crawler zombie (partially decapitated or maimed, crawls using remaining limbs, annoying, ankle-biters.) Goal: crawl after and gnaw on ankles.
- Bonie zombies (flesh is almost all rotted away, live in groups, hide in shadows.) Goal: make more zombies
Now that you’re freaking out a bit (like me), you’re probably wondering how in the world zombies are made (so you can help us all avoid a zombie apocalypse.) Zombies can form from a virus, from too much radiation, from a botched experiment (Frankenstein’s monster!), from voodoo, or from rising from the dead.
Books and movies with zombies:
- Amish Zombies in Space, by Kerry Nietz
- World War Z
- Walking Dead (TV Show)