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LE VAMPIRE EN ASSYRIE, DANS L’EST ET DANS CERTAINS PAYS ANCIENS
PARMI la démonologie élaborée et étendue de la Babylonie et de l’Assyrie, le vampire avait une place très importante. Depuis les temps les plus reculés, les races orientales ont toujours soutenu cette croyance en l’existence de puissances obscures et malignes, de mauvais esprits et de fantômes qui est, nous ne pouvons en douter, naturellement implantée dans le cœur de l’homme et qu’elle demeure pour l’ignorance et l’agnosticisme de un jour plus tard pour nier. Les premiers habitants de Babylonie, les Sumériens, ont reconnu trois classes distinctes de mauvais esprits, dont chacun était toujours prêt à attaquer ceux qui, par accident ou par négligence, se sont exposés à ces invasions. En particulier, il y avait un homme qui s’était éloigné de ses camarades dans un endroit hanté susceptible de ces attaques, et le Dr. R. Campbell Thompson nous dit que ceci “est l’interprétation du mot muttaliku, vagabond, qui se produit si souvent dans le texte magique pour indiquer le patient. “ Parmi les mauvais esprits babyloniens, les premiers étaient ces fantômes qui étaient incapables de se reposer dans leurs tombes et qui marchaient si perpétuellement sur la surface de la terre; la seconde classe était composée de ces horribles entités à moitié humaines et à moitié démoniaques; tandis que la troisième classe étaient les démons, les esprits purs de la même nature que les dieux, les démons, qui chevauchaient le tourbillon et la tempête de sable, qui affligea l’humanité de pestes et de peste. Il y avait de nombreuses subdivisions, et en fait il y a peu de hiérarchies perverses aussi détaillées et aussi fascinées que le cosmorama assyrien du monde spirituel.
Le mauvais esprit qui était connu comme Utukku était un fantôme ou un fantôme, généralement mais peut-être pas toujours d’un genre méchant et malveillant, puisque c’était lui que les nécromanciens ont ressuscité des morts, et dans une ancienne épopée lorsque le héros, Gilgamish, prie le dieu, Nergal de restaurer son ami p. 218 Ea-bani, la demande est accordée, car le sol s’ouvre et le Utukku d’Ea-bani apparaît “comme le vent”, c’est-à-dire, dit le Dr. Campbell Thompson, “probablement un spectre transparent sous la forme humaine d’Ea-bani, qui s’entretient avec Gilgamish.” le Ekimmu ou Esprit parti, était l’âme de la personne morte qui, pour une raison quelconque, ne pouvait trouver aucun repos, et errait sur la terre allongée dans l’attente de s’emparer de l’homme. Surtout a-t-il fait des alouettes dans des endroits déserts et de mauvais augure. Dr. Thompson nous dit qu’il est difficile de dire exactement à quel point Ekimmu différait de la Utukku, mais il est extrêmement intéressant d’enquêter sur les causes par lesquelles une personne est devenue Ekimmu, et nous trouverons ici de nombreux parallèles avec les anciennes croyances grecques concernant les devoirs envers les morts qui sont primordiaux et pour lesquels un homme doit risquer sa vie et plus encore. On croyait ordinairement parmi les Assyriens qu’après la mort, l’âme est entrée dans le monde souterrain, “la Maison des Ténèbres, le siège du dieu, Irkalla, la Maison d’où aucun de ceux qui entrent ne sort de nouveau”. Ici, ils semblent avoir passé une existence misérable, endurant les affres de la faim et de la soif, et si leurs amis et parents sur terre étaient trop avares pour offrir des viandes riches et verser d’abondantes libations sur leurs tombes, ils étaient obligés de satisfaire leur envie de poussière. et de la boue. Mais il y avait certaines personnes qui étaient encore dans le pire des cas, car leur âme ne pouvait même pas entrer dans le monde souterrain. Cela ressort clairement de la description donnée par le fantôme d’Ea-bani à son ami, le héros Gilgamish:
L’homme dont le cadavre gît dans le désert,
Toi et moi avons souvent vu un tel
Son esprit ne repose pas sur la terre;
L’homme dont l’esprit n’a personne pour s’en soucier,
Toi et moi avons souvent vu une telle personne,
La lie du vase – les restes de la fête,
Et ce qui est jeté dans la rue est sa nourriture.
le Ekimmu-l’esprit d’un cadavre non enterré ne pouvait trouver aucun repos et restait à rôder sur la terre tant que son corps était au-dessus du sol. “ C’est exactement une phase du vampire, et dans les divers textes magiques et incantations sont données des listes de ceux qui sont susceptibles de revenir de cette manière. Ainsi que les fantômes de ceux dont les corps n’ont pas été soignés ou non enterrés, c’est-à-dire ceux qui ont été perdus ou oubliés, là
étaient les esprits d’hommes et de femmes qui sont morts de mort violente ou prématurée, ou qui avaient laissé certains devoirs non accomplis, et même des jeunes ou des jeunes filles qui avaient aimé mais qui avaient été arrachés avant d’avoir connu le bonheur. Dans un exorcisme, différents esprits sont adressés individuellement:
Que tu sois un fantôme non enterré,
Ou un fantôme dont personne ne se soucie,
Ou un fantôme sans personne pour lui faire des offrandes.
Ou un fantôme qui n’a personne pour lui verser des libations,
Ou un fantôme sans prospérité.
Les autres fantômes qui ne peuvent obtenir aucun repos sont:
Celui qui couche dans un fossé. . .
Celui qu’aucune tombe ne recouvre. . .
Celui qui ment à découvert,
Dont la tête est découverte de poussière,
Le fils du roi qui couche dans le désert,
Ou dans les ruines,
Le héros qu’ils ont tué par l’épée.
Celui qui est mort de faim en prison,
Celui qui est mort de soif en prison,
L’homme affamé qui dans sa faim n’a pas senti l’odeur de la nourriture,
Celui que la rive d’un fleuve t’a fait,
Celui qui est mort dans le désert ou dans les marais,
Celui qu’une tempête a submergé dans le désert,
Le spectre de la nuit qui n’a pas de mari,
Le démon de la nuit qui n’a pas de femme,
Celui qui a la postérité et celui qui n’en a pas.
Si l’esprit du mort était oublié et qu’aucune offrande n’était faite au tombeau, la faim et la soif l’obligeraient à sortir de sa demeure dans le monde souterrain pour chercher la nourriture dont A a été privé, et, selon l’ancien proverbe, puisqu’un homme affamé est un homme en colère, il erre furieusement de long en large et dévore avidement tout ce qu’il peut. «S’il trouva un homme malchanceux qui s’était éloigné de ses semblables dans des lieux hantés, il se fixa sur lui, le tourmentant et le tourmentant jusqu’à ce qu’un prêtre l’éloigne avec excorcisme. Cela ressort clairement de deux tablettes qui ont été traduites comme suit:
Les dieux qui saisissent (sur l’homme)
Sont sortis de la tombe
Les mauvaises rafales de vent
Sont sortis de la tombe
Pour exiger le paiement des rites et le versement des libations,
Ils sont sortis de la tombe;
Tout ce qui est mal dans leurs hôtes, comme un tourbillon
Il est sorti de leurs tombes.
Le mauvais Esprit, le démon mauvais, le mauvais fantôme, le diable diable,
De la terre sont sortis
Des enfers au pays ils sont sortis;
Au paradis, ils sont inconnus
Sur terre, ils ne sont pas compris,
Ils ne se lèvent ni ne s’assoient,
Ni manger ni boire. “
Même en tant que vampire de l’Europe de l’Est aujourd’hui, le Babylonien Ekimmu était le plus persistant des hanteurs et le plus difficile à déloger. S’il ne pouvait trouver aucun repos dans les Enfers, il reviendrait rapidement et s’attacherait à quiconque au cours de sa vie avait eu le moins de communication avec lui. La vie de l’homme était certainement entourée de dangers lorsque le simple fait de partager une seule fois de la nourriture, de l’huile ou des vêtements avec une autre personne donnait à l’esprit de cet individu le droit de se marier avec son ami, ou ce pouvait même être la connaissance occasionnelle, qui avait montré lui une légère gentillesse. Le lien pourrait être encore plus léger que cela puisque dans une formule longue et élaborée de conjuration sacerdotale, une incantation particulièrement solennelle et rituelle pour exorciser les mauvais esprits, en particulier les vampires, il est clairement dit que le simple fait d’avoir mangé, d’avoir bu, de s’être oint, ou s’habiller dans la société d’autrui suffisait à forger une copule spirituelle extraordinaire. Dans cette oraison imprécatoire, qui prend un caractère strictement liturgique, différentes sortes de spectres vampiriques sont interdites:
Que tu sois un fantôme venu de la terre,
Ou un fantôme de nuit qui n’a pas de canapé,
Ou une femme (qui est morte) vierge,
Ou un homme (qui est mort) célibataire,
Ou celui qui est mort dans le désert, p. 221
Ou celui qui gît mort dans le désert, découvert avec la terre,
Ou celui dans le désert. . .
Ou celui qui a été arraché à un palmier dattier,
Ou celui qui traverse les eaux en bateau,
Ou un fantôme non enterré,
Ou un fantôme dont personne ne se soucie,
Ou un fantôme sans personne pour faire des offrandes,
Ou un fantôme sans personne pour verser des libations,
Ou un fantôme qui n’a pas de postérité,
Ou une sorcière-démon,
Ou une goule,
Ou un voleur-sprite,
Ou une prostituée (qui est morte) dont le corps est malade,
Ou une femme (qui est morte) en travail,
Ou une femme (qui est morte) avec un bébé au sein,
Ou une femme en pleurs (qui est morte) avec un bébé au sein,
Ou un homme méchant (qui est mort),
Ou un esprit (mauvais),
Ou celui qui hante (le quartier),
Ou celui qui hante (le voisinage),
Ou que tu sois quelqu’un avec qui un jour (j’ai mangé),
Ou que tu sois quelqu’un avec qui un jour (j’ai bu),
Ou avec qui un jour je me suis oint moi-même,
Ou avec qui un jour je me suis vêtu,
Ou que tu sois quelqu’un avec qui je suis entré et j’ai mangé,
Ou avec qui je suis entré et bu,
Ou avec qui je suis entré et je me suis oint moi-même,
Ou avec qui je suis entré et que je me suis vêtu,
Ou si tu es avec qui j’ai mangé quand j’avais faim,
Ou avec qui j’ai bu de l’eau quand j’avais soif,
Ou avec qui je me suis oint d’huile quand j’avais mal,
Ou avec qui, quand j’ai eu froid, j’ai revêtu sa nudité d’un vêtement,
(Quoi que tu sois) jusqu’à ce que tu sois enlevé,
Jusqu’à ce que tu t’éloignes du corps de l’homme, le fils de son dieu,
Tu n’auras pas de nourriture à manger,
Tu n’auras pas d’eau à boire,
. . . . .
Si tu voulais voler au paradis
Tu n’auras pas d’ailes,
Si tu veux te cacher en embuscade sur terre,
Tu ne garantiras aucun lieu de repos.
A l’homme, le fils de son dieu, ne t’approche pas, p. 222
Ne mets pas ta tête sur sa tête,
Ne mets pas ta (main) sur sa main,
Ne mets pas ton pied sur son pied,
De ta main ne le touche pas,
Ne lui tourne (pas) le dos,
Ne lève pas tes yeux (contre lui),
Ne regarde pas derrière toi,
Gibber pas contre lui,
N’entre pas dans la maison,
Par la clôture tu ne brises pas,
Dans la chambre n’entre pas,
Au milieu de la ville, ne l’encerclez pas,
Près de lui, ne faites aucun circuit;
Par la Parole d’Ea,
Que l’homme, le fils de son dieu,
Devenez pur, devenez propre, devenez brillant!
. . . . .
Que son bien-être soit assuré par les bonnes mains des dieux.
Cette incantation est extrêmement importante car nous voyons ici plusieurs des idées qui ont persisté à travers les âges. Le vampire, ou esprit agité, pouvait être un homme dont le corps couché était mort dans le désert, découvert avec la terre, «un fantôme non enterré», et on se souvient aisément que parmi les anciens Grecs, il n’y avait pas de devoir plus respectueux que d’enterrer les morts. De nouveau, aujourd’hui, les Slaves considèrent que les brigands et les bandits de grand chemin dont la vie est passée en actes de violence et de rapine après la mort continueront probablement sous un autre mode leurs habitudes prédatrices de vampires; donc le vampire assyrien pourrait être “un voleur-sprite.” On remarquera que la menace qui chasse le Ekimmu c’est que tant qu’il n’est pas parti, aucune libation ne sera versée sur sa tombe, aucune viande cuite ne sera offerte là-bas et aucun rite salvifique ne sera accompli.
On a même jugé que si un homme regardait un cadavre, il établissait cette mystérieuse connexion psychique qui le rendrait susceptible d’être attaqué par l’esprit du défunt. Parmi les Ibo du district d’Awka, dans le sud du Nigéria, l’un des tabous les plus importants qui doit être préservé par le prêtre de la Terre est qu’il ne peut pas voir un cadavre, tant la contagion spirituelle est considérée comme terrible. S’il en rencontre un sur la route, par malchance, il doit aussitôt se voiler les yeux avec son bracelet. Ce bracelet ou bracelet est un periapt ou un charme le plus important car il est
considéré comme une entrave spirituelle gardant l’âme dans le corps, et lier un tel talisman au poignet est particulièrement approprié, car de nombreux peuples croient qu’une âme réside là où une impulsion est ressentie battre. De plus, non seulement cette amulette garde l’âme en toute sécurité dans le corps, mais elle éloigne également les mauvais esprits et les démons, et donc lors des cérémonies de coupe de cheveux des enfants siamois, qui est un rite extrêmement important et symbolique, un un cordon magique est noué autour du poignet de l’enfant pour le protéger des spectres malins et immondes qui l’envahiraient. En conséquence, en enveloppant ses yeux de son bracelet, le prêtre Ibo se protège contre toute agression de l’esprit du cadavre. Des pouvoirs protecteurs très similaires sont également attribués aux anneaux, et parmi les Lapons, la personne dont le travail est de couvrir un cadavre reçoit d’un parent du défunt une bague en laiton qu’il doit porter attachée à son bras droit jusqu’à la fin des rites funéraires. . On pense que cet anneau le protège de toute apparition de la part du fantôme. Au Tyrol, une femme – surtout si elle est enceinte ou en travail – ne doit jamais enlever son alliance, sinon les sorcières et les vampires auront le pouvoir sur elle. En Angleterre, il est considéré comme courtiser un désastre si une femme enlève son alliance, alors que la perdre en fait est l’un des pires malheurs possibles. On peut dire qu’aujourd’hui les Grecs de l’île de Karpathos (Scarpanto) n’enterrent jamais un corps qui a des anneaux dessus; «car l’esprit, disent-ils, peut même être retenu dans le petit doigt et ne peut pas se reposer». Il n’est pas suggéré que quelque chose d’aussi horrible puisse arriver que l’esprit devienne méchant ou un vampire, mais ce ne serait certainement pas dans la pleine jouissance du bonheur et de la paix.
Parmi les Assyriens le Ekimmu peut apparaître dans une maison. Tout comme le vampire, il passerait à travers les murs ou les portes, et s’il se contentait de glisser comme un fantôme silencieux, ou s’il bavardait en prononçant des mots inintelligibles et moqueurs avec une vadrouille et une tonte hideuses, ou s’il semblait poser une question qui nécessitait un réponse, en tout cas une telle apparition était terriblement malchanceuse. Les malheurs les plus terribles ont suivi, impliquant certainement la destruction de la maison, et il était rare que le propriétaire, sinon beaucoup de sa famille, ne meure pas dans un laps de temps très court. Il semble, en effet, que le Ekimmu viderait la vie d’un foyer,
qui est purement une qualité vampirique, bien qu’il ne semble peut-être pas que ce soit toujours une opération physique, la succion réelle de sang, comme on pense que c’est le cas avec le vrykolokas. Mais le Dr. Campbell-Thompson nous dit qu’il y avait peu de superstitions qui avaient obtenu une telle emprise sur les Assyriens que la croyance en la Ekimmu-esprit.
Une incantation parle de la viande et de la boisson de l’esprit mauvais:
Ta nourriture est la nourriture des fantômes,
Votre boisson est la boisson des fantômes.
Dans une autre “Prière contre les mauvais esprits”, les vampires sont évoqués dans les termes les plus clairs. Cette incantation est la suivante:
Esprits qui minent le ciel et la terre,
Qui minish la terre,
Esprits qui minent la terre, De force géante,
D’une force géante et d’une bande de roulement géante,
Des démons (comme) des taureaux enragés, de grands fantômes,
Des fantômes qui traversent toutes les maisons,
Des démons qui n’ont pas honte,
Ne sachant aucun souci,
Ils broient la terre comme du maïs
Ne connaissant aucune pitié.
Ils font rage contre l’humanité:
Ils répandent leur sang comme la pluie,
Dévorer leur chair (et) sucer leurs veines.
Là où sont les images des dieux, là ils tremblent
Dans le Temple de Nabû, qui féconde les pousses de blé.
Ce sont des démons pleins de violence
Le sang dévore sans cesse.
Invoquez l’interdiction contre eux,
Qu’ils ne reviennent plus dans ce quartier.
Par le ciel, soyez exorcisés! Par la Terre, soyez exorcisés! “
Ces Sept Esprits réapparaissent à la fois dans la magie syriaque et palestinienne. Dans son travail exhaustif et faisant autorité Magie sémitique (p. 52) Dr. Campbell Thompson dit: “Leur prédilection pour le sang humain, telle que décrite dans l’incantation cunéiforme, est conforme à toutes les traditions des horribles vampires médiévaux.” Un charme éthiopien prescrit l’invocation suivante: «Faites périr ainsi, O p. 225 Seigneur, tous les démons et les mauvais esprits qui mangent de la chair et boivent du sang: qui écrasent les os et séduisent les enfants des hommes; chasse-les, ô Seigneur, par la puissance de tes noms et par la prière de tes saints disciples, de ton serviteur. “Dans un exorcisme syriaque encore plus curieux, les Sept Esprits sont décrits en détail presque exactement comme ils ont été représentés par le Les premiers habitants de la Mésopotamie. Le charme est de protéger les troupeaux et les troupeaux, et on peut remarquer qu’il nous est parvenu une incantation protectrice assyrienne qui est presque exactement semblable. Les runes syriaques vont ainsi: «Pour la bergerie du bétail. «Sept frères maudits, fils maudits! destructeurs, fils d’hommes de destruction! Pourquoi rampez-vous sur vos genoux et plus sur vos mains? Et ils ont répondu: «Nous allons sur nos mains, afin que nous puissions manger de la viande, et nous rampons sur nos mains, afin que nous puissions boire du sang. Dès que je l’ai vu, je les ai empêchés de dévorer, et je les ai maudits et liés au nom de ton Père, du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, en disant: “ Ne continuez pas votre chemin, ne finissez pas votre voyage, et que Dieu vous brise les dents, et vous coupe les veines de votre cou, et les tendons de celui-ci, afin que vous ne vous approchiez ni des brebis ni des bœufs de la personne qui les porte (sc. ces brefs)! Je vous lie au nom de Gabriel et Michael, je vous lie par cet Ange qui a jugé la femme qui a coiffé (les cheveux de) sa tête à la veille du dimanche saint. Puissent-ils disparaître sous forme de fumée devant le vent pour toujours et à jamais, Amen ‘”
La vingt-deuxième formule du Inscription cunéiforme d’Asie occidentale, qui a été publié par Sir Henry Rawlinson et M. Edwin Morris en 1866 contient la malédiction suivante contre un vampire:
Le fantôme, enfant du ciel,
Dont les dieux se souviennent,
Le prince Innin (hobgobelin)
Le. . .
Qui produit une fièvre douloureuse,
Le vampire qui attaque l’homme,
le Uruku multiforme
Qu’ils ne le saisissent jamais!
Le plus ancien vampire connu est celui représenté sur un bol préhistorique, dont une gravure a été publiée dans
les Délégation en Perse où un homme s’accouple avec un vampire dont la tête a été coupée du corps. Ici, la menace de lui couper la tête est censée l’effrayer loin de l’acte représenté et le Dr. R. Campbell-Thompson suggère “que” l’homme a probablement bu dans ce bol pour aider la magie (bien que ce soit un point douteux). “Un vampire est représenté parmi les sceaux cylindriques babyloniens dans le Revue d’Assyriologie, 1909, à propos de laquelle la même grande autorité m’a donné la note suivante: «L’idée est, je présume, de ne pas faire les visites nocturnes de Lilith et de ses sœurs. Tout comme les préhistoriques ou les premiers peuples montraient des images d’ennemis la tête coupée ( pour que ce qu’ils montraient puisse se produire par magie sympathique), de même l’homme troublé par les émissions nocturnes attribuées à Lilith, dépeindra sur son amulette les terreurs qui attendent ces méchants. “
La Lilith hébraïque est sans aucun doute empruntée au démon babylonien Lilîtu, un esprit nocturne, bien qu’il ne soit pas probable que la Lilith ait un lien avec l’hébreu Laîlah, «nuit». Il était peut-être inévitable que les rabbins supposent une telle dérivation, et il faut admettre que la comparaison semblait assez plausible, bien qu’elle ait été démontrée, sur la preuve du mot assyrien Lilû, que l’ancienne théorie ne doit plus être maintenue, et Lilith doit presque certainement être mentionnée lalû, “luxe” et lulti, «lascivité, luxure». Ce fantôme de la nuit est mentionné dans Isaias xxxiv, 14, où la Vulgate a: “Et occurrent daemonia, onocentauris, et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum: ibi cubauit lamia, et inuenit sibi requiem.” Lequel Douay traduit: “Et les démons et les monstres se rencontreront, et les poilus crieront l’un à l’autre, la lamia s’est couchée et a trouvé le repos pour elle-même.” le Version autorisée a: “Les bêtes sauvages du désert se rencontreront aussi avec les bêtes sauvages de l’île, et le satyre criera à son compagnon; le hibou criard y reposera aussi et trouvera pour elle un lieu de repos.” Sur hibou hurlant il y a une note marginale: “Ou, monstre de la nuit.” le Version révisée préfère: “Et les bêtes sauvages du désert se rencontreront avec les loups, et le satyre criera à son camarade; oui, le monstre de la nuit s’y installera et lui trouvera un lieu de repos.” Il y a des notes marginales; satyre, “ou, bouc“; les
monstre de la nuit, “Heb. Lilith. “En latin classique, Lamia est défini par Lewis et Short comme “un sorcière qui suçait le sang des enfants, un sorcière, enchanteresse. “Je doute que ce soit une définition très précise, même si elle couvrira peut-être le sens dans Horace, Ars Poetica.340:
Ne quodcumque uelit poscat sibi fabula credi,
Nouveau pransae lamiae puerum uiuum extrahat aluo.
Ce que Francis traduit:
Le maintien probable,
Ni nous forcer à croire la scène monstrueuse,
Ce qui montre un enfant, dévoré par une sorcière tombée,
Tiré de ses entrailles, et à la vie restaurée.
Apulée, Métamorphoses, I, a: “Quo (odore spurcissimi humouris) me lamiae illae infecerunt.” Ici Lamia n’est guère l’équivalent de quelque chose de plus que «sorcière». Ainsi, la signification de Vampire avait été perdue ou submergée dans une large mesure. Cette idée, cependant, semble être restée chez Aristophane, quand dans les Guêpes (1177) Philocréon se vante de ce qu’il peut raconter:
πρῶτον μὲν ὡς ἡ Λάμὶ ἁλοῦς᾽ ἐπέρδετο.
Liddell et Scott définissent Λάμια comme: «un monstre fabuleux dit se nourrir de la chair de l’homme, un bugbear pour effrayer les enfants», se référant à ce passage d’Aristophane, qui ne semble pas une explication très satisfaisante ou savante. Tertullien, Aduersus Ualentinianos, que de Labriolle date à 208-211, utilise l’expression lamiae turres comme des contes de pépinière, Contes de nourrice, contes bleus. Participer à son Grand Dictionnaire de la Langue Latine termes lamia par «lamie, sorcière, qui suçait, disait-on, le sang des enfants; magicienne». Ces lexicographes, pour une raison extraordinaire, ne semblent pas avoir remarqué l’utilisation du mot dans la Vulgate. Gervase de Tilbury dans son Otia Imperialia a un compte rendu des lamias, ainsi appelés, dit-il, parce qu’ils lacèrent les enfants: «lamiae uel laniae, quia laniant infantes». Dans les campagnes, encore beaucoup de vieilles infirmières n’osent pas faire confiance à un enfant dans un berceau sans bougie ni lampe dans la chambre par peur de la sorcière.
La littérature rabbinique regorge de légendes concernant Lilith. Selon la tradition, elle était la première épouse d’Adam et, le
mère des démons, des esprits et Lilin, qui est le même mot que l’assyrien Lilu. De la tradition juive, elle est passée à la démonologie médiévale, et Johann Weyer dit qu’elle était la princesse qui a présidé les succubes. Il est vrai que le LXX traduit dans ce passage du prophète Isaias l’hébreu Lilith par Lamia, mais il a été suggéré que l’équivalent latin le plus proche pourrait être strix, car bien que strix peut être proprement un hibou hurlant, mais les Latins croyaient que ceux-ci drainaient le sang des jeunes enfants, et Ovide, Fasti, VI, 131-140 a:
Sunt auidæ uolucres; non quæ Phineia mensis
Guttura fraudabant: sed genre inde trahunt.
Grande caput: stantes oculi: rostra apta rapinæ
Canities pennis, unguibus hamus inest.
Nocte uolant, puerosque Petunt Nutricis Egentes
Et uitiant cunis corpora rapta suis.
Carpere dicuntur lactentia uiscera rostris;
Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent
Est illis strigibus nom: sed nominis huius
Cause; quod horrenda stridere nocte solent.
Mais il est clair que le Strix n’a pas toujours été un oiseau, car dans le Code Lombard on trouve l’expression «Strix uel masca». Thiel a: “masca (mascha), sorcière, ML. De là le français: masque. “En fait, masca a la même signification que Larua qui signifie un fantôme, ou comme dans la lignée bien connue d’Horace, un masque:
Nile illi larua et tragicis opus esse cothurnis.
dans le Breuiarium Romanum, pars aestiua, le 30 Augusti, ad Matutinum, in 11 Nocturno, lectio V, il est dit de S. Rose de Lima, “laruas daemonum, frequenti certamine uictrix, impauide protriuit ac superauit.”
De plus, le Strix était un vampire, et il n’est peut-être pas superflu de citer à nouveau le célèbre Capitulaire saxon de Charlemagne, 781, Liber I, 6: «Siquis a diabolo deceptus crediderit secundum morem Paganorum, uirum aliquem aut feminam Strigem esse, et homines comedere, et propter hoc ipsum incenderit, uel carnem eius ad comedendum dederit, uel ipsam comederit, capitis sententia puniatur. “
Comme on l’a fait remarquer, la plus ancienne représentation connue d’un vampire la montre en train de s’accoupler avec un homme et nous venons d’observer que Weyer regarde l’hébreu Lilith
en tant que reine des succubes, la connexion ici est très simple, pour Martin Delrio, 5, 7, dans son Disquisitionum Magicarum Libri Sexe, I, 178, (Louvain, 1599), déclare définitivement: “Axioma I sit, solent Malefici et Lamiae cum daemonibus, illi quidem succubis, hae uero incubis, actum Uenerium exercere … Axioma II potest etiam ex huiusmodi concubitu daemonis incubi Proles nasci. ” Michael Psellus (Μιχαὴλ ὁ Πσελλός), le célèbre savant byzantin du dixième siècle, dans son traité, De Operatione daemonum dialogus (graece et latine cum notis Gaulmini, Paris, 1615), dit qu’un moine de Mésopotamie, nommé Marcus, l’a informé que des démons ici capables de passions sensuelles, “Quemadmodum et sperma nonnulli eorum emittunt et uermes quosdam spermate procreant. At incredibile est, inquam, excrementi quicquam daemonibus inesse, uasaue spermatica et uitalia. Uasa quidem eis, inquitili, huiusmodi nulla insunt, superflui autem seu excrementi nescio quid emittunt hoc mihi asserenti credito. Les savants auteurs du Malleus Maleficarum discutent, “Les enfants peuvent-ils être engendrés par les Incubes et les Succubes” (Partie I, Question iii), et “Par quels Diables sont les Fonctions d’Incubus et de Succube pratiquées” (Partie I, Question iv). L’appel est fait à l’autorité de S. Augustine, qui, De Trinitate, III, dit: “Que les démons collectent effectivement le sperme humain, au moyen duquel ils sont capables de produire des effets corporels: mais cela ne peut pas être fait sans un mouvement local, donc les démons peuvent transférer le sperme qu’ils ont recueilli et l’injecter dans le corps des autres. ” De plus, Sprenger et Kramer s’interrogent: “Est-il catholique d’affirmer que les fonctions des Incubes et des Succubes appartiennent indifféremment et également à tous les esprits impurs?” Ils répondent: “Il semble qu’il en est ainsi; car affirmer le contraire serait soutenir qu’il y a du bon ordre parmi eux. «Or le vampire est certainement un esprit impur, que ce soit que le corps soit animé par quelque démon, ou que ce soit l’homme lui-même qui soit autorisé pour entrer dans son cadavre et le dynamiser et par conséquent, il est catholique de croire qu’un vampire peut copuler avec des êtres humains. Il ne manque pas non plus d’exemples de cela. Nous avons l’histoire bien connue racontée par Phlegon de Tralles où Machates jouit de Philinnion, qui a est revenu (bien qu’il ne le sache pas) de sa tombe; et dans la Grèce moderne, il est assez communément admis que le vrykolakas veux revoir
sa veuve et la connaîtront, ou il séduit même d’autres femmes pendant que leurs maris sont absents, ou ce qui est plus frappant encore, il se rendra dans quelque ville où il n’est pas reconnu, et il épousera même des enfants nés de telles unions. M. Lawson (Folklore grec moderne) nous informe qu’en Thessalie, on lui a en fait parlé d’une famille du quartier de Domoko, qui comptait un vrykolakas parmi leurs ancêtres il y a environ deux ou trois générations, et en vertu d’une telle lignée, ils ont hérité d’une certaine compétence qui leur permet de traiter le plus efficacement possible les vrykolakas qui hantent par intervalles la campagne, en effet leur pouvoir était si largement estimé qu’ils avait été parfois convoqué comme spécialistes pour consultation lorsque des districts assez éloignés étaient ainsi troublés.
Alardus Gazaeus dans son Commentaire sur Cassian’s Collations, VIII, 21 ans, (Migne, Patrologia Latina, xlix) enseigne clairement: “Les démons, bien qu’incorporels et spirituels, peuvent prendre pour eux les corps d’hommes morts, et dans de tels corps peuvent copuler avec les femmes, comme généralement avec striges et des sorcières, et par de tels rapports peuvent même avoir des enfants. “Le Strix que nous venons d’examiner, et dans le passage cité de Gazaeus, il ne serait pas, je pense, très mal de simplement traduire striges comme “vampires”. Si l’on demande comment un incubus ou une succube, ou un vampire, peut forniquer avec des êtres humains, on peut se référer au célèbre traité du savant Ludovico Maria Sinistrari, le De Daemonialitate où ce grand théologien franciscain a discuté en détail et admirablement résolu ces difficultés.
Il a été dit qu ‘”il n’y a aucune trace de vampires dans la littérature juive”, mais cela ne semble pas être strictement exact pour, Proverbes XXX, 15, nous avons: “Sanguisugae duae sunt filiae, dicentes: Affer, Affer.” La LXX a βδέλλη pour l’équivalent de l’hébreu ### que la Vulgate rend sanguisuga. Douay traduit: “Le cheval a deux filles qui disent: Apportez, apportez.” le Version autorisée rend: “Le cheval a deux filles, pleurs: Donnez, donnez. “Le Version révisée préfère: “Le cheval-lixivier a deux filles qui pleurent, donnent, donnent.” Il y a des notes marginales, sur le horseleach, “Ou, vampires. “En pleurant;” Ou, appelé. “Ce sanguisuga est probablement un vampire ou un démon suceur de sang, et ainsi le passage est expliqué par p. 231 Mühlau, De Prouerbiis Aguri et Lemuelis (42 sqq.), Leipzig, 1849; et Wellhausen, Parler de paganisme arabe, p. 149; (2e édition), Berlin, 1897.
Dans l’Égypte ancienne, nous pouvons tracer certains parallèles avec les croyances assyriennes, car les anciens Égyptiens considéraient que chaque homme avait son ka, son double, qui à sa mort vivait dans le tombeau avec le corps et y fut visité par le khu, le corps ou l’âme spirituelle qui, à la mort, quittait le corps, et bien qu’il puisse visiter le corps, ne pouvait être ramené de son habitation céleste que par l’accomplissement cérémoniel de certains rites mystiques. Pourtant, d’un certain point de vue, l’âme était suffisamment matérielle pour prendre part aux offrandes funéraires qui étaient apportées au tombeau pour le rafraîchissement de la ka. L’un des principaux objets de ces oblations sépulcrales était de maintenir le double dans le tombeau afin qu’il ne soit pas contraint de se promener à l’étranger à la recherche de nourriture. Mais, comme en Assyrie, à moins que le ka étaient abondamment alimentés en nourriture, ils sortiraient de la tombe et seraient poussés à manger les abats ou à boire toute eau saumâtre qu’il pourrait trouver. le ka occupait une partie spéciale du tombeau, «la maison des ka», et un prêtre appelé« le prêtre de la ka“a été nommé spécialement pour y administrer. ka reniflait la douce odeur de l’encens qui lui était très agréable quand celle-ci était brûlée certains jours chaque année avec des offrandes de fleurs, d’herbes, de viande et de boisson en tout dont elle prenait beaucoup de plaisir. le ka also viewed with pleasure the various scenes which were sculptured or richly painted on the walls of the tomb. In fact it was not merely capable, but desirous of material consolations. It would appear even that in later times the khu was identified with the ka.
In Arabic the word for horse-leach is ###, while ###, formed from the same root “to hang,” means the kind of Jinn called Ghoul (###). The Ghoul appears as a female demon who feeds upon dead bodies and infests the cemeteries at night to dig open the grave for her horrid repasts. Some times she would seem to be a woman, half-human, half-fiend, for in story she is often represented as wedded to a husband who discovers her loathsome necrophagy. She can bear children, and is represented as luring travellers out of the way to lonely and remote ruins when she falls upon them suddenly and devours them, greedily sucking the warm blood
from their veins. The Ghoul is familiar from The Thousand and One Nights as is the story of the Prince who having pursued a strange beast whilst hunting was carried to a great distance, and chanced to see by the wayside a lovely maiden who sat and wept. She told him that she was the daughter of an Indian king who had been lost in this desert spot by her caravan. The chivalrous youth takes her upon his horse, and a little later pleading a certain necessity she descends–latrines are particularly considered to be haunts of evil spirits and malignant entities, and Jean de Thévenot in his Travels into the Levant (“Newly done out of French, folio, London, 1687), says: “The Kerim Kiatib, merciful scribes wait upon him [the Turk] in all places, except when he does his needs, when they let him go alone, staying for him at the door till he comes out, and then they take him into possession again wherefore when the Turks go to the house of office they put the left foot foremost, to the end the Angel who registers their sins may leave them first; and when they come out they set the right foot before, that the Angel who writes down their good works may have them first under his protection.”
The young man hears voices in the haunted latrine, the feigned Indian lady cries: “Children, to-day I have brought you a fat and comely juvenal.” And several answer: “Bring him along, Mother, bring him along for our bellies cry for food.” At these words he trembled exceedingly for he saw he had to do with a ghoul and when she returned he lifted up his voice in prayer: “O thou who art ever ready to hearken to the oppressed who calls upon Thee and Who dost unveil all deceit, grant me to triumph over mine enemy, and keep all evil far from me, for Thou canst all that Thou dost desire.” When the ghoul heard these words she vanished from sight, and the prince is able to make his way back home. (The Fifth Night. Les Mille Nuits et Une Nuit. trs. Dr. J. C. Mardrus, Vol. I, 1899, pp. 57-59, “Histoire du Prince et de la Goule.”)
In the story of Sidi Nouman a young man marries a wife named Amine, who to his surprise when they are set at dinner only eats a dish of rice grain by grain, taking up each single grain with a bodkin, and “instead of partaking of the other dishes she only carried to her mouth, in the most deliberate manner, small crumbs of bread, scarcely enough to satisfy
a sparrow. The husband discovers that Amine steals out at nights and on one occasion he follows her. Sidi Nouman is relating these adventures to the Caliph Haroun Alraschid and he continues: “I saw her go into a burying place near our house; I then gained the end of a wall, which reached the burying place, and after having taken proper care not to be seen, I perceived Amine with a female Ghoul. Your Majesty know that Ghouls of either sex are demons, which wander about the fields. They commonly inhabit ruinous buildings, whence they issue suddenly and surprise passengers, whom they kill and devour. If they fail in meeting with travellers, they go by night into burying places, to dig up dead bodies, and feed upon them. I was both surprised and terrified, when I saw my wife with this Ghoul. They dug up together a dead body, which had been buried that very day, and the Ghoul several times cut off pieces of the flesh, which they both ate, as they sat upon the edge of the grave. They conversed together with great composure, during their savage and inhuman repast; but I was so far off that it was impossible for me to hear what they said, which, no doubt, was as extraordinary as their food, at the recollection of which I still shudder. When they had finished their horrid meal, they threw the remains of the carcase into the grave, which they filled again with the earth they had taken from it.” (Arabian Nights Entertainments, translated by the Rev. Edward Forster. New Edition. London, 1850, p. 399.)
When they are next at dinner Sidi Nouman remonstrating with his wife asks if the dishes before them are not as palatable as the flesh of a dead man. In a fury she dashes a cup of cold water into his face and bids him assume the form of a dog. After various adventures as a mongrel cur, he is restored to his original shape by a young maiden skilled in white magic, and this lady also provides him with a liquid which when thrown upon Amine with the words: “Receive the punishment of thy wickedness” transforms this dark sorceress into a mare. This animal is promptly led away to the stable.
This tale is not dissimilar to a history which is related by the Dominican, Mathias do Giraldo, who was an exorcist of the Inquisition, in his Histoire curieuse et pittoresque des sorciers, devins, magiciens, astrologues, voyants, revenants
âmes en peine, vampires, spectres, esprits malins, sorts jetes exorcismes, etc., depuis l’Antiquité jusqu’à nos jours. (Ed. Fornari Paris, 1846.)
It may be taken as an example of many Oriental fictions which are significant since they show the popular belief in vampires. About the beginning of the fifteenth century there lived in a pleasant suburb of Bagdad an elderly merchant who by his diligence throughout the years amassed a very considerable fortune, and who had no heir to his wealth save a son whom he tenderly loved. Wishing to see the young man happily married, he decided that he would arrange a match with the daughter of another merchant, a friend of old standing, who like himself had prospered exceedingly in commerce. Unfortunately the lady was far from comely, and upon being shown her portrait the youth, Abdul-Hassan by name, asked for a certain delay that he might consider the proposed union.
One evening when, according to his wont, he was rambling alone in the light of the moon through the country near his father’s house, he heard a voice of enchanting sweetness which rendered with great skill and tenderness certain love lyrics to the accompaniment of a lute. The youth, leaping a garden wall, found that the singer was a maiden of extraordinary beauty, who was seated in the balcony of a small but elegant house and who, unconscious of her audience, continued to fascinate him by her enchanting voice almost as much as by her dazzling charms. On the following morning, after his devotions, Abdul-Hassan proceeded to make inquiries concerning the lady. But so retired a life did she lead that it was not for some while he was able to ascertain that she was unmarried and the only daughter of a philosopher, whose learning was said to be of the most profound, although he could bestow scant dowry upon his child, a paragon instructed in every art and science. From this moment the marriage which had been suggested became impossible to the young man, and realizing that concealment would be useless he boldly approached his father, confessed his love and besought that Ito might be allowed to choose his own wife. As until that time he had in every way obeyed his doting parent and the father found it impossible to deny a first request in so important a particular. Accordingly he determined to put
no obstacle in the way of his son’s happiness, and paying a visit to the house of the philosopher he formally demanded for his son the hand of this sage’s daughter. After a brief courtship the marriage was celebrated with much splendour, and several weeks passed in an extreme of happiness. Abdul-Hassan presently noted that his wife, Nadilla, would never partake of an evening meal, for which singularity she excused herself on account of the somewhat frugal and severe regimen she had always followed under her father’s roof. One night, however, after but a few weeks had passed, Abdul-Hassan, awakening from a deep sleep found that he was alone in the bed. At first he took no heed, but he grew anxious as the hours wore away, and his bride did not return until shortly before dawn. Resolved to fathom the mystery he still feigned to be fast in slumber, but on the following night when he had pretended to close his eyes he carefully watched the actions of his wife. After a little while, no sooner did she deem herself unobserved than throwing over her a long dark cloak she silently slipped away. He rose, hastily dressed himself, and followed her at some little distance. To his surprise she soon left the main streets of the town and made her way to a remote cemetery which had a very ill repute as being darkly haunted. Tracking her very carefully he perceived that she entered a large vault, into which with the utmost caution he ventured to steal a glance. It was dimly lighted by three funerary lamps, and what was his horror to behold his young and beautiful wife seated with a party of hideous ghouls, about to partake of their loathsome feast. One of these monsters brought in a corpse which had been buried that day, and which was quickly torn to pieces by the company, who devoured the reeking gobbets with every evidence of satisfaction, recreating themselves meanwhile with mutual embraces and the drone of a mocking dirge. Fearing that he might be caught and even destroyed, as soon as possible the youth escaped back to his home, and when his wife returned he appeared deep in unbroken sleep until the morning. Throughout the whole of that day he gave no sign of what he had discovered, but in the evening as Nadilla was excusing herself from joining him at supper, according to her custom, he insisted that she should eat with him. None the less she steadfastly declined, and at last filled with anger and
disgust he cried: “So then you prefer to keep your appetite for your supper with the ghouls.” Nadilla turned pale, her eyes blazed, and she shook with fury, but she vouchsafed no reply and retired in silence. However, about midnight when she thought that her husband was fast asleep she exclaimed: “Now wretch receive the punishment for thy curiosity.” At the same time she set her knee firmly on his chest, seized him by the throat, with her sharp nails tore open a vein and began greedily to suck his blood. Slipping from beneath her he sprung to his feet, and dealt her a blow with a sharp poniard wherewith he had been careful to arm himself, so that she sank down dying at the side of the bed. He called for help, the wound in his throat was dressed and on the following day the remains of this vampire were duly interred.
However, three nights afterwards, although the doors were locked, Nadilla appeared exactly at twelve o’clock in her husband’s room and attacked him with superhuman strength and ferocity, tearing at his throat. His weapon proved useless now and the one chance of safety lay in speedy flight. On the following day they caused her tomb to be opened, and the body was discovered apparently asleep since it seemed to breathe, the eyes were open and glared horribly, the lips were blub and red, but the whole grave was swimming in newly-spilled blood. After this they repaired to the house of the old philosopher and he, when pressed revealed a most remarkable history. He said that his daughter, who, as be suspected, had devoted herself to the study of black magic, had been married some few years previously to an officer of high rank at the court of the Caliph. She forthwith, however, gave herself over to the most abominable debauchery and had been killed by her outraged husband, but coming to life again in the grave she returned to her father’s house and dwelt there. Upon hearing this tale it was determined that the body must be exhumed and cremated. A great pyre of dry wood was built with frankincense, aloes, and costly spices, the corpse, writhing and foaming at the mouth, was placed thereon and reduced to ashes, which were collected and scattered in the Tigris to be borne away and dispersed amid the waves of the Persian Sea.
This is an extremely typical legend of an Oriental vampire, and we find the same details repeated again and again both
in Eastern stories, and in those imitations which were so popular throughout Europe when once Antoine Galland had given France his adaptation of The Arabian Nights. Thus in Les Contes Orientaux of the Comte de Caylus, which are related to a King of Persia, afflicted with insomnia, in order to lull him to sleep, there is the story of a vampire who is only able to prolong this existence by devouring from time to time the heart of a comely young man. It would not be difficult to quote similar fictions but they are often derived at second, or even third hand, and accordingly are of little evidential value merely being devised for the entertainment of the reader.
Throughout the ancient Empire of China and from the earliest times the belief in vampires is very widely spread, and sinologists have collected many examples, some of which occur in myth and legend and some of which were related as facts, showing us that the Chinese Vampire lacks few, if any of the horrible traits he exhibits in Greek and Slavonic superstition.
The Chinese Vampire, Ch’ing Shih, is regarded as a demon who by taking possession of a dead body preserves it from corruption owing to his power of preying upon other corpses or upon the living. The Chinese believe that a man has two souls: the Hun, or superior soul, which partakes of the quality of good spirits; and the P’o, or inferior soul which is generally malignant and may be classed among the Kuei, or evil spirits. It is thought that whilst any portion of a body, even if it be a small bone, remained whole and entire the lower soul can utilize this to become a vampire, and particularly should the sun or the moon be allowed to shine fully upon an unburied body the P’o will thence acquire strength to issue forth and obtain human blood to build up the vitality of the vampire. The belief,–which has some natural foundation,–that the sun can convey strength and vitality, is to be found, in one form or another, in very many lands.
Thus among the Chacu Indians of South America a newly married couple must sleep the first night on a mare’s or bullock’s skin with their heads towards the west, for the marriage was not fully ratified, nor would the wife conceive until the rays of the sun had touched their feet the following morn. During the Impregnation-rite (Garbhâdhâna) which was a part of old p. 238 Hindoo marriages, the bride was required to look towards the sun or to be exposed to its rays so that she might become fruitful, and bear her husband stout boys. In parts of Siberia it was the custom for a young couple to be led forth with some ceremony and rejoicing on the morning after the nuptials to greet the sun and bask in. his rays. This is still observed in Iran and Central Asia where it is believed that the clear beams of the sun will impregnate the bride.
There is an old myth amongst the Indians of Guacheta that the daughter of a certain chief having climbed a hill top when she was touched by the first rays of the sun conceived and gave birth to an emerald, which in a day or two became a child who grew to be a mighty hero, Garanchacha, the Son of the Sun. In Samoan legend a damsel named Mangamangai finds herself pregnant through gazing at the Sun at dawn, and bears a male baby, the Child of the Sun.
The Phrygians thought of the Moon as a Man, and the same idea prevails or formerly prevailed among the Greenlanders who imagined that the Moon was a brisk youth and he “now and then comes down to give their wives a visit and caress them; for which reason no woman dare sleep lying upon her back without she first spits upon her fingers and rubs her belly with it. For the same reason the young maids are afraid to stare long at the moon, imagining they may get a child by the bargain.” It is said that in some parts of Brittany it was once supposed by the peasants that a girl who exposed herself naked in the moonlight might find herself pregnant by it and give birth to a monster. In England the same belief existed, and the old term “moon-calf,” partus lunaris, signified a false conception–mola carnea, or foetus imperfectly formed, being supposed to be occasioned by the influence of the moon.
In appearance the Chinese monster is very like the European vampire, for he has red staring eyes, huge sharp talons or crooked nails, but he is also often represented as having his body covered with white or greenish white hair. In his standard work on The Religious System of China, Dr. de Groot suggests that this last characteristic may be due to the fungi which grow so profusely on the cotton grave-clothes used by the Chinese. In some cases, if he be particularly potent for ill, the Vampire is able to fly with speed through the air, which
may be compared with the faculty ascribed to vampires by Serbian legend, that of penetrating a house or vanishing away in a swiftly floating mist or vapour.
A few anecdotes, which I owe to Mr. G. Willoughby-Meade’s Chinese Ghouls and Goblins, will show the close similarity of vampirish activities in China to those which are recorded in the tales of other lands. In the South-West of China a man added to his other villainies the study of black magic which enabled him to perpetrate the most abominable crimes. Having been caught in the very act of murder he was executed but within three days he had returned to earth and was terrorizing the whole neighbourhood. With infinite difficulty he was yet again made a prisoner, and this time he was drowned in a mighty river, which, it was hoped, would bear his body away on its foaming stream. Yet the third day had hardly come when it was reported that he was scouring the countryside and committing fresh deeds of violence and blood. Once more was he taken and put to death, only to re-appear and infest both hamlets and villages. At last when he had been seized and his head struck from his body, this was buried on the spot where he had fallen, whilst the severed head was conveyed to a great distance. Within forty-eight hours he was again seen, apparently as powerful and savage as ever, but it was noted that his neck was marked around by a thin streak of red. At last his mother, whom he had beaten, resorted to a mandarin of great honour and worship and gave him a mysterious vase, which was hermetically sealed. She explained that she had reason to believe that this through enchantment contained the superior soul of her son, whilst the inferior soul continued to animate and would persist in re-energizing his body, influencing him to commit these atrocities. “If you but break this little vase,” said she, “you can dissipate both souls, and then you may execute him once and for all.” The vessel, tied fast and painted with cabalistic signs, was forthwith shattered into a thousand pieces. The offender was caught with far less difficulty than had been supposed possible, he was put to death, and in a few days the body crumbled to dust, nor did he ever again re-visit the earth.
Although this story may be held strictly not to be a Vampire legend it is certainly closely analogous, and the following
narrative contains details which we meet in a thousand traditions of Hungary and Moldavia. A tutor named Liu, who was resident in a family that lived at some distance from his native place, was granted a holiday in order that he might perform his devotions at the tomb of his ancestors. On the morning when he was to resume his duties his wife entered his chamber very early to call him so that he might set forth in good time on his journey, but to her horror when she approached the bed she saw stretched thereon a headless body, although there was no spot or stain of blood. Half mad with fear she at once gave the alarm, yet the circumstances were so surprising that the Magistrate gave orders for her arrest upon the suspicion of having murdered her husband, and in spite of the fact that she vehemently protested her innocence she was detained in custody until the fullest inquiries had been made. However, nothing immediately transpired to throw light upon the mystery, and it was not until two or three days later that a neighbour who was gathering firewood on a hillside hard by perceived a great coffin with the lid partly raised, that seemed to have been curiously placed near an old and neglected grave. His utmost apprehensions being aroused he called a number of persons together from the village before he dared investigate the cause of this unusual circumstance. They approached the coffin and quickly removed the cover. Within reposed a corpse which had the face of a living man, unspeakably brutish and horrible. Its angry red eyes glared fiercely upon them, long white teeth champed the full red lips into a foam of blood and spittle, and within its lean bony hands, armed with long nails like the claws of a vulture it held the missing head of the unfortunate Liu. Some at once ran to the authorities, who upon hearing the report hastened to the hill with an armed guard, reaching the place well before sunset. It was found impossible to detach the head without severing the arms of the corpse, and when this was done the crimson gore gushed out in a great flood swilling the coffin. The head of Liu was found to be desiccated, sucked dry, and bloodless. Command was forthwith given that the coffin and its contents should at once be burned to ashes on a mighty pyre, whilst the tutor’s widow was immediately released from custody.
Another story, which for its macabre details might have
come from the pages of Apuleius and indeed something reminds us of the adventures of Aristomenes in the hostelry at Hypata, is that of four travellers who, late one night, when very weary and almost fainting for want of food, knocked at the door of an inn at Ts’ai Tien, Shan Tung. There was no accommodation to be had, every room was full, the place was crowded from cock-loft to cellar. However, our travellers were so wayworn that they refused to budge, and they pressed Boniface to find them at least some nook or corner, they were not nice and they did not mind what or where. At last after being persuaded with many words and well-nigh as many coins he very reluctantly led them to a lonely house at a little distance where, so he curtly muttered, his daughter-in-law had recently died. The room was only lighted by the flicker of one poor lamp which was all he could allow them and behind a heavy curtain was laid the uncoffined body of the girl. Four pallets, not altogether uncomfortable, with blankets and a rug or two had been provided, and in a very few minutes three of the travellers were fast asleep. A strange sense of evil seemed to oppress the fourth, and in spite of his fatigue fear prevented him from shutting his eyes for some little while. Yet the leaden weight that lay heavy on his lids could not be resisted long and he had already fallen into a doze when he heard what seemed to be an ominous rustling sound behind the curtain as though somebody was stirring very softly. Cold with horror, he peered out from half-closed eyes and he distinctly saw a horrible stealthy hand thrust itself from behind the curtain which was noiselessly drawn aside. There stood the livid corpse gazing into the room with a baleful glare. It approached softly and stooping over the three sleepers seemed to breathe thence upon their faces. The man who was awake horror-struck buried his head under the quilt. He felt that the corpse was bending over him, but after a few moments as he lay in an agony of terror there was the same gentle rustle as before, and anon cautiously peeping he noticed that it had returned to its bier and was stretched out stark and still.
He crept from his place and not daring to whisper shook each one of his comrades, but could not make them move. He then reached for his clothes, but the gentle rustling sounded once more and he realized that he had been observed. p. 242 In a moment he flung himself back on the bed and drew the coverlet tightly over his face. A few moments later, he felt that the awful creature was standing by his side. However, after a scrutiny it seemed to retire again, and at length half-mad with fright he put out his hand, grasped some clothes which he huddled on and rushed bare-foot from the house, the door of which he was able to bolt and bar just as the corpse leaped at him with demoniacal fury. As he ran at full speed under the light of a waning moon to put as great a distance between himself and the haunted house as possible, he chanced to glance back and shrieked aloud with fear to find that the corpse was not only hard at his heels but gaining upon him rapidly. In desperation he fled behind a large willow-tree which grew at the side of the road, and as the corpse rushed in one direction he darted rapidly in the other. Fire seemed to glint from its red eyes, and as it swooped upon him with hideous violence he fell senseless to the ground, so that missing its aim it clasped the tree in a rigid gripe. At daybreak they were found, and when the corpse was pulled away it was seen that its fingers had impaled and riddled the tree with the force of a sharp wimble. The traveller after many months recovered his health, but his companions were all found to be lying dead, poisoned by the fetid breath of the Vampire. It should be remarked that here we have a detail, repulsive enough but altogether in keeping, which we also find in Hungary, namely the carrion stink of a vampire’s breath. This certainly seems to be one of the most horrible, as it is one of the most significant stories in the whole library of Chinese vampire legend.
It hardly seems necessary to give in detail the history of Lu, who whilst watching one night in his orchard saw a terrible spectre, a hideous hag clothed in red. (It may be remarked that among certain tribes, such as the Borâna Gallas and the Masai, warriors who have slain a foe in fight are painted with vermilion, but it is curious to find that in China this evil apparition should have worn red since this is the lucky Yang, or solar colour, and considered to be of efficacy against the darker powers.) A thief who entered Ws garden to rob the fruit was discovered mad with terror since in one of the alleys he had encountered a man without a head. That part of the ground whence these phantoms seemed to spring was
dug up, and they soon came across a red coffin containing the body of a woman, together with a black coffin in which was the corpse of a man who had been decapitated. Both bodies wore as perfectly preserved as though they had been buried that very day. The coffins and bodies were burned to ashes, whereupon the hauntings ceased.
This story might be paralleled from ghost tales the whole wide world over, but the following seems more particularly to belong to the Vampire legends. In the year 1751, a courier called Chang Kuei was sent express from Peking with a most urgent government dispatch. Late one night after he had passed through Liang Hsiang a fierce storm arose, and the gusts of wind completely extinguished his lantern. Fortunately he perceived at some little distance a humble khan whither he made his way as it was absolutely impossible to proceed in the darkness. The door was opened by a young girl who ushered him in and led his horse to a little stable. That night she admitted him to her bed promising to set him well on his way at dawn, but he did not wake in fact until many hours after, when he was not only benumbed with cold but to his surprise found himself lying stretched upon a tomb in a dense thicket, while his horse was tied to a neighbouring tree. His dispatch was not delivered until twelve hours after the time when it was due, and accordingly, being questioned and asked what accident had delayed him, he related the whole circumstance. The magistrate ordered that inquiries should be made locally, and they discovered that a girl, named Chang, a common strumpet, had hanged herself in the wood some years before, and that several persons had been led aside to enjoy her favours, and so been detained in the same way as the imperial courier. It was presently ordered that her tomb should be opened, and when this had been done the body was found therein perfectly preserved, plump and of a rosy complexion, as though she were but in a soft slumber. It was burned under the direction of the authorities, and from that time the spot ceased to be so terribly haunted.
These particulars are in some respects not altogether unlike a legend which is related of a certain S. Hilary, who was one of the earliest missionaries in the Alpine districts of North Italy. The story goes that after they had journeyed for many days into the heart of a most desolate country
they came one eve of S. John to a remote village of some size as it appeared where the people were holding a midsummer festival, but with strange pagan rites. Here at eventide they were greeted by a grave man saluting them most courteously and saying that he was the steward of the Lady Pelagia, who wished to give them entertainment in her palace. The missionaries, grateful of this kindness, were received with gracious welcome, and the mistress of the house, a patrician who was of the most surpassing beauty, led them to a banquet which had been made ready. Here Hilary sat beside her and she talked of many things, so that the good Bishop was moved with a great tenderness at her youth and her beauty. She thanked them in all humility for the honour they had done her villa, pressed them to sojourn long as her guests, and asked them many questions which the learned man was delighted to answer, whilst his companions sat as it were spell-bound by her charms. Presently, however, the conversation took a deeper turn and the lady poised shrewd problems in science and in theology, difficulties which S. Hilary was well-nigh hard put to it to solve neatly and in simple words. Yet she spake with such modesty and with such an air of seeking to know more of divine things that the holy Hilary was glad to expound these matters, albeit he thought the argument savoured somewhat of sophistry and wordy skill. At length she said in honeyed phrase, “I pray thee, good father, rede me this question aright: What is the distance between heaven and earth?” The Saint gazed in some wonder, when suddenly a voice, menacing and loud, was heard to thunder through the hall: “Who can tell us that more certainly than Lucifer who fell from heaven?” The Lady Pelagia arose and flung up her lovely white arms with an exceeding bitter cry, but the voice continued: “Breathe on her, Hilary, breathe upon her the breath of the Name of Christ!” And the Bishop, rising, fortified himself with the sign of redemption and breathed upon the beautiful woman in the name of the Lord. Instantly the light died from her eyes and the life left her limbs, and there was no longer the Lady Pelagia but a statue of marble which glistened exceeding white and fair. And Hilary knew it to be a statue of the goddess whom men worshipped in Greece as Aphrodite, but in Rome as Venus, who is also Pelagia, born of the sea, At
that moment the statue fell prone in a thousand pieces, the lamps were extinguished, and they saw in the east the grey of dawn. As the sun rose they beheld they were in the midst of the ruins of an ancient Roman city, and their feet stood in the courts of a marble temple, broken and decayed, o’ergrown with high grass and rankest weeds. This had been the fair hall where they feasted, and all around were scattered the fragments of the statue of the Lady Pelagia. So they bent the knee in prayer and in thanksgiving that they had been delivered from the wiles of the Temptress, and anon they passed on their way lauding Christ in sweet hymns and melody of many canticles.
A Chinese story which is referred to the eighteenth century tells us of a Tartar family living at Peking, a house of the highest importance, whose son was betrothed to a lady of lineage equally aristocratic and equally ancient. Upon the wedding day, as is the Chinese custom, the bride was brought home in the ceremonial sedan-chair and this according to wont was carefully curtained and closed. It so happened that just as they were passing an old tomb there sprung up for a moment a sharp breeze which raised a cloud of thickest dust. When the cortège reached the bridegroom’s house there stepped out of the sedan two brides identical in every detail both of feature and dress. It was impossible at that point to interrupt the nuptials, but later in the evening the most piercing screams were heard from the bridal chamber. When the door of the room had been quickly broken open the husband was stretched unconscious on the ground, while one of the brides lay with her eyes torn out and her face covered with blood. No trace of the second bride could be seen. But upon search being made with lanterns and torches a huge and hideous bird, mottled black and grey, armed with formidable claws and a beak like a vulture was discovered clinging to a beam of the roof. Before they could fetch weapons to attack it, the monstrous thing disappeared with exceeding swiftness through the door. When the husband recovered his senses he related that one of the brides bad suddenly struck him across the face with her heavily embroidered sleeve and that the jewels and passementerie stunned him for the moment. A second afterwards a huge bird swooped upon him and pecked out his eyes with its beak. So this horrible Vampire blinded
the newly married pair. The circumstance of the dust-cloud is exactly similar to the mist wherein the Slavonic Vampire conveys himself, but the transformation of the Vampire into a bird is scarcely to be met with in European tradition. Crows, rooks, and ravens may sometimes vaguely held to be unlucky, but they are generally associated with weather-lore, although Justus Doolittle in his Social Life of the Chinese says that the appearance of a crow at a wedding in China was always considered most ominous. In various parts of England, particularly in Essex, to see a crow flying alone, or if a crow flies towards you, it is considered a sign of bad luck. In Worcestershire they say that: “When a single crow flies over you, it is the sign of a funeral; two are a certain prognostication of a wedding.” The old saw is well-known with reference to crows:
Three is health,
Four is wealth,
Five is sickness,
Six is death.
The raven was often held to denote sickness and death and his croak sounded a knell. So in The Jew of Malta, Marlowe has:
Let the sad presaging raven that tells
The sick man’s passport in her hollow beak,
And in the shadow of the silent night
Doth shake contagion from her sable wings.
On the other hand, rooks are far more lucky. In East Anglia, and indeed in many other parts of England, it bodes good fortune if rooks settle near a house, for this bird always begins to build on a Sunday, and when rooks desert a rookery, it foretells the downfall of the family owning the property; in some counties even they are said as a sign of grief to abandon their nests at the approach of death to the head of the family, and not to return to the ancestral domain until after the funeral at soonest. An actual instance was given of this occurrence as having happened in 1874, on the death of Sir John Walsham, at his seat, Knill Court, in Herefordshire. In Cornwall rooks are believed to forsake an estate if on the death of the proprietor no heir can be found to succeed him. p. 247 So it will be seen that a black bird need by no means invariably be of ill-omen. Propertius speaks of the crow as “innocent” (cornix immerita). In his denunciation of the bawd and witch Acanthis he mentions that the eyes of the crow were often used to confect a magical charm.
Posset ut intentos astu caecare maritos,
Cornicum immeritas eruit ungue genas,
Consuluitque stryges nostro de sanguine, et in me
Hippomanes foetae semina legit equae.
This passage is to be taken literally, although no doubt there is also an allusion to the proverb cornicum oculos configere “to delude or deceive the most wary,” as we say “to catch a weasel asleep,” which no doubt arose from its custom of attacking prey first in the eyes. Beroaldus and Passerat would explain the allusion of Propertius metaphorically, but this is only a secondary allusion.
There is related a curious story of a Chinese temple which was haunted by a Vampire. This fane was dedicated to three heroes of the third century A.D., who had been deified on account of their prowess during the civil wars of that most troubled period. It seems that the place was always kept locked except on the great solemnities of the spring and autumn sacrifices, and not even a priest would venture to sleep there. In the year 1741 a shepherd asked and obtained permission to spend his nights in the shelter of the temple. Many people told him that it was terribly haunted, but nobody seemed exactly to know in what manner. Accordingly taking his big leather whip and having provided himself with a lantern, after he had collected his flock at evening he entered and proceeded to settle for the night. However, when all was darkest and most still it seemed that something stirred near the three statues. On a sudden there rose up out of the ground near the pedestal a very tall man of hideous aspect, gaunt and lean, his body covered with matted green hair. His glowing eyes seemed to flash fire when he caught sight of the intruder, and darting forth a claw-like hand armed with the nails of a bird of prey he almost succeeded in seizing the shepherd, who leapt nimbly to one side and lashed out with his heavy whip. The spectre, however, grinned hideously showing rows of shark-like teeth and the heavy leather fell
harmlessly upon him. Rushing to the door the shepherd was just in time to evade a second clutch. Hardly knowing what he did he clambered up a large tree in the courtyard, and looking down he saw that the horrible figure was standing in the doorway glowering with rage, but did not appear able to advance beyond the threshold. All night the poor wretch clung there, and as the day broke the spectre vanished into the recesses of the building. It was early when various persons came to inquire how the bold man had fared, and finding him half distraught with terror they soon learned what had happened during the night. The next proceeding was to examine the base of the statute, and when this had been cautiously done it was remarked that a curious black vapour rose from the ancient fissures in the stone. The local authorities investigated these circumstances, and gave instructions that the pedestal should be broken down to discover what was lurking beneath it. After digging a little depth they found the body of a tall man of most hideous appearance, fetid and desiccated, covered with a green pile, just as the shepherd had described. The magistrates immediately commanded that a pyre should be built. The corpse was set thereon, and torches applied at every corner. The Vampire writhed and whistled with a screeching sound; blood poured from it in streams, and the bones crackled sharply. Once the body had been consumed, the hauntings entirely ceased but it was long before the temple lost its sombre reputation.
It will be seen that the Chinese beliefs are linked with the Babylonian ideas on the one hand, for as the Ekimmu was driven from the Underworld by hunger and thirst when no offerings were made at the tomb, and it came forth to wander on earth and attack those whom it might devour, so ghosts enduring the Buddhist purgatory of physical want are obviously imagined to seize living persons that they may refresh and energize themselves with human blood. Again, as in Western Europe to-day, so in China, the Vampire is most powerful for evil between sunset and sunrise. His dominion commences when the sun sinks to rest, and he is driven back to the lair of his grave with the first rays of the dawn. One prominent feature of the European Vampire, a circumstance which affords an additional reason why he is dreaded and shunned,
perhaps even more than any other demon or phantom of the night is that he infects with his pollution his luckless victim who in his turn also becomes a vampire. In China this does not appear to be a feature of the Vampire manifestation. Something of the kind, however, may be traced among the Karens of Burma. For a Karen wizard will snare the wandering soul of a sleeper and by his art transfer it to the body of a dead man. The latter, accordingly, returns to life as the former expires. But the friends of the sleeper in their turn engage another sorcerer who will catch the soul of another sleeper, and it is he who dies as the first sleeper comes to life. Apparently this process may be continued almost indefinitely, and so it may be presumed that there takes place an indeterminate succession of death and resuscitations.
With regard to another Chinese Ghoul, Mr. Willoughby-Meade tells us: “the Prêta, or suffering soul of a suicide seeking a substitute, is not quite a parallel to the true vampire.
The Prêta also appears in Southern India, but the Indian Vampire which may now be briefly considered, however interesting, will hardly be found to have those features in common with the Western Vampires as are so strikingly to be noticed in the Chinese variety. Indeed, it may be said that the Indian Vampire is practically a demon, and that only in a few minor details does he essentially approximate to the true European species. Mr. N. M. Penzer in a note upon The Ocean of Story says: “As far as the Ocean of Story is concerned, the ‘Demons’ which appear are Rakshasa, Pisacha, Vetala, Bhuta, Dasyus, Kumbhanda and Kushmanda. Of these that most resembling the European Vampire is probably the Rakshasa,” of which a very horrible description is given.
“Now the Vetala, which is seen in all its glory in the present work (The Ocean of Story) is a curious individual. He is the Deccan Guardian, in which capacity he sits on a stone smeared with red paint, or is found in the prehistoric stone circles scattered over the hills. In fiction, however, he appears as a mischievous goblin, and that is how we find him in the Ocean. A study of his actions will show him to be quite above the ordinary run of such demons. He is always ready to play some rather grim practical joke on any unwary person who chances to wander near burning-ghats at night, for here are corpses lying about or hanging from stakes, and what
more effective means could be formed to frighten the life out of humans than by tenanting a corpse!
“I would describe the Vetala as ‘sporting,’ in that he has an inate admiration for bravery and is perfectly ready to own himself beaten, and even to help and advise. In the Vetala tales . . . we shall see that as soon as the Vetala discovers the persistence and bravery of Trivikramasena, he at once warns him of the foul intents of the mendicant. We have also seen that even the Rakshasa can become quite tame, and act the part of a kind of Arabian jinn who appears on thought. Thus we see that the Vetala of Hindu fiction is by no means an exact counterpart of the blood-sucking vampire of Eastern Europe who never had a good intention or decent thought in his whole career.”
In a private letter to myself Mr. Penzer writes: “It is the Rakshasas who are the more prominent among malicious demons. Their name means ‘the harmers’ or ‘destroyers’ as their particular delight is to upset sacrifices, worry ascetics, animate dead bodies, etc. They date in India from Rig-Vedic days.
“In the Atharva Veda they are described as deformed, of blue, green, or yellow colour, with long slit eyes. Their nails are poisonous and are dangerous to the touch. They eat human and horse flesh, the former of which they procure by prowling round the burning-ghats at night. They possess great wealth, and bestow it on those they favour. Their chief is Ravana, the enemy of Rama. See Crooke, Folk-Lore of Northern India, Vol. I, p. 246 sqq.
“The Pisachas are very similar to the above, while the Vetalas are perhaps more like Vampires.”
In the Preface to Vikram and the Vampire, “Tales of Hindu Devilry” (Adapted by Richard F. Burton), London, 1870, p. xiii, Sir Richard Burton says: “The Baital-Pachisi, or Twenty-five (tales of a) Baital–a vampire or evil spirit which animates dead bodies–is an old and thoroughly Hindu repertory. It is the rude beginning of that fictitious history which ripened to the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, and which, fostered by the genius of Boccaccio, produced the romance of the chivalrous days, and its last development, the novel–that prose-epic of modern Europe.” Baital in Sanskrit is Vetâla-pancha-Vinshati. “Baital” is the modern
form of “Vetala.” When the Raja encounters the Baital it was hanging “head downwards, from a branch a little above him. Its eyes which were wide open, were of a greenish-brown, and never twinkled; its hair also was brown and brown was its face–these several shades which, notwithstanding, approached one another in an unpleasant way, as in an over-dried cocoa-nut. Its body was thin and ribbed like a skeleton or a bamboo framework, and as it held on to a bough, like a flying-fox, by the toe-tips, its drawn muscles stood out as if they were ropes of coir. Blood it appeared to have none, or there would have been a decided determination of that curious juice to the head; and as the Raja handled its skin, it felt icy cold and clammy as might a snake. The only sign of life was the whisking of a ragged little tail much resembling a goat’s. Judging from these signs the brave king at once determined the creature to be a Baital–a Vampire.”
A belief in Vampires is very firmly established among the Malays of the Peninsula, and there are a number of magic rites which must be performed to protect both women and children.” Probably the spirit most resembling a European Vampire is the Penanggalan, which is supposed to resemble a trunkless human head with the sac of the stomach attached thereto, and which flies about seeking an opportunity of sucking the blood of infants. There are, however, other spectres which are dangerous to children. There is the Bajang, which generally takes the form of a polecat, and disturbs the household by mewing like a huge eat. The Langsuir is seen as an owl with hideous claws which perches and hoots in a most melancholy way upon the roof, Her daughter, a still-born child, is the Pontianak or Madi-anak, who is also a night-owl. The Polong is a kind of goblin, and the Pelesit corresponds most closely to the familiar of the English witches.
The Bajang is generally said to be a male demon and the Langsuir is considered as the female species. Both of these spirits are supposed to be a kind of demon-vampire, and are often handed down in certain families as heirlooms, in exactly the same way as in English trials we find that the familiar descended from mother to daughter. Thus at Chelmsford “at an examination and confession of certaine Wytches,” 26 July, 1566, Elizabeth Francis confessed to various
“vilanies,” amongst the rest that “she learned this arte of witchcraft at the age of xii yeres of hyr grandmother whose nam mother Eue of Hatfyelde Peuerell, disseased. Itm when shee taughte it her, she counseiled her in the lykenesse of a whyte spotted Catte.” In 1582, during the celebrated St. Osyth prosecutions Ales Hunt confessed that she entertained two familiars, and “saith, that her sister (named Margerie Sammon) hath also two spirites like Toads, the one called Tom, and the other Roddyn: And saith further, her sayde Syster and shee had the sayd spyrites of their Mother, Mother Barnes.” That a familiar should have been handed down in this manner seems to have been a well-known custom among the Lapps, for in his notes upon the De Prodigiis of Julius Obsequens J. Scheffer quoting Tornaeus says: “the Laplanders bequeath their Demons as part of their inheritence, which is the reason that one family excells another in this magical art.”
With regard to the Bajang, Sir Frank Swettenham further gives the following account: “Some one in the village falls ill of a complaint the symptoms of which are unusual; there may be convulsions, unconsciousness, or delirium, possibly for some days together or with intervals between the attacks. The relatives will call in a native doctor, and at her (she is usually an ancient female) suggestion, or without it, an impression will arise that the patient is the victim of a bajang. Such an impression quickly develops into certainty, and any trifle will suggest the owner of the evil spirit. One method of verifying this suspicion is to wait till the patient is in a state of delirium, and then to question him or her as to who is the author of the trouble. This should be done by some independent person of authority, who is supposed to be able to ascertain the truth.
“A further and convincing proof is then to call in a ‘Pawang‘ skilled in dealing with wizards (in Malay countries they are usually men), and if he knows his business his power is such that he will place the sorcerer in one room, and, while he in another scrapes an iron vessel with a razor, the culprit’s hair will fall off as though the razor had been applied to his head instead of to the vessel! That is supposing that he is the culprit; if not, of course he will pass through the ordeal without damage.
I have been assured that the shaving process is so efficacious that, as the vessel represents the head of the person standing his trial, wherever it is scraped the wizard’s hair will fall off in a corresponding spot. It might be supposed that under these circumstances the accused is reasonably safe, but this test of guilt is not always employed. What more commonly happens is that when several cases of unexplained sickness have occurred in a village, with possibly one or two deaths, the people of the place lodge a formal complaint against the supposed author of these ills, and desire that he be punished.
“Before the advent of British influence it was the practice to kill the wizard or witch whose guilt had been established to Malay satisfaction, and such executions were carried out not many years ago.
“I remember a case in Perak less than ten years ago, when the people of an up-river village accused a man of keeping a bajang, and the present Sultan, who was then the principal Malay judge in the State, told them he would severely punish the bajang if they would produce it. They went away hardly satisfied, and shortly after made a united representation to the effect that if the person suspected were allowed to remain in their midst they would kill him. Before anything could be done they put him, his family, and effects on a raft and started them down the river. On their arrival at Kuala Kangsar the man was given an isolated hut to live in, but not long afterwards he disappeared.”
The same authority tells us: “Langsuior, the female familiar, differs hardly at all from the bajang, except that she is a little more baneful, and when under the control of a man he sometimes becomes the victim of her attractions, and she will even bear him elfin children.” The original Langsuir, legend says, was a woman of the most superb beauty, who died from the shock of hearing that her child was still-born, and had taken the shape of the Pontianak. When this terrible news was reported to her, she “clapped her hands,” and without further warning “flew whinnying away to a tree, upon which she perched.” She always wears a robe of exquisite green. Her tapering nails are of extraordinary length, which is considered among the Malays a mark of distinction and beauty, and which may be compared with the
talons of the European Vampire. She has long jet black tresses which flow down even as far as her ankles, but these serve to conceal the hole in the back of her neck through which she sucks the blood of children. Yet her vampirish qualities can be destroyed if the right means are adopted, and in order to effect this she must be caught, and her nails and flowing hair cut quite short, the tresses being stuffed into the hole of her neck, in which case she will become quiet and domesticated, just like an ordinary woman, and she will be content to lead a normal life for many years together. Story relates that the Langsuir returned to civilization until she was allowed to dance at a village festival, when for some reason her savage nature re-asserted itself and with wild screams she flew off into the depths of the dark forests from whence she had come. Dr. Skeat says that a Malay peasant once told him how exceedingly fond of fish these women vampires are, and how not infrequently they may be seen “sitting in crowds on the fishing-stakes at the river mouth awaiting an opportunity to steal the fish.” This seems completely to explain the following rune by the recital of which a Langsuir may be laid:
O ye mosquito-fry at the river’s mouth
When yet a great way off, ye are sharp of eye,
When near, ye are hard of heart.
When the rock in the ground opens of itself
Then (and then only) be emboldened the hearts of my foes and opponents!
When the corpse in the ground opens of itself
Then (and then only) be emboldened the hearts of my foes and opponents!
May your heart be softened when you behold me,
By grace of this power that I use, called Silam Bayu.
The “mosquito-fry at the river’s mouth” is no doubt an allusion to the Langsuir who were swarming round the fishing-stakes, endeavouring to devour the fish.
Sir William Maxwell in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Singapore (1878-1899), No. VII, p. 28, thus describes the Langsuir: “If a woman dies in childbirth, either before delivery or after the birth of a child, and before the forty days of uncleanness have expired, she is popularly supposed to become a langsuyar, a flying demon of the nature of the ‘white lady’ or ‘banshee.’ To prevent
this a quantity of glass beads are put in the mouth of the corpse, a hen’s egg is put under each arm-pit, and needles are placed in the palms of the hands. It is believed that if this is done the dead woman cannot become a langsuyar, as she cannot open her mouth to shriek (ngilai) or wave her arms as wings, or open and Aut her hands to assist her flight.”
The Penanggalan is a sort of monstrous Vampire who delights in killing young children. One legend says that long ago in order to perform a religious penance (dudok bertapa) a woman was seated in one of the large wooden vats which are used by the Malays for holding the vinegar which proceeds from draining off the sap of the thatch-palm (menyadap nipah). Quite unexpectedly a man came along, and finding her seated there, asked: “What are you doing here?” She replied very shortly: “What business is that of yours?” But being very much startled, she leaped up and in the excitement of the moment kicked her own chin with such force that the skin split all round her neck and her head with the sac of the stomach hanging to it actually became separated from the body, and flew off to perch upon the nearest tree. Ever since that time she has existed as a malign and dangerous spirit, brooding over the house, screeching (mengilai) whenever a child is born, or trying to force her way up through the floor in order to drain its blood.
Among the Karens of Burma we meet with the Kephn, a demon which under the form of a wizard’s head and a stomach attached devours human souls.
Mr. Hugh Clifford in his study In Court and Kampong, London, 1897, speaks of “The Penangal, that horrible wraith of a woman who has died in child-birth, and who comes to torment small children in the guise of a fearful face and bust, with many feet of bloody, trailing entrails in her wake.”
The following description which is almost entirely parallel to that of the most deadly European Vampires is quoted by Dr. Skeat in his Malay Magic, London, 1900, p. 328, n.1.:
“He” (Mr. M.) said, “Very well then, tell me about the penanggalan only, I should like to hear it and write it down in English so that Europeans may know how foolish those persons are who believe in such things.” I then drew a picture representing a woman’s bead and neck only, with the intestines hanging down. Mr. M, caused this to be engraved on wood
by a Chinese, and inserted it with the story belonging to it in a publication called the Anglo-Chinese Gleaner. And I said, “Sir, listen to the account of the penanggalan. It was originally a woman. She used the magic arts of a devil in whom she believed, and she devoted herself to his service night and day until the period of her agreement with her teacher had expired and she was able to fly. Her head and neck were then loosened from the body, the intestines being attached to them, and hanging down in strings. The body remained where it was. Wherever the person whom it wished to injure happened to live, thither flew the head and bowels to suck his blood, and the person whose blood was sucked was sure to die. If the blood and water which dripped from the intestines touched any person, serious illness followed and his body broke out in open sores. The penanggalan likes to suck the blood of women in child-birth. For this reason it is customary at all houses where a birth occurs to hang up jeruju [a kind of thistle] leaves at the doors and windows, or to place thorns wherever there is any blood, lest the penanggalan should come and suck it, for the penanggalan has, it seems, a dread of thorns in which her intestines may happen to get caught. It is said that a penanggalan once came to a man’s house in the middle of the night to suck his blood, and her intestines were caught in some thorns near the hedge, and she had to remain there until daylight, when the people saw and killed her.
“The person who has the power of becoming a penanggalan always keeps at her house a quantity of vinegar in a jar or vessel of some kind. The use of this is to soak the intestines in, for when they issue forth from the body they immediately swell up and cannot be put back, but after being soaked in vinegar they shrink to their former size and enter the body again. There are many people who have seen the penanggalan flying along with its entrails dangling down and shining at night like fire-flies.
“Such is the story of the penanggalan as I have heard it from my forefathers but I do not believe it in the least. God forbid that I should.” (Hikayat Abdullah, p. 143.)
It may be remembered that the Greeks thought that branches of buckthorn (rhamnus) fastened to doors and windows kept out witches, as Discorides tells us, De Materia
Medica, I, 119. At the time of woman’s delivery also they smeared pitch upon the houses to keep out the demons (εἰς ἀπέλασιν τῶν δαιμόνων) who are wont to attack mothers at this period, which the patriarch, Photius, notes in his Lexicon (ninth century) when he discusses the word ῥάμνος. The Serbians to-day paint crosses with tar on the doors of houses and barns to guard them from vampires. On Walpurgis Night the Bohemian peasant never neglects to strew the grunsel of his cow-sheds and stables with hawthorn, branches of gooseberry bushes, and the briars of wild rose-trees so that the witches or vampires will got entangled amid the thorns and can force their way no further. The tar of the Serbian will glue them fast in like manner. It was formerly believed among the Scotch Highlanders, and the custom may yet linger that tar daubed on a door kept away the witches. The horse shoe, at any rate, is still commonly to be seen so affixed, not as in England for good luck, but with the very definite object of protecting the house against warlocks and witches. Alexander Burnes, Travels in Bokhara, 1834, I, p. 202, says: “Passing a gate of the city of Peshawur I observed it studded with horse-shoes, which are as superstitious emblems in this country as in remote Scotland.” The bawds of Amsterdam believed that a horse-shoe, which had either been found or stolen, placed on the chimney hearth would bring many clients to their stew and keep away witches, say the author of Le Putanisme d’Amsterdam, 1687. “The horse-shoe,” writes William Henderson in his Notes on the Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders, London, 1866, “is said to owe its virtue chiefly to its shape. Any other object presenting two points or forks, even the spreading out of the two forefingers, is said to possess similar occult power, though not in so high a degree as the rowan wish-rod. In Spain and Italy forked pieces of coral are in high repute as witch-scarers. A crescent formed of two boars’ tusks is frequently appended to the necks of mules as a charm,” In many countries mountain ash (or rowan) is held to be most efficacious against witches and vampires. If an Irish housewife ties a sprig of rowan on the handle of the churn-dash when she is churning no witch can steal her butter. In a local ballad made on the case of Mary Butters, the Carnmoney witch, when in August, 1807, Alexander p. 258 Montgomery’s cow was enchanted so no butter could be made from her milk the following lines occur:
It happened for a month or two
Aye when they churn’d they got nae butter.
Rown-tree tied in the cow’s tail,
And vervain glean’d about the ditches;
These freets and charms did not prevail,
They could not banish the auld witches.
Gay in his Fables, XXIII, “The Old Woman and her Cats” mentions the horse-shoe as a protection against witches:
Straws laid across, my pace retard;
The horse-shoe’s nail’d (each threshold’s guard);
The stunted broom the wenches hide,
For fear that I should up and ride.
They stick with pins my bleeding seat,
And bid me show my secret teat.
In Polynesia we pretty generally find the tü, who under some aspects is a kind of vampire-demon and Dr. R. H. Codrington in his The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folk Lore, says, “There is a belief in the Banks Islands in the existence of a power like that of Vampires. A man or a woman would obtain this power out of a morbid desire for communion with some ghost, and in order to gain it would steal and eat a morsel. The ghost then of the dead man would join in a close friendship with the person who had eaten, and would gratify him by afflicting any one against whom his ghostly power might be directed. The man so afflicted would feel that something was influencing his life, and would come to dread some particular person among his neighbours, who was, therefore, suspected of being a talamaur. This latter when seized and tried in the smoke of strong-smelling leaves would call out the name of the dead man whose ghost was his familiar, often the names of more than one, and lastly the name of the man who was afflicted. The same name talamaur was given to one whose soul was supposed to leave the grave and absorb the lingering vitality of a freshly dead person. There was a woman, some years ago, of whom the story is told that she made no secret of doing this, and that once on the death of a neighbour she gave notice that she would go in the night and eat the vitality. The friends of the deceased therefore kept watch in the house
where the corpse lay, and at dead of night heard a scratching at the door, followed by a rustling noise close by the body. One of them threw a stone and seemed to hit the unknown thing; and in the morning the talamaur was found with a bruise on her arm, which she confessed was caused by a stone thrown at her whilst she was eating the vitality. Such a woman would feel a morbid delight in the dread which she inspired, and would also be secretly rewarded by some whose covert spite she gratified.”
In his Ashanti Proverbs, “Translated from the Original (The Primitive Ethics of a Savage People),” p. 48, Mr. R. Sutherland Rattray speaks of the Asasabonsam, “a monster of human shape, which living far in the depths of the forest, is only occasionally met by hunters. It sits on tree tops, and its legs dangle down to the ground and have hooks for feet which pick up any one who comes within reach. It has iron teeth. There are female, male, and little sasabonsam.” Mr. Rattray also describes the obayifo, which word is derived from bayi, “sorcery.” This is “a kind of human vampire whose chief delight is to suck the blood of children, whereby the latter pine and die. Men and women possessed of this power and credited with volitant powers, being able to quit their bodies and travel great distances in the night. Besides sucking the blood of their victims, they are supposed to be able to extract the sap and juices of crops. Cases of coco blight are ascribed to the work of the obayifo. These witches are supposed to be very common, and a man never knows but that his friend or even his wife may be one. When prowling at night they are supposed to emit a phosphorescent light. An obayifo in every day life is supposed to be known by having sharp, shifty eyes, that are never at rest, also by showing an undue interest in food, and always talking about it, especially meat, and hanging about when cooking is going on, all of which habits are therefore purposely avoided.”
A striking similarity to the beliefs of the Malay Peninsula is to be traced among the horrible superstitions of ancient Mexico. The Mexican religion presents an extremely complex system with a crowded pantheon and displays a corresponsive ceremonial of the most elaborate nature and exacting service. There existed a certain kind of monachism, and the sacerdotal caste is particularly distinguished by being
deeply learned in myth and symbolism reduced to the most unyielding dogma, thus involving practices, sometimes pleasing and poetical, sometimes abhorent in their excess of savagery and barbarism, but which one and all were-not merely so much upheld as rigorously enforced by the state authorities of a great empire, which determined an essential unity of religious conception throughout its furthermost borders. There were of course, beneficent deities such as the Sun god, Tonatiuh, who was also called Xipilli “the Turquoise,” whose festival Clavigero tells us “which was celebrated every fifty-two years, was by far the most splendid and most solemn, not only among the Mexicans, but likewise among all the nations of that Empire, or who were neighbouring to it . . . every place resounded with the voice of gladness and mutual congratulations on account of the new century which heaven had granted him. The illuminations made during the first nights were extremely magnificent; their ornaments of dress, entertainments, dances, and public games were superiorly solemn.” But even here we find that human sacrifice was offered. There were also goddesses such as Xochiquetzal, “Flower Feather” who is considered by Diego Muñoz Camargo as corresponding to Venus, and whom he thus describes: “She dwells above the nine heavens in a very pleasant and delectable place, accompanied and guarded by many people and waited on by other women of the rank of goddesses, where are many delights of fountains, brooks, flower-gardens, and without her wanting for anything.” There was also Macuilxochitl, “Five Flower,” the god of pleasure, whose festival, one of the movable feasts, was the Xochilhuitl, the Feast of Flowers, concerning which Sahagun says that: “the great folk made a feast, dancing and singing in honour of this sign, decorating themselves with their feathers and all their grandeur for the areyto [sacred dance]. At this feast the king bestowed honours upon warriors, musicians and courtiers.” There exists an elegant little song of this debonair god who is the Lord of Music and Games, which commences thus:
Out of the place of flowers I come,
Priest of the Sunset, Lord of the Twilight.
Quails were offered to him at midday, but even this solemnity was not without some sombre incident, for it was
the occasion when all the nobles in Mexico who lived near the frontiers of an enemy brought the slaves whom they had captured to the capital for sacrifice.
When we find that some circumstance of cruelty even intrudes upon the worship of the kindliest and most joyous gods it may well be supposed that the demonology of Mexico is grim in the extreme, nor can we be at all astonished that the first explorers and the earlier Spanish authors again and again expressed their horror of the terrible imagination and primitive fears which peopled the gloom of a Mexican midnight with the abominable shapes of foulest devils and vengeful dead. Probably the most horrible, as he is possibly the most powerful, of the Mexican gods was Tezcatlipocâ of whom Bernal Diaz says: “And this Tezcatepuca was the god of hell and had charge of the souls of the Mexicans, and his body was girt with figures like little devils with snakes’ tails.” This hideous figure, it is very significant to remark, particularly favoured cross-roads, where the Ciuateteo, who are vampire-witches, held their sabbat. Tezcatlipocâ was also known as Yaotzin, “The Enemy” and in a thousand horrid phantom shapes he haunted the woods during the dark hours. He bore in his hand a magical instrument. From him proceeded those eerie and mysterious sounds which are heard at night and which fill with strange forebodings not only luckless travellers but even those who shudder when sheltered in their homes. He would often utter the howl of the jaguar, and the ill-omened cry, “yeccan, yeccan” the screech of the uactli bird, a species of hawk, whose note sounded a swift death to him who heard it. Another of his guises was the Youaltepuztli, or “ax of the night.” When all was most silent and most still there might be heard near some remote temple a sound as if an ax were being laid to the roots of the trees. Should anyone dare to investigate the cause of the noise he was suddenly caught by Tezcatlipocâ who appeared as a decomposing headless corpse in whose mouldering breast were set “two little doors meeting in the centre,” and it was the swift opening and shutting of these which produced the sound of a man hewing down the trees. If some brave hero could plunge his hand into the aperture and clutch the black heart he might demand what ransom he would ere he let the demon go. But he must be one to whom fear was unknown
for most persons who caught sight of this hideous phantom perished in an extremity of terror.
The true Mexican Vampires were the Ciuateteo, whom we have mentioned above, women who had died in their first labour, and over whose revels this devil-deity presided. They were also known as the Ciuapipiltin, or princesses, in order to placate them by some honourable designation, as in the same way Ciuateteo signifies “Right honourable mother.” Of these Sahagun says: “The Ciuapipiltin, the noble women, were those who had died in childbed. They were supposed to wander through the air, descending when they wished to the earth to afflict children with paralysis and other maladies. They haunted cross-roads to practise their maleficent deeds, and they had temples built at these places where bread offerings were made to them, also the thunder stones which fall from the sky. Their faces were white, and their arms and hands were coloured with a, white powder ticitl (chalk).” These haunting women celebrated their own sabbat, and it is curious to remark that it was thought of as being a meeting of the dead rather than, as in Europe, an infernal company of the living. The representations of the Ciuateteo in the ancient paintings are extremely hideous and repulsive. They often wear the dress and are distinguished by the characteristics of the goddess, Tlazolteotl, whose priests were the Cuecuesteca, and who was the goddess of all sorcery, lust, and evil. The learned friar who interpreted the Codex Telleriano-Renensis certainly speaks of the Ciuateteo as witches, who flew through the air upon their broom-sticks and met at cross-roads, a rendezvous presided over by their mistress Tlazolteotl. It may be remarked that the broom-stick is her especial symbol, and that she is often associated with the snake and the screech-owl. Under one aspect, also, she is regarded as a moon-goddess, and may, indeed, be fairly closely paralleled with the Greek Hecate. These animals, which were considered unlucky also often accompanied the Ciuateteo, who, moreover, carried a witch’s broom, and upon whose garments crossbones were painted. They were essentially malignant, and sought to wreak their vengeance upon all whom they might meet during the dark hours. In the native huts the doors were carefully barred and every crack or cranny carefully filled up to prevent
these vampire-witches from obtaining entrance. Occasionally, however, they would attack human dwellings, and did they obtain ingress the children of the household would pine and dwindle away owing to the blight that these loathsome creatures cast upon them. Accordingly in their shrines where four cross-roads met men heaped up enticing and substantial food offerings, in order that these malignant dead might so satisfy their hunger that they would not seek to make an onset upon the living. One explanation why the shrine should be at cross-roads was in order that the Ciuateteo might be confused and not knowing which way to take to the nearest human habitation, be surprised by dawn before she could set out to seize her prey. We find this exact reason is given in Greece and in other countries for burying the body of a suicide, who will almost certainly become a vampire, at four cross-roads.
With regard to Mexican Vampire-witches, who it appears partook in almost equal quantities the nature of both these evil things, Sahagun records: “It was said that they vented their wrath on people and bewitched them. When anyone is possessed by, the demons, with a wry mouth and disturbed eyes, with clenched, hands and inturned feet, wringing his hands and foaming at the mouth, they say that he has linked himself to a demon; the Ciuateteo, housed by the cross-ways, has taken his form.”
But this was not the only vampire known to the mythology of Mexico. The Lord of Mictlampa (the Region of the Dead) certainly has vampirish attributes. He is often depicted as a complete skeleton (Codex Borgia, sheet 14), and sometimes he has a bunch or broom of malinalli grass, which was associated with witchcraft. In another representation he appears with a skeleton head but a black body, and at the side is seen a skull swallowing a man who falls into its bony jaws. In the Codex Magliabecchiano he is depicted as a blue-grey form with enormous talons upon his hands that are markedly reminiscent of the claws of a Vampire, He sits in the portico of a dark temple and before him are his worshippers, a number of men and women, who feast upon human flesh, tearing heads, legs, and arms which they snatch from several earthen vessels. His wife was Mictecaciuatl, “Lady of the Place of the Dead,” and she is often represented as wearing for ornaments the paper
flags, which were generally put upon corpses prepared for cremation. She is sometimes seen to be thrusting a mummy into the earth, and there is a reference to her as the “earth-monster.”
It would, perhaps, be hardly too much to say that in ancient Mexico all magicians were regarded as Vampires, a tradition which long survived even after the conversion of the country so that one of the regular questions which the Spanish priests used to put to those of whose faith they were suspicious was: “Art thou a sorcerer? Dost thou suck the blood of others?” That such interrogations were not superfluous is shown by the terrible occurrence at the end of the sixteenth century when Cosijopii, formerly King of Tehuantepec, was discovered amid a throng of his ancient courtiers and a concourse of people taking part in an idolatrous ceremony of peculiar horror. Even in the seventeenth century the priests of the Province of Oaxaca learned that numbers of Indians congregated secretly at night to worship their idols. It is true that the famous letter of Bishop Zumárraga to the Chapter of Tolosa, written in 1531 says that: “quingenta deorum templa sunt destructa et plusquam uicesies mille figurae daemonum, quas adorabant, fractae et combustae.” But Fray Mendieta mentions certain idols of paper which seemed to have been for a while preserved, and possibly new figures were clandestinely sculptured in the traditional manner to supply the place of those which had been so properly and so religiously destroyed. Such ceremonials were, of course, clear witchcraft, and the Mexican sorcerer or naualli seems to have been credited with taking the shape of a wer-coyote, the prairie wolf, as well as to have practised vampirism. So here too in Mexico we find a close connexion between the wer-animal and the Vampire. Sahagun notes: “The naualli or magician is he who frightens men and sucks the blood of children during the night.” It appears that these sorcerers lived in separate huts built of wood very brightly painted, and that those who wished to bargain with them were wont to resort to these accursed houses under the cover of dark. Not superfluously then does the Vade mecum of a missionary who was engaged in the work of evangelizing the native Mexicans include such questions as: “Art thou a diviner?” “Dost thou suck the blood of others, or dost thou wander about at night, calling upon the demons to help thee?”
Of all the many and dark superstitions that prevail in the West Indies none is more deeply rooted than the belief in the existence of vampires, and as this tradition was brought from Guinea and the Congo and maintained for more than two centuries by the hundreds of thousands of African slaves who were so constantly being imported from this native continent it may not impertinently be considered here. In Grenada, particularly, the vampire is known as a “Loogaroo,” a corruption of loupgarou, and the attributes generally assigned to the loogaroo as well as the current stories told of these ghastly beings not infrequently recall the pages of De Lanere, clearly showing that the demonology of the French colonists of the seventeenth century was soon welded with negro witchcraft and voodoo. The West Indian natives, and above all the black, Quashee as he is called, hold that loogaroos are human beings, especially old women, who have made a pact with the devil, by which the fiend bestows upon them certain magic powers on condition that every night they provide him with a quantity of rich warm blood. And so every night the loogaroos make their way to the occult silk-cotton-tree (bombax ceiba, often known as the Devil’s tree or Jumbies tree), and there, having divested themselves of their skins, which are carefully folded up and concealed, in the form of a ball of sulphurous fire they speed abroad upon their horrid businesses. Even to-day visitors to Grenada have been called out of the house late at night by the servants to see the loogaroos, and their attention is directed to any solitary light which happens to flash through the darkness, perhaps the distant lantern of some watchman who is guarding a cocoa piece. Until dawn the loogaroos are at work, and any Quashee who feels tired and languid upon awaking will swear that the vampire has sucked his blood. Doors and shutters are no barrier to the monster who can slip through the tiniest chink, but if only rice and sand are scattered before a cabin the loogarroo must perforce stay until he has numbered every grain, and so morning will assuredly surprise him ere the tale is told.
Mr. H. J. Bell recounts the following anecdote which is sufficiently striking as reproducing in actual belief of to-day more than one of the old witch traditions. A native gardener pointed out to Mr. Bell a hideous beldame walking along the highway. This hag, who wore a bandage over one eye, was
reputed to be a loogaroo of the most infamous and evil kind. It happened that one day upon awakening the gardener had felt extraordinary weak and supine. To his horror he remarked a slight stain of blood on his clothes, and he at once realized he had been the victim of a vampire. The following night he refrained from sleep, preserving a silent vigil. A little after twelve-o’clock there came a faint scratching in the thatch of the roof. As this grew louder the man guessing that the loogaroo was about to enter thrust through the spot with his cutlass. A stifled screech fell to hideous moans, and rushing out of the hut he heard the sound die away in the distance whilst a blue marish light vanished into the house where this ancient sibyl dwelt. The next day she was found lying in bed, half blind from an injury to one of her eyes. This she vowed had been caused during the night owing to a fall over the sharp stump of a tree whilst she was chasing some strayed chickens. Nobody believed her, and the gardener was praised for having so deservedly punished the vampire for her foul sorceries.
It is said that the human skin of a loogaroo has been found hidden in the bushes under a silk-cotton-tree. In this case it must be seized fast and pounded in a mortar with pepper and salt. So the vampire will be unable to assume a human shape and will perish miserably.
Now and again negroes have been discovered bold enough to play the loogaroo in order to cover up their nightly depredations. Two confederates will plan the robbing of a cocoa piece, and whilst one fellow will climb the tree to strip off the pods his friend will pass softly up and down in the vicinity waving a lantern fashioned from an empty dry calabash cut to imitate grotesque and gargoyled features, and lighted by a candle set in a socket which has been cleverly inserted.
The tradition, however, has its more serious sides and obscene, if not bloody, rites are practised in secret places where the white man will hardly venture. On one occasion a witch was seen at midnight dancing naked round a fire, and as she leaped to the drone of foul incantations she ever and anon cast strange substances into the flame which blazed up into a myriad colourings.
The loogaroo is particularly obnoxious to dogs, and any person at whom apparently without cause dogs will bark
furiously or even endeavour to attack is incontinently accounted infect with the vampire taint.
It is supposed that the loogaroo will frequently molest animals of all kinds, and indeed in Trinidad and especially on the Spanish Main the horses suffer greatly from the attacks of large vampire bats. It is necessary that all the windows and ventilation holes of the stables and cattle pens should be firmly secured by wire netting to prevent the entrance of the bats, which are able greatly to harm any animal in whose flesh they manage to fasten their teeth.
It may seem that the superstition of the Quashee, although grosser and more ignorant, lacks some of the crueller and more abominable traits of the tradition in other countries. This is merely owing to the fact that it has largely been driven under ground by energetic and repressive measures. Père Labat in his Nouveaux voyages aux Isles d’ Amérique (1712) gives the story of a vampirish black sorceress who used to threaten to eat the hearts of those who offended her, and almost invariably they soon after began to waste away in great agony. When their bodies were opened it was seen that the heart and liver were drained dry as parchment. He further says: “Nearly all the negroes who leave their country, having attained the age of manhood, are sorcerers, or, at all events, are much tainted with magic, witchcraft and poison.” Even half a century ago an important ordinance was passed in all the West Indian colonies imposing heavy penalties on any person found guilty of dealing in Obeah. Writing as lately as 1893, Mr. H. J. Bell says of Hayti, one of the most beautiful of the West Indies, an island possessing an area almost equal to that of France: “Dreadful accounts reach us of thousands of negroes having gone back to a perfectly savage life in the woods, going about stark naked, and having replaced the Christian religion by Voodooism and fetish worship. Cases of cannibalism have even been reported, and nowhere in the West Indies has Obeah a more tenacious hold on high and low than in Hayti.”
By a comparison of the beliefs in these many lands, in ancient Assyria, in old Mexico, in China, India and Melanesia, although details differ, but yet not to any marked degree, it will be seen that the superstition and the tradition of the Vampire prevail to an extraordinary extent, and it is hard to believe that a phenomenon which has had so complete a hold over nations
both old and young, in all parts of the world, at all times of history, has not some underlying and terrible truth however rare this may be in its more remarkable manifestations.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV
[1RCampbellThompson[1RCampbellThompsonThe Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia, London, 1903, vol. I, p. xxviii, n.
2. Leonard W. King. Babylonian Religion, p. 75.
3. Op. cit., p. xxv.
4. King, Babylonian Religion, p. 176; Gilgamish Epic, Tablet xii.
5. Campbell Thompson, op. cit., p. xxx.
6. The Night-fiend idlu lili is the male counterpart of the Night-wraith, ardat lili. Idlu is the word used for a grown man of full strength.
7. Ea was the great god whose emanation always remained in water, and accordingly who was invoked with lustrations and aspersions of lymph.
8. Campbell Thompson, op. cit., pp. 37-49.
9. Northcote W. Thomas, Anthropological Report on the Ibo-speaking Peoples of Nigeria, London, 1913, I, 57 sqq.
10. Le Sieur de la Borde, “Relation de l’Origine, Moeurs, Coustumes, Religion, Guerres et Voyages des Caraibes sauvages des Isles Antilles de l’Amerique,” Recueil de divers Voyages faits en Afrique et en l’Amerique, qui n’ont point esté encore publiez. Paris, 1684.
11. E. Young, The Kingdom of the Yellow Robe, Westminster, 1898.
12. Y. Scheffer, Lapponia, Frankfort, 1673, p. 313.
13. Ignaz V. Zingeric, Sitten, Braüche und Meinungen des Tiroler Volkes, 2nd edition. Innsbruck, 1871.
14. “On a Far-off Island,” Blackwood’s Magazine, February, 1886; p. 238.
15. Campbell Thompson, op. cit., I, pp. 69-71.
16. Among the illustrations of prehistoric utensils.
17. In a private letter to myself, 24th March, 1928.
18. Satirae, I, v, 64.
19. For much relating to Chinese Vampires I am indebted to Mr. G. Willoughby-Meade’s Chinese Ghouls and Goblins, Constable, London. Published March, 1928.
20. Thomas J. Hutchinson, “On the Choco and other Indians of South America,” Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, N.S. iii (1865), p. 327.
21. Monica Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, London, 1883, p. 354.
22. H. Vambery, Das Türkenvolk, Leipsic, 1885, p. 112.
23. H. Ternaux-Compans, Essai sur l’ancien Cundinamara, Paris, (s.d.), p. 18.
24. George Turner, LL.D., Samoa, a Hundred Years ago and long before, London, 1884, p. 200.
25. W. Drexler apud W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, s.u. “Men.”
26. Hans Egede, A Description of Greenland, London, 1818, p. 209.
27. Revue des Traditions Populaires, xv (1900), p. 471.
28. Cf. The Tempest, II, 2, where Caliban is alluded to as a “moon-calf.”
Stepheno: “How cam’st thou to be the siege of this moon-calf? “
Trinculo: “I hid me under the dead moon-calf’s gaberdine for fear of the storm.” In Dryden and Davenant’s The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island, 4to, 1670, II, Trincalo calls Caliban “perverse Moon-calf.”
The same phrase is reproduced in Shadwell’s operatic The Tempest or, The Enchanted Island, 4to, 1674.
29. Constable’s, London, 1928.
30. Ph. Paulitschke, Ethnographic Nordost-Afrikas: die materielle Cultur des Danakil, Galla, und Somâl, Berlin, 1893.
A. C. Hollis, The Masai, Oxford, 1905.
31. Apparently not S. Hilary of Arles, nor S. Hilary of Poictiers.
32. The custom of gathering various herbs, especially S. John’s Wort, hawkseed, and mugwort on S. John’s eve, 23 June, as a protection against magical spells was almost universal throughout Europe as it was believed that then warlocks and witches were especially active. An immense library of folk-lore is concerned with this day. R. Kühnau, Schlesische Sagen, Berlin, 1910-1913, iii, p. 39, n.1394, says: “On S. John’s Night (between the 23rd and 24th of June) the witches busily bestir themselves to force their way into the houses of men and the stalls of cattle.”
33. The deception was wrought by glamour. Algernon Blackwood has made excellent use of such a magical delusion in his occult studies, Dr. John Silence, 1908, Case iv, “Secret Worship.”
34. Two vols. New York, 1862. Vol. II, p. 327.
35 J. Noake, Worcestershire Notes and Queries, London, 12 mo, 1856, p. 169.
36. I quote the version given by J. O. Halliwell, but there are many variants.
37. Act II. The soliloquy of Barabas as he is prowling outside the convent toward midnight. One may compare Shakespeare’s “The nightly owl or fatal raven,” Titus Andronicus, II, iii. 97. Also in Othello, IV, i, 21:
Oh! it comes o’er my memory
As doth the raven o’er the infected house, Boding to all.
And Lady Macbeth’s (Macbeth, I, v, 35):
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements.
Tickell, Colin and Lucy, has:
Three times, all in the dead of night,
A bell was heard to ring,
And at her window, shrieking thrice,
The raven flapp’d his wing;
Full well the love-lorn maiden knew,
The solemn-boding sound. . . .
Much of interest might be written on this subject of which it has been possible for me en passant barely to touch the fringe.
38. Robert Forby, Vocabulary of East Anglia, 2 vols., London, 8vo, 1830.
39. William Henderson, Notes on the Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders, London, 8vo, 1866. Harrison Ainsworth’s fine romance, Rookwood, first published in April, 1834, may be noted in connexion with this tradition.
40. The Animal World, vi, p. 29.
41. V, v.
42. G. Willoughby-Meade, Chinese Ghouls and Goblins, pp. 234-35.
43. Op. cit., p. 236.
44. The Ocean of Story, pp. 139-140. Note II, Chapter LXXIII.
45. W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic, London, 1900, pp. 320-331.
46. In 1644, Elizabeth Clarke, a notorious witch, confessed to Matthew Hopkins that amongst other familiars she entertained our “Newes, like a Polcat.”
47. The examination and confession of certaine Wytches at Chelmsforde in the Countie of Essex before the Quenes Maiesties Judges the XXVI daye of July anno 1566.
48. Nothing is known of this writer who probably compiled his book in the fourth century. The De Prodigiis or Prodigiorum Libellus contains a record of the phenomena classed by the Romans under the general heading of Prodigia or Ostenta. The series extends in chronological order from the consulship of Scipio and Laelius, B.C. 190, to the consulship of Fabius and Aelius, B.C. 11. The materials are derived from an abridgement of Livy, whose very phrases are continually employed.
49. Amsterdam, 1679.
50. W. W. Skeat, op. cit., p. 234.
51. Francesco Saverio Clavigero, Storia Antico del Mexico, Cesona, 1780. English translation by Charles Cullen, 2 vols., London, 1787.
52. Diego Muñoz Camargo, Historia de Tlascala, Book I, c. xix. Edited by A. Chavero, Mexico, 1892.
53. Bernardino de Sahagun, Historia Universal de Nueva-España. Mexico, 1829; London, 1830, in vol. vi of Lord Kingsborough’s Antiquities of Mexico. French translation by Jourdanet and Siméon, Paris, 1880.
54. Bernal Diaz del Castillo. Historia Verdadera de la Conquida de Nueva-España. Translated by A. p. Maudslay as The True History of the Conquest of Mexico. Hakluyt Society, London, 1908.
55. In Ireland hagiographical lore mention is made of a special burying-place for women who die in childbirth. Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, Ed. Rev. W. J. Rees, 1853, p. 63.
56. Reproduced by the Duc de Loubat, Rome, 1904. And also reproduced by Zelia Nuttall as The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans, Berkeley, California, 1903. This codex is accompanied by a contemporary gloss in Spanish.
57. G. de Mendieta. Historia Ecclesiastica Indiana. Icazbalceta, Mexico, 1870.
58. The West Indian “Jumbies” or “Duppies” are ghostly visitants, malignant and terrific spectres. Many of the old houses in the West Indies have the reputation of being haunted in a most unpleasant way.]
Next: Chapter V. The Vampire in Literature