3 Weird Ways to Keep Vampires Away (Bread, Clocks, Salt)

Arkane Curiosities

We all know garlic is the go to deterrent for vampires. But the vampires know this too. What if you want a more offbeat or weird way to keep vampires away from your house.

There’s a history of smelly objects that repel the undead. The Saxon Neuntöter was afraid of the citrus strength of lemons. Likewise, the strong odor of tar would keep bloodsuckers away. People would smear it on their doors in the shape of a cross. 

Bake Some Blood Bread

The blood of the vampire is a potent liquid with many magical properties. A tradition in Poland is to bake bread using the blood of a suspected vampire. By eating this bread, you would be protected from vampire attacks. 

The Romanians took this practice to the extreme. They would chop up the whole vampire body, burn it to crisp, and mix the ashes with water or brandy. When the surviving family drank this liquid, it was supposed to keep them from succumbing to vampirism themselves. 

Think this is a forgotten tradition? The last documented case of corpse-ash drink was 2004!

Stop the Clock

The folklore of Germany and Great Britain command us to stop the clock when someone dies. This is in the days of mechanical clocks where the hands can be halted by halting the swing of the pendulum. 

The idea behind this tradition is to allow the soul of the deceased to move onto the next life. If the clock keeps ticking, you might invite the spirit to return to your house. Possibly as a ghost or even a blood sucking vampire. 

In Poland, the clocks are stopped to keep them from counting down the time for the deaths of the rest of the household. 

Use Plenty of Salt

During Medieval times, people used salt to preserve meats and the mineral took on magical properties. This started even before birth. 

Romanians believe that a woman who had a high salt diet will give birth to a healthy baby. On the other hand, women with low-salt intake were sure to produce a vampire. 

People would carry salt with them at night to ward off evil creatures. A bag of salt was even hung over a baby’s crib to protect it. And tossing salt over your shoulder…? That was so you can blind any creature trying to sneak up on you. 

Finally, you can sprinkle salt along your floorboard. In addition to the protective qualities of salt, a vampire would step in the salt and then leave a trail of the stuff back to its grave. 

Tim Kane

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3 Weird Ways to Stop a Vampire (Carpet, Hairpin, Lemon)

Arkane Curiosities

Vampires rise from the grave to bite our necks and gulp down our blood. Not a great situation if you’re on the punctured side of the equation. The best way to cope with these bloodsuckers is to make sure they never get out of their coffins in the first place.

Wrap the Vampire in a Carpet

In areas of Eastern Europe, people bound the knees (or sometimes even the whole body) of a suspected vampire with a rope. This prevented the corpse from clambering out of the grave. People would take this one step further, and wrap a rug around the bloodsucker to completely immobilize it. In Ireland, people would pile stones on the grave to keep the Dearg-dul (Irish vampire) from rising. 

In the case of the recently discovered vampire in Poland, the corpse had a padlock on her left big toe to symbolize that she would never rise again. Serbians took this one step further and cut off the toe of a Vlkoslak (a Serbian vampire).

Poke the Vampire with a Hairpin

Various sharp objects have been found in vampire graves, all meant to discourage the undead from leaving the grave. The discovery of a female skeleton buried with a sickle across her neck was not the first anti-vampire method. The idea with the sickle was to cut the head off if the vampire should rise.


Image credit: Miroslav Blicharski / Aleksander. Photograph:( Others )

Hairpins or thorns would also prevent a vampire from rising. These objects were inserted either under the tongue or in the navel. In Bulgaria they wrapped their version of a vampire (Krvoijac) with wild roses. The thorns of these were seen as a deterrent. 

When dug up, people noted that some corpses looked plumper than before (due to the swelling of the body after death). Pins or thorns were thought to keep the body from swelling.

Give the Vampire a Lemon

A certain German vampire called Neuntöter was afraid of lemons. Placing a lemon in its mouth when buried would keep the vampire in its grave (they would sometimes cut off the head between 11pm and midnight). 

The lemon has long been seen as a treatment for illness and poison. The ancient Romans used lemon juice to cure colds and fevers, while the Egyptians would drink the juice to protect against poison. Ancient Greeks claimed that eating lemons could help people survive being bitten by a poisonous snake.

Tim Kane

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3 Weird Ways to Kill a Vampire (Needle, Bullet, Sock)

Arkane Curiosities

It’s the middle of the night and a bloodsucking undead is traipsing through your house. You reach for your trusty stake… Wait! This is the 21st century. Nobody has a stake lying around. So what are some other ways to kill a vampire?

1 Kill a Vampire with a Needle

Vampires have two hearts. The human heart they had in life and a second heart, located at their navel. The Romanians believe (present tense, mind you) that a needle jammed into the navel will pierce the second heart. This is the one that keeps the vampire alive after death.

Beware the Splatter

Even if you use a tiny needle, you need to watch out for vampire blood. Vampires were seen as squishy blood balloons. Their blood was so corrupt, that anyone who touched the stuff would go insane. In olden days, vampire hunters would drape an animal hide over the body when staking. These days, a plastic tarp will do. 

2 Shoot the Coffin

Vampires need to sleep off their blood-drinking binge in a nasty and foul coffin. A consecrated bullet, shot through the wood of the coffin, would “bless” the resting place and the vampire would no longer be able to enter. It wasn’t sunlight that killed the vampire (this was invention of Hollywood) but rather exhaustion from lack of sleep. 

3 Steal His Sock

Yes, you heard that right. Vampires are rather possessive of their footwear. Steal bloodsucker’s left sock (considered the “evil” one because the Latin word for left is sinister). Fill the sock with rocks and toss it in a nearby stream or ocean (but not a lake). The nosferatu will go searching for their sock and will have to dive into the water to retrieve it. Moving water has long been the death knell for the undead. 

There you have it. Three modern solutions to your own vampire infestation. 

Tim Kane

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Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Everyone wants to lower our carbon footprint and stop climate change. So imagine when scientists come up with a novel solution — a fungus that gobbles up carbon from the air. It could be the savior of the planet. The only problem, this fungus likes to eat carbon wherever it exists. It’s particularly fond of the carbon locked in living cells.

This story tracks a teen girl who is left at home to care for her younger brother and baby. It plays off the tale of the Three Little Pigs with the carbon-gobbling fungus taking the role of the wolf. Can she keep her family safe with dwindling food and the fungus chewing up the house around her?

This story appears in the new anthology by Write Hive titled “Navigating Ruins.” You can find it on Amazon, both in Kindle and print.

Tim Kane