It was only a matter of time before ghouls and vampires, Dracula and other beasties, had their own cross on this website.
We didn't have to invent anything for this page; these fantasy creatures have adorned crosses in children's toy shops for many years. The cross, or so perhaps the designers hope, gives some sort of dark nihilistic power to the creatures. How dark nihilistic power can be given to something that exists only in the mind, is a mystery. But that's show-business folks, and it sells.
Thanks to Simon Birchwood of Chicago
for his research and images
There is no prescribed design of these crosses but they often include gory reference to the occult rather than Christianity (see also Kabbalah Cross). Instead of angels and cute cherubs, they have demons and nasty looking vampires. With diabolic teeth, sucking blood to drain the victim's life force, giving the vampire immortality. The only way to counter a vampire is with a stake through the heart and then fill its mouth with garlic. Yes! That's what you've come to this webpage to read about.
It all seems innocent fun; until these horror-story writers claim that the cross of Christ is powerless against these entities. And this is where they cross the boundary and become sacrilegious (which for some people, adds to the fun).
The novel 'Dracula' was written in 1897 by an Irishman, Bram Stoker. The story's primary antagonist is Count Dracula, who happens to be a vampire, living in a castle in Transylvania.
Blood-sucking bats do, of course, exist. But only in South America, not Europe. Nevertheless, Europe has plenty of ancient folklore about demons who have secured immortality by drinking the blood of their victims. Bats are nocturnal and have long been associated with omens so their inclusion in the Dracula story is not surprising.
Count Dracula was a fictional character but there actually was a medieval aristocrat called Dracula in Transylvania.
The king of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, was Sigismund of Luxembourg. He was also the Holy Roman Emperor and founded an order of knights known as the Order of the Dragon. Their role was to defend the Roman Empire from Muslims. The son of one of these knights became a hero in Romania for protecting them from the invading Ottomans. His name was Vlad III Dracula and was Prince of Wallachia in the 15th century. He is better known as 'Vlad the Impaler', infamous for killing tens of thousands of people he didn't like very much, by impaling them with a stake.
We may never know why he was so sadistic toward Muslims captives, but it's worth noting that he'd been held hostage by the Ottomans and his elder brother had been tortured to death by them. 'Revenge is sweet' they say, and today's politicians and security forces should remember this when we torture prisoners in our military prisons.
Woodblock print of Vlad III Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) enjoying lunch whilst surveying impaled corpses
Add a touch of vampirism to this history, a twist of psychosexuality, plus man's innate yearning to conquer death, and you have the basis for today's Dracula stories. But here's the thing: they are only stories. Vampires do not live forever, except the immortalisation achieved through countless novels, movies and plays.
As a further spoiler for wannabe Draculas: drinking another person's blood is not a good idea. HIV/AIDS poses the risk of earlier death. Drinking blood doesn't even add any nutritional value to a normal diet (just a tiny intake of calories and a tiny, tiny bit of iron per litre). So drinking another person's blood does not lead to improved health, and certainly not immortality.
There is, however, one extra-special way to immortality through another person's blood. (WARNING: The rest of this page might make you feel a bit squeamish.)
We dare say some people reading this page are into the gothic/vampire scene rather than Christianity. If you are one of these people, then the rest of this page may make you wilt. Bear with us. Be strong. There are only another two short paragraphs, so take courage and read on.
The blood we are talking about is the blood which flowed from the side of Jesus when he was crucified on the cross. He'd been hanging there for some time when a soldier lanced him to make sure He was dead. That blood flowed about 2,000 years ago - much more ancient than Dracula, so if you're looking for ultra-gothic times, here it is.
'Vampire' is often spelt 'vampyre' with a 'y', to increase its gothical menace
The Rorschach Inkblot Test is used by psychologists to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning
Q: What do Vlad the Impaler and Winnie the Pooh have in common?
A: They both have the same middle name!
Other vengeful quotations:
"Before you set out for revenge, be sure to dig two graves." Chinese Proverb
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
"Revenge is a form of behavior which shows that you can never get ahead of a person by trying to get even with him." Evan Esar (1899-1995)