Top 10 Real-life Vampire Hunters


You know all the vampire fiction – Dracula, Buffy, Twilight – but did you know that there are people out there who believe that vampires are real? And there are real-life vampire hunters to track them down and kill them? They don’t all quip like Buffy and the vampires aren’t as sparkly as the ones in Twilight, but it’s all real life.

From the forests of Romania to obscure corners of the internet, vampire hunters pop up everywhere. Some are hunters in the active, going-out-and-slaying sense, others are vampire enthusiasts, hunting out information rather than looking for a kill. But they all have one thing in common – their rock-solid belief that vampires are real and living among us humans.

Look at the evidence presented, and make up your own mind as you read our Top 10 Real-life Vampire Hunters.

 

10. “Lynne”

Here’s a prime example of a modern day, cyber-aware vampire hunter. “Lynne” appears on a website run by her friend Steve, who claims to be a vampire. In this letter, she talks about being a slayer and how she doesn’t kill vampires unless they’re making trouble, hence being friends with a vampire for so long. According to the site, vampires don’t kill for blood – they use donors and just take a little at a time – and slayers help facilitate this so that the vamps don’t go crazy and start having to kill people. But they never let you drink their blood, or drink any themselves. So now you know!

 

9. Unnamed Grandmother, Romania

Another modern example, and one captured on film by American filmmaker Justin Blair in ” Across the Forest”. In it, he meets a Romanian grandmother who talks in detail about killing vampires, or “strigoi” as she calls them. Strigoi are similar to vampires, but share some characteristics with ghosts, as they can make themselves invisible but also drain their victims’ blood. According to Romanian folklore, red-headed men are more likely to become strigoi, as are seventh sons. So a red-headed seventh son would often be buried with a stake through the heart as a precautionary measure.

In the interview with Blair, the strudel-baking grandmother describes killing a strigoi in her youth, with a needle broken off a loom, hammered in to the corpse’s heart by her friend with a piece of firewood. When it was staked, the corpse spoke in the “Voice of Satan” and blood flowed from its mouth. She may not look like Buffy, but this grandmother is someone the forces of darkness should be afraid of!

 

8. Stephen Kaplan

An academic who always maintained he was studying rather than killing vampires, Stephen Kaplan died mysteriously in 1995, at home with “front door unlocked, eyes open, a look of horror on his silently screaming face”. The head of the Vampire Research Center of America had been studying vampires since 1972 and had met a number of people claiming to be vampires in order to study them. As his work progressed, he was keen to establish that he was not a vampire hunter, more of a census taker, but even so he became increasingly paranoid about meeting new people and eventually was found dead at home, of an apparent heart attack. Did his work catch up with him in an unexpected way? We’ll never know…

 

7. Onna

Here’s another modern girl claiming to be a real-life vampire hunter. In her video, she sets out for the evening, carrying two wooden swords for battle and then…goes clubbing. True, it’s a vampire-themed club called “Fangtasia” (nice “True Blood” reference), but she says at the start of the video that there are no real vampires there and she spends the rest of the video dancing around in latex, failing to do anything that resembles real-life vampire hunting. She also says in her description that she carries “with two wooden bokun swords to steak out the bloodsuckers just in case…”. Shouldn’t that be “stake”? Would you trust a vampire slayer who got confused between those two things? You don’t want to be at a crucial point if battle and see the slayer reach for a nice bit of sirloin….

So, she may be a real-life vampire hunter but her own video does nothing to prove it…

 

6. Bulgarian Vampirdzhija

And so onto the more traditional type of vampire hunters from Bulgaria. The vampirdzhija tracked down the graves of suspected vampires, while carrying religious icons like the one above. They would then either impale the body or burn it. Bulgarians believed that vampirism occurred when there were problems with the burial – certain rituals not being followed, or a cat or dog jumping over the body – and that those problems would block the spirit’s passage to the next life, so they would come back to this one as a vampire.

Most of these vampires were dealt with by the traditional stake, but some were bottled – lured into a bottle with their favorite food – and there was special treatment for a particular type of vampire known as a ustrel. A ustrel was a child who was born a Saturday but died before baptism, and they rose from the grave 9 days after burial. They would find some farm animals to drink, feast all night and return to the grave. After 10 days of this, they would be strong enough to be able to survive the day without returning to the grave and from then on, they lived wherever they could, mainly on animals.

In order to get rid of a ustrel, the whole village had to participate in a ritual called the “lighting of a needfire”, where the animals had to walk between two bonfires and the ustrel would supposedly drop off and be left for the wolves. The vampirdzhija oversaw this process and kept their villages vampire-free. They may still operate today, but the government try to play down the supernatural traditions of the country, so they may kept very quiet.

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