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Nishino, Satoshi


Clan Name : Nishino


Full Name : Nishino, Satoshi

D.O.B : 1558

Parents : Ookami, Ayame, and Azai, Ngamasa

Species : Demon wolf / Human

Abilities : Master of the "Tenshin Style" Ninjutsu, Able to change / transform at will. Bloodline inheritance ancestor communication. Can manipulate Nature at will.

Weapons : Kunai

Foods : Will eat anything

Likes : Sleeping, and eating

Dislikes : Loud noises, Crowded locations, Small talk, and Difficult / Awkward situations

Bio : Being born into a noble family from both parents, Satoshi was raised with great expectations. He was often compared to his half brother Kazuki. Satoshi and Kazuki were both related to each other by their father. As children they lived in the same home with both of their mothers and their father. Arguments about both children would break out in the household due to the fact that their mothers were not only enemies but rivals as well. Kazuki had half vampire dwelling inside him, Satoshi had half demon wolf. Same as their mothers both Kazuki and Satoshi built a strong rivalry competing in every task that was given to them by their families. Their father had not cared about their rivalry and treated both equally as they were both his sons. As years passed their father died along with both of their mothers. Both Kazuki and Satoshi formed their own clan knowing it was required in order to maintain balance in their region. Kazuki had become head of the clan, and Satoshi took the position as head of the Combat unit which moved in secret protecting the clan and eliminating their enemies. Being the opposite of Kazuki, Satoshi enjoys social encounters and fooling around with women he meets out at gatherings, he tends to slack off a bit but he always gets the job done.
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1 | 1 Comment | by Nishino_Kazuki | Mar 6th 2015 05:25

Main RPC: Gunji (Togainu No Chi)


Gunji is an Executioner, under Arbitro's reign. He works alongside Kiriwar, who often bosses Gunji around.

Personality
Gunji is not very smart and acts spontaneously and violently, and is extremely sadistic in his killings, but still has a fun-loving, childish innocence to him. Gunji has an affinity with name-calling. He is usually seen with Kiriwar, who he calls "jijii" ("old man"), calls Arbitro "papa", and Shiki "Shikitty". Gunji seems to confuse cats with dogs, since Kau is supposed to be a pet "dog", Gunji refers to him as 'Tama', which is a common pet name for a cat. He refers to his "prey" as "neko-chan" ("kitty" in Japanese). In the manga, he also names a cat that he finds 'Pochi', the common pet name for a dog.

Appearance

Gunji is a 195cm tall with long blonde hair. He has blue eyes. He wears a bright red hooded jacket that is open at the front, exposing most of his tattoo-covered torso which also spreads down his back, up his neck on his shoulders and flames on his wrists that spread up his fore-arm. He wears dark trousers with a 2-row pyramid belt with dogtags wrapped through the loop-holes of his pants and often appears hunched over and fights with metal knuckle claws, similar to Wolverine.
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6 | 0 Comments | by Kau | Mar 5th 2015 14:45

Main RPC: Kau (Togainu No Chi)


Kau is Arbitro's "pet" dog, who is actually a young boy. His name literally translates to "dog" in Japanese.


Appearance

Kau has white hair, and wears a black covering over his eyes. He's forced to have a bit in his mouth. A leather jacket with buckles covers his arms and his shoulders. There's a large cross shaped scar across his torso as well as donning six piercings down his frame. He also wears leather trousers with buckles across his thighs and walks on all fours. Whenever he walks on his legs, his arms are folded behind his back, whether they are tied or not is unclear; this is only seen once, when Arbitro tells him to wait on the other side of the room. This form of attire strongly refers to Arbitro's sadistic, pleasure-seeking side.

Personality


Very little is shown about his personality,although he clearly shows signs of Stockholm Syndrome. Because Arbitro destroyed his eyes and vocal cords, Kau cannot see or speak. He does, however, have a keen sense of smell, and has been trained to pick up the scent of dog tags to help find rule-breakers within Igra.
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2 | 0 Comments | by Kau | Mar 4th 2015 13:44

RPC: The Undertaker (Black Butler)


Undertaker is a Grim Reaper, who works as an informant to the Phantomhive family, since Vincent Phantomhive's time. He maintains a façade as a funeral director for normal society.


Appearance


Undertaker is a lean man with long gray hair with a single braid, which is worn so as to hide his eyes. His eyes reflect the typical color of Grim Reaper eyes, a bright yellow green.

Undertaker has extensive black fingernails and a noticeable scar across his face, neck, and left pinky finger. His robe is predominantly black; additionally, his attire includes an incredibly lengthy top hat, and a gray scarf strapped across his chest and knotted by the hips. He wears an emerald ring on his left index finger.


Undertaker's Death Scythe

Before, when he did not hide his identity as a Grim Reaper, Undertaker wore square, silver-framed glasses, and a black trench coat. He did not have the scars across his neck and face, but still had his ear piercings.

Undertaker's Death Scythe is a silver, long and curving blade fastened at an angle with a miniature skeleton, whose skull is wrapped in spiky wires, to a wooden handle.

Personality

Known only by his profession, Undertaker is a mysterious man whose scarred face is never fully visible beneath his long hair and crooked top hat. He tends to punctuate his words with sweeping gestures and creepy giggles, and spends a considerable deal of time inside of coffins. He takes joy in frightening others, as he intentionally acts in a disconcerting manner to provoke a reaction. Undertaker frequently refers to the deceased as his "guests," and it is his hobby to remove organs from his "guests" for research.
Undertaker has great and significant connections with the underworld society; as victims of murder from the underworld are often delivered to his place of business. Thus, he has voluminous knowledge in these macabre cases that allows him to be an informant. However, he does not exchange his services for "the Queen's money," as he dislikes Queen Victoria. Instead, he expects those that want information from him to amuse him in some way.

Undertaker is intrigued by humans, to the degree that he defied the Grim Reaper conduct out of his own volition so that he can manipulate the fundamental notions of life. He is exceptionally disenchanted by the aspect of death (which is considered to be the "end"); when one day he started asking the question : "What would happen if the end had a continuation?".For this question to be answered, he connects fake records to individuals' Cinematic Records. However, despite his many experiments, he could never successfully construct a soul, thus originating Bizarre Dolls, whom of which are nothing more than "flesh dolls without a self." Nonetheless, he is proud of his creation, and even when others remark on his deranged nature, he refuses to concede, and stresses the beauty of his Bizarre Dolls.

Undertaker regards a particular chain of lockets as his "treasure." (On one locket, there is a date and a name engraved: 13 July 1866, Claudia P.) He eventually entrusts his treasure in Ciel Phantomhive's care.



Undertaker as a Grim Reaper

Undertaker is a retired Grim Reaper, and as Grell Sutcliff and Ronald Knox claim, a "deserter." In the manga, he had served as a Grim Reaper for a long time, repeatedly reaping souls in a relatively peaceful, indifferent fashion, until he grew tired with the mundane process and began to experiment and tamper with human life.


Sometime later, Undertaker established his funeral parlor and became acquainted with Vincent Phantomhive. His intermittent business relations with the said Earl earned him the status as one of the "evil noblemen."

In the anime, Undertaker was a renowned Grim Reaper, who was ranked management level, and had judged souls as famous as Marie Antoinette and Robin Hood. William T. Spears said that even crying children would have willingly given up their souls to him. He was highly respected by William, but he did not return the feelings, calling William "annoying and noisy."
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3 | 0 Comments | by Kau | Mar 4th 2015 13:33

RPC: Ciel Phantomhive (Black Butler)


Earl Ciel Phantomhive is the main character of the Kuroshitsuji series. He is the current head of the Phantomhive family, the notorious Queen's Watchdog, and the owner of the Funtom Company.

Appearance


Ciel is a rather short teenage boy with navy blue hair and eyes and body dimensions that are described by Nina Hopkins as "slim" and "delicate." Ciel typically dresses in a way that suits his noble standing, and has a very extensive wardrobe.

Ciel nearly always wears a black eye patch with a single cord over his right eye to hide the location of his Faustian Contract with Sebastian Michaelis. However, while in disguise, he wears a medical-looking white patch that fastens over his ear with two cords. Ciel also has a brand on the left side of his body from his time as a slave in a cult. In the manga, the mark is on his back; in the anime, it is on his chest.
Signet Ring
Phantomhive signet ring.

Ciel sports two rings: one, which he wears on his left thumb, is an ornate silver piece that holds an emerald-cut deep blue stone. It is a one-of-a-kind family heirloom that had been passed down for generations. The other is a gold signet ring in the form of the Phantomhive crest. Ciel wears this on his right hand, and uses it to stamp the wax seal on documents. The seal was given to him by Angelina Dalles upon his return, who told him that it was the only ring that had not been destroyed in the fire that killed his parents.

Personality

Ciel is an arrogant and shrewd thirteen-year-old boy who holds numerous exalted positions.

As the Earl of the Phantomhive family and a distinguished nobleman, Ciel is very strict, proud, and accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle. He refuses to stay in a meager environment for long periods of time. As a result, he has considerable difficulty dressing himself up and doing household chores if left on his own. He is stern on his orders, especially in the assertion of his authority; as he expects his butler, Sebastian Michaelis, to complete them without any shortcomings. Ciel often finds it entertaining to challenge Sebastian in areas of both strength and skill.He and Sebastian frequently work together; yet only the latter seems to be fully aware of Ciel's schemes. Furthermore, Ciel has a relatively cold outlook on life. His main goal is for those who have betrayed the Phantomhive family to experience the same level of humiliation and suffering he did. During his time as a slave to cultists who subjected him to atrocious cruelties, he was branded with a mark he absolutely does not want other people to see. Ciel possesses unwavering determination. Instead of moping around hopelessly, Ciel chooses to die without regrets by working hard to fulfill his revenge, despite his aunt's insistence that he should lead a happier life. He often compares predicaments to games such as chess, and is willing to gamble with his life on the line to win them.

As the executive chairman of the Funtom Company, Ciel exhibits business acumen and impressive keenness in management affairs. Cunning and artful, he successfully administers sister Funtom Companies simultaneously. His greed is described as "knowing no boundaries"; for when he learns that a performer could double the sales of his new product, he immediately puts up advertisements of her for promotion.

"The Watchdog"

As the Queen's Watchdog, Ciel demonstrates great loyalty to Queen Victoria and aims to accomplish all tasks she assigns to him. He is undaunted by dense mysteries and macabre cases, and is confident that he will be able to solve them all. He is readily prepared to resort to dishonest measures such as bribery; provided that he can gather more information and finish his job swiftly and efficiently—though, he claims it is simply flexibility on his part. As his duty sometimes obligates him to disguise himself, he is quite a versed actor; unscrupulous, he has no qualms about lying and believes that humans do not as a whole. He is merciless with his enemies, and does not hesitate to command for the utter eradication of them.

Ciel displays signs of post-traumatic stress disorder due to his savage mistreatment as a slave by a perverse cult. He occasionally has flashbacks of the traumatic event and becomes completely unaware of his surroundings while being suspended in the disturbing, vivid memory. Due to this horrific past, Ciel seldom smiles. He had once admitted that he has forgotten how to smile happily. Ciel does show genuine concern for the well-being of those close to him. For an instance, he jumped in front of a bear to guard Elizabeth Midford. He had also sworn to protect her from a horde of violent Bizarre Dolls. He also pays ample attention to the needs of his servants, for when he had heard that they desired new items, he went shopping with them and provided them with their necessities.

Although he usually presents himself in a solemn and m*tu*e demeanor, Ciel can be rather childish at times. He is exceedingly competitive, which he acknowledges himself. He is unsatisfied with draws, and will refuse to quit until a victor is declared. Sebastian has noted that because of Ciel's talent in competition, he overestimates his skills to the point of thinking he can never lose. This is why Sebastian is careful to make sure that Ciel will be gradually humbled by a decisive defeat and the guidance of an adult he respects. Despite his weak physical condition, Ciel is competent with shooting. He always carries a gun in order to defend himself and has one under his pillow when sleeping. Ciel is also very fond of sweets, and is allergic to cats. He inherited asthma from his mother.
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4 | 0 Comments | by Kau | Mar 4th 2015 13:31

Mick St. John Private Investigations


Mick St. John P.I. (lic. 420731-6632) > 2110 Drexel Avenue Los Angeles CA 90048 | 310 555 0186 (mobile)


Mick St. John.net
SERVICES
Mick St. John is a licensed California private investigator based in Los Angeles.

Mick is dedicated to providing professional, discreet, thorough, investigative services to private citizens. His clients have included both middle-class families and leaders of business.

Mick’s specialties include:

Criminal investigation
Missing persons
Stolen property
Surveillance
People protection and security
An army veteran with a nose that’s been compared to a bloodhound, Mick excels at fieldwork and has even solved murders before the police did. He employs the latest investigative techniques such as computer-based search and analysis. Trained in forensic evidence collection procedures, Mick can ensure that evidence discovered during an investigation will not compromise any future legal proceedings.

Mick maintains ties with the LAPD and District Attorney’s office, and has consulted for them on high-profile cases such as the recent High Profile murder case.

Private detective services are not too expensive for the average person. While Mick generally charges on a per-hour basis, he understands that every case is unique. Contact Mick for an assessment of your personal situation. Whether you enlist his services or not, confidentiality is guaranteed.

Mick is bonded and insured for $2,000,000.
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1 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 27th 2015 23:17

10 Historical Vampires


A little more than a century ago, vampires stalked Rhode Island. Or rather, New England farm families were digging up dead relatives suspected of being vampires and desecrating the bodies in a misguided effort to protect the living. Often these latter-day vampire hunters removed and burned their loved ones’ heart
Though the corpses were typically re-buried, modern scholars continue to unearth the stories of real-life “vampires,” whose historic tragedies underlie classics like Dracula as well as Hollywood’s latest guilty pleasures.

The practice of disinterring accused vampires likely began in Eastern Europe, spreading to western countries including France and England in the 1700s, and then to rural New England, where vampire panics were common up through the late 1800s – particularly in Rhode Island.At home and abroad, vampire scares usually began when a person died – often of a contagious disease, and in New England almost always of tuberculosis – and others in the vicinity began dying, too, usually of the same sickness. Ignorant of germs, people surmised that the dead person had come back to drain family members’ blood, and the exhumation and staking, burning, beheading and whatever else followed (practices varied with geography) were an effort to insulate the community against further harm. Often the vampire-hunters were not disappointed when they pried open the graves: many natural signs of decay, like bloating and bleeding from various orifices, looked like evidence of midnight feasts.

Here are a few “vampires” from America and elsewhere, the real lives behind our modern legends.

Peter Plogojowitz: This Serbian villager and accused bloodsucker was exhumed and staked through the heart a few weeks after his death in 1725. In his book, “Vampires, Burial, and Death,” folklorist Paul Barber treats Plogojowitz as the quintessential European vampire, because his exhumation closely follows the broader pattern of the superstition. Plogojowitz was the first in his village to die of a sickness, and subsequent local deaths were blamed on his late-night predations. A rather gruesome-sounding autopsy revealed what were considered the tell-tale signs of vampirism:

“I did not detect the slightest odor that is otherwise characteristic of the dead, and the body…was completely fresh,” one witness wrote. “The hair and beard… had grown on him; the old skin, which was somewhat whitish, had peeled away, and a new fresh one had emerged under it … Not without astonishment, I saw some fresh blood in his mouth.”

Arnold Paole: In the early 18th century, this rural Serbian broke his neck after a fall from a hay wagon. Like many others before him, he was accused of posthumous vampirism and exhumed after a series of deaths in his village; many of his supposed victims were dug up as well. Austrian military authorities in control of the region investigated the deaths, and their published account was widely circulated. Paole’s case is thus credited with spreading the vampire superstition to Western Europe, where it took hold before reaching the New World.

Nellie Vaughn: Just 19 years old, she was buried in 1889 in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Today this so-called vampire is almost as famous as Mercy Brown, whose exhumation was covered by international newspapers. Vaughn’s cemetery has frequently been visited, vandalized and her headstone broken. But in his book, “Food for the Dead,” folklorist and vampire scholar Michael Bell presents evidence suggesting that Vaughn’s is a case of mistaken identity, and that her contemporaries never accused or exhumed her. The superstition probably arose in the last half century or so, and may be a result of confusion with Mercy (who died nearby at a similar date and age) and the admittedly creepy epitaph on Vaughn’s tombstone: “I Am Waiting and Watching For You.”

Frederick Ransom: A Dartmouth College student from a well-respected family in South Woodstock, Vermont, he died of tuberculosis in 1817 and is an example of an educated person ensnared in a vampire panic usually associated with misinformed farmers. Ransom’s father had his body exhumed in the hopes of saving the rest of his family: his heart was burned in a blacksmith’s forge. “However, it did not prove a remedy, for mother, sister, and two brothers died afterward,” Ransom’s surviving brother Daniel later wrote. “It has been related to me that there was a tendency in our family to consumption, and that I…would die with it before I was thirty.” Happily, when Daniel Ransom wrote these words he was more than 80 years old.

Bristoe Congdon’s child: A “black” man named Bristoe Congdon and several of his children died of tuberculosis in Rhode Island in the 1800s. “The body of one of the children was exhumed,” one source wrote, “and the vital parts were burned in obedience to the dicta of this shallow and disgusting superstition.” Though it’s not entirely clear whether Congdon was African-American or American Indian, the case was the first that folklorist Michael Bell has found suggesting that the vampire tradition crossed racial lines.

Annie Dennett: She died of consumption at the age of 21 in rural New Hampshire. In September of 1810, a traveling Freewill Baptist Minister from Vermont named Enoch Hayes Place attended her exhumation, which her family undertook in an effort to save Annie’s father, also sick from tuberculosis. Place’s diary entry is a curious example of the participation of a respected New England minister in a vampire hunt. “They opened the grave and it was a Solemn Sight indeed,” Place wrote. “A young Brother by the name of Adams examined the mouldy Specticle, but found nothing as they Supposed they Should…. There was but a little left except bones.”



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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 21:09

The Scientific Vampire (The Blood)


Vampires have always been amongst the most popular mythological creatures, from the tales of Bram Stoker to more modern incarnations like those in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. However, in case you have been living in a cave and these have all bypassed you, here is a brief overview of the vampire legend: vampires are generally believed to be human beings who, in life, were bitten by another vampire and then return after death to feed on the blood of other humans. Vampires are generally assumed to never die naturally but, depending on which adaptation you read, can be killed by exposure to sunlight, garlic, holy water or direct penetration through the heart with a wooden stake. Vampires are now a pretty popular part of modern culture, but how could the myth have first come about?

Although few scientific papers exist on this topic the internet is rife with debate and appears to point to several different medical conditions:

Probably the most popular theory of the origin of the vampire is the disease porphyria: as explained by this article in Scientific American. Porphyria is actually a term for several diseases which are all caused by irregularities in production of heme, a chemical in blood. Some forms of this condition, such as cutaneous erythropoietic porphyria (CEP), lead to deposition of toxins in the skin. Sufferers are often sensitive to light since light activates these toxins. When active, toxins eat away at the skin causing disfigurement, including erosion of the lips and gums. These factors could have led to the corpse-like, fanged appearance that we associate with vampires and their dislike of sunlight. Interestingly, people who suffer from porphyria also have an intolerance to foods that have a high sulphur content…such as garlic.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Another possible explanation for vampires is tuberculosis (TB). This is a lung disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The reason this disease has been suggested as the origin of the vampire myth is because victims turn very pale, often avoid the sunlight and cough up blood. This is actually due to the disease damaging the lungs, but it’s easy to see how it could be misinterpreted as someone having recently drunk blood. According to this study, the vampire myth may also have arisen from the fact that TB spreads rapidly and easily from person to person. The infectious nature of this disease may have led to the belief that the vampire rises from the dead to feed on his loved ones, causing them to suffer the same symptoms.

An intriguing alternative explanation is Catalepsy. This is a disease of the central nervous system leading to a slowing of the heart and breathing rate, with sufferers often seizing up completely. These symptoms may have led people to mistakenly believe the sufferer to be dead. Therefore, since these individuals were perceived to have risen from the dead, it is easy to see how this disorder could be linked to paranormal mythology
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 21:08

The Great New England Vampire Pandemic


Children playing near a hillside gravel mine found the first graves. One ran home to tell his mother, who was skeptical at first—until the boy produced a skull
Because this was Griswold, Connecticut, in 1990, police initially thought the burials might be the work of a local serial killer named Michael Ross, and they taped off the area as a crime scene. But the brown, decaying bones turned out to be more than a century old. The Connecticut state archaeologist, Nick Bellantoni, soon determined that the hillside contained a colonial-era farm cemetery. New England is full of such unmarked family plots, and the 29 burials were typical of the 1700s and early 1800s: The dead, many of them children, were laid to rest in thrifty Yankee style, in simple wood coffins, without jewelry or even much clothing, their arms resting by their sides or crossed over their chests.

Except, that is, for Burial Number 4.


Bellantoni was interested in the grave even before the excavation began. It was one of only two stone crypts in the cemetery, and it was partially visible from the mine face.

Scraping away soil with flat-edged shovels, and then brushes and bamboo picks, the archaeologist and his team worked through several feet of earth before reaching the top of the crypt. When Bellantoni lifted the first of the large, flat rocks that formed the roof, he uncovered the remains of a red-painted coffin and a pair of skeletal feet. They lay, he remembers, “in perfect anatomical position.” But when he raised the next stone, Bellantoni saw that the rest of the individual “had been com­pletely...rearranged.” The skeleton had been beheaded; skull and thighbones rested atop the ribs and vertebrae. “It looked like a skull-and-crossbones motif, a Jolly Roger. I’d never seen anything like it,” Bellantoni recalls.

Subsequent analysis showed that the beheading, along with other injuries, including rib fractures, occurred roughly five years after death. Somebody had also smashed the coffin.

The other skeletons in the gravel hillside were packaged for reburial, but not “J.B.,” as the 50ish male skeleton from the 1830s came to be called, because of the initials spelled out in brass tacks on his coffin lid. He was shipped to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Washington, D.C., for further study. Meanwhile, Bellantoni started networking. He invited archaeologists and historians to tour the excavation, soliciting theories. Simple vandalism seemed unlikely, as did robbery, because of the lack of valuables at the site.

Finally, one colleague asked: “Ever heard of the Jewett City vampires?”

In 1854, in neighboring Jewett City, Connecticut, townspeople had exhumed several corpses suspected to be vampires that were rising from their graves to kill the living. A few newspaper accounts of these events survived. Had the Griswold grave been desecrated for the same reason?

In the course of his far-flung research, Bellantoni placed a serendipitous phone call to Michael Bell, a Rhode Island folklorist, who had devoted much of the previous decade to studying New England vampire exhumations. The Griswold case occurred at roughly the same time as the other incidents Bell had investigated. And the setting was right: Griswold was rural, agrarian and bordering southern Rhode Island, where multiple exhumations had occurred. Many of the other “vampires,” like J.B., had been disinterred, grotesquely tampered with and reburied.
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 21:06

Historical Vampires


Vampires are a perennial favorite around Halloween, but they can be found year-round in movies and on television, in books and on blogs. The public's thirst for vampires seems as endless as vampires' thirst for blood. Modern writers of vampire fiction, including Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others, have a rich vein of vampire lore to draw from. But where did the vampires come from?


The most famous vampire is, of course, Bram Stoker's Dracula, though those looking for a historical "real" Dracula often cite Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), after whom Stoker is said to have modeled some aspects of his Dracula character. The characterization of Tepes as a vampire, however, is a distinctly Western one; in Romania, he is viewed not as a blood-drinking sadist but as a national hero who defended his empire from the Ottoman Turks.

The vampires most people are familiar with (such as Dracula) are revenants — human corpses that are said to return from the grave to harm the living; these vampires have Slavic origins only a few hundred years old. But other, older, versions of the vampire were not thought to be human at all but instead supernatural, possibly demonic, entities that did not take human form.

Matthew Beresford, author of "From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth" (Reaktion, 2008), notes, "There are clear foundations for the vampire in the ancient world, and it is impossible to prove when the myth first arose. There are suggestions that the vampire was born out of sorcery in ancient Egypt, a demon summoned into this world from some other." There are many variations of vampires from around the world. There are Asian vampires, such as the Chinese jiangshi (pronounced chong-shee), evil spirits that attack people and drain their life energy; the blood-drinking Wrathful Deities that appear in the "Tibetan Book of the Dead," and many others.

Identifying vampires
While most people can name several elements of vampire lore, there are no firmly established characteristics. Some vampires are said to be able to turn into bats or wolves; others can't. Some are said not to cast a reflection, but others do. Holy water and sunlight are said to repel or kill some vampires, but not others. The one universal characteristic is the draining of a vital bodily fluid, typically blood. One of the reasons that vampires make such successful literary figures is that they have a rich and varied history and folklore. Writers can play with the "rules" while adding, subtracting or changing them to fit whatever story they have in mind.

Finding a vampire is not always easy: according to one Romanian legend you'll need a 7-year-old boy and a white horse. The boy should be dressed in white, placed upon the horse, and the pair set loose in a graveyard at midday. Watch the horse wander around, and whichever grave is nearest the horse when it finally stops is a vampire's grave — or it might just have something edible nearby; take your pick.

Interest and belief in revenants surged in the Middle Ages in Europe. Though in most modern stories the classic way to become a vampire is to be bitten by one, that is a relatively new twist. In his book "Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality" (Yale, 2008), folklorist Paul Barber noted that centuries ago, "Often potential revenants can be identified at birth, usually by some abnormality, some defect, as when a child is born with teeth. Similarly suspicious are children born with an extra nipple (in Romania, for example); with a lack of cartilage in the nose, or a split lower lip (in Russia) … When a child is born with a red caul, or amniotic membrane, covering its head, this was regarded throughout much of Europe as presumptive evidence that it is destined to return from the dead." Such minor deformities were looked upon as evil omens at the time.

The belief in vampires stems from superstition and mistaken assumptions about postmortem decay. The first recorded accounts of vampires follow a consistent pattern: Some unexplained misfortune would befall a person, family or town — perhaps a drought dried up crops, or an infectious disease struck. Before science could explain weather patterns and germ theory, any bad event for which there was not an obvious cause might be blamed on a vampire. Vampires were one easy answer to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.

Villagers combined their belief that something had cursed them with fear of the dead, and concluded that perhaps the recently deceased might be responsible, having come back from the graves with evil intent. Graves were unearthed, and surprised villagers often mistook ordinary decomposition processes for supernatural phenomenon. For example, though laypeople might assume that a body would decompose immediately, if the coffin is well sealed and buried in winter, putrefaction might be delayed by weeks or months; intestinal decomposition creates bloating which can force blood up into the mouth, making it look like a dead body has recently sucked blood. These processes are well understood by modern doctors and morticians, but in medieval Europe were taken as unmistakable signs that vampires were real and existed among them.

A skeleton buried in the cemetery of Vecchiano in Pisa showing a similar condition to the purported "Venetian vampire."
Credit: Antonio FornaciariView full size image
Vampire defense and protection
The best way to deal with vampires, of course, is to prevent them from coming back in the first place. A few centuries ago in Europe this was often accomplished by staking suspected vampires in their graves; the idea was to physically pin the vampire to the earth, and the chest was chosen because it's the trunk of the body. This tradition was later reflected in popular fiction depicting wooden stakes as dispatching vampires. There was no particular significance to using wood; according to folklore, vampires — like djinn (genies) and many other magical creatures — fear iron, so an iron bar would be even more effective than a wooden stake.

Other traditional methods of killing vampires include decapitation and stuffing the severed head's mouth with garlic or a brick. In fact, suspected vampire graves have been found with just such signs. According to a 2012 Live Science article, "The body of the woman was found in a mass grave on the Venetian island of Nuovo Lazzaretto. Suspecting that she might be a vampire, a common folk belief at the time, gravediggers shoved a rock into her skull to prevent her from chewing through her shroud and infecting others with the plague, said anthropologist Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence." Other researchers later challenged this interpretation, and suggested that the brick may not have been placed in the mouth after all, but instead was one of many bricks surrounding the body that merely fell there after burial. Whether that burial reflected an accused vampire or not, other graves are much clearer. In 2013, archaeologists in Bulgaria found two skeletons with iron rods through their chests; the pair are believed to have been accused vampires, according to an article in Archaeology magazine.

The skull of the "vampire of Venice," found in a mass grave with a brick stuck in its jaw.
Credit: Matteo BorriniView full size image
If your local villagers neglected to unearth and stake a suspected vampire and he or she has returned from the grave, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The exact method varies around the world, but in some traditions the best way to stop a vampire is to carry a small bag of salt with you. If you are being chased, you need only to spill the salt on the ground behind you, at which point the vampire is obligated to stop and count each and every grain before continuing the pursuit. If you don't have salt handy, some say that any small granules will do, including birdseed or sand. Salt was often placed above and around doorways for the same reason.

Some traditions hold that vampires cannot enter a home unless formally invited in. This may have been an early form of the modern "stranger danger" warnings to children, a scary reminder against inviting unknown people into the house.

Credit: Ltshears | WikimediaView full size image
Real vampires
There are, of course, a few truly vampiric animals, including leeches, lampreys and vampire bats. And in all these cases the vampire's intent is to draw enough blood for sustenance, but not enough to kill the host.

But what about human vampires? There are certainly many self-identified vampires who participate in gothic-inspired subcultures. Some host vampire-themed book clubs or secret bloodletting rituals; others wear capes or get vampire-fang dental implants. It's all frightening and fun, but blood drinking is another matter entirely. The problem is that blood is toxic; because it is so rich in iron — and because the human body has difficulty excreting excess iron — anyone who consumes blood regularly runs a real risk of haemochromatosis (iron overdose), which can cause a wide variety of diseases and problems, including liver and nervous system damage.

In one form or another, vampires have been part of human culture and folklore in different forms for millennia, and the bloodsuckers show no signs of going away any time soon.
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 20:48

Vampiric Virology (Vampirism as a virus)


Vampires are humans who have been infected with a complex, symbiotic virus that rewrites the genetic code of every nucleus in the body, resulting in countless alterations to their biological makeup. Changes in their brain chemistry and digestive system cause them to hunger for the blood of uninfected humans, and they will commit unspeakably violent acts to get it. They are also known for their enhanced physical capabilities, longevity and averse reaction to bright light and UV rays.
In 1616, Italian scientist Ludovico Fatinelli published his Treatise on Vampires, in which he speculated that vampirism was caused by a microscopic pathogen, as opposed to demonic possession and other such myths. Tragically, he was burned at the stake for heresy, but his research lived on to inspire countless dedicated men and women to bring you the information included on this page.

The Virus
The source of vampirism is the human vampirism virus (HVV). Like rabies, HVV has a distinct bullet shape and belongs to the order Mononegavirales—viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genome. The virus' natural host is a flea commonly found on cave-dwelling bats—most notably the vampire bat. In the most common scenario, the flea bites a bat, which in-turn passes the virus on to humans and other mammals.
While most viruses are highly specific in what tissues they target, HVV is able to infect every living cell in the body, with the exception of red blood cells (which are replaced over time by the infected bone marrow). It's also much less destructive, as it can effectively transform tissues without killing them.

In theory, HVV infection is possible through any exchange of bodily fluids; however, transmission occurs through the bite of an infected person or animal in virtually every case. Thankfully, the virus isn't airborne.

Stage One: Infection. Within six to twelve hours of exposure, the victim develops a headache, fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms, as well as a drastic increase in metabolism and heart rate as the virus spreads throughout the body. These symptoms can be easily confused with more common infections, although the presence of bite marks is usually enough to confirm the diagnosis. This stage generally lasts another six to twelve hours, during which the vaccine is 99 percent effective. The victim should also be treated with fluids and antibiotics.

Stage Two: Coma.Within 24 hours of exposure, the victim will slip into a vampiric coma. About 12 hours into this phase, the pulse slows, breathing is shallow and the pupils are dilated. Thousands have been buried alive because of this. While it is commonly thought that anyone infected with HVV turns into a vampire, in fact only a small percentage of people survive vampiric comas. Generally, the young, old and feeble never come out of their comas and eventually die, while the vast majority of survivors are males between the ages of 18 to 35. Vampiric comas last about a day, and usually end the night after their onset. The vaccine is roughly 50 percent effective when administered during Stage Two of the infection: the longer the victim has been in the coma, the less effective the vaccine.

Stage Three: Transformation. An HVV victim who survives the coma will awaken fully transformed into a vampire. An acclimation period follows, characterized by confusion, despondency and paranoia, accompanied by the pain of dehydration and malnutrition. Most vampires begin to hunt within 24 hours of transformation. The vaccine is of no use at this point, as all virus activity has gone dormant.
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 20:46

The First Vampire


Until recently, we didn't know a lot about the history of vampires.

Despite being one of the oldest and most prevalent creatures of world mythology, the origin of vampires has remained unknown for thousands of years. It wasn't until the Scriptures of Delphiwere found that we were given a glimpse into the early vampire history.



Making The First Vampire


Only a vampire can create another vampire, so logic tells us that the history of vampires begins with a single vampire who created the others. Much like the chicken-and-the-egg argument, we had little insight into how the first vampire came about until recently. Logically, if there was no vampire to make the first vampire, how was the first vampire made?

The answer lies in the Scriptures of Delphi, specifically in the collection of writings known as "The Vampire Bible".

The first vampire started out as not a vampire at all, but as a human man named Ambrogio. He was an Italian-born adventurer who fate brought to Delphi, in Greece. You can read the full story here, but in a nutshell a series of blessings and curses transformed this young man into history's first vampire.

Specifically, it began with the sun god Apollo (Greek mythology), who in a fit of rage cursed Ambrogio so that his skin would burn should it ever touch sunlight again. Ambrogio's bad luck followed when he ended up gambling away his soul to Hades (Greek mythology), the god of the underworld. The next curse came via Apollo's sister Artemis (Greek mythology), the goddess of the moon and hunting, who made it so that Ambrogio's skin would burn if he touched silver.

The blessings came soon after when Artemis, taking pity on the poor young man, gave him the gift of immortality. He would carry his curses - his skin burning by sunlight or silver, but he would live forever in his current form. Not only that, but Artemis also gave him the speed and strength to become a hunter whose skills were second only to her own.

Blood-sucking (which, by the way, is called "hematophagy" in case you were curious) is also included in this "blessing". In the vampire origin story, Ambrogio hunts swans and uses their blood as ink to write love poems to his lady Selene. While this may be considered a little creepy by our standards, it wasn't all that unusual in ancient Greece to make do with what you hunted.
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 26th 2015 20:39

You are more valuable than you think.


A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this."

He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it...?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE.

You are special-Don't EVER forget it." If you do not pass this on, you may never know the lives it touches, the hurting hearts it speaks to, or the hope that it may bring. Count your blessings, not your problems.
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24 | 4 Comments | by RolePlay | Feb 26th 2015 16:19

Vlad Tepes The Real Count Dracula and in the media


Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476/77), was a member of the House of Drăculești, a branch of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as (Vlad) Drăculea or (Vlad) Dracula.

He was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ]), and was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father, Vlad II Dracul, was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was founded to protect Christianity in Eastern Europe. Vlad III is revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romaniansboth north and south of the Danube. A significant number of Romanian common folk and remaining boyars (nobles) moved north of the Danube to Wallachia, recognized his leadership and settled there following his raids on the Ottomans.

As the cognomen "The Impaler" suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation. During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread abroad, to Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula was inspired by Vlad's last name.

Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.

Though Dracula is a purely fictional creation, Stoker named his infamous character after a real person who happened to have a taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler. The morbid nickname is a testament to the Wallachian prince's favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.

But other than having the same name, the two Draculas don't really have much in common, according to historians who have studied the link between Stoker's vampire count and Vlad III.

The Real Dracula

By most accounts, Vlad III was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania, the central region of modern-day Romania. However, the link between Vlad the Impaler and Transylvania is tenuous, according to Florin Curta, a professor of medieval history and archaeology at the University of Florida.

"[Stoker's] Dracula is linked to Transylvania, but the real, historic Dracula — Vlad III — never owned anything in Transylvania," Curta told Live Science. Bran Castle, a modern-day tourist attraction in Transylvania that is often referred to as Dracula's castle, was never the residence of the Wallachian prince, he added.

"Because the castle is in the mountains in this foggy area and it looks spooky, it's what one would expect of Dracula's castle," Curta said. "But he [Vlad III] never lived there. He never even stepped foot there."

Vlad III's father, Vlad II, did own a residence in Sighişoara, Transylvania, but it is not certain that Vlad III was born there, according to Curta. It's also possible, he said, that Vlad the Impaler was born in Târgovişte, which was at that time the royal seat of the principality of Wallachia, where his father was a "voivode," or ruler.

In 1431, King Sigismund of Hungary, who would later become the Holy Roman Emperor, inducted the elder Vlad into a knightly order, the Order of the Dragon. This designation earned Vlad II a new surname: Dracul. The name came from the old Romanian word for dragon, "drac." His son, Vlad III, would later be known as the "son of Dracul" or, in old Romanian, Drăculea, hence Dracula. In modern Romanian, the word "drac" refers to another feared creature — the devil, Curta said.

The Order of the Dragon was devoted to a singular task: the defeat of the Turkish, or Ottoman Empire. Situated between Christian Europe and the Muslim lands of the Ottoman Empire, Vlad II's (and later Vlad III's) home principality of Wallachia was frequently the scene of bloody battles as Ottoman forces pushed westward into Europe, and Christian forces repulsed the invaders.

Years of captivity
When Vlad II was called to a diplomatic meeting in 1442 with Sultan Murad II, he brought his young sons Vlad III and Radu along. But the meeting was actually a trap: All three were arrested and held hostage. The elder Vlad was released under the condition that he leave his sons behind.

"The sultan held Vlad and his brother as hostages to ensure that their father, Vlad II, behaved himself in the ongoing war between Turkey and Hungary," said Elizabeth Miller, a research historian and professor emeritus at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.

Under the Ottomans, Vlad and his younger brother were tutored in science, philosophy and the arts. Vlad also became a skilled horseman and warrior, according to Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally, former professors of history at Boston College, who wrote several books about Vlad III — as well as his alleged connection to Stoker's Dracula — in the 1970s and 1980s.

"They were treated reasonably well by the current standards of the time," Miller said. "Still, [captivity] irked Vlad, whereas his brother sort of acquiesced and went over on the Turkish side. But Vlad held enmity, and I think it was one of his motivating factors for fighting the Turks: to get even with them for having held him captive."

Vlad the Prince
While Vlad and Radu were in Ottoman hands, Vlad's father was fighting to keep his place as voivode of Wallachia, a fight he would eventually lose. In 1447, Vlad II was ousted as ruler of Wallachia by local noblemen (boyars) and was killed in the swamps near Bălteni, half way between Târgovişte and Bucharest in present-day Romania. Vlad's older half-brother, Mircea, was killed alongside his father.

Not long after these harrowing events, in 1448, Vlad embarked on a campaign to regain his father's seat from the new ruler, Vladislav II. His first attempt at the throne relied on the military support of the Ottoman governors of the cities along the Danube River in northern Bulgaria, according to Curta. Vlad also took advantage of the fact that Vladislav was absent at the time, having gone to the Balkans to fight the Ottomans for the governor of Hungary at the time, John Hunyadi.

Vlad won back his father's seat, but his time as ruler of Wallachia was short-lived. He was deposed after only two months, when Vladislav II returned and took back the throne of Wallachia with the assistance of Hunyadi, according to Curta.

Little is known about Vlad III's whereabouts between 1448 and 1456. But it is known that he switched sides in the Ottoman-Hungarian conflict, giving up his ties with the Ottoman governors of the Danube cities and obtaining military support from King Ladislaus V of Hungary, who happened to dislike Vlad's rival — Vladislav II of Wallachia — according to Curta.

Vlad III’s political and military tack truly came to the forefront amid the fall of Constantinople in 1453. After the fall, the Ottomans were in a position to invade all of Europe. Vlad, who had already solidified his anti-Ottoman position, was proclaimed voivode of Wallachia in 1456. One of his first orders of business in his new role was to stop paying an annual tribute to the Ottoman sultan — a measure that had formerly ensured peace between Wallachia and the Ottomans.


Vlad the Impaler
To consolidate his power as voivode, Vlad needed to quell the incessant conflicts that had historically taken place between Wallachia's boyars. According to legends that circulated after his death, Vlad invited hundreds of these boyars to a banquet and — knowing they would challenge his authority — had his guests stabbed and their still-twitching bodies impaled on spikes.

This is just one of many gruesome events that earned Vlad his posthumous nickname Vlad the Impaler. This story — and others like it — is documented in printed material from around the time of Vlad III's rule, according to Miller.

"In the 1460s and 1470s, just after the invention of the printing press, a lot of these stories about Vlad were circulating orally, and then they were put together by different individuals in pamphlets and printed," Miller said.

Whether or not these stories are wholly true or significantly embellished is debatable, Miller added. After all, many of those printing the pamphlets were hostile to Vlad III. But some of the pamphlets from this time tell almost the exact same gruesome stories about Vlad, leading Miller to believe that the tales are at least partially historically accurate. Some of these legends were also collected and published in a book, "The Tale of Dracula," in 1490, by a monk who presented Vlad III as a fierce, but just ruler.

Vlad is credited with impaling dozens of Saxon merchants in Kronstadt (present-day Braşov, Romania), who were once allied with the boyars, in 1456. Around the same time, a group of Ottoman envoys allegedly had an audience with Vlad but declined to remove their turbans, citing a religious custom. Commending them on their religious devotion, Vlad ensured that their turbans would forever remain on their heads by reportedly having the head coverings nailed to their skulls.

"After Mehmet II — the one who conquered Constantinople — invaded Wallachia in 1462, he actually was able to go all the way to Wallachia's capital city of Târgoviște but found it deserted. And in front of the capital he found the bodies of the Ottoman prisoners of war that Vlad had taken — all impaled," Curta said.

Vlad's victories over the invading Ottomans were celebrated throughout Wallachia, Transylvania and the rest of Europe — even Pope Pius II was impressed.

"The reason he's a positive character in Romania is because he is reputed to have been a just, though a very harsh, ruler," Curta said.

Vlad's death
Not long after the impalement of Ottoman prisoners of war, in August 1462, Vlad was forced into exile in Hungary, unable to defeat his much more powerful adversary, Mehmet II. Vlad was imprisoned for a number of years during his exile, though during that same time he married and had two children.

Vlad's younger brother, Radu, who had sided with the Ottomans during the ongoing military campaigns, took over governance of Wallachia after his brother's imprisonment. But after Radu's death in 1475, local boyars, as well as the rulers of several nearby principalities, favored Vlad’s return to power.

In 1476, with the support of the voivode of Moldavia, Stephen III the Great (1457-1504), Vlad made one last effort to reclaim his seat as ruler of Wallachia. He successfully stole back the throne, but his triumph was short-lived. Later that year, while marching to yet another battle with the Ottomans, Vlad and a small vanguard of soldiers were ambushed, and Vlad was killed.

There is much controversy over the location of Vlad III's tomb. It is said he was buried in the monastery church in Snagov, on the northern edge of the modern city of Bucharest, in accordance with the traditions of his time. But recently, historians have questioned whether Vlad might actually be buried at the Monastery of Comana, between Bucharest and the Danube, which is close to the presumed location of the battle in which Vlad was killed, according to Curta.

One thing is for certain, however: unlike Stoker's Count Dracula, Vlad III most definitely did die. Only the harrowing tales of his years as ruler of Wallachia remain to haunt the modern world.

Vampire mythology

The connection of the name "Dracula" with vampirism was made by Bram Stoker around the 1890s. Since then, "Count Dracula" has been a recurring character in vampire mythology and media.

_______________________________________________________________

Stoker's version of the Tale

Stoker’s creation
Bram Stoker's novel takes the form of an epistolary tale, in which Count Dracula's characteristics, powers, abilities and weaknesses are narrated by multiple narrators, from different perspectives.

Count Dracula is a centuries-old vampire, and Transylvanian nobleman, who claims to be a Székely descended from Attila the Hun. He inhabits a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains near the Borgo Pass. Unlike the vampires of Eastern European folklore, which are portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures, Dracula exudes a veneer of aristocratic charm. In his conversations with Jonathan Harker, he reveals himself as deeply proud of his boyar heritage and nostalgic for the past times, which he admits have become only a memory of heroism, honor and valor in modern times.

Details of his early life are obscure, but it seems that Dracula studied the black arts at the academy of Scholomance in the Carpathian Mountains, overlooking the town of Sibiu (also known as Hermannstadt) and became proficient in alchemy and magic.Taking up arms, as befitting his rank and status as a voivode, he led troops against the Turks across the Danube. According to Van Helsing, "He must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the land beyond the forest."Dead and buried in a great tomb in the chapel of his castle, Dracula returns from death as a vampire and lives for several centuries in his castle with three terrifyingly beautiful female vampires beside him. Whether they be his lovers, sisters, daughters, or vampires made by him is not made clear in the narrative.


Max Schreck as Count Orlok, the first confirmed cinematic representation of Dracula.
As the novel begins in the late 19th century, Dracula acts on a long contemplated plan for world domination, and infiltrates London to begin his reign of terror. He summons Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, to provide legal support for a real estate transaction overseen by Harker's employer. Dracula at first charms Harker with his cordiality and historical knowledge, and even rescues him from the clutches of the three female vampires in the castle. In truth, however, Dracula wishes to keep Harker alive long enough to complete the legal transaction and to learn as much as possible about England.

Dracula leaves his castle and boards a Russian ship, the Demeter, taking along with him boxes of Transylvanian soil, which he needs in order to regain his strength. During the voyage to Whitby, a coastal town in northern England, he sustains himself on the ship's crew members. Only one body is later found, that of the captain, who is found tied up to the ship's helm. The captain's log is recovered and tells of strange events that had taken place during the ship's journey. Dracula leaves the ship in the form of a dog.

Soon the Count is menacing Harker's fiancée, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray, and her friend, Lucy Westenra. There is also a notable link between Dracula and Renfield, a patient in an insane asylum overseen by John Seward compelled to consume insects, spiders, birds, and other creatures—in ascending order of size—in order to absorb their "life force". Renfield acts as a kind of sensor, reacting to Dracula's proximity and supplying clues accordingly. Dracula begins to visit Lucy's bed chamber on a nightly basis, draining her of blood while simultaneously infecting her with the curse of vampirism. Not knowing the cause for Lucy's deterioration, her three suitors call upon John Seward's mentor, the Dutch doctor Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing soon deduces her condition's supernatural origins, but does not speak out. Despite an attempt at keeping the vampire at bay with garlic, Dracula attacks Lucy's house one final time, leaving her mother dead and transforming Lucy herself into one of the undead.

After Lucy attacks several children, Van Helsing and Lucy's former suitors John Seward, Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris enter her crypt and kill her to save her soul. Later, Harker joins them and they enter Dracula's residences at Carfax and Piccadilly, destroying his boxes of earth, depriving the Count of his ability to rest. Dracula leaves England to return to his homeland, but not before biting Mina, largely out of spite for the heroes for their actions against him knowing that as long as he's alive, Mina is in danger of becoming a vampire herself. However this backfires on him as Helsing hypnotizes Mina and uses the supernatural link between Dracula and her to track him down.

The final section of the novel details the heroes racing Dracula back to Transylvania, and in a climactic battle with Dracula's gypsy bodyguards, finally destroying him. Despite the popular image of Dracula having a stake driven through his heart to kill him, Mina's narrative describes his throat being cut through by Jonathan Harker's kukri and his heart pierced by Morris' Bowie knife (Mina Harker's Journal, 6 November, Dracula Chapter 27). His body then turns into dust, but not before Mina Harker sees an expression of peace on Dracula's face.

Characteristics
Although early in the novel Dracula dons a mask of cordiality, he often flies into fits of rage when his plans are interfered with. When the three vampire women who live in his castle attempt to seduce Jonathan Harker, Dracula physically assaults one and ferociously berates them for their insubordination. He then relents and talks to them more kindly, telling them that he does indeed love each of them.

Dracula is very passionate about his warrior heritage, emotionally proclaiming his pride to Harker on how the Székely people are infused with the blood of heroes. He does express an interest in the history of the British Empire, speaking admiringly of its people. He has a somewhat primal and predatory worldview; he pities ordinary humans for their revulsion to their darker impulses.

Though usually portrayed as having a strong Eastern European accent, the original novel only specifies that his spoken English is excellent, though strangely toned.

His appearance varies in age. He is described early in the novel as thin, with a long white mustache, pointed ears and sharp teeth.[5] It is also noted later in the novel (Chapter 11 subsection "The Escaped Wolf") by a zookeeper that sees him that he has a hooked nose and a pointed beard with a streak of white in it. He is dressed all in black and has hair on his palms. Jonathan Harker described him as an old man, "cruel looking" and giving an effect of "extraordinary pallor".[6] When angered, the Count showed his true bestial nature, his blue eyes flaming red.

I saw... Count Dracula... with red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.
— Jonathan Harker's Journal, Dracula, Chapter 4
As the novel progresses, Dracula is described as taking on a more and more youthful appearance.

Powers and weaknesses
Count Dracula is portrayed in the novel using many different supernatural abilities. He has superhuman strength which, according to Van Helsing, is equivalent to that of 20 strong men. He is immune to conventional means of attack and can only be killed by decapitation preceded by impalement through the heart. The Count does not have to seek victims regularly, and has the ability to remain inactive for centuries. The Count can defy gravity to a certain extent and possesses superhuman agility; being able to climb upside down vertical surfaces in a reptilian manner. He has powerful hypnotic and telepathic abilities, and is also able to command nocturnal animals such as bats and rats. Dracula can also manipulate the weather, usually creating mists to hide his presence, but also storms such as in his voyage in the Demeter. He can travel onto "unhallowed" ground such as the graves of suicides and those of his victims. He can shapeshift at will, his featured forms in the novel being that of a bat, a wolf, a large dog and fog. He is able to pass through tiny cracks or crevices while retaining his human form, described by Van Helsing as the ability to become "so small". He also has the ability to vanish and reappear somewhere else. He requires no other sustenance but fresh blood, which has the effect of rejuvenating him.

According to Van Helsing:

The Nosferatu do not die like the bees when they sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil.

—Mina Harker's journal, Dracula, Chapter 18
One of Dracula's most mysterious powers is the ability to transfer his vampiric condition by biting others, who become the vampires after death. According to Van Helsing:

They cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims and multiplying the evils of the world. For all that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead, and prey on their kind. And so the circle goes on ever widening, like as the ripples from a stone thrown in the water. Friend Arthur, if you had met that kiss which you know of before poor Lucy die, or again, last night when you open your arms to her, you would in time, when you had died, have become nosferatu, as they call it in Eastern europe, and would for all time make more of those Un-Deads that so have filled us with horror.

He slowly transforms Lucy into a vampire and, following her destruction, sets his sights on Mina. To punish Mina he forces her to drink his blood; this act gives him telepathic link to her thoughts, however this link is used against him, as Mina is able to predict his movements.

The sun that rose on our sorrow this morning guards us in its course. Until it sets to-night, that monster must retain whatever form he now has. He is confined within the limitations of his earthly envelope. He cannot melt into thin air nor disappear through cracks or chinks or crannies. If he go through a doorway, he must open the door like a mortal.

—Johnathan Harker's journal, Dracula, Chapter 22
Dracula's powers are not unlimited, however. He is much less powerful in daylight and is only able to shift his form at dawn, noon, and dusk (he can shift freely at night). The sun is not fatal to him, though, as sunlight does not burn and destroy him upon contact.

He is repulsed by garlic, crucifixes, and sacramental bread, and he can only cross running water at low or high tide. He is also unable to enter a place unless invited to do so; once invited, however, he can approach and leave the premises at will.

While universally feared by the local people of Transylvania and even beyond, he somehow commands the loyalty of gypsies and a band of Slovaks who transport his boxes on their way to London and to serve as an armed convoy bringing his coffin back to the Castle. The Slovaks and gypsies appear to know his true nature, for they laugh at Jonathan Harker, who tries to communicate his plight, and betray Harker's attempt to send a letter through them by giving it to the Count.

Count Dracula is depicted as the "King Vampire", and can control other vampires who were his own victims but also, as per the story "Dracula's Guest", those in farther away lands such as Styria who may or may not have been Dracula's victims. His death can release the curse on any living victim of eventual transformation into vampire. But Van Helsing reveals that were he to successfully escape, his continued existence would ensure that even if he did not victimize Mina Harker further, she would transform into a vampire upon her eventual natural death.

He also requires Transylvanian soil to be nearby to him in order to successfully rest; otherwise, he will not be able to recover his strength. Dracula's powers and weaknesses vary greatly in the many adaptations. Previous and subsequent vampires from different legends have had similar vampire characteristics. And contrary to what is shown in that horrid movie Twilight,Vampires do not and never will sparkle.
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0 | 0 Comments | by minastjohn | Feb 24th 2015 22:45

Elizabeth Bathory Countess Dracula


Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614)was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary known for being a serial killer. She has been labelled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer,though the precise number of her victims is debated. Báthory and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls between 1585 and 1610.The highest number of victims cited during Báthory's trial was 650. However, this number comes from the claim by a woman named Susannah that Jacob Szilvássy, Countess Báthory's court official, had seen the figure in one of Báthory's private books. The book was never revealed, and Szilvássy never mentioned it in his testimony. Despite the evidence against Elizabeth, her family's influence kept her from facing trial. She was imprisoned in December 1610 within Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia, where she remained immured in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

The stories of her serial murders and brutality are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Stories which ascribe to her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth) were generally recorded years after her death and are considered unreliable. Her story quickly became part of national folklore, and her infamy persists to this day. She is often compared with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and has been nicknamed The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

Early years

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Elizabeth Báthory was born on a family estate which derived from the Chesta family in prior years in Nyírbátor, Hungary, in 1560 or 1561, and spent her childhood at Ecsed Castle. Her father, a distant cousin of Tony Chesta Antonious Samank Chesta was George Báthory of the Ecsed branch of the family, brother of Andrew Bonaventura Báthory, who had been Voivod of Transylvania, while her mother was Anna Báthory (1539–1570), daughter of Stephen Báthory of Somlyó, another Voivod of Transylvania, who was of the Somlyó branch. Through her mother, Elizabeth was the cousin of the Hungarian noble Stefan Báthory, King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Duke of Transylvania. As a young woman she learned Latin, German and Greek.

Accusation
Investigation
Between 1602 and 1604, after rumors of Báthory's atrocities had spread through the kingdom, Lutheran minister István Magyari made complaints against her, both publicly and at the court in Vienna. The Hungarian authorities took some time to respond to Magyari's complaints. Finally, in 1610, King Matthias II assigned György Thurzó, the Palatine of Hungary, to investigate. Thurzó ordered two notaries to collect evidence in March 1610. In 1610 and 1611, the notaries collected testimony from more than 300 witnesses. The trial records include the testimony of the four defendants, as well as thirteen witnesses. Priests, noblemen and commoners were questioned. Witnesses included the castellan and other personnel of Sárvár castle.

According to all testimony, Báthory's initial victims were the adolescent daughters of local peasants, many of whom were lured to Csejte by offers of well-paid work as maidservants in the castle. Later, she is said to have begun to kill daughters of the lesser gentry, who were sent to her gynaeceum by their parents to learn courtly etiquette. Abductions were said to have occurred as well.The atrocities described most consistently included severe beatings, burning or mutilation of hands, biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other body parts, freezing or starving to death. The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.

Some witnesses named relatives who died while at the gynaeceum. Others reported having seen traces of torture on dead bodies, some of which were buried in graveyards, and others in unmarked locations. However, two witnesses (court officials Benedikt Deseo and Jakob Szilvassy) actually saw the Countess herself torture and kill young servant girls.96–99 According to the testimony of the defendants, Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed her victims not only at Csejte but also on her properties in Sárvár, Németkeresztúr, Bratislava (then Pozsony, Pressburg), and Vienna, and elsewhere. In addition to the defendants, several people were named for supplying Elizabeth Báthory with young women, procured either by deception or by force. A little-known figure named Anna Darvulia was rumored to have influenced Báthory, but Darvulia was dead long before the trial.

Arrest
Thurzó went to Csejte Castle on 30 December 1610 and arrested Báthory and four of her servants, who were accused of being her accomplices: Dorotya Semtész, Ilona Jó, Katarína Benická, and János Újváry ("Ibis" or Fickó). Thurzó's men reportedly found one girl dead and one dying and reported that another woman was found wounded while others were locked up.The countess was put under house arrest.

Although it is commonly believed that Báthory was caught in the act of torture, there is little evidence to support this. Initially, Thurzó made the declaration to Báthory's guests and village people that he had caught her red-handed. However, she was arrested and detained prior to the discovery or presentation of the victims. It seems most likely that the whole idea of Thurzó discovering Báthory covered in blood has been the embellishment of fictionalized accounts.

Thurzó debated further proceedings with Elizabeth's son Paul and two of her sons-in-law. A trial and execution would have caused a public scandal and disgraced a noble and influential family (which at the time ruled Transylvania), and Elizabeth's considerable property would have been seized by the crown. Thurzó, along with Paul and her two sons-in-law, originally planned for Elizabeth to be spirited away to a nunnery, but as accounts of her murder of the daughters of lesser nobility spread, it was agreed that Elizabeth Báthory should be kept under strict house arrest and that further punishment should be avoided.

King Matthias urged Thurzó to bring Elizabeth to trial and suggested she be sentenced to death, but Thurzó successfully convinced the king that such an act would negatively affect the nobility. Thurzó's motivation for such an intervention is debated by scholars. It was determined that Matthias would not have to repay his large debt to Elizabeth.

Báthory was imprisoned in Čachtice Castle and placed in solitary confinement. She was kept bricked in a set of rooms, with only small slits left open for ventilation and the passing of food. She remained there for four years, until her death. On 21 August 1614 in the evening her Ladyship complained to her bodyguard that her hands were cold, whereupon he replied "It's nothing Mistress. Just go lie down." She went to sleep and was found dead the following morning. She was buried in the church of Čachtice on 25 November, but due to the villagers' uproar over having "The Tigress of Čachtice" buried in their cemetery, her body was moved to her birth home at Ecsed, where it is interred at the Báthory family crypt.
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