The Real Dracula!
Emma Sharber & Rosie Harrell, Periods 6 & 5 (respectively)
Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 by EMIClassicsUS
The REAL Transylvania
Transylvania is typically known as the home of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, but what is it really like? Contrary to popular belief, Transylvania is not just vampires and darkness. It is actually very well known for its lush forests and historic medieval towns. Shocking? Not only is there beautiful scenery, but there’s not a vampire in site! In 2002, it was found that 73.5% of its inhabitants were Romanian, 22.1% were Hungarian, and 2.4% were Roma.
Transylvania is also rich in mineral resources such as, iron, lead, and gold, making its GDP per region 10% higher than Romania's average. Woah!
Keeping the vampires away? (Video below)
How To Kill a Vampire
- Their own home!
The vampire is most vulnerable when they are sleeping, and especially during the day time. If you can find their humble abode on a beautiful sunny day, you've got a formula for some vampire carnage, my friend.
- Stake in the heart
This is a perfect solution to those wondering if they are truly dealing with a vampire. Now, let's be clear here, STAKES THROUGH THE HEART WILL KILL ANYONE! However, in the vampire world, a stake through the heart only paralyzes a vampire. If the stake is pulled out or rots away, the vampire will rise again! To remedy this, encase your vampire in cement, and bury them. That way, should the stake rot, the vampire will have to find a way to escape their cement coffin!
- Get gory (ew)
Believe it or not, vampires can meet their demise similar to a way many humans do: chopping them up. This method is risky, as the vampire would quickly know what you were on to, but if you have the means and the support system to beat back their blows, even a vampire can meet their Final Death. Yuck. That'll stain
- Good old garlic
Sadly, vampires are disgusted by garlic. While this is bad for them because they can never partake in delicious garlic bread, it is amazing for you! In particular, the chemical allicin sends a warning to bloodsuckers not to take a bite of you. Much like mosquitoes, who are also repelled by garlic. So sit back, and munch on some garlic bread. If you ingest enough, the odor of Garlic will permeate your skin and Vampires will steer clear of your house!
Just remember to keep your stake handy, in case things go south.
Desmodus rotundus or The Common Vampire Bat, an essential element of Vampiric iconography due to the spread of stories and legends of these creatures in the 1700's as well as their diet of blood. These rumors spread and even influenced the famous Bram Stoker's writing, resulting in the Quincey Morris quote: "... I was on the Pampas and had a mare that I was fond of go to grass all in a night. One of those big bats that they call vampires had got at her in the night, and what with his gorge and the vein left open, there wasn't enough blood in her to let her stand up", but what is the truth about these 'horrifying creatures'?
In reality, these real-life vampires are no bigger than three inches nose to tail. And as far as their diet goes, Yes! It really is a diet consisting solely of blood, but they are so small there is no way a single vampire bat can render the animal it feeds on immobile.
The common vampire bat only hunts during the night when animals are sleeping. They feed on the blood of mammals, usually livestock animals like cows or pigs, but they have been known to occasionally feed on humans.
They do not 'suck' blood as most are led to believe. Rather, they make tiny cuts with razor-sharp teeth (so sharp that the animals hardly ever feel it or wake up) and lap up blood with specialized tongues. They secrete saliva containing a special protein called Draculin, named after the famous Count Dracula of course! This protein has been used in medical research and has even been used in treatments for stroke victims and in medicine for heart disease!
An interesting behavior of the vampire bat is sharing food. Vampire bats can only survive for a couple of days without food, but they can't always go out to hunt. When a bat in a colony is in need of food, a 'donor' bat will regurgitate a small amount of blood for the other to eat. Vampire bats are very close-knit and form strong bonds with one another within the colony, and participate in 'social grooming' much like cats and monkeys do. This activity establishes trust between members of the colony.
While vampire bats are very small and there is no danger of death from blood loss via vampire bat feeding, there is the very real danger of contracting rabies. An average of two humans per year die from contracting the rabies virus from a vampire bat bite, and millions of dollars worth of cattle are lost each year because of rabies. Rabies is treatable if caught early, and it is important to go to a medical expert immediately if you are bitten by a vampire bat (or any strange animal, for that matter).
With all their interesting traits as well as a gruesome reputation, vampire bats are one of the most iconic but misrepresented creatures. With a little research one can find that these tiny bats are amazing and even cute in their own ways!
Demonization of 'Unconventional' Sexualities Via Literal Demons
Common traits of the vampire are predatory behavior, seductiveness, elegance, desirability, taking something from their victims (blood, innocence or what have you) All these acts symbolizing sexual desires, and more often than not an ambiguous sexuality.
This ambiguous sexuality of vampires in media and literature is one of the many ways that 'unconventional' sexualities are demonized, in this case very literally!
Ambiguous or indiscriminate sexualities are often associated with vampires and villains in fiction, who are immoral and depraved, their sexualities being representative of their morals. Aside from Bram Stoker's Dracula, this can be seen in the vampires of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, and the popular television series True Blood.
An exceptional example of this is found when comparing the vampires in Stephanie Meyer's The Twilight Saga, and the ones in True Blood.
The well-known and loved main vampires in Twilight, the Cullen Family, are seen as heroic and good
and are subsequently, straight as a line.
While the Villain in True Blood is canonically gay, and the main character Eric is morally ambiguous as well as bisexual.
It has been found that as 'good' vampires have become more popularized, bisexual vampires have begun to disappear. Brent Hartinger comments in his article: Why Bisexual Vampires Suck http://www.newnownext.com/why-bisexual-vampires-suck/05/2011/ :
"Suddenly vampires have stopped being bisexual. The more “good” they are, the less morally dubious, the straighter they’ve become. It’s an almost perfect correlation!"
This continuous characterization of immoral or morally dubious bisexuals subtly
(or sometimes not-so-subtly. I'm looking at you, Dracula.)
demonizes bi/poly/pansexuals. It ingrains the idea that
"dubious or fluid sexuality = morally wrong", without directly saying it.
While it is understandable that because of this commonly used trope, people tend to perpetuate it without giving it a second thought,
but maybe its time we analyze our Villains and Creatures of the Night a little bit more. Bring in the good and heroic bisexual vampires, and the removal of the idea that moral ambiguity and sexual ambiguity or fluidity go hand in hand.