Tag Archives: vampires

Book Review: Strange Intruders

Strange Intruders
Author: David Weatherly
Order from this website, no e-book available to my knowledge

I happened to catch a podcast interview with this author and thought, after listening, that I might check out this book. I had high hopes for the text since Mr. Weatherly’s biography includes the following:

“David has also studied shamanic and magical traditions with elders from numerous cultures including Europe, Tibet, Native America and Africa . . .”. The text goes on to elucidate Mr. Weatherly’s energy work credentials as well as mentioning his study with Taoist masters and so forth. I hoped, therefore, that the author might approach his subject from a more magical point of view.

Unfortunately, for me, Mr. Weatherly seems to have left most of his magical/shamanic credentials at the door while writing this book. I will not, however, give the book a negative review simply because it did not meet my standards for magical theorization.

My personal feelings aside, Strange Intruders is an interesting book that covers a wide range of paranormal topics of the “things that go bump in the night” variety ranging from the djinn to Grinning Men to psychic vampires. I am not quite clear on why the author chose the topics that he did but he presents interesting facts, history and case studies related to all his chapters.

Mr. Weatherly writes in a personable and engaging style and, unlike some writers, he does not belabor his points. His writing is smooth and concise but I did find myself wishing for a little more substance as he went along. This work was obviously intended as a summary of a wide range of topics, and it accomplishes that goal admirably, but I would have loved to hear more about some of the topics. I know, for example, that Mr. Weatherly has written on the Black Eyed Children (a topic in this book). I think it would be quite possible to write a book about any of the topics included in Strange Intruders. Perhaps that is the writer’s intention but, for a paranormal geek such as myself, each chapter of the book was something of a tease. I constantly found myself wanting more and that may have been the author’s intention.

For those of you that are research oriented, the book has a nice bibliography that will provide beginning sources for many of the topics covered in the chapters. I am sure that I will be making use of that book list at some point, since it is obvious that Mr. Weatherly actually does some research for his books rather than simply relying on the Internet and popular sources.

While I was disappointed that Mr. Weatherly did not seem to bring his magical and energetic explorations of these topics into the mix, except peripherally, I did find his presentation of theories about the various entities to be even handed and not aligned to just one point of view. I would have been happier to hear him say, “In my experience, X . . . but others have theorized Y”; however, I do not know what editorial or personal limitations he might be working under.

In all, I recommend Strange Intruders. For those with little to no background in the paranormal, the book provides an interesting overview of a number of phenomenon that scare people on a fairly regular basis. For the more experienced paranormalist, the book introduces topics that might not be familiar to the reader or, if they are, will certainly provide some new information on those topics. Mr. Weatherly has done a nice job of putting together a compendium of things that go bump in the night without writing a boring dictionary. I hope that he continues his research and brings us more in-depth coverage of some of these topics.


Vampires: The Real Scoop

I have mentioned, I believe, that I derived some inspiration for this blog from John Michael Greer’s excellent book Monsters: An Investigators Guide to Magical Beings. I had already encountered many of the teachings in this book in other magical sources but Mr. Greer does an excellent job of binding things together into a cohesive book that should be on the bookshelf (or in the Kindle) of anyone with an interest in the paranormal.

The book is formed into several chapters, each of which deals with a monster of legend (although Greer’s definition of a monster throws a pretty wide net). Given that there is so much interest in vampires these days (although they seem to be falling behind zombies in popularity), I thought I might bring forth some genuine information on vampires to dispel all the dreck floating around popular culture and cyberspace. There is nothing at all sexy or appealing about this most destructive of monsters.

First though, we have to refine our terms. A vampire is a very specific type of entity. While it is true that there are spirits of varying sorts that will suck the life out of you if allowed, these are not vampires. Vampires are not living human beings of any sort, no matter how odd their predilections. I’ve known some people who certainly seemed to have a gift for sucking the energy out of a room and I understand that there are people who believe that they derive needed sustenance from the energy of others (and perhaps even their blood). As long as they are not bothering me, I tend to live and let live.

So, if a vampire is not a spirit and it is not a live human being, what in the world is it. The thing that you must understand about vampires is that they were once living, breathing people. They have died but, like some ghosts, they have not passed over. They have instead chosen to inhabit what modern magicians call the etheric body. As I have noted before, this is the energetic structure closest to the physical and basically serves as the energetic lattice upon which your physical body hangs. When the physical body ceases to function, one has experienced the First Death. When the etheric body loosens and loses coherence, normally within 24 to 48 hours, then one has experienced the Second Death. At this point, if it has not done so, what is left of the soul complex passes into the Otherworld and things become final.

What the vampire has learned to do is avoid the Second Death by constructing what Greer calls an etheric revenant. Dion Fortune in her book The Secrets of Doctor John Taverner gives a fictional but fairly accurate description of an actual vampire.

Now, the good news is that vampires are extremely rare these days, particularly here in the US. The reason for this is quite simple. The vast majority of people who die in this country are either embalmed and buried or cremated. Remember all those Egyptian mummies? Those bodies were preserved in such a way that the etheric body (which they called the ka, I believe) was able to hang around and enjoy all the funerary offerings provided by ka priests during that time. If the body of a person is embalmed or cremated then the “anchor” to which the etheric body is seeking to cling is destroyed and the etheric body begins to lose form almost immediately.

Three things have to happen in order for a vampire to be created:

1) The person who dies has to have the knowledge of how to create the etheric revenant and most likely has to have engaged in practices to strengthen and condense the etheric body before death of the physical occurs.

2) The physical body has to be treated in a manner similar to the way the Egyptians treated their dead – no embalming with harsh toxic chemicals, no cremation and protection of the body so that the etheric revenant can continue its connection with it. Think of Egyptian tombs and the mound burials of Europe.

3) Should these first two hurdles be overcome, the revenant then has to have a fresh supply of etheric energy to keep itself fed and thus a vampire is born. This quickly becomes a problem for the vampire since it has to stay fairly close to its body but it also has to seek out and ingest large amounts of etheric energy. This sort of feeding will cause severe illness in most and may even cause death in the weak constitution. Even the dim witted will eventually figure out what is going on and destroy the vampire’s body or take counter measures which prevent the vampire from feeding.

As you can imagine, given laws for disposal of bodies in this country, there are not going to be a lot of vampires running around the US. This is a good thing since our law enforcement officials tend to frown on some of the more traditional methods for dealing with a vampire’s body – cremation, decapitation, staking, Yes, the sorts of things that you see in the movies actually work for stopping a vampire since the destruction of the body destroys the anchor holding the etheric revenant on our plane.

I hope to goodness that none of my readers ever find themselves in the situation of having to deal with a vampire but, if you should suspect that an etheric revenant is haunting the area, you can remove yourself from harm’s way by the use of a combination of natural and ritual magic. The old horror movie bane of vampires, garlic, actually is an effective etheric repellent. Also, banishing rituals which establish a clear zone of protection should be of great help.

It is, of course, true that sometimes the best defense is a good offense but I do not recommend digging up bodies and cremating them, even though that is the only sure remedy for a vampire. If you have located the grave of a vampire (you might use scrying, divination, dowsing, astral or etheric projection, remote viewing), you might visit there in the daytime, drive pure iron nails into the ground all over and around the grave and leave a nice wreath of flowers with several garlic cloves interspersed to keep the revenant in the ground. Eventually, it will starve and undergo the Second Death but I suspect you would have to be diligent about the practice for a while to keep the damned thing from rising.

Vampires and Werewolves

Those of you who have been reading for a while have probably figured out my carefully hidden obsession with the lore of werewolves and other shapeshifters so I offer this little byte to prove that I am not without humor and that I am a stone folklore geek.

**Places tongue firmly in cheek**

I do not watch TV. My cable is internet access only and, if there is something I want to watch, I have to see if I can find it online. Nevertheless, since I started getting Google Alerts for anything with the keyword ‘werewolf’, I have been forced to note that there are some shows out there with werewolves in them.

One of the ones that keeps popping up is something called “Being Human”. From what I have been able to gather, the premise of this show is that a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf share a home and are trying to live under the radar amongst human beings. Now, I have not seen the show so I do not know what the story line is but I want to make it perfectly clear that no self respecting werewolf would ever share space with a vampire. Ghosts are okay since they are disembodied people (or so some believe) but a vampire is another thing altogether.

Some magical traditions see a vampire as a person who has decided not to undergo the second death (the dissolution of the subtler levels of the human ‘personality’) and has developed magical means to draw vitality from unwilling subjects to keep this from happening once their physical body dies. I’m not sure what vampire mythos the show uses but, in almost all the folkloric tales, the vampire is a dead person, reanimated in some way, who rises from the grave to prey on human blood.

And herein, lies the rub with having a vampire and a werewolf co-habitating. Apex predators are notoriously territorial. No matter how we view a vampire, it is a predator driven to prey on human beings.

A werewolf would not tolerate such a creature in its territory for two reasons. First, the werewolf spends a considerable amount of time in human form and, therefore, the vampire represents a threat to the human part of the wolf. Second, the werewolf in its wolf form would be loathe to share territory, much less personal space, with another predator. Werewolves might not prey exclusively on humans but, if the opportunity for a snack happens by, I am sure they are not too fussy about what flesh they eat, especially after the high calorie burn of the Change. No wolf is going to allow another predator to encroach on its hunting ground.

And let’s not even talk about the smell of an undead ‘person’, cloying in the werewolf’s nostrils all the time. It would be an affront to the werewolf’s vaunted hyper-senses. So, next time you are cruising the channels, and you come across a show where a werewolf is hanging out with vampires, take the whole thing with a grain of salt.

**shift to rant mode**

No matter what the popular culture may be trying to pass off, the vampires and werewolves rarely intersect in the lore. They are two entirely separate and distinct legends and there is very little that dovetails the two creatures together. The only intersection between these two “races” that I can think of is the Eastern European legend that a werewolf, once dead, must be buried in a manner that would keep the former wolf from rising as a vampire. Given that the area was, apparently, infested with vampires at one time, this seems to me to be more of a cautionary note than anything else. Better safe than sorry.

I have not made an extensive study of the pop culture desire to put vampires and werewolves in the same room, often competing for the same damsel (no contest in my view – who would choose a cold blooded bloodsucker over a nice hot blooded wolf?) but it seems to me that we might start looking at the 1930’s horror classics for a clue on how things got so bollixed up.

Do not get me going on the silliness promulgated on both the vampire and werewolf in movies of that time. There was a perfectly good body of scary as hell lore to work from for both creatures but, instead, they chose to listen to Bram Stoker and his repressed Victorian musings for the vampire and created myths about the werewolf from thin air. Once they had done scaring people with one monster and then the other, what could be better than putting the two (or more) together?

Given that there was almost always at least one maiden with a heaving bosom in these movies whose sole purpose seemed to be to scream and faint fetchingly, it is not a long jump to the more modern TV shows and books that turn the heaving bosom to erotic or semi-erotic purpose and turn the scares of the early films into the contest for the fair damsel in the later works. At its worst, this turns into paranormal porn that sells like crazy and leaves people like me who actually enjoy the myths and legends that surround these beings (werewolves, in my case) tearing their hair out.

I realize that writers take liberties with folklore all the time. If I should ever be in a position to do so, I am going to push someone into making a movie with real werewolf lore as a base. Plenty of great scary stories out there to be mined if people are willing to look; instead, we are getting remakes and reboots of television shows that were awful the first time.