Tag Archives: dracula

Vlad Tepes.

Who was Vlad the Impaler, the original Dracula?

Vlad Tepes.

Oil painting of Vlad the Impaler.
Image credits Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie.

Few rulers have left such a deep, often harrowing imprint upon our collective imagination as the 15th-century Wallachian voivode Vlad III — nicknamed ‘the Impaler’ by the Ottomans, ‘Dracula’ by Europe, and ‘Ţepeş’ by Romanians. His ruthless but just rule earned him the respect of his people. Many Romanians still admire Vlad to this day and consider his exploits a high point of local history.

At the same time, his oft-brutal bouts of psychological warfare made Vlad infamous with friends and foes alike. Printing presses scandalized Europe with bloody tales of this warlord from the east. His skill at arms and brutal defiance struck fear into the most powerful player of his time — the Ottoman Empire. The voivode would become synonymous with bloodshed and terror after Bram Stoker adopted his name for the famous vampire in his novel Dracula.

But who was Vlad? Was his life as bloody as the mythos would have us believe?

Vlad the Unknown

We don’t really know when or where Vlad III was born. Historian Radu Florescu places his birth sometime in December of 1431 in the town of Sighisoara in present-day Transilvania, Romania, then a Saxon town under the rule of Hungary — however, the date is still up to some debate.

His father was Vlad II Basarab, or Vlad Dracul, the Voivode of Wallachia during much of Dracula’s youth. The identity of his mother is also still heavily debated. Florescu writes that she was one Cneaja (not to be confused with Ana Chiajna), a daughter of neighboring ruler Alexandru I of Moldavia. Matei Cazacu, another Romanian historian, instead proposes that Cneaja was a second wife and thus his adoptive, not biological, mother.

Vlad dracul house.

The house in Sighișoara where Vlad’s father lived from 1431 to 1435.
Image credits Cezar Suceveanu.

The first reliable account of Vlad III’s existence comes from a charter his father issued in 1437 mentioning Vlad and his brother Mircea as his “first born sons”. Several subsequent documents issued by Vlad Dracul support this, and some of the older ones also mention a younger brother, Radu.

Now get yourselves comfortable because it’s time for some Balkanic Drama.

Vlad the Bargaining Chip

During the life of Vlad Dracul, the Ottoman Empire had almost complete sway over the southern Balkans. After conquering Constantinople in 1453, the “Queen of Cities” and the jewel of Europe, the Ottomans poured into south-eastern Europe. Needless to say, this didn’t sit very well with the locals or Europeans in general.

Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire and its dependencies at the height of the empire in 1683.
Image credits Wikimedia / Chamboz

The rise of the Ottoman Empire led to the creation of the Societas Draconistarum, the Order of the Dragon, in 1408. Its aim was to defend Christianity from the threat of rival religion Islam. Judging from the map above, one could say they didn’t do a very good job of it. The Ottoman Empire would come to occupy territories as far as Vienna in the west, their vassals reaching as far as Kiev and the Crimean region in the East. 

Be that as it may, Vlad II was made a member of the Order in 1431, from which he adopted the moniker ‘Dracul’ (an old word for ‘the dragon’), and rose to the throne of Wallachia in 1436. Vlad the III would come to be known as ‘Draculea’ (‘of the dragon’), which morphed into ‘Dracula’ over time.

This is what we today would call a conflict of interests, as Wallachia accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire — Wallachia could handle internal matters as it pleased but had to had to pay tribute and follow Ottoman foreign policy — since 1417. After refusing to support an Ottoman invasion of Transylvania, Vlad Dracul was summoned by the Sultan Murad II to explain himself and prove his loyalty. The young Vlad and his brother Radu accompanied him; they were all imprisoned. One year later, the sultan released Dracul, but kept his sons in his ‘care’ to ensure that the voivode would behave himself.

The two remained hostages for six years. Accounts of their time here are often conflicting, but the two seem to have enjoyed relatively good treatment considering their circumstances. This was a relatively common approach the Ottomans employed with high-born offspring taken as hostages. It kept vassals and subjects in line while giving the Ottomans the time and context to shape future rulers into allies of the empire. The time spent here would mark Vlad and Radu (known as ‘the Handsome’) both but in very different ways.

The ploy didn’t much work out for the Ottomans, however. Vlad Dracul would still side with Hungary and Poland against the Ottomans in the Crusade of Varna (1444), convinced that his sons would be butchered “for the sake of Christian peace.” They weren’t, however, and the empire released them after Vlad Dracul agreed to pay homage to Murad II.

Vlad the Voivode

Tara Rumaneasca.

Wallachia (Tara Rumaneasca) cca. 1390, according to an internal document of 1387 and the Treaty with Poland of 1390. The eastern fringes were lost to the Ottomans by the time that Vlad came to power.
Image credits Anonimu / Wikimedia.

Vlad Dracul and his son Mircea were murdered after John Hunyadi, a Hungarian statesman of Romanian origin, invaded Wallachia in 1447. Hunyadi placed Vladislav II on Wallachia’s throne. Alongside Radu, Vlad III fled to the Ottomans. When the Hungarians tried to push south into the empire in 1448, Vlad was placed at the head of an Ottoman army and fought his way back to Wallachia. Vlad was forced to relinquish control of the Danube fortress city of Giurgiu to the Ottomans.

He would only rule for two months, from August through to October.

Forced to flee as Vladislav and his army returned, Vlad spent several years roaming through the Ottoman Empire and Moldavia. He later tried to settle in Brasov (central Romania, then controlled by Hungary) but Hunyadi forbade the townspeople from giving him shelter. His whereabouts for the next few years are also unknown, but by July 1456 he had obviously made peace with Hunyadi, who tasked him with the defense of the Transylvanian border. Later that year, Vlad invaded Wallachia with help from the Hungarians.

One of the first documents he issued during his second rule was aimed at the burghers of Brasov. Vlad promised to aid them if the Ottomans attacked and asked that they do the same should Wallachia be beset by the Turks.

“When a man or a prince is strong and powerful he can make peace as he wants to,” Vlad wrote in this letter, “but when he is weak, a stronger one will come and do what he wants to him.”

These words are an inkling of the voivode’s worldview by this point, and carry quite a bit of foreshadowing. This period marks the crimson turn of Vlad’s history — the first steps this son of the dragon took towards the spike.

Hundreds of thousands were executed as part of a purge he ordered at the beginning of his reign — vengeance on boyars who had a betrayed his father to Vladislav II, as well as on those he suspected were plotting against him. A shrewd politician, he used the wealth, titles, and property of these and other noblemen to completely reshape the flow of power in Wallachia.

Vlad the Betrayed

After John Hunyadi’s death, Vlad saw his little support in Hungary evaporate virtually overnight. John was a legend at arms throughout Europe and his eldest son, Ladislaus Hunyadi, rose to become Hungary’s captain general quickly after his demise.

Ladislaus was kind of a douche, though. He soon declared that Vlad had no loyalty to the King of Hungary and ordered the people of Brasov to support Dan II and oppose Vlad. They sort of did; the burghers sided with Vlad the Monk — an illegitimate son of Dracula.

Ladislaus would go on to have a splendid (if short-lived) career of messing stuff up. He annoyed the King of Hungary so much that he was executed just one year after his father’s demise. This threw the country into a civil war. Vlad exploited said civil war to raid the villages around Sibiu and Brasov in retribution for the burghers’ treason.

Romania historic regions.

The three Romanian principalities (historic regions of Romania) — Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia — at the end of the 16th century.

This is when Europe first started to keep an eye on the voivode. Stories about Vlad carrying Saxon “men, women, children” off to Wallachia to have them impaled were told throughout Germany, and would later gain wide-spread appeal in Europe with the advent of the printing press. Whether or not these accounts are true, we can’t say for sure.

Tensions between Vlad and the Transylvanian Saxons eased following these raids. Over time, however, they would be renewed as the Saxons declined to send craftsmen when Vlad requested aid, and the voivode responded by forbidding them from entering Wallachia to sell their goods. When the Saxons confiscated a Wallachian’s merchant steel without payment, Vlad replied. A letter sent by one of Dan II’s sons to local councilmen details his vengeance. The document tells of how Vlad ransacked and impaled merchants, while an account of Dan III holds that Saxon merchants and their children were impaled or burned alive back in Wallachia.

“[H]e captured all the merchants of Brașov and Țara Bârsei who had gone in peace to Wallachia and took all their wealth; but he was not satisfied only with the wealth of these people, but he imprisoned them and impaled them, 41 in all,” the letter read.

“Nor were these people enough; he became even more evil and gathered 300 boys from Brașov and Țara Bârsei that he found [in Wallachia]. Of these he impaled some and burned others.”

Vlad the Impaler

After Dan III attacked Wallachia around April 1460 — and was subsequently defeated and executed — Vlad invaded southern Transylvania. The city of Brasov paid dearly for his wrath; accounts say that after destroying all the suburbs around the city, Vlad ordered all adult captives be impaled. By July 1460, the region accepted the Impaler’s peace, and Vlad had a much tighter hold on Wallachia and his neighboring lands.

Vlad hated the Ottomans for his years as a hostage, their treatment of his family, their exploitation and humiliation of his people, for taking Wallachia’s freedom, for their arrogance and their pagan faith. One folktale recounts the punishment he administered to Ottoman messengers that refused to take off their turbans when speaking with the voivode (a common etiquette when meeting a head of state in the Balkans at the time).

While likely morphed as it passed down orally over time — or by intent, as German versions of this tale swap Ottoman messengers for Florentine envoys — the story goes to show that by this time, with his back secure, Vlad felt at ease defying the Ottomans more openly. From the book “De la Dragos la Cuza-voda: Legende populare românesti” (From Dragos to Cuza-[voivode]: Romanian folk tales):

“‘Why do you behave like this? You come before me to do me great shame.’

And the Turkish messengers replied in one voice: “Such is the way of our country’s rulers!”

And Ţepeş-Voda [Voivode] said onto them: ‘Then I want to strengthen your custom, so you may keep it [better].’ And he ordered his servants to bring nails at once, to fasten with them the hats on the messengers’ heads. After this, he released the messengers and told them:

‘Go tell your master that he is accustomed to suffering such shame from you, but we are not. Let him not send unto us, or in other lands to other rulers, messengers with his customs, for we do not want to receive them’.”

Ottoman homage.

John Sigismund of Transylvania first paying homage to the Ottoman Sultan, 1566.
Image via Pintrest.

Following three years during which Vlad failed to pay the annual tribute (10,000 gold coins yearly) to the sultan, one year in which he refused to pay homage, and efforts to negotiate a common anti-Ottoman front with Matthias Corvinus (Ladislaus Hunyad’s younger brother, and the new king of Hungary), the Ottomans took action. Vlad was summoned to Constantinople to explain his actions in front of Sultan Mehmed II. Secretly, however, the bey (ruler) of Nicopolis was ordered to capture and execute Vlad as soon as he crossed the Danube.

The Impaler found out, and swiftly executed both the messenger and Hamza, the bey.

Vlad would go on to carve a bloody path through the Empire’s north-western holdings. After re-capturing Giurgiu, he crossed the Danube — later reporting in a letter to Matthias Corvinus that over “23,884 Turks and Bulgarians” were killed by his order. He requested military aid from Corvinus, declaring that he had broken the peace with the sultan “for the honor” of the King of Hungary and “for the preservation of Christianity and the strengthening of the Catholic faith.” No help came.

Mehmed II raised over 150,000 (or up to 250,000, according to some sources) soldiers to punish the upstart voivode, a huge force at the time. Some accounts even state that the army was “second in size” only to the one that toppled Constantinople in 1453. In support of these troops, Mehmed could also call on a fleet of about 200 ships, including around 25 combat triremes. Before the campaign, Mehmed declared Radu — who had converted to Islam and became an intimate friend of the sultan during his days as a hostage — as the new ruler of Wallachia.

Fall of Constantinople.

Oil painting depicting the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Image credits dmytrok / Flickr.

Vlad, severely outnumbered — accounts say his army was roughly 39,000-strong and had no navy to speak of — used scorched earth tactics to wither the Ottomans.

On the night between June 16th and 17th 1462, the Impaler added insult to injury: he broke into the Ottoman camp to kill or capture the sultan himself — and narrowly missed his tent, killing some high-profile viziers instead.

Later that month, as Mehmed II led his troops to the gates of Wallachia’s capital Targoviste, Vlad unveiled his next ‘surprise’. The city was deserted, robbing the Turks of their victory. In lieu of a fight, Vlad greeted them with a “forest of the impaled“. Thousands upon thousands of stakes — carrying men, women, children, and Ottoman soldiers killed or captured since the invasion — stood as a warning to Mehmed.

“The sultan’s army entered into the area of the impalements […] seventeen stades [stadiums] long and seven stades wide. [Here] about twenty thousand men, women, and children had been spitted [impaled], quite a sight for the Turks and the sultan himself,” Laonikos Chalkokondyles, a Byzantine historian, wrote in The Histories.

“The sultan was seized with amazement and said that it was not possible to deprive of his country a man who had done such great deeds, who had such a diabolical understanding of how to govern his realm and its people. And he said that a man who had done such things was worth much.”

“The rest of the Turks were dumbfounded when they saw the multitude of men on the stakes. There were infants too affixed to their mothers on the stakes, and birds had made their nests in their entrails.”

Vlad ţepeş.

Screenshot from the 1979 Romanian movie “Vlad Ţepeş” reconstructing the forest of spikes.

The Sultan left Wallachia, but Radu (at the head of an Ottoman force), remained. Although Vlad defeated him in two different battles, Radu used the threat of another Ottoman invasion to gain support. The Impaler placed his hopes in his Hungarian allies and fled to the mountains in the north.

However, Corvinus didn’t want to fight the Ottomans and captured Vlad in 1462. The voivode was renowned across Europe by this time, however. Venice (who was funding a campaign against the Ottomans) and even the Pope himself demanded to know why he was imprisoned. So, Corvinus had three letters forged. According to the letters, Vlad was planning to side with the Ottomans against Hungary if he would be restored to Wallachia’s throne.

Vlad spent fourteen years in the dungeons of Visengrad.

The Impaler was released in 1475 when Stephen III, voivode of Moldavia, urged Corvinus to release and set him upon the Ottoman-sympathizing ruler that had been placed on the throne of Wallachia — Basarab Laiotă.

Vlad spent his last years fighting the Ottomans on various fronts from Bosnia to Moldovia, where he repaid his debt to Stephen III. On November 16th, 1476, he occupied Bucharest with aid from Stephen’s forces. He was crowned on November 26th. In late December or early January of the next year, the Ottomans sent a new army to reinstate Laiotă.

Vlad the Impaler died in the field fighting against the Ottomans. Accounts say that such was the Turks’ hatred of the voivode that they cut his corpse into pieces after the battle. Such was their joy and pride at finally bringing him down that the ruler’s head was sent to Mehmed II.

We don’t know where — or even if — he was buried. Folk wisdom held that the voivode was inhumed at the Monastery of Snagov in an unmarked tombstone. Excavations carried out in the 1930s, however, revealed that this wasn’t the case.

“Under the tombstone attributed to Vlad there was no tomb,” said Dinu V. Rosetti, the archeologist who investigated the site.

“Only many bones and jaws of horses.”

Vlad the Vampire

Stoker Dracula.

Image credits Wikimedia user Selfie756.

Vlad III, voivode of Wallachia, remains one of the bloodiest monarchs to ever hold a throne.

It’s sometimes difficult to tease away reality from embellishment with the Impaler. Much of Vlad’s story is mired by propaganda. Frequently in conflict with Saxons, Hungary, and other actors in the west, this Impaler was a prime target for defamation. He was feared and often hated by his rivals. But he also captured the imagination of Europe at the time — some of the first-ever bestsellers detailed his exploits.

Both made him a prime target for embellishment and exaggeration, be it at the hands of crowds looking for entertainment or rulers looking for an excuse to remove him. Many sources that detail his life come from Germany or Russia and were printed after he died, and may be unreliable.

Caught between many foes and shifting friends, however, Vlad he had to work with enemies and overlook betrayal from allies to keep his rule and lands intact. The spurred ruler of a small country beset by powerful neighbors, Vlad employed some of the most brutal tactics of psychological warfare — both against his enemies and his subjects — to keep the peace and prosecute war.

He was also a shrewd and effective ruler. Romanian folk tales abound with anecdotes regarding his measures against corruption and theft, as well as his efforts to promote honest work and snuff out ‘laziness’. While these are likely a bit off from the strict truth (they were passed down orally for the largest part), they’re rooted in real efforts Vlad made to better Wallachia. The Impaler promoted fair trade between the three Romanian principalities, punished treason extremely harshly — even among the high-profile nobility — and was the first ruler to attempt and integrate Roma populations in Romanian society.

In the end, Vlad’s rule stands as a testament to the potential hidden in us all. Through his will and effort, this small lick of land between the Danube and the Carpathians held its own against Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, two of the most powerful states of the time. We, too, harbor just as much potential.

At the same time, his is a story of extreme, desperate measures — one that rakes a difficult question for all of us: how far would you go? Would you forgo the lives of your sons to uphold your duty like his father? Would you sow a forest of thousands of the impaled to save thousands more?

Would you become a monster to keep your family, your country, your faith, from those that would do it harm? Do the ends justify the means?

Be careful what you decide — you might just end up a vampire in someone’s book.

Ancient ‘vampires’ found in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed centuries-old skeletons treated for vampirism: pinned through their chests with iron rods, a practice thought to keep vampires away.

Vampires and mythology

If you thought vampires are only creatures of legend, only to be found in myths, folklore and Hollywood movies, then you might disagree with medieval Bulgarians (and not only). Many European countries, especially eastern ones, believe in undead creatures such as vampires – and keeping them at bay was quite a job.

‘These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century.’, said Bulgaria’s national history museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov.

Not quite unusual

According to medieval beliefs, people who were really bad during their lives, or whose remains were found to be very well conserved after they died were candidates for becoming vampires – and people from the Middle Ages were really afraid of vampires. Pagan practices to prevent such transformations varied, and most were quite gruesome: including pinning a rod through their chests, decapitating them after death, etc.

But such sites aren’t quite as unusual, as they have been found all over Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and even western countries. According to Dimitrov, in Bulgaria alone there have been found over 100 such skeletons.

“I do not know why an ordinary discovery like that [has] became so popular. Perhaps because of the mysteriousness of the word “vampire,” he said.

Last month, Italian researchers discovered what they believed to be the remains of a female ‘vampire’ in Venice – buried with a brick jammed between her jaws to prevent her feeding on victims of a plague which swept the city in the 16th century.

Count Dracula

The most well known vampire is without a doubt count Dracula; however, few people know that count Dracula was, in fact, a king from Romania (Transylvania) – Vlad Dracul. Though Bram Stoker chose him for his Dracula novel due to some legends of his blood thirst, he was loved by his people and known as a fair king – to the lawful people. With the thieves and criminals, he was as cruel as they get – he had a habit of impaling them, and did the same thing with his enemies.

The myths and folklore behind Halloween’s most popular characters

The spooky Halloween is almost upon us, and the monsters are rubbing their hands, waiting to come out and create chaos and mayhem. But even though kids costume themselves and all, a lot has changed since the early days of Samhaim, the pagan festival from which Halloween originated. In ancient Ireland fairies roamed the streets, playing malicious tricks on everybody who dared to walk at night, witches concocted magic evil potions all around the world, and werewolves came out howling from the forests. But what is the truth behind these myths and legends ? We’ve gathered a bunch of myths and stories, and I’m gonna let you decide what the truth is; if you have the courage, that is…

Vampires

The belief in vampires is as old as man itself, and throughout the years, many cultures have displayed a profound belief in such mythological creatures that feed on the life essence (usually blood) of other beings. Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Romans, even the Greeks – they all believed that when the sun comes down, white skinned phantomatical creatures with long teeth and a thirst for blood come out of their coffins, just waiting to suck the very life out of as much people as possible. Even in the English language, the word “vampire” exists since 1734, but it wasn’t until Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula that the archetypal sophisticated vampire was established.

Dracula, the movie

Dracula was believed to come from Transylvania, a region in Romania; he was a member of an ancient order, called the Order of the Dragon, and ruled Wallachia, a neighboring region as Vlad Dracul (Vlad the Devil). It is still not certain exactly why he is believed to be Dracula, but he was extremely cruel and he did have a thirst for blood – maybe in the literal way too.

Brad Pitt, in one of the most popular modern vampire stories

Other cultures have other vampires, but what’s interesting is that most rituals are actually the same. For example, identifying the coffin of a vampire in a graveyard required walking a virgin stallion through the graveyard; the horse was supposed to balk at the vampire’s tomb. Mirrors are also a good way to discover and ward vampires, because it is commonly believed that they have no reflection. Also, the methods of protection against vampires are pretty much the same: garlic is always good to have around. In some countries, during Halloween, huge piles of garlic are put in every window to prevent unwanted… guests. Staking is the best way to get rid of vampires, that we know of, but it’s also the hardest; vampires are known to be fast and extremely agile, so it’s best to do it during daytime, when they sleep.

Their favorite hang around places are graveyards and churches, but they can get around pretty much everywhere, and they can blend in perfectly when the sun comes down. You’d best keep an eye out for people with white skin and big teeth. There isn’t a special connection between vampires and Halloween, but if you go to the right places, you are bound to see at least a few.

Werewolves

Werewolves are nasty creatures; they were once humans, but now, they periodically or permanently change into antropomorphic animals, most commonly wolves. Lycantropes, as they are also called, become this way after being bitten by another werewolf, or after being placed under a powerful curse. They have the raw power and speed of the wolf, but they also have the intelligence and cunning of the man, which makes them some of the most powerful and feared monsters in the whole world.

In folklore, one of the most common signs of a werewolf is the joining of the eyebrows above the nose – this is the first sign of lycantropy. They were mentioned numerous times in European and African myths, especially in the huge forests in Russia. They were so feared, that people started to begin they wore the taint of the Devil himself, as writes Richard Verstegan (Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 1628):

[werewolves] are certayne sorcerers, who having annoynted their bodies with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, does not only unto the view of others seem as wolves, but to their own thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves, so long as they wear the said girdle. And they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in worrying and killing, and most of humane creatures.

The ancient Greeks wrote some fascinating ideas about werewolves. For example, History’s father, Herodotus wrote that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia, were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their former shape – a shocking resemblance to other myths. Virgil, one of the most famous Roman poets wrote in a similar fashion. Other reputed people shared stories of werewolves; one of the most shocking was featured in the Satyricon:

“When I look for my buddy I see he’d stripped and piled his clothes by the roadside…He pees in a circle round his clothes and then, just like that, turns into a wolf!…after he turned into a wolf he started howling and then ran off into the woods.”

Werewolves are vulnerable to almost nothing. The only thing known to cause serious damage to them is silver. A silver blade, or a silver bullet will be deadly, but some reports claim that the mere touch of the metal will cause severe burns to the werewolf.

Werewolves like to hand around forests and farms, they cry out like wolves and are drawn by fullmoon. However, Halloween seems to draw them out more than a fullmoon, and at times, they even come out in packs, striking their victims without giving them any hope whatsoever.

Witches

Basically speaking, witches are people who practice witchcraft – and they love Halloween more than any other day of the year. Witchcraft was given a really awkward reputation during the dark ages, when Christianity ruled Europe, and when they ruled witchcraft as a criminal offense that should be punished by death. Speaking of it, there was quite a special way in which it was usually determined if somebody (usually women) was a witch. They tied her to some logs and/or rocks, and if she floated, she was a witch and had to die. If she sunk, and died, she wasn’t a witch, and… well, that’s that.

Witchcraft was common absolutely everywhere in the world. You’ve got shamans, voodoo people, warlocks and even necromancers, in one variation or another on every continent in every corner of the world. There are in fact so many types of alleged witches that it is practically impossible to catalogue them all; there are even stories (though not very many) of good witches, that use spells and potions to benefit others. Most however, are malitious at least, or evil at worst.

Halloween and witches are connected at every level. At first, Samhain (the celebration that originated Halloween) marks the end of the third and final harvest, but also the time when the Crone goddess mourns the death of the old God. It is the time when all the dead souls return to her cauldron of life and death, awaiting to be reincarnated. It is these souls that make the witches’ powers tenfold in the night of Halloween, so this is why they have very special plans for tonight. The Witches greatest Sabbath is scheduled for Halloween night, and even though you may not see witches that often, that’s because they like to stay hidden, waiting and plotting in the dark, waiting for the day they will finally be able to take their rightful place in the world.

Fairies

“Fairy” has different etymologies and different meanings in different languages. Despite today’s common belief that fairies are good natured and helpful (a belief largely promoted by Peter Pan), folklore tells us a somewhat different story. Usually, they are some sort of demons or undead beings, while in other stories they are elementals or air spirits.

Still, fairies are not evil, but rather malitious. A fairy will never try to throw the world in darkness, but may steal a baby every now and then, but usually they just known for their mischief and malice, playing everyday planks on people. Cold iron is the most common protection against fairies, which could come quite in handy, because in most legends they are not the small benevolent winged beings you might know, but would be rather a large, glowing figure.

As with many other mythological creatures, they are drawn in large numbers on Halloween, so usual light pranks may turn into a big ordeal on Samhain. There is however another belief, that fairies gather on Halloween to protect people from other malevolent spirites, such as witches or goblins. Either way, their intent and wishes are not yet clear, and maybe this Halloween will show us more clearly what fairies are like.

Zombies

Yeah, we know zombies. They may be slow, but they’re hard to stop, and they’re nasty. Halloween draws out more zombies than ever. It’s not quite clear if they come out because of all the spiritual energy of the day, of they are somehow summoned by witches or other spellcasters, but one thing’s for sure: zombies are the centerpiece of Halloween.

There aren’t many old legends and folklore about zombies, except for Haitian and other cultures that practiced voodoo. There have been many studies regarding the phenomenon, including medical research, the most famous of which was conducted by Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, but zombies have gotten a lot of attention in modern culture, and this Halloween we’ll be definitely hearing a lot from them.

Demons

Demons are the top of the piramid when it comes to evil. They are at the core of every evil doing, and are responsible for every major plan concocted by supernatural creatures. Present in every mythology, as well as Christianity or Islamism, demons can rarely enter our plain of existence though.

However, Halloween is the time to be a demon. It is said that during this day, portals open that bound every plain of existance, so demons can enter freely in our world, given the right conditions. These conditions usually have to be fulfilled by lesser evils.

The legends and folklore about demons are so many you can’t fully characterize demons; some say they are fallen angels, some say they are evil powerful spirits, while others claim they are just energy, without a body of their own, waiting for one to possess. Either way, the word around the demon world is that they’re planning something big this Halloween, so best keep an eye out.

[These are just myths and folklore, tied together by figments of my immagination. Hope you had fun reading this post, I definitely did writing it. And have a happy bloody Halloween !]