Vampire Killers

God bless the Irish for their common sense.

“A vampire, ay? Put a few stones on 'im so ‘e won’t be risin’ up. There. That should do the trick.”
My apologies to the good people of Ireland for my dreadful accent.

Your version of the Irish mode of speech is based on “Oirish”, an occult dialect found only in American and British films. It bears little relation to any dialect or accent existing in Ireland. In a small country, Ireland has a huge variety of accents and dialects. Most “imitations” confuse elements from two or more areas.

As regards Irish vampires, the only reported source of the “Dearg Dul” story is Montague Summers. If you know the Irish sense of humour you will believe that he was hoaxed. Ireland has no tradition of vampire stories, but I am sure someone greatly enjoyed telling him all about the Dearg Dul. They probably showed him a few piles of stones to “verify” the point.

The ancient Irish did pile stones and earth over some of their stone tombs, and the remains of such structures can still be seen. In some cases, the cairn is gone, leaving only standing stones and maybe a capstone. I suspect this is the source of the story.

The story “Dracula” was written by an Irish man, Bram Stoker. I also remember reading a vampire story of the same period by another Irish writer, Sheridan Le Fanu, but I forget the title. Neither was based on an Irish story

The **Irish sense of humour ** is subtle. English travelers in the 1800’s often described how happy Irish peasants called out, “Good morning, sor and mam,” as the gentry passed. The gentry would smile because the silly peasants could not pronounce “Sir and Ma’am”. They did not learn the Irish language, so they never knew that the Irish word “sor” meant “louse”, while the word “mam” meant “tit”.

My version was (very loosely) based on the dialect of a dear Irish friend, whom I love to hear speak, but can’t for the life of me imitate, having been so subjected to the ‘Oirish’ you speak of. I also suspect him of using a bit of it himself, for the benefit of my untrained ear and to avoid exasperating questions. Hence the apology.

When I showed him this article, he gave me basically the same history that you have, but the ‘English travelers anecdote’ is a new one to me. Clever lot, you Oirish. :wink:

Let’s see: kill a vampyre with garlic, vinegar, oil, poppy seed, a lemon, salt, pepper to taste–no, I just added that one because I like pepper.

Apparently vampyres of all nationalities are allergic to salad dressing. Just to be safe, in addition to bringing the salad fixings to the graveyard, sharpen a couple of those big wooden salad fork/spoon sets into stakes. The kind that are joined together in the middle form a makeshift cross if you hold them by the business end.

But seriously, the common thread seems to be that all of the poisonous substances are symbols or staples of life. If you can’t find a wooden stake, day old French baguettes are probably hard enough, but you will have to ram them rather than hammer them into the vampyre’s heart. If that doesn’t work, you will have croutons to go with your salad.

Personally, I quite like the idea of being chained to a grave with wild roses. It’s romantic.


If you know Montague Summers’s sense of humour/habitual dishonesty/general disregard for any scholarly standards, you don’t need to assume that he was hoaxed. Germaine Greer’s hachet job on him in her edition of The Uncollected Verse of Aphra Behn (1989) is always a fun read.


A couple interesting bits about vampire folklore…the whole reason we bury people in wooden coffins is due to the vampire folklore in Europe. Throughout history, crypts, tombs, sarcophogi, and other methods have been used, but the first basis for wooden coffins has to do with helping to prevent vampirism. Medieval people didn’t believe in that whole vampire bites you, you become a vampire thing…mostly, you became a vampire because of your terrible sins in life caused you to become demon possessed, and the demon didn’t feel like leaving your body after death. Good cantidates for vampirism included witches, drunks, whores, the lazy, etc.
Another thing, that continues to this day, is the scattering of dirt atop the coffin. You’ve seen it, the priest says “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” or something like that, and scatters a few grains of sand or dirt on the top of the coffin. This originates in a medieval practice of scattering grain atop a coffin, as it was believed that a newly awoken vampire would have to stop and count all the grains before he or she could move on. Something about their being very meticulous.
So, in our post-modern world, with all our science and technology, we’re still continuing practices intended to fight vampires.
More can be found on these topics in the works of Montague Summers.

Quoth brantgoose:

How about a Potion of Creamy Ranch?

"Good cantidates for vampirism included witches, drunks, whores, the lazy, etc. "

They better put a stake in my heart, then, when I kick this mortal coil.

You are, of course, thinking of “Carmilla,” one of the greatest works of supernatural ficiton ever written.

Curiously, there was some would-be celebrity back in the '80s who was running around in Hollywood trying to get himself discovered by billing himself as “The Irish Vampire.”

What about immersion in running water ? I remember one of those ‘sons of Dracula return’ movies from the 60s or 70s where the heroes drive the poor vampire into the bathroom with reflected sunlight and finish him off by turning on the shower !

You’re thinking of DRACULA AD 1972, in which Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing finishes off “Johnny Alucard” (Christopher Neame) with a mirror and a bathtub.

The running water thing is a bit of a stretch, apparently invented by Stoker. Some old legends supposedly say that evil spirits and/or witches cannot cross running water. Stoker applied this to vampires and took it a bit farther, suggesting that “the living water would engulf” a vampire if wrecked at sea and “he would indeed be lost.”