Give from Your Heart (Vampire Approved)

Give from Your Heart (Vampire Approved), blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com.  Give blood, donate blood
Photo by Magdaline Nicole on Pexels.com

Considering how much of it exists in the world, it’s surprising (or maybe not) that blood banks are perpetually short of their key product. Blood and blood components are needed to help people with various medical conditions (including those with blood cancers), for surgery, and for emergency situations, like during childbirth or after a car accident. When there isn’t enough blood to go around, the consequences are devastating. So today’s post is to ask you to please consider donating blood, if you can. You’ll be rewarded with the warm sense of having done some good in the world (and a cookie). Your local vampires would approve 🧛

For more information on donating blood:

Canadian Blood Services: https://www.blood.ca/en

Société canadienne du sang: https://www.blood.ca/fr

American Red Cross: https://www.redcrossblood.org/

NHS Blood Services: https://www.blood.co.uk/

If your local agency isn’t listed, try doing an online search for blood services in your country/region.

(By the way, veterinary clinics need blood too. Find out more here, or search for pet blood donations in your local area: https://www.canadiananimalbloodbank.ca/#!cabb )

Wishing you a bloody good weekend…

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

Vampire’s Garden: Bleeding Heart

Vampire's Garden: Bleeding Heart, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Bleeding heart plant, garden, gardening, vampire, vampires
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Love Lies Bleeding‘s readers know that main character Mara is both a vampire and a botanist. Trained when she was still human, she continues to study plants and have a garden. This post is fourteenth in a series exploring Mara’s plants. Are you interested in botany, gardening, or plant lore? So are some vampires…

Please note: Medicinal uses are given for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before diagnosing or treating yourself or anyone else.

Caution: All parts are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. Coming into contact with the plant can also be irritating to skin.

Botanical Name: Laprocapnos spectabilis (AKA Dicentra spectabilis)

Common Names: Bleeding Heart, Lady’s Locket, Lady’s Heart, Lyre Flower, Fallopian Buds, heart flower, lady-in-a-bath

History: Native to northeastern Asia. There is a Japanese legend that claims the flower sprang from the blood of a brokenhearted suitor (read it here). Another version has the princess’s heart bleeding eternally for her lost suitor. After being introduced in the UK, it became so popular that it was once called “the finest hardy plant of the 19th century.” And then it fell out of fashion for being too common (fickle Victorians). Bleeding Heart is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve circulation, treat bruises and sores, and as a painkiller.

Victorian Language of Flowers Meaning: Compassion

Cultivation: Zones 2 to 9. Perennial. Prefers shade or part shade (you can get away with full sun if you live in a northern area). Bleeding Heart likes rich, consistently moist, well-draining soil, and appreciates organic mulch to help with moisture retention and nutrients. Plant in spring or fall. Bleeding Heart usually goes dormant in summer– you can cut back the stems once the leaves have turned yellow or brown. Continue to water/keep moist while dormant. To get better blooms, work slow-release fertilizer and compost into the soil around the plant when it first emerges in spring. Grows to about 1 metre (3 ft) tall and 30 cm to 1 metre (1 to 3 ft) wide. Propagate by division every few years. Bleeding Heart is deer and rabbit resistant.

Uses:

Houseplant (not recommended if you have pets or young children): If you can recreate the preferred growing conditions for Bleeding Heart, it will grow as a houseplant. Ideally it prefers a room temperature of about 18C (65F).

Cut Flower: Flowering stems will last up to 2 weeks in a vase.

Crafts: The flowers are ideal for pressing. From Almanac.com: Pick flowers early in the morning after the dew has dried. Put the flowers between paper and place between the pages of a thick book. After a couple of weeks you’ll have perfect flat, papery hearts.

Mara’s Uses: With its red shoots, heart-like flowers, and “bleeding” name, Bleeding Heart would definitely be on Mara’s list of plants to try for her herbal blood substitute.

Further Reading:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Bleeding Hearts Flower Care- How to Grow Bleeding Heart

How to Grow and Care for Bleeding Heart

Almanac

Bleeding Heart: An Old-Fashioned Charmer

Wikipedia: Laprocapnos

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Chances are when you think of vampires you’ll think of Spike, Nick Knight, Miriam Blaylock, or any of the other fanged creatures-of-the-night that populate modern culture, including Mara from Love Lies Bleeding. The vampires we’re familiar with are (generally) human looking, powerful, often charismatic and attractive, with a thirst for blood and a dislike of stakes. But that wasn’t always the case. History and folklore are full of types of vampires that are nothing like what we’ve come to expect. Here are five examples…

Krasue

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas

Similar to the penanggalan of Malaysia, the krasue is a type of ghostly vampire from Thailand that preys on chickens and cattle. The krasue has the face of a beautiful young woman (or sometimes an old woman), but instead of a body she has hanging organs and entrails. She’s also luminescent, and can be considered a form of will o’ the wisp. Like most vampires, she has fangs, and like most ghosts, she moves by floating. A common belief is that women who live sinful lives are cursed to become krasue after death (or that the curse will be passed on to their daughters and granddaughters). Another belief is that eating food contaminated by krasue saliva or flesh will turn someone into a krasue. And, as has been the case countless times throughout history, women in small communities acting “strangely” were/are suspected of being witches and monsters, or in this case– of becoming krasue at night. Krasue are always hungry, seeking out blood or flesh to consume. If blood isn’t available they’ll settle for rotting food, corpses, or feces. The krasue needs to reattach to her headless body before dawn, so destroying the body also destroys the krasue. Other ways to kill krasue include cutting the organs and entrails off or burning her. A krasue can be prevented from entering the home by surrounding it with something spiky, like bamboo, which the krasue will avoid in order not to get her entrails caught. There have been several krasue sightings in Thailand in recent years, most– but not all, debunked.

Manananggal

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas

The manananggal is from the Philippines and is similar to the penanggalan and krasue in the way it separates from the lower half of its body, trailing intestines behind. Unlike the other two, the manananggal has large, bat-like wings, and can be either male or female (although they’re usually female). Another name for manananggal is “tik-tik,” which is the sound the tiktik birds make as they accompany the manananggal when they’re flying. Apparently the sound gets fainter the closer they get, a tactic meant to confuse their victims. One becomes a manananggal either by inheriting the condition, performing a ritual, or surviving a manananggal attack. While they have fangs, manananggal perch on roofs and use their long, proboscis-like tongues to suck the blood from sleeping victims. They’re also known to eat flesh and organs. Preferred prey is pregnant women, fetuses, and newlyweds (particularly the grooms, as manananggal is said to have been left at the altar). Like many vampires, manananggal hate garlic and holy water; unlike most vampires they also can’t stand salt, vinegar, spices, daggers, and the tails of stingrays. To keep a manananggal away from your house, leave pots of uncooked rice, salt, or ash around. To kill a manananggal, spread salt, ash, or crushed garlic on the detached lower half. The top half won’t be able to reattach and will then die at sunrise.

ETA: a commenter let me know that the manananggal can also transform into a wild pig (!), and that “Oftentimes, a woman suspected of being one is asleep during the day.” Thanks for the extra info!

Sasabonsam

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas
Ashanti Sasabonsam/Asanbosam figure, via Into the Wonder

Sasabonsam, also known as Asanbosam, is a vampiric being in the folklore of the Akan people of southern Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo. Instead of feet they have iron hooks, which they use to dangle from trees in order to attack from above. They also have iron fanged teeth and bat-like features, including pointed ears and 6 metre- (20 foot-) long wings. Sasabonsam are territorial creatures, feeding on anyone who enters their forests. They eat flesh, as well as drinking blood, and they can infect people with a wasting illness (a common theme in vampire lore) with just a look. There is a claim that a man killed one by “fatally injuring it,” but I can’t find more details about it. Because of their hook feet, they can’t move well on the ground, so in theory you could get away from a Sasabonsam if you can run fast enough to get out from under the trees before they can grab you. Then again, it’s said that they like to play with their victims, like cats sometimes do with mice, so running might not help much.

Pricolici

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas

A creature from Romanian folklore, the pricolici is a hybrid vampire-werewolf (together at last!) Some claim they are undead souls risen from the grave in wolf form. Others say that pricolici are werewolves in life, who then rise after death as vampires. Men who are cruel or violent in life are likely to become pricolici after death. In any case, pricolici are especially vicious undead that enjoy hurting the living.

Vrykolakas

A Further 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Vampire, vampires, Krasue, penanggalan, manananggal, sasabonsam, asanbonsam, pricolici, vrykolakas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Greece (influenced by the myths of neighbouring Slavic countries) brings us our final (for now) vampire: the vrykolakas. Interestingly, while vrykolakas is generally considered to be a vampire, its name (from the Bulgarian vǎrkolak) means werewolf, and by modern definitions it’s closer to a zombie than a vampire. Vrykolakas don’t decay after death, but their bodies become swollen with blood, giving them lifelike ruddy complexions. They generally roam around wreaking all sorts of havoc, including causing epidemics. Vrykolakas sometimes sit on victims as they sleep, crushing or suffocating them. It was also believed (and still is in some places) that they would knock on doors, calling the names of people inside; if anyone opened the door, they themselves would die within a few days and become a vampire. One could also become a vrykolakas by living a sacrilegious life, being buried in unconsecrated ground, or eating the meat of a sheep that had been injured or killed by a wolf. Like the pricolici, it was also thought that a werewolf could become a vampire after death, retaining wolf-like fangs, hairy palms, and glowing eyes. The vrykolakas eats flesh rather than drinking blood, and it has a particular fondness for livers (possibly with a nice Chianti). The longer they are allowed to roam and feed, the stronger they become. To kill a vrykolakas, the body needs to be destroyed, which is done by impaling, beheading, dismembering, or cremation. Destroying the body has to be done on a Saturday, which is when the vrykolakas is believed to rest. During the Great Famine of 1941-1942 in Greece, so many people died that burial on consecrated ground became impossible. Families started pre-emptively destroying bodies so that their loved ones wouldn’t become vrykolakas.

Have you heard of these vampires? Which do you think is scariest? Tell me in the comments…

Read my previous posts on this subject:

5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of

5 More Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of

Another 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of

Yet Another 5 Vampires You May Not Have Heard Of

Can’t get enough vampires? Download my books!

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Further Reading

Krasue

Ghostly Beings

Manananggal

17 Facts About the Manananggal

Philippine Folklore: Meet the Vampiric, Cannibalistic Manananggal

Asanbosam

Sasabonsam

10 Places Where Vampires May Exist

Pricolici

Vrykolakas

Vampires in Greece

Astonishing Legends: Vrykolakas

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Happy Year of the Tiger, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, Year of the Tiger
Artist: Hiroki Takeda, via Spoon and Tamago

Happy Year of the Tiger! Tiger years happen to be my favourite in the cycle (mostly because I was born in one). The zodiac tiger is a symbol of strength, “exorcising evils,” and bravery, and this Year of the Tiger is supposed to be a prosperous, uplifting, and hopeful one. If you were born during a Year of the Tiger, wear red this year for good luck.

Happy Year of the Tiger, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, Year of the Tiger, Maneki tiger gif, maneki cat gif
Gif by Bento Graphics, via Spoon and Tamago

And just in case anyone needs to hear this:

Happy Year of the Tiger, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, Year of the Tiger. Friendly reminder that I hereby formally invite everyone to celebrate lunar new year.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!

Gong hay fat choy!

Aspasía S. Bissas

🧿
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