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Winston Louis
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Dear Curator,

Congratulation on your life's work!
I visited Belgium many many times, all parts of the country (if you know what I mean).
Your scientists are top notch and you have produced some fine authors, artists and perhaps even magicians too.
We're flying to London tomorrow for X-mas (chance to see our grandchildren). Not that far away.
Happy to make your acquaintance.
Yours truly,
-Winston
Jake Murphree
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Beyond the Psychomanteum
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I'm just going to pour a Café Cortado and enjoy this conversation. Truly fascinating dialogue here.

I'm passionately obsessed with this area of study and can only hope to acquire the mountain of wisdom these gentlemen and several others possess.

At what age did you start collecting and researching?

I'm very inspired, though, I must ask - What would make one assume that he is not American? I'm just curious. And please, spare no opinions. You won't offend me. You don't have to answer this if you feel it would stir hostility.

Thank you for sharing your collections and knowledge.

Jake Murphree
Winston Louis
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Dear Mr Murphree,

I began my formal medical studies at 17 (that means in 1949), and I almost immediately started collecting everything I could afford on psychiatric deviances. When I became senior house officer (this is when I was in London), one of my colleagues also worked at Friern Hospital in the early Fifties, and he got me a whole bunch of their originals. Back then electrotherapy was commonly used in psychiatry, so next to being a practitioner, I also started collecting the ancestors. And before I knew it, I already had well over 1000 pieces. I have a lot more now... to my wife's despair Smile !
As for the American issue, yes, that is a tricky one. I'll try to explain.
In my position as former Senior Vice-Chancellor, I travelled the world, did 3 international congresses per year and lectured in all continents (except Africa). What I found, as a psychiatrist, was that we Americans in general -and I stress this- lack thoroughness in learning what our foreign peers/colleagues/competitors actually drives. Not per se what they do, but what drives them, what their culture means withing their thinking process.
I find the Curator a man who studies all cultural, sociological, political, et al. nuances of his subjects, and this is most un-American. We prefer to stay on the surface.
I think this is due to our lack of a mythology of our own (except the native-American culture that was conveniently 'removed'). But that's an entirely different discussion, and a lenghty one at that.
And as I'm digging deeper into the forum, this conviction of differenciation is confirmed more and more.
But, there is no reason to despair: we've got the Batman Smile
Yours truly,
-Winston
The Curator
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One day, 30 years ago, I entered a coin shop to buy some silver coins for a routine. The guy sold some antique Egyptian scarabs too. I discovered 3 very important things that would change my way to do magic.

- There was more magic in a small antique scarab than in any card trick I could perform.
- An antique object was affordable.
- I could create magic using those items (my first routine using an "antique" item was based on the Curse of Tut Ankh Amen).

I also discovered that a lot of people know their subject better than me, and I wanted to entertain those people. There's no shortcut to knowledge.
To perform my kind of magic, I needed such a perfect card/coin/... technique that no one could know how I did: so I created a new range of techniques and manipulations based on new approaches that could fool the bests (Blitz, Phantoms, Mux...).
I tested it in live condition with the best magicians of the time and it worked.
Jake Murphree
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Quote:
On 2010-12-22 11:46, Winston Louis wrote:
As for the American issue, yes, that is a tricky one. I'll try to explain.
In my position as former Senior Vice-Chancellor, I travelled the world, did 3 international congresses per year and lectured in all continents (except Africa). What I found, as a psychiatrist, was that we Americans in general -and I stress this- lack thoroughness in learning what our foreign peers/colleagues/competitors actually drives. Not per se what they do, but what drives them, what their culture means withing their thinking process.
I find the Curator a man who studies all cultural, sociological, political, et al. nuances of his subjects, and this is most un-American. We prefer to stay on the surface.


Mr.Louis, that was insightful. Thank you. It completely makes sense and is something that is not often considered in this form of entertainment.
Jake Murphree
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Quote:
On 2010-12-22 11:57, The Curator wrote:
One day, 30 years ago, I entered a coin shop to buy some silver coins for a routine. The guy sold some antique Egyptian scarabs too. I discovered 3 very important things that would change my way to do magic.

- There was more magic in a small antique scarab than in any card trick I could perform.
- An antique object was affordable.
- I could create magic using those items (my first routine using an "antique" item was based on the Curse of Tut Ankh Amen).

I also discovered that a lot of people know their subject better than me, and I wanted to entertain those people. There's no shortcut to knowledge.
To perform my kind of magic, I needed such a perfect card/coin/... technique that no one could know how I did: so I created a new range of techniques and manipulations based on new approaches that could fool the bests (Blitz, Phantoms, Mux...).
I tested it in live condition with the best magicians of the time and it worked.


The 3 discoveries you outlined are PRECISELY the same light bulbs that lit above my head. I've been doing "magic" for about 10 years, and have always had an obsession with all things "bizarre". Little did I know, a community of entertainers had combined the two with an amazing result. I just stepped into this world last year and I don't think I could ever turn back to conventional magic.

The reactions I've witnessed from a strange antique presented with an engaging story (with no gimmick,sleight of hand, magic, etc), have been far more powerful than any magic trick I've done. It's addicting.
The Curator
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With this kind of magic you need either a lot of money or a lot of time.
If you've a lot of time (like me), you'll become a treasure hunter and will soon discover that treasures aren't necessarily hidden in sunken boats in the sea of China...
Becoming a treasure hunter will be part of your life and adventures. It will also build your persona.
The Curator
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For the fun: this was the first antique object that started the Surnateum. It wasn't the first weird object,: voodoo dolls and Zodiac chart came first.

Image
Archeology1
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OK, I know this is an old thread, but I just stumbled across this site while doing some research on ancient weaponry, and I just have to post and play devil's advocate regarding the Curator's claims regarding these vampire kits.
First of all, I find it astonishingly amazing that professionals working for auction houses and museums have a hard time telling an authentic kit from a fake, but the Curator can identify a fake by simply looking at a photo or hearing a description of one from a third party.

Let's start off with the Curator's first claims regarding the kit on page 1.
According the Curator he instantly proclaimed the kit on page 1 as being a fake.
Someone else asked for evidence and he replied -

Quote:
Bottles are from the 1930/40's era at least


I have a couple of questions regarding this claim...
1- What specific details give away that the bottles are from the 1930's-40's?
2- And is there a source for this information?
BTW the tops seen on those bottles are called "applied tops" which were around prior to the 1900s.

Quote:
pistol is ridiculous


Something being "ridiculous" has never been used as a method for dating antiquities....So how does it apply here?
pompadours are also ridiculous, does that mean they weren't around prior to the 20th century?

Quote:
the wooden stake (with crosses) weren't in use


Im curious to know just how you came to this conclusion? DO you have a book which flat out states that "stakes with crosses" were never used prior to the 20th century?
If so, Id like to know the source of this information.

Quote:
the disposition in the box isn't correct for a XIXth century kit


So you're saying that all vampire kits prior to the 19th century had to conform to a specific arrangement or disposition?
All Vampire kit makers had to follow the same template?
Where is the source regarding this information?

Quote:
Because no one used crossbow to kill vampires during the XIXth century. It's a modern invention created for Buffy (1997) and John Carpenter's Vampires (1998).


How exactly do you know crossbows were not used to fend off vampires?
We know that crossbows have been around for hundreds of years to kill people, but you are somehow certain they were never utilized in Vampire superstition...How exactly did you come to this conclusion?

Sorry about this post, but nearly every one of your claims seems pretentious, and seems to be exclusively based on your opinion, rather than flat out facts.
Keep in mind, Im not saying these kits are real, but your pontifications are baseless.
The Curator
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One post user... And your name is?
Are you the seller of the "funny crossbow kit" ? Or the buyer ? Whatever...
You'll probably also claim that wireless telephone existed at the time of Christ because no wire from that era has been discovered yet...

We have a very good research team at the Surnateum, including a people who work also at the Invalides (the Musée de l'Armée in Paris).
If you need answers, please search the web. You'll probably discover:
- that people who dealed with vampires were from the police or the army helped by doctors. Never heard about "Visum et Repertum" ? You should check the web too. So pistols used by police or soldiers are very specific.
- that Crossbows weren't anymore in use during the XVIIIth and XIXth century at the army or police. (If you've an historical source for the contrary, feel free to inform us)
- The tradition was to decapitate the body and/or stake it (to fix the vampire in his coffin and destroying his heart) and or placing the body face down or under a big stone. This tradition was in use at the Roman era.
- That vampires didn't really look like count Dracula before 1897 and they don't necessary have big pointy teeth.
- That there are differences between drinkable potions and poison in the shape of the bottle (in the dark, you should feel the difference). XIXth century poison bottles were translucid, green or blue. The olders are usually blue.
When we do research, we work on original documents, the Surnateum has an extraordinary library.
Someone claimed that nor Blomberg or Plomdeur (the makers of the kits) existed. At that time it was a real challenge to discover them both and we did it. (check Wiki for Blomberg)
So, prove us that crossbows were in use to kill vampires during the XVIII and XIXth century, I'm waiting eagerly.


I won't give you more free information, you should make some by yourself before trying to sell another "original" XVIIIth century vampire killing kit.
But don't worry, they will always be buyers.
Dr Spektor
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Ummm.... some people thought this was all really real?

Aside: Hello Winston! I am a psychiatrist too - sounds like we have kindred spirits... come visit my whacky site when you get the chance... I use the mystery arts to educate on mental health all the time Smile

As a simulationist - I've considered most of the things I read here to be more along the lines of "levels of fidelity" i.e. even if its not 100% fidelity, people like the Curator take the time to boost the realism of the narratives to more than just popular shlock. Just like when I first started playing RPGs like Cthulhu, the stories were based on real settings and times but not 100% real... more a fictional version of the times...but it inspired me to do my own research to see what historical works said about the times. Sadly, often history is not as colorful as the legends around them Smile.... and heck, not to bring in disclaimers/no disclaimers - I always thought the Spookies stories were automatically considered entertainment... and inspiring people to research further.

But that is just me!

When I present something like the Mirror of Nitocris, there is no Nitocris... well, there is one based on a story based on a tale... and we can set it into the 6th Dynasty - and I can add in more and more realism as needed... but there is no Nitocris... but hell, it still works...

The Curator's Psychostasis routine I really loved so much I went and designed my own Weighing of the Soul/Heart using a giant custom scale, have had Bauta style masks of all the gods that would be present for such a ritual to allow specs to be involved, some SFX for Ammut to stalk invisibly around the proceedings... it isn't based on 100% reality... but it works for my purposes...

Or maybe I missed the point Smile

But heck, the Curator's works are inspirational to many of us - and it didn't matter if the material isn't 100% based in reality...although I could see he took the effort to try to get it there whenever he could - but I always thought his point was to create a wonderful presentention of Wonder....

IIMMMMHHHOOOO
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
CharlaineC
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Quote:
On 2010-12-23 12:55, The Curator wrote:
For the fun: this was the first antique object that started the Surnateum. It wasn't the first weird object,: voodoo dolls and Zodiac chart came first.

Image



I just had to post how beautiful this scarab is. I was wondering what it was used for?
Antoine
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Quote:
Sorry about this post, but nearly every one of your claims seems pretentious, and seems to be exclusively based on your opinion, rather than flat out facts.
Keep in mind, Im not saying these kits are real, but your pontifications are baseless.


What I find pretentious is to make kits (without really knowing the subject) and believe that people who worked on that subject will not be aware that these are fakes...
As for claiming that the Curator's comments are baseless, you should see the important files that we have assembled about panic vampire and VKK... The Surnateum worked with the musée de l'Armée in Paris (the world largest museum of arms...). Needless to say we know exactly what we mean when we talk about the type of guns used in these kits and it is very easy to differentiate between a real gun and an ordinary pocket pistol ... It is the same for Nicolas Plomdeur, the dealer who assembled the kits at the request of Blomberg: we have traced all the family members in their various workshop in Paris and Liege.

Now, if you have any serious information, credible or reasoning based on that, we all listen to you.
Archeology1
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Quote:
Are you the seller of the "funny crossbow kit" ? Or the buyer ? Whatever...


No, just someone looking for a few specifics on vintage weaponry, and happened to stumble across this site.[/b]

Quote:
You'll probably also claim that wireless telephone existed at the time of Christ because no wire from that era has been discovered yet...


Hardly an adequate comparison considering that these kits don't include advanced technology which would be outlandishly outside the realm of their supposed time period.

Quote:
We have a very good research team at the Surnateum, including a people who work also at the Invalides (the Musée de l'Armée in Paris).
If you need answers, please search the web. You'll probably discover:


I'm sure the Surnateum and other museums do have good research teams...And these teams have researchers who have hands-on experience with these kits.
I'm specifically talking about you being able to confirm or deny a fake vampire kit by merely looking at a photo, or hearing a description from a 3rd party, without any physical examination.
I know the Mercer museum conducted research on one of their kits and after examining the type of paper and glue they were able to determine that the chemicals were post 1940's, thus proving it a fake.
However, you're deductive reasoning is astounding considering that you were able to discredit the the kit by merely looking at a photo or hearing a vague description from a 3rd party.

Quote:
- that people who dealed with vampires were from the police or the army helped by doctors. Never heard about "Visum et Repertum" ? You should check the web too. So pistols used by police or soldiers are very specific.


The people who deal with criminals are also the police, but that still doesn't prevent people from arming themselves with their own assortment of private weapons as a contingency plan if the police are not available.
There is no way you can discount the possibility that people could have privately equipped themselves to deal with vampires.


Quote:
- that Crossbows weren't anymore in use during the XVIIIth and XIXth century at the army or police.


First you need to establish that the army and police were the only ones who exclusively dealt with with vampires...And thus far you have not been able to prove this.


Quote:
- The tradition was to decapitate the body and/or stake it (to fix the vampire in his coffin and destroying his heart) and or placing the body face down or under a big stone. This tradition was in use at the Roman era.


Lore regarding the destruction of a vampire widely varied in different cultures. This information is actually irrelevant to the discussion at hand since it doesn't prove or disprove the the authenticity of a kit. Just a random bit of vampire information.

Quote:
- That vampires didn't really look like count Dracula before 1897 and they don't necessary have big pointy teeth.


What vampires looked like is once again irrelevant as it doesn't serve to confirm or deny the authenticity of these kits.
None of these kits give any indication that a vampire must look a certain way.
As for the fangs, that has pretty much been a staple of vampire characteristics prior to Dracula and established in Varney the Vampire and Carmilla (printed prior to Dracula). Even Chinese vampires with fangs were established over a hundred years before Dracula.


Quote:
- That there are differences between drinkable potions and poison in the shape of the bottle (in the dark, you should feel the difference). XIXth century poison bottles were translucid, green or blue. The olders are usually blue.


Considering these kits were probably manufactured private craftsmen, rather than companies, there's no flat out rule that suggests these craftsmen couldn't have used any bottles which were at their disposal.
Most bottles of Coke come in a specifically shaped bottle with a specific design...However, I have on occasion, poured a coke in a different cup or bottle. There is nothing to stop me from doing so, just as there was nothing to stop a possible kit maker from using a random bottle for poisons.


Quote:
Someone claimed that nor Blomberg or Plomdeur (the makers of the kits) existed. At that time it was a real challenge to discover them both and we did it. (check Wiki for Blomberg)


I never questioned the validity of Blomberg of Plomdeur's existence.


Quote:
So, prove us that crossbows were in use to kill vampires during the XVIII and XIXth century, I'm waiting eagerly.


I can prove right now that crossbows are still in use today, to shoot targets, people, animals and any other objects that a persons wishes to....So the the issue isn't that I have to prove that crossbows were used to kill vampires, the issue is that you have to prove that they absolutely weren't used as a method to kill vampires.
Considering all of the people who lived during the 18th & 19th century, there is no way you can flat out prove that not a single person ever used a crossbow as a defense against vampire.



Quote:
I won't give you more free information, you should make some by yourself before trying to sell another "original" XVIIIth century vampire killing kit.
But don't worry, they will always be buyers.


Did you use that same deductive reasoning to assume that Im the seller of the vampire kit?
It seems to me that you're trying to label me as the seller of the kit in order to discredit my questions, while validating your own conclusions.
Use whatever method you like.
William Draven
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Archeology with all due respect (And I'm not saying that your thoughts aren't well constructed), but I can't help but feel that you are sailing into troubled waters my friend. I don't think this is one fight you really want to pick. The Curator has always been well read, and informed for what little time I've been here. I suspect he wouldn't post his thoughts on a subject without having the experience or research first available to back him up.
critter
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Quote:
On 2011-03-29 05:44, Archeology1 wrote:
Quote:
Are you the seller of the "funny crossbow kit" ? Or the buyer ? Whatever...


No, just someone looking for a few specifics on vintage weaponry, and happened to stumble across this site.[/b]

Quote:
You'll probably also claim that wireless telephone existed at the time of Christ because no wire from that era has been discovered yet...


Hardly an adequate comparison considering that these kits don't include advanced technology which would be outlandishly outside the realm of their supposed time period.

Quote:
We have a very good research team at the Surnateum, including a people who work also at the Invalides (the Musée de l'Armée in Paris).
If you need answers, please search the web. You'll probably discover:


I'm sure the Surnateum and other museums do have good research teams...And these teams have researchers who have hands-on experience with these kits.
I'm specifically talking about you being able to confirm or deny a fake vampire kit by merely looking at a photo, or hearing a description from a 3rd party, without any physical examination.
I know the Mercer museum conducted research on one of their kits and after examining the type of paper and glue they were able to determine that the chemicals were post 1940's, thus proving it a fake.
However, you're deductive reasoning is astounding considering that you were able to discredit the the kit by merely looking at a photo or hearing a vague description from a 3rd party.

Quote:
- that people who dealed with vampires were from the police or the army helped by doctors. Never heard about "Visum et Repertum" ? You should check the web too. So pistols used by police or soldiers are very specific.


The people who deal with criminals are also the police, but that still doesn't prevent people from arming themselves with their own assortment of private weapons as a contingency plan if the police are not available.
There is no way you can discount the possibility that people could have privately equipped themselves to deal with vampires.


Quote:
- that Crossbows weren't anymore in use during the XVIIIth and XIXth century at the army or police.


First you need to establish that the army and police were the only ones who exclusively dealt with with vampires...And thus far you have not been able to prove this.


Quote:
- The tradition was to decapitate the body and/or stake it (to fix the vampire in his coffin and destroying his heart) and or placing the body face down or under a big stone. This tradition was in use at the Roman era.


Lore regarding the destruction of a vampire widely varied in different cultures. This information is actually irrelevant to the discussion at hand since it doesn't prove or disprove the the authenticity of a kit. Just a random bit of vampire information.

Quote:
- That vampires didn't really look like count Dracula before 1897 and they don't necessary have big pointy teeth.


What vampires looked like is once again irrelevant as it doesn't serve to confirm or deny the authenticity of these kits.
None of these kits give any indication that a vampire must look a certain way.
As for the fangs, that has pretty much been a staple of vampire characteristics prior to Dracula and established in Varney the Vampire and Carmilla (printed prior to Dracula). Even Chinese vampires with fangs were established over a hundred years before Dracula.


Quote:
- That there are differences between drinkable potions and poison in the shape of the bottle (in the dark, you should feel the difference). XIXth century poison bottles were translucid, green or blue. The olders are usually blue.


Considering these kits were probably manufactured private craftsmen, rather than companies, there's no flat out rule that suggests these craftsmen couldn't have used any bottles which were at their disposal.
Most bottles of Coke come in a specifically shaped bottle with a specific design...However, I have on occasion, poured a coke in a different cup or bottle. There is nothing to stop me from doing so, just as there was nothing to stop a possible kit maker from using a random bottle for poisons.


Quote:
Someone claimed that nor Blomberg or Plomdeur (the makers of the kits) existed. At that time it was a real challenge to discover them both and we did it. (check Wiki for Blomberg)


I never questioned the validity of Blomberg of Plomdeur's existence.


Quote:
So, prove us that crossbows were in use to kill vampires during the XVIII and XIXth century, I'm waiting eagerly.


I can prove right now that crossbows are still in use today, to shoot targets, people, animals and any other objects that a persons wishes to....So the the issue isn't that I have to prove that crossbows were used to kill vampires, the issue is that you have to prove that they absolutely weren't used as a method to kill vampires.
Considering all of the people who lived during the 18th & 19th century, there is no way you can flat out prove that not a single person ever used a crossbow as a defense against vampire.



Quote:
I won't give you more free information, you should make some by yourself before trying to sell another "original" XVIIIth century vampire killing kit.
But don't worry, they will always be buyers.


Did you use that same deductive reasoning to assume that Im the seller of the vampire kit?
It seems to me that you're trying to label me as the seller of the kit in order to discredit my questions, while validating your own conclusions.
Use whatever method you like.



Image
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
Joshua J
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If I've learnt anything from studying the vampire killing techniques of the Frog brothers crossbows are unnecessary. Just water pistols and a bath full of garlic water.
winewizard
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I have done business with The Green Dragon for custom made Magic Wands & Juggling balls. I can attest to the superior quality of her work Now, Tracy has come up with a Vampire Hunting Kit. It is worth a look. She has terrific woodworking skills and the box alone is impressive.
She says it's weight is about 60 pounds. Feast your eyes and tantalize yourself at:
http://www.thegreendragon.us/vampirehuntingkit.html
critter
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Spokane, WA
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Archie,
I'd be interested in a published scholarly journal article written about VKK's. I won't be holding my breath.
People that take it that seriously are the same people who believe that Dan Brown's novels are real.
I'm not going to get carried away with rebuttals so as not to ruin anyone's schtick, just try to bear in mind that this forum is about entertainment. It's not a .edu website.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
The Curator
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Recent acquisition for the Surnateum, a 1893 engraving (+ explanation) about a group of Romanians shooting at a vampire in his grave. 1893 means that it was published before Dracula.

Image

Image



Traduction (by my friend Carl Gibson) of the German text.

'Banishing vampires' in Romania
The superstition about vampires among Slavs, Romanians and Greeks in the Lower Danube countries is still very much alive today, despite all efforts to provide explanations for it. It is immediately aroused when shortly after the death of one family member several others die or fall ill and fade away as well. Believers are then convinced that the first fatality was a vampire, who rises up out of their grave every night to suck life-giving blood out of his or her family members and thereby extend his/her ghostly existence for a while. This belief in vampires is probably one of the most terrible forms of belief in demons and spectres and often leads to the desecration of corpses and the profanation of burial grounds. As soon as the inhabitants of a Romanian village become convinced that a recently deceased person is on the loose as a vampire, they turn to the time-honoured effective method of banishing the ghost. On a moonlit night, a number of plucky men goes to the cemetery and digs up the vampire's corpse. This is not a difficult job because the Romanians only bury their dead two feet under the earth. It is generally assumed that if the corpse is well preserved, this is proof that it is a vampire. The men then drive a metal spike through the breast of the corpse, shoot it several times (see picture on page 324) and then bury it again, believing that the vampire will now be unable to rise up and plague them any longer. Sometimes, they also cut off the corpse's head. But to banish a vampire it is deemed essential that its body be pierced with a stake because it is only this that actually kills the vampire, which goes on living in a body that only outwardly appears to be dead and sucks blood from its relatives to keep that body serviceable.
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