Spring, 2021—Chris Friend
For St. Patrick's
Day I decided on my usual weird spin on the holiday. So, this week it will be the vampires
of Irish folklore. As with many
Irish mythological figures the vampire is inter-connected with fairies. Among the
Irish the fairy is often intertwined with
ghosts, witches, nature spirits and
on occasion the vampire. Even two of the greatest vampire stories ever conceived
were written by two Irish men.
Sheridan Le Fanu wrote the seminal "Carmilla" and Bram Stoker created
"Dracula". I would assume that many elements of Irish vampire lore
made their way into both novels.
One of the most famous Irish vampires is the
Dearge Due which translates to "red blood sucker". This
fiend can be traced further back than the Celts and
early Celtic tones. In this case the vampire can be stopped by piling on vast amounts
of heavy stones on its
grave, thus stopping it. One famous tale of the Dearge Due consists of a
beautiful woman whom I assume is also
the undead, being buried in a churchyard near a tree known as Strongbow's tree.
This churchyard is
said to be near the homes of Stoker and
Le Fanu and is a popular tourist site for the vampire enthusiast.
The "fairy mistress" known as the Leanhaum-shee
fairy) was considered a destructive vampire
fairy whose feminine charms could seduce and then destroy a healthy young man.
The only way to break her devilish
charms was to find her another young man to seduce, allowing the first young man to escape her clutches. It is quite possible that
many of the Irish and Celtic lady vampires got their
start as ancient goddesses of war, who were described as having a blood-thirsty
As the belief in gods
and goddesses dwindled away they were
replaced with the idea of blood-thirsty
ghosts and demons haunting the land on long dark nights. The proverbial banshee
is likely a relic of an older goddess
connected to disease and death. And
so it goes.
Chris Friend, email@example.com,
of Parkersberg, W.Va, wrote the BP #84 poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of
Mithra” (+ the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft,” Beauty’s Sleep,” &
“Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The
Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP
#77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the
Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night
Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan
Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour
Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS
News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue,
and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his
column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at http://chris.michaelherring.net/ and was featured artist
Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].