Black Petals Issue #97, Autumn, 2021

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Editor's Page
BP Artist's Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A World of Sensations-Fiction by Michael Dority
Goddess Deva-Fiction by David Starobin
Hunting Ground-Fiction by N. G. Leonetti
Love Letters-Fiction by S. J. Townend
No Content Available-Fiction by Richard Brown
Phantom Smell-Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Predatory Peepers-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Visit-Fiction by B. E. Nugent
The Working Man-Fiction by Christopher Hivner
The Extermination-Fiction By Dominique K. Pierce
Win-A-Burger-Fiction by Glenn Dungan
Counting Time-Flash Fiction by Ramon F. Irizarri
Terry and the Techo-Frog-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Epistolean-Flash Fiction by Harris Coverly
Labelled Rocks-Flash Fiction by Holden Zuras
Along Side of the Road-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Beneath the Weeping Willow-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Half-Life-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Liquid Darkness-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Lost-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Succubus Seductress-Poem by Carl E. Reed
The Crime of Frankenstein-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Brother's Keeper-Poem by Cassandra O'Sullivan Sachar
Razor Beak-Poem by Jessica Heron
The Fall of Vampire Hunters-Poem by Matthew Wilson

Autumn, 2021-Chris Friend


This issue, I decided to amuse myself and write an article on vampires. In his recent book "Fright Favorites" David Skal mentions in his synapsis of the classic horror film Black Sunday that in the folklore tradition of Eastern Europe they did not make a sharp distinction between malevolent supernatural beings. Thus vampires, werewolves, fairies, and witches are often the same thing.

The Greek Vampire is known as a vrykolakas, connecting it to a variety of boogey men. Vrykolaka can be translated as meaning "wolf fairy' which I always liked. This somewhat connected to the old superstitions that werewolves return as vampires after death. The body of a suspected werewolf was considered easier to possess by evil spirits due to its "unclean nature". In more ancient times these undead figures were not always evil. With the rise of the Greek Orthodox Church, such beings became connected to demons and even the devil himself. Such things as dying without being baptized or excommunication were seen as spring boards for the dearly departed to rise and pester the living. Eating the sheep killed by a werewolf was also considered a stepping stone towards vampirism. These evil-doers would go about pounding on doors and calling out the name of the occupant inside. Similar to a banshee, these vampires could be a death omen.


But for this to happen the occupant of the home would have to respond to them. (This reminds me of the horror story "The Monkey's Paw".) If the Vrykoloka is ignored it will give up and move on to another potential victim. The Vrykolaka will sometimes attack a person by lying on its intended victim’s chest and making it hard for the victim to breathe. (Remember Fuseli's famous painting “The Nightmare?" If left to its own devices, the vampire will grow in strength and power. So destroying the monster was of great importance. Usually the villagers would have to wait until Saturday when the Vrykolaka is at its most vulnerable. So the standard practice of pinning the corpse to the ground with a stake or cremation was usually implemented. Lifting the curse of ex-communication also was said to put the angry deceased to rest as well. It was also suggested to bury the suspected vampire on a desert island. The Greek island of Santorini was just such an island. There is even a phrasing of "taking the vampires to Santorini.” This island is said to be so vampire-haunted that this has caused the antiseptic nature of its soil. This keeps the dearly departed in a state of what appears as unusual purification. The inhabitants there are said to have a special knowledge of dealing with the undead. And so it goes.

Chris Friend,, who wrote 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 and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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