World Travel

Beyond Twilight: 9 lesser-known vampires

David Wilson
nine kinds of vampire around the world
"She lives in graves and when feeling frisky, like a Michael Jackson 'Thriller' zombie, she rises up and applies her guile, leading men to their doom."
David Wilson

Think of a vampire. Two that spring to mind are Twilight heartthrob Edward Cullen and that classic smooth operator, Count Dracula.

But the Count and Cullen are just the suave side of the story. Exotic vampires overlooked by Hollywood have some horrible traits, not least of which is a thing for children.

But the disgusting behaviour of the other vampires — female, in most cases — only makes them more intriguing. Learn the secrets of the creepy B-list leeches whose antics would turn a respectable vampire paler than normal.

1. Fire fiend

Like globalised gangsters, vampires get everywhere — including a continent light years from Dracula's Transylvania terrain: Africa. Meet the adze, a vampire spirit who haunts the nightmares of Ghana's Ewe people.

Prone to possessing tribal sorcerers, the adze flaps about in firefly form. Fuelled by a cocktail of blood, palm oil and coconut water, it preys on children, especially ones that it judges attractive.

If caught being vile, the adze reverts to human form, which must promote much paranoia and vendettas.

2. Blood in the outback

Discounting estate agents, urban Australia is short on vampire activity. But Aboriginal culture boasts a vampire-like creature called (deep breath) the yara-ma-yha-who.

The playful fiend with the name that reads like a rugby chant eats and regurgitates whoever strays into its path. Like a cat honing its hunting skills by tormenting a mouse, the YMYW then sets out to catch the victim again.

After being repeatedly snared, the victim becomes a fellow outback vampire, swelling the ranks. Resistance is useless.

3. Hellfire

In a competitively dysfunctional field, few vampires are more unhinged than the Caribbean's loogaroo. An outward normal woman by day, at night the loogaroo goes rogue, socialising with the Devil and sourcing his fix: other creatures' blood.

Should the loogaroo fail to deliver the blood batch bribe, in a fit of pique the Devil will just suck out hers, leeching her life force and ability to perform magic tricks. The loogaroo's party repertoire includes shedding her skin and turning into a flame or blue ball of light. Her obsessive-compulsive hobby is counting grains of sand.

4. Kiss of death

The West may seem to have a monopoly on the commodification of vampire culture, but Asia also has a broad vampire base. The Philippines in particular boasts diversity. By day, one Filipina vampire variety, the mandurugo ("bloodsucker"), appears in the form of a hot temptress hoping to find a husband.

At night, as mad as the woman who pounced on the Pope, she sprouts wings and a long, hollow tongue deployed for sucking sleeping victims' blood. Pity those who wake during transfusion.

5. Batwoman

Another Philippines vampire breed, the manananggal ("self-segmenter") is a mature, attractive woman equipped with gross traits. Capable of severing her torso from the rest of her body, the manananggal flaps her huge bat-like wings and preys on sleeping pregnant women, sucking out their fetuses with her long tongue.

Worse still (ew!), she eats entrails — the hearts and livers of the sick.

6. Batwoman II

The Malaysian penanggalan, whose name means "detach", resembles a knock-off of her Filipina counterpart. Seductive but sick, after dark she detaches her fanged head and flaps around on the hunt for blood. Again, pregnant women and children in Malaysia are the main prey.

In a picturesque twist, her stomach and entrails dangle, twinkling like fireflies. Lovely.

7. Green ghoul

China's contribution to the profane domain, the jiang shi ("stiff corpse") takes the form of a reanimated goner with furry greenish skin that raises the spectre of corpse mould. A jiang shi is born when a soul fails to leave a dead person's body because the soul feels depressed, as in a suicide, or malicious. It desires to hang around and cause trouble, if it can summon the cunning.

Unlike other vampires, who would be lethal at poker, the jiang shi is a borderline zombie who hops around, killing creatures and sapping their life blood.

8. Murder magic

Immortalised in Hindu literature, yet another Asian vampire — the rakshasa — is a complicated character with venomous fingernails and a hunger for children and chaos in general. Its exploits include the harassment of priests and desecration of graves.

The rakshasa always wears a sour expression — could it be that the blood it drinks leaves a bitter taste? Either way, it is not entirely devoid of charm, moonlighting as an illusionist and magician. Depictions of the sorcerer from hell can be seen at Angkor in Cambodia.

9. Irish siren

A byword for weird myths and legends, Ireland has more to its supernatural menagerie than just fairies and leprechauns. Meet the dearg-due ("red bloodsucker"). Yet another female, the dearg-due underscores how, in the wider vampire world, equal opportunity rules — women are well-represented, if poorly housed compared with the castle-based Count.

The dearg-due lives in a grave in the south of the Emerald Isle. When the glamorous Celtic parasite is feeling frisky, like a Michael Jackson 'Thriller' zombie, she rises up and applies her guile, leading men to their doom.

Sleep tight tonight!

User comments
Bring on more articles like this, no on e is interested in the boring stuff - we want magic and fairytales or a bit of history. Wouldn mind doing a bit of reading on other country's & gods - greek mythology please!!! Great article tho
Good article, bring on more. Any more mythical creatures from around the world? These kinds of things are fantastic. I particularly found the Aboriginal monster quite interesting. Makes me want to investigate further. Cheers
I think you mixed picture no. 7 & 8 up. Otherwise, nice introduction to the world of vamps. Still think Ed's a better one, though. Who doesn't love shiny?
To Coz Those pictures are by Victoria Frances. She does some amazing pictures and is one of the highest regaureded gothic artist around. Lol
i'm sure the rich, older "sugar daddies" in question are aware that the only reason these woman are interested in them is their money. however, they've made the decision to date a young, attractive woman so that's a price they must pay.
Quite an interesting article - it was great to see vampires that nearly nobody hears about anymore. It just strikes me as odd that the images for the mandurugo and dearg-due look like something off DeviantArt. Cool pictures, but very deviant...
Noticed that the female blood suckers are always described as attractive and beautiful... That's so funny! There's a few I know of here in Sydney specially in the Eastern Suburbs who are like that! Attractive and beautiful! But can be like vampires when they suck the money out of their rich sugar daddy's! haha!
Know a fair few of vampires, and love how you've included 'penanggalan'. Though, I only have one complaint, at least be more imaginative when giving titles, example, batwoman and batwoman II... *rolls eyes*