Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Villainous Vampires

My previous two posts were about real witches.  But what about real vampires?  Vampires don't exist, you say?  Think again....

Yes, there are people that really think they are vampires.  They get caps and sometimes implants to resemble fangs.  And some of them do actually drink blood.  But I have some other people in mind.  Real people throughout history that have been said to be the basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula....

There was a Prince of Wallachia (Romania), better known as Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476). He received this nickname because he was widely known and feared for impaling his enemies. During his ruling years (mainly 1456-1462) he campaigned against the Ottoman Empire. In Bulgaria, he was known as a hero for giving his protection. His overall total of victims is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

Did you think women weren't capable of such cruelty? Think again!

There was a Countess of Hungary with an equally horrific reputation. Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Aug 1560-Aug 1614) has been labeled the "Blood Countess." She was accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls (I'll leave out details of thumb screws and Iron Maidens). Later accounts tell tales of her bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth. With a victim count of over 650, she just may be the most infamous female serial killer in history. 

There are numerous books on the lives of these two historical figures.  My little blog is but a spit in the pond as far as doing them justice.  But if I have piqued your interest with my brief descriptions, by all means, pick up a book or two.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wickedly Witchy, Part II

When I originally created this blog, I didn't want to focus on just one topic.  Instead, I wanted to focus on the broader topic of creepy, scary things.  However, I received some comments on my last blog, asking me to post more on the same topic.  So here it goes:

Can you think of any tools a witch might use?  Bubbling cauldrons, eye of newt, flying broomsticks, magical swords?  These are some of the tools made popular by TV, movies and books.  Are these tools actually used in witchcraft?  Well...yes and no.


Yes, cauldrons are used by real witches.  Cauldrons are a symbol of the Goddess.  They have many uses, including cooking or brewing, fire lighting and holding water.  Cauldrons are generally made of iron and stand on three legs.  They can come in all sorts of sizes.


Yes, brooms are actually used too.  However, REAL WITCHES DO NOT FLY ON THEM!  Unless an aircraft is used, people don't fly.  The image of witches flying around on broomsticks was crafted in order to frighten people.  It dates back to times when other religions were trying to gain followers.  So what, you may ask, do real witches use brooms for?  The answer: cleaning!  However, whereas regular brooms are used to sweep up dirt and dust, a broom used in ritual is a bit different.  A ritual broom is used more symbolically.  Ritual brooms are usually smaller than regular cleaning brooms.  They can be more rustic looking, kind of like the craftier ones some people use to decorate with.  After an area is cleaned (sometimes with a regular broom), a ritual broom is used to cleanse an area of negativity.  It is swept over the area with the same motion as a regular broom.  But since the ritual broom is used more symbolically, it's bristles don't need to touch the surface being cleaned.


This is where the magical swords come in.  Well, sort of.  An athame (Ah-THAM-may) is a ritual knife used to symbolize the God.  They are generally smaller in size than a sword and look more like a dagger.  However, athames are usually dull, not sharp.  They are not used to cut things.  What they are used for is directing energy.

Eye of Newt

Is it used?  Yes...and no.  The actual eyes of newts would not be used by a real witch.  Like stated in my previous post, most people that use real witchcraft do so within their religion.  These religions are governed by rules.  The most basic rule one can come across in a religious form of witchcraft is to not harm others.  Plain and simple.  You're not allowed to harm living things.  This would make it impossible for a real witch to use the eyes of any type of creature.  However, there have been times in history when people practicing certain religions had to keep those practices secret.  For this reason, as some witches throughout time wrote their spells, they would use a sort of code.  Some of the things used in their spells might have been called eye of newt or other such terms.  Why this would help them to hide, I don't quite know.  I just know that it was done. 

The list above is not all inclusive.  Other tools are used within witchcraft.  If you have more interests or questions, please leave me a comment below.  You can also email me at generations1926@gmail.com

One final thought: I use the word "witch" loosely here.  In actuality, it is a term that some practitioners of witchcraft find highly offensive.  Some view the term "witch" to be among the same nasty, descriptive words used to describe Jews, Latinos, African Americans and many other people.  I strongly advise getting to know a practitioner well before throwing the term at them!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wickedly Witchy

Witch.  What images come to mind?  Are there certain characters that float around in your head?  How about places?  Or symbols?

Witches are seen in movies (The Wizard of Oz, The Craft, Hocus Pocus...).  They appear in books (The Witching Hour, A Discovery of Witches, Practical Magic...).  Fairy tales (Snow White, Hansel and Gretel...).  And let's not forget history (The Burning Times, the Salem Witch Trials...).

Most of the time, witches are portrayed in a bad light.  It has been said that witches are mean, put curses on people and even eat children.  And that's only a few things.  But where did all of these accusations come from?

When people are frightened or feel threatened, they tend to exagerate and lie.  These people spread their fears and lies.  Before anyone knows it, hatred and predjudice are born. 

But what about the people that actually practice forms of witchcraft?  What are they like?  The fact of the matter is, these people aren't as scary or mean as you may think.  Nor are they really all that different than you.  Many forms of witchcraft stem from various religions.  Most of these religions are nature based.  Sets of rules govern religious practices and ritual magic is no different.

So what should you do if you run into a real-life witch?  Honestly, you could run into one and not even know it.  There's no green skin, hook nose or pointy hat to distinguish them (unless of course it's Halloween).  But if you ever do run into someone that practices a form of the craft, take a moment to ask them some questions.  I'm sure they'd be glad to answer them!