Yes, this is a serious discussion. Contrary to popular belief, there really are individuals among Shinai who consider themselves to be actual vampire hunters. Of the few seriously demented examples, most are religious fundamentalists and extremists, often described as lunatics and for very good reason. Some belong to occult-obsessed groups described as “Watchers” and Vampirological Societies”.
Many believe more in the mythical undead fictional vampire than the real life Vampyre. Fortunately this means they view us as an aberrant sub-culture rather than a fact, and they also view the traditional vampire-hunting tools as “effective”.
Some well-known examples of this kind of lunatic have spent decades hunting phantoms and writing books about their exploits, all the while blithely dismissing real Vampyres as “vampiroids”, despite chasing shadows and seeing absolutely nothing to stake, behead or douse in holy water. Many have fabricated sensational stories (such as the “Highgate Vampire”) in their search for fame and attention.
Sadly, the “Satanic panic” has also resulted an increase in religious fanatics, particularly in the Christian religion, in which people view anything out of their scope of the mundane to be “evil” or “satanic” or as a threat and as something which must be hunted, persecuted and made extinct. In some cases, this backwards mindset even results in violent crime against individuals who stand out, or who are suspected of being part of a sub-culture or religious minority group (i.e. goth, emo or Vampyre). In Iraq for example, in February 2012, up to 200 youth were systematically rounded up and brutally murdered execution style by Islamist militia groups for the “crime” of wearing Western hairstyles, clothing or adopting the emo fashion. Propaganda before and after, as far back as 2009, accused these youth of practicing witchcraft, vampirism and homosexuality, although no proof was ever produced.
Modern “hunters” also come in the guise of law enforcement “crusaders” who are little more than religious evangelists carrying a police badge, working to build their fame on being so-called “occult experts” who chase the specter of “devil worshipers” and “satanists” – while themselves never actually understanding what they are chasing after. Numerous examples of this sort of “hunter” abound, and they are often more interested in building their reputations and recruiting new members to their own religions than actually doing any good or actually solving any real crimes.
Nevertheless, many of these different types of “vampire hunter” will employ various items in their war against vampires – and even Vampyres.
In truth, a general rule of thumb when gauging the effectiveness of an “anti-Vampyre weapon”, is to consider whether it will kill a Shinai. If it can, then it can kill a Vampyre.
Most religious traditions around anti-vampire weapons are effective solely in the realms of fiction. It has to be said though, that a weapon is a weapon, and if it can kill a Shinai, it should be able to kill anyone, including a Vampyre.
It would be nice to say that staking wouldn’t kill a Vampyre, but unfortunately Vampyres, as living beings, are as vulnerable to any stabbing weapon as any Shinai. Any living thing would die if it were stabbed in the heart with a shaft of wood, and this logic should apply to the process of assessing the potential threat of any kind of anti-vampire weapon in fiction or lore. If however, you encounter a creature that doesn’t die from staking or beheading, I recommend you run like hell, find a hole, crawl into it, and pull the hole in after you.
Would cutting off the head of a Vampyre kill them? Now ask yourself, would beheading kill a Shinai? There’s your answer. I have never seen any headless dogs running around, have you? Chickens, yes – but there’s a perfectly rational explanation for that, and anyway, that’s just temporary, even if a little weird.
In Catholic tradition, silver kills werewolves and vampires, so if struck by a silver object such as a bullet, it should kill a Vampyre. Well, sad to say, the same rule as staking applies – if it can kill any living creature, then it can kill us too. There is nothing special about silver. It doesn’t burn us as in fiction, although some report that it turns black on their skin, although this may be no more than an electro-chemical reaction caused by the acidity of the skin. Otherwise, the only effect of silver on a Vampyre is to perhaps make us better dressed, and slightly heavier.
In Catholic tradition, sunlight causes vampires to burst into flame, or turn to dust or ash. Where this ridiculous idea started is unclear, but I am sure many vampire hunters would be disappointed. Sunlight has a negative effect on most Vampyres yes, but in no way as severe as depicted in lore, myth or modern fiction. It may sting our sensitive eyes, it may give us sun-burn, but we survive it almost as easily as any average Shinai would.
- Holy Water
This is a traditional Catholic vampire hunter weapon, water blessed by a priest. It is of course no more than a ridiculous superstition. “Holy” water has no effect on Vampyres, except to wet or annoy the Vampyre. It’s only realistic use to the Vampyre hunter would be to drink it or to use it to wash their shorts in should they ever encounter a real vampire.
- Garlic & Herbs
Many Vampyres enjoy garlic on their food, and make tasteless jokes about it. It has absolutely no negative effect on Vampyres, any more than it does Shinai. Unless of course certain individuals are allergic to garlic, which is extremely rare. Hunters seem determined to season vampires, not kill them.
- Crucifixes, Bibles And Other Religious Symbols
Kitsch and offensive to sensibilities versed in feng-shui, but no more harmful than that. Reading from a bible at a Vampyre might bore one to death, eventually – and a crucifix or a bible might kill a Vampyre if used as a club, but no more than any Shinai.
Most of these anti-vampire “weapons” are ineffective and often include variations of the Traditional religious variety. Unique to current fiction however are the “weapons” listed here.
Popularized in fiction such as “the Vampire Diaries”, vervaine is a herb which supposedly has a weakening effect on vampires, and which can scald their skin through direct contact, or protect Shinai from being compelled or glamored by them. In reality this herb is ineffective against Vampyres, although it might cause allergic reaction in some individuals if ingested in large quantities. It certainly doesn’t have a pleasant taste either, so common sense should apply.
Popularized in fiction such as the “Blade” movies, where vampires are infected by a virus which turns them into vampires, a popular weapon of vampire-hunters is a “serum”, a biological agent injected into vampires, which either causes them to revert to Mundanes, or explode etc, etc, ad absurdum.
- Wooden Bullets
A variation of the wooden stake, used in “True Blood” and “the Vampire Diaries” TV series. Ask yourself if this would hurt, or kill a Mundane and you have your answer in terms of effectiveness on a Vampyre.
- Ultraviolet Light
Used in everything from capsule bullets, throwing weapons and flash-bombs in movies like the “Blade” series, and UV bullets in “Underworld” – this idea is based on the myth that vampires burn almost instantly in sunlight – which consists of a large amount of UV radiation.
Most Vampyres have varying resistance to UV or sunlight, but will typically not suffer more than sunburn, dehydration, fatigue or sun-stroke from exposure to it, if not just a little sooner than the average Shinai. Of course, by contrast, there are vamps who adore the sun and seem quite resistant to it. Go figure.
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