Sunday, September 20, 2009

Walking on Water



Another look into a tidbit from vampire mythology had me surfing the net to discover why it is vampires cannot cross running water.

Tradition states running water is pure and cannot hold, or washes away, all magic.

Now there are certain special situations.  A vampire may not be able to cross water on his own, but he can be carried over or might change shape and fly or jump over.  Dracula was carried across the sea while nestled safely in his coffin on a bed of dirt.



    "It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of tide."  - Professor Van Helsing in Mina Harker's Journal, Chapter XVIII of Dracula by Bram Stoker
    "The Count, even if he takes the form of a bat, cannot cross the running water of his own volition, and so he cannot leave the ship." -  Professor Van Helsing in Jonathan Harker's Journal, Chapter XXV of Dracula by Bram Stoker

One myth claims burying a vampire on an island prevents him from crossing the water to shore.  Also origins point to the myth possibly being about witches instead of vampires and was either borrowed or folded into the vampire myth somehow.

That's about all I found.  Anyone seen the myth used in books or movies other than Dracula?

11 comments:

Anna Dougherty said...

I'm not positive but I think Chelsea Quinn Yarbro uses this myth with her St. Germain books. Can't think of any others off the top of my head.

Gypsy Jane said...

Yes. Yarbro's vampires are very uncomfortable with water unless protected by their native earth.
http://www.chelseaquinnyarbro.net/

Alayna Raquelle said...

I'm pretty sure Jack from P.N. Elrod's Vampire Files had issues with crossing running water (it's been a while, but I'm thinking he had problems taking a shower too), and Elrod also uses the "dirt from the homeland" myth.

Gypsy Jane said...

Speaking of Native Earth - if I were to become a vampire, would my native earth be from (a)North America (b)New Jersey (c)the radioactive stuff in Orange NJ? Just a horrible thought.

Michele Hauf said...

It's been a while since I've read Yarbro, but still remember how awesome Hotel Transylvania was!

I've never tried Elrod. They are mysteries, right?

Oh dear, a radioactive vampire! Well, at least we'd see you coming after us in the night! ;-)

Lou Gagliardi said...

Gypsy, it would be from whatever country/city, etc you were born in (preferably city i believe)

As for the running water thing, I believe that it's the "water is pure" thing. but at the same time from an (ugh) religious POV--Christ walked on water. How can a vampire--an "unholy demon"--walk on the same area as Christ?

Michele Hauf said...

Lou, you'll have to check out interview with Eric Wilson who wrote a religious vampire story, on September 28th. It's very interesting who he wove religion into the mythology of the vampire.

Lou Gagliardi said...

I already know, I read his story. And it makes complete sense.

Gypsy Jane said...

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's explanation for why her vampires have trouble with water is because their nature is of the earth. Hence the protective power of the native earth, so St. Germaine can enjoy swimming in his own earth-lined swimming pool but not someone else's.

Nicole_Hadaway said...

It's not only vampires, but other evil spirits as well -- remember the Headless Horseman couldn't cross running water to chase Ichabod Crane? The idea that evil things are repelled by symbols of purity is a strong one.

The vampires in my book can cross running water over a bridge on on a boat, but since they are descendants of angels, beings of fire, if they get water on their skin it will render them powerless.

Anna Dougherty said...

Michele- Elrod's Vampire Files are really good. In fact, a new book just came out a couple weeks ago, I think. Saw it at B&N and it's on my list to purchase. Anyways, I guess you would classify them as mysteries. Isn't he a detective or something? Maybe just friends with a cop? Can't remember! I have been trying to piece together the series for years and am excited for the new book. You should check them out.