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Poland’s Vjesci

Time again for another blood drenched trip into the world of vampire mythology! Today’s undead of choice is the vjesci, a species of vampire found in Polish lore.

According to the legends a person was doomed to become a vjesci if they were born with caul (a thin, filmy piece of membrane that sticks to some infants at birth). When a child was born with caul, it was said the only way to prevent them from becoming a vampire was to save the caul, dry it, ground it up and feed it to the child on its seventh birthday. Ew.

It was believed that a vjesci lived normally and comfortably in the community like anyone, but there are a few other stories saying that they are restless, easily excitable and have a flushed completion, which makes them easier to spot. These people would not complete their transformation to a vjesci until death; this was the best time to catch what they are, and to stop them from completing the transformation.

Here’s a few ways to spot a would-be vamp – First off, at the time of a vjesci’s death, it would refuse to take the sacrament. Second, the body cools very slowly after death, the limbs remain limber and the lips and cheeks retain their rosiness. On top of that, spots of blood usually appear under the fingernails and on its face. If a body had all of those markings, it was believed to return as a vjesci shortly after death.

If a person happened to miss all of these signs, then they’re doomed to have a vampire rise up. At midnight, after the vjesci’s burial, it awakens and starts eating its clothing and flesh. One he’s finished with his tasty self-cannibalism, he then leaves his grave to attack his family, draining nearly every drop of blood from them. If it hasn’t had its fill (maybe it had a small family) it would then move on to the neighbors for some extra blood.

There are several steps one could take to protect themselves from a vjesci. First off, all dying people should receive Communion; this will keep a corpse from returning. If that was skipped then a little bit of earth placed inside the coffin should keep the vamp from returning home. But that’s not all, one also needs to place either a coin or a crucifix under the vamp’s tongue for it to suck on. A net can also be placed in the coffin, it was believed that the vampire would be compelled to untied each knot (a knot a year…sloooow) before it could arise. Also, just like many of the European vampire species, placing seeds inside the coffin will also prevent it from rising because it will be forced to count each and every one. Another way to keep the vampire from rising is to bury it face down, that way if it wakes up and tries to dig itself out, it will simply dig itself deeper into the earth.

But let’s say none of these precautions were taken and there’s a vjesci running around town, what’s one to do now? You’ve got to kill it of course! To do this you either had to drive a nail into its forehead, or you chopped off its head altogether and placed it in between its feet. Some of the blood that flowed from these wounds could be saved and given to any who had been attacked by the vampire as a means to cure them.

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).

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