There’s not a lot of vampire folklore that comes out of South America. But speak about Asemas in the Republic of Suriname, and you’re sure to get a somewhat volatile reaction. Suriname is a country in South America that’s located just above Brazil, and lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also here that you can find stories of the Asema, a vampire that not only drains blood, but sheds it’s skin and transforms into a blue ball of light too. Definitely not your typical vampire.
According to the folklore, Asemas walked around during the day pretending to be regular human beings. But when night fell, the Asema would then take off it’s skin and turn into a large ball of blue light. It would then fly through the air and into the homes of people who’s blood it wished to drink. The Asema wouldn’t always drain a person until they died, but if they found the blood to be especially tasty, the person didn’t have much of a chance of living afterwards. Afterwards, it would return to it’s human skin and begin the cycle all over again the next day.
The tale of the asema goes that they can be warded off by following a few of the most common vampire repellants. The most common way to keep an asema from entering your home while you slept was to keep garlic at the door and around the house. People would also sometimes try to take a mixture of different herbs in the hopes that this would make their blood taste bitter and therefore, the asema would have no interest in feasting on them. And we’ve all heard about scattering seeds outside of the door to keep anal-retentive vampires busy while they picked them all up. With the tale of the asema, one can also do this to keep the asemas at bay but this folklore steps it up a notch. With the asema, if you mixed in some nails of an owl with the seeds, the asema would have to drop all of the seeds and start all over again should they accidentally pick up a nail instead of a seed.
Were asemas able to be stopped permanently? Apparently, they could. Should someone be suspected of being an asema, they would be caught and placed in an area where they could be watched. Authorities would keep watch over the asema until they took off their skin, when they could then be fully identified. The skin would then be given a heavy dose of salt and pepper, but this wasn’t because those watching it wanted a tasty treat. This was done so that the skin would shrink and the asema would no longer be able to get back into it. But just how did they stop that big blue ball of light from attacking them and drinking their blood? Hmm…wearing garlic around their necks perhaps?