Vampire hunter

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For the video game also known as "Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge", see Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge.
Vampire Hunter D, volume 1 cover

A vampire hunter or vampire slayer is a character in folklore and fiction who specializes in finding and destroying vampires, and sometimes other supernatural creatures. A vampire hunter is usually described as having extensive knowledge of vampires and other monstrous creatures, including their powers and weaknesses, and uses this knowledge to effectively combat them. In many works, vampire hunters are simply humans with more than average knowledge about the occult, while in others they are themselves supernatural beings, having superhuman abilities. A well known and influential vampire hunter is Professor Abraham Van Helsing, a character in Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel, Dracula.

Vampire hunters in folklore[edit]

"Professional" or semi-professional vampire hunters played some part in the vampire beliefs of the Balkans (especially in Bulgarian, Serbian, and Romani folk beliefs). In Bulgarian, the terms used to designate them included glog (lit. "hawthorn", the species of wood used for the stake), vampirdzhiya, vampirar, dzhadazhiya, svetocher.[citation needed]

They were usually either born on Saturday (then called Sabbatarians,[1] Bulgarian sâbotnichav,[2] Greek sabbatianoí[1]) or the offspring of a vampire and a woman (typically his widow), called a dhampir in Romani or a vampirović in Serbian. It was also believed that someone born on a Saturday could see a vampire when it was otherwise invisible[1][2][3] (and sometimes other supernatural entities as well); similarly for the dhampir. In the case of the Sabbatarians, it was believed in some places that they needed to be fed meat from a sheep killed by a wolf (Bulgarian vâlkoedene); this would enable them not to fear the things that only they were able to see. In Croatian and Slovenian legends, the villages had their own vampire hunters that were called kresniks, whose spirits were able to turn into animals at night to fight off the vampire or kudlak.

[2][4][5]

Vampire hunters in fiction[edit]

The vampire hunter has found new popularity in modern fiction and popular culture.

The most widely known example of a vampire hunter is Abraham Van Helsing of the novel Dracula and in other works of fiction adapting or modifying that work. Other more recent figures include Buffy "the Vampire Slayer" Summers from the television show and film of the same name. Buffy's spin-off series Angel is also focused on a vampire hunter, the titular star, Angel "the World's Champion," a vampire himself, is often portrayed battling vampires. Vampire hunters have also appeared in video games, such as BloodRayne.

As well as being knowledgeable about vampire lore, vampire hunters in fiction are often armed with an eclectic mix of items and weapons which are designed to take maximum advantage of the monster's traditional weaknesses. These have included firearms with silver ammunition, appropriate religious symbols, crossbows that fire all wood bolts and even waterguns filled with blessed holy water in the movies The Lost Boys and From Dusk Till Dawn.

The organizational strength of depicted vampire hunters can vary wildly. Most hunter characters are in small groups working alone and in secret. By contrast, the Hellsing Organization in the anime television series, Hellsing is a British government paramilitary strike force with access to troops, heavy combat vehicles and weapons and even allied vampires.

While predominantly depicted as human, examples of other types of vampire hunters also exist. Dhampiric figures, having a mix of human and vampire blood, are a popular form. Alucard from the Castlevania series,[6] and the eponymous hero of the Blade series of comic books, movies, television series, and anime, are both examples of dhampir vampire-hunters. Even rarer are vampire hunters that are vampires themselves. Two examples of this type can be found in Morbius from Ultimate Spider-Man, and Zero Kiryuu in the manga and anime series Vampire Knight.

The image of the vampire hunter is often a mysterious and dramatic avenging hero, an eccentric extremist, a Mad scientist or sometimes a mix of both. A hunter may be a heroic figure, a villain (from the perspective of the vampire), a lonesome avenger, or sometimes, although not usually, a bounty hunter-style character, hunting Vampires for profit. Vampire hunters have also popularly been depicted as hunting various creatures such as werewolves, demons, and other forms of undead as well. Others have been depicted as mages and cyborgs. Vampire hunting as a family tradition or birthright is a popular use of the archetype in fiction. Some Hunter waste their entire live to the eradication of vampires, for others it is just a strange hobby.

List of vampire hunters in fiction[edit]

Vampire Hunters in the News[edit]

In March 2007, self-proclaimed vampire hunters vandalized the grave of former Serbian president Slobodan Milošević and staked his body into the ground by driving a stake into the grave. Although the group involved claimed this act was to prevent Milošević from returning as a vampire, it is not known whether those involved actually believed this could happen or if the crime was simply politically motivated.[10][11]

Vampire Hunters in Games[edit]

Hunter: The Vigil is a tabletop roleplaying game in which players control characters who hunt monsters, including vampires.

There is a vampire-hunter board game from Milton Bradley called Vampire Hunter.[12]

Other[edit]

One person claiming to be a modern vampire hunter is Seán Manchester of Highgate Vampire fame.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Abbott, George F. (1903). Macedonian Folklore. pp. 221–222. . Cited in Summers, Montague (2008) [1929]. The Vampire: His Kith and Kin. Forgotten Books. p. 36. 
  2. ^ a b c Димитрова, Иваничка. 1983. Българска народна митология. Online article (Bulgarian)
  3. ^ McClelland, Bruce A. (2006). Slayers and Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead. University of Michigan. pp. 62–79. ISBN 978-0-472-06923-1. 
  4. ^ Маринов, Димитър. 1994 (first edition 1914) Народна вяра и религиозни обичаи. Online excerpt (Bulgarian)
  5. ^ Петровић, Сретен. 2000. Основи демонологије. In: Систем српске митологије. Просвета, Ниш 2000. Online (Serbian)
  6. ^ Gee, James Paul (2007). "Pleasure, learning, video games, and life: The projective stance". A new literacies sampler 29. ISSN 1523-9543. CiteSeerX: 10.1.1.128.3508. 
  7. ^ Time Magazine
  8. ^ The New York Times
  9. ^ Karlvincentvampirehunter.com
  10. ^ Serbian vampire hunters prevent Milosevic come-back, The Register, retrieved 29 June 2012
  11. ^ Vampire slayer impales Milosevic to stop return by Gabriel Ronay, Sunday-Herald.com, retrieved 9 November 2007
  12. ^ Boardgamegeek.com

Bibliography[edit]