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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

AtoZ Day 14: N is for Nails, Neamh- Mhairbh, Nightlife

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Nails

Some vampires have beautifully manicured nails like the traditional evening dressed Dracula, others end up with inch long talons such as Nosferatu, it depends on your legend/fiction of choice.

In reality, after death skin retracts, hence it looks as if hair and nails continue to grow. This lead to the belief that some vampires have talons. There is also the horrible truth than in times past some people were accidentally buried alive. The poor unfortunates would then scratch at the lids of their coffins with the only thing they had, their finger nails and it is amazing what damage can be done when someone is desperate.

The iron kind of nails also have a place in vampire lore. Sometimes suspected vampires were nailed to the base of their coffin to prevent them rising from the grave. One such example is The Vampire of Lesbos, nailed to his coffin with eight inch iron spikes. The stake through the chest was a similar idea in some cases to pin the vampire down rather than simply destroy the heart.

It seems rather barbaric to nail the creature down, trapping, but not necessarily killing it, what do you think?

Creature Feature:

Neamh- Mhairbh


Today's undead is from Irish folklore.According to Enchanted Doorway this is just the name for the undead, but Mari Wells this is a vampire created by magic.

There is a famous Irish chieftain called Abhartach who came back as a neamh-mhairbh. He was an evil wizard and the day after he was dispatched by another chieftain, Cathan he came back and demanded the blood of his people to sustain him. If you would like to read the whole tale it is listed here at Ocathain.com.

Movie Recommendation:

Title: Nightlife (1989)
Rating: 15
Summary: Angelique buried herself one hundred years ago to escape her controlling vampire boyfriend, Vlad. When she wakes she finds a new century and Dr David Zuckerman, a blood specialist who may be able to treat her disease. Unfortunately for them both, Vlad is not gone.
Why you should watch this: It's really funny. It's corny and Vlad is OTT, but it's entirely deliberate. I love this film because it makes no excuses. It's not deep, it's not moody, it's just honest fun with fangs.

A Little Persuasion 
(#14 in The Diverse Life of Ianthe Jawara, Vampire)
by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Ianthe was not in a good mood. Not only had she been shot with a crossbow bolt, but she'd then had to spend an hour talking to a very nice looking police man who wanted to make sure she was alright. That would have been fine if she hadn't been injured and in need of blood and, hence, horny.

She had not wanted DC Phelps to see where she lived, so she had asked him to drop her at a friend's place. That friend was non-existent, but the address was just round the corner from Cal's.

"You look awful," Cal said.

"I got shot," she replied and promptly dug her fingers into her shoulder and pulled out the remnants of the bolt.

"I'll get the backup blood," Cal said in a very calm and sensible manner.

It was best not to upset a vampire when they had been hurt. Ianthe was quite proud of her self-control so far.

A bag of blood later and she was feeling much better.

"Do you know who it was?" Cal asked once she had fed.

"No," she admitted, "but he was human and he knew what he was doing."

"Dammit."

"He was also a sandwich short of a picnic," she revealed.

"Fuck!"

Insane hunters were never a good thing even if they weren't after your particular sort of supernatural creature.

"You have to tell Alex," Cal said firmly.

Ianthe didn't like that, but she knew it was true.

"I know," she admitted, "but I want more information first. Look at that," she added, pointing at the bloody cross bow bolt; "they have to be Ren's work."

The head on the bolt was no ordinary tip; it was shaped and had been designed to do damage.

"Ren's a louse, but he wouldn't sell to a human," Cal said.

"Are you sure?" she replied.

~*~

Ren lived in the cellar of an old pub, long since closed. There was a security system on the door.

"Who is it?" a crackly voice asked after Ianthe pressed the button.

"Just open the door if you want it to stay a door," she replied; she was not in the mood for games.

Her shoulder had healed, but it still ached. She suspected the tip of the bolt had been coated in something that was reminding her of the wound. Luckily for the door Ren seemed to realise he had no options and there was a buzz and a click.

Ianthe pushed into the dark interior with Cal close behind and walked across the room and behind the bar. The trap door was already open; a very neat use of modern technology, very well hidden.

"My dear, Ianthe," Ren greeted as soon as she climbed down the stairs.

He was a small, rather unpleasant looking man with round glasses and a weasly face. In fact he was a walking cliché, but Ianthe really didn't care.

"This yours?" she asked and threw the crossbow bolt onto the table.

She saw recognition in Ren's features almost immediately, but the man made a show of picking the bolt up and examining it. As far as she knew Ren was over two hundred years old and his speciality was weapons. He could make anything anyone wanted and sometimes the supernatural community needed to hunt down their own rogues. She didn't know what exactly Ren was, but he was about as close to human as a supernatural creature could come without actually being one.

Ren was stalling, so she reached out towards a sheet of metal leaning against the wall. Very deliberately she let her manicured nails turn into talons and ran them, screeching, down the metal.

"Yes," Ren said giving an agitated shudder.

"Why did you sell it to a human hunter?" Cal demanded.

"I didn't," Ren replied, "I had a break-in at one of my stores. A cache of these was taken."

Ianthe swore long and loud.

"I take it there is trouble?" Ren asked.

"I was shot by that tonight," she replied.

"My sincere apologies," Ren said and Ianthe didn't believe it for a moment.

"How many?" she demanded.

"Twelve," was the response and at least that was honest.

Ianthe had no time for small talk and she grabbed the bolt parts and turned on her heel. She had to speak to Alex and then she needed to get laid, badly.

~~*~~
A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

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46 comments:

  1. It does sound barbaric to me! But when faced with a monster, you have to do what you have to do.

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    Replies
    1. I suppose this is true. If it's having the relatives eaten or nailing them down then nailing them down it is :)

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  2. I could see The Todd from Scrubs high-five to "Getting nailed for eternity, five"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_AzCm8Vass

    I read this and think that Vampires do have their own fashion rules, which does add depth to their culture.

    I wouldn't say the act of nailing down a vampire to be barbaric, but rather personal. I remember in the show Angel when Conner put Angel in an air tight coffin and let it sink in water. I would think it is the same principle.

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    1. I suppose it depends on whose doing it and why. After all in past times it might of been a way of getting revenge of a person's family. Claim they're a vampire and have the corpse desecrated.

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  3. ::shudder:: Just thinking about it gives me the creeps. And yeah definitely barbaric. Can't imagine living in times such as that.

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    ~Anna
    herding cats & burning soup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose if such things are built into your belief system you think you are doing the right thing.

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  4. The only thing I can say about nailing into a coffin, is, for those poor unfortunates who might have been buried alive otherwise, at least with a nail through their chest they were probably dead! Thinking about the folklore - yeah, it's barbaric whichever way you look at it.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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  5. Is it barbaric to nail a dead body to the bottom of the coffin? For the family who have to witness said task, most definitely. As to the dead body inside the coffin, why would they care, not unless of course they were actually still alive. Well, now they're not though. ;) Come on, you can't blame the terrified villagers, they had to make sure there wouldn't be some blood-sucking monster out there ready to drink them dry! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, true and you definitely have a point :)

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  6. I've also heard about people in the past tying strings to their hands and running a string up to topside in case they were buried alive. It gives me the cold chills to think about people like this.

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    1. There used to be coffins with special bells and all sorts in previous eras. Makes you think that shrouds were the best way to go because then, even if someone has made a mistake and you're in a coma, at least being buried would kill you without you ever knowing.

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  7. I teach nursing and one of my students who'd worked at a funeral parlor said that the nails of the dead grow. Me knowing better had to look it up and found out that it appears to grow because of the retracting skin as you mentioned. Cool post.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :) It must be a really freaky phenomenon if you don't know what's going on.

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  8. I recently reviewed a book where one character nailed the vampire down to trap it, to essentially keep it safe. I don't recall ever seeing/reading that before.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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    1. I don't think I've ever seen it in a book either, but I saw something about it on a documentary about Ireland and a cemetery where suicides were buried and it intrigued me.

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  9. I've never heard of vampires being nailed in their coffin so they couldn't rise out of it. Quite interesting in a creepy sort of way. I agree that it seems cruel to do that rather than kill them, but then maybe they didn't know how. Killing undead seems to be rather problematic. ;)

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    1. You can say that again :) - no one seems to be quite sure what will be permanent.

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  10. If you're going for horror or real supernatural, vampires with deadly talons are a must! Neatly manicured nails are better for vampires in paranormal romances. :)

    I researched a lot of vampire lore a couple of years ago and I did read about how suspected vampires were nailed inside their coffins. Terrible!

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    1. Can you imagine what a wreck having your nails transform would make of a manicure anyway? ;)

      It seems so horrible, doesn't it.

      Delete
  11. Yes, I think that nailing a vampire in its coffin is barbaric. Kill the vampire, don't torture it.

    Precious Monsters

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    1. Torture seems horrid even when dealing with monsters.

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  12. I'm not sure why, but I like giving my vampires talons and lethal looking nails.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

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    1. I think it makes them more of a predator :)

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  13. Nailing something into a coffin is a little barbaric, but then if they really believed it was a vampire, I guess I could understand. Anything to stop it from rising up :)

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    1. I suppose the danger outweighed to barbarism at the time.

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  14. and sometimes they would still cut off the head and place it at the foot of the coffin so it could not grow back on when the vamp wakes up. or not wake up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was amazing what powers vampires were supposed to have, wasn't it.

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  15. Somebody else talked about nails today, and all I could think of what talon-like claws on the fingers. I had to laugh at myself because she took the concept a completely different direction. I'm so programmed.

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. LOL - we all have our little hang ups :)

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  16. Yikes- to be buried "alive." I'd rather the stake!

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  17. Iron nails? I'm not sure I've heard of that particular theory before. That's awesome.

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    1. There seem to be so many ways of preventing vampires from rising :)

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  18. I love Irish undead/vampires. Just cool stuff!

    --
    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

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    1. They do seem to be very inventive with their legends :)

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  19. Long nails really creep me out. I don't know why, but they do.

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    1. The only really long nails that used to creep me out were on Guinness World Records and they were the longest in the world *shudder*

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  20. It was barbaric to nail persons down, but then if it is a vampire..I don't mind, although I'd prefer a quicker death for him. I think Louisana was one of the States where string was tied to the fingers of the bodies and a watchman placed outside the coffin to listen for the ringing of the bell attached to the other end of the string, placed through the hole in the coffin. So many persons were buried alive in those days, and this was a method used to test that.

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    1. We forget so easily nowadays quite how hard it sometimes was to tell if someone was dead. Even these days doctors get it wrong. My father is a vicar and he used to take communion to this old couple, well they'd been in and out of hospital several times and she's been declared dead at least twice and he'd even been laid out once before waking up to talk to her. At least I think it was that way round.

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  21. Lanthe has her next steps in the wrong order. Get laid first THEN talk to Alex. LOL! Great piece. :)

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    1. LOL - but someone is trying to kill her! ;)

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  22. That is so freaky about accidentally getting buried alive. Gives me the shivers. I can't remember where I saw this but some people got buried with twine and attached up through the ground to a bell and they could ring it if they weren't really dead. That freaks me right out!

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    1. That's why there was often a laying out period as well where the bodies were kept above ground, just in case they turned out not to be dead!

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  23. Quite scary in the past about being accidently buried alive... although if you are nailed into your coffin at least you know you're dead ;)

    Interesting post and comments :D

    Mars
    Curling Stones for Lego People

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    1. Yes, I suppose there is that :) Thanks for dropping by.

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