Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Final of the Three

As promised, here is the last of the three I listed, earlier, of a selection of Asian myths; Jiang Shi. The name means "Stiff Corpse", in Chinese, due to the nature of the creature, which is, being a reanimated corpse. It's often simply called the Chinese Vampire, by Westerners, but what is interesting about it is how different it is when compared to the Western idea of the Vampire; at least in how it looks and acts.

Jiang Shi are said to be caused by a soul that does not leave a person's body, be it from an untimely death, suicide, or simply wanting to stay behind to make trouble. What is odd about these is that, really, the are more in line with how people think of zombies, more than vampires. Their appearance can vary, from rather normal, to rotted and horrid, and, really, holding the typical signs of a long-decayed corpse, but each with long, white hair on their heads. However, the one odd things that they always seem to have is a furry, greenish-white skin, as if mold were growing. They, also, hop around, to travel.

Oddly, it is more modern folklore that has them as blood-drinkers, most likely added from the popularity of Western stories, like Dracula. Really, they seem to be, in older folklore, just general predators, more than pure vampires. In some of the modern movies, Jiang Shi are shown with extremely long tongues and razer-sharp fingernails. It seems that ways of defense for them is to hold your breath, due to them using a person's breath to hunt, or to, also, throw rice at them, because it will cause them to stop and count it. In Feng Shui, with Chinese architecture, a 6 inch threshold is said to keep them out of one's home. Typically, Jiang Shi are shows as mindless, basic creatures.

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