Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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ALP

(ALP)
Variations: Alb, Alf, ALFEMOE, Alpdaemon, Alpen, Alpes, Alpmann, APSARAS, BOCKSHEXE, BOCKSMARTE, Cauquemare, Chauche Vieille, Dochje, DOCKELE, Dockeli, Doggi, Druckerl, DRUDE, Drut, Drutt, ELBE, Fraueli, Inuus, LEETON, Lork, Maar, MAHR, Mahrt, Mahrte, Mar, MARA, Mare, M?RT, Moor, Mora, Morous, Mura, Murawa, Nachtmaennli, Nachtmahr, Nachtmanndli, Nachtm?nnlein, Nachtmerrie, Nachtschwalbe, Nachttoter, Nielop, Nightmare, Night Terror, Old Hag, Quauquemaire, Racking One, R?tzel, Schr?tlein, Schr?ttel, Schr?ttele, Schr?tteli, Schrattl, Schrettele, Schr?tle, Schr?tlein, Schrsttel, Stampare, Stampen, Stampfen, Stempe, Sukkubus, Toggeli, Trampling, Trempe, Trud, Trude, Trutte, Tryd, Tudd, Vampyr, Walrider, Walriderske, Wichtel, and numerous others through history and geographic region
Originating from Germany, this vampiric demon does not have a single true form. Throughout the ages the only consistency in its description is that it wears a white hat. Generally the alp is male, and although there are a scant few reports of it being female, it should be noted that this creature has exceptional shapeshifting abilities. An alp can assume the form of any animal it pleases, but it prefers that of birds, cats, demon dogs, dogs, pigs, and snakes. It is very strong, can become invisible, can fly, and has the unique ability to spit butterflies and moths from its mouth. Because of its shape-shifting ability, the alp has been linked to werewolf lore in the Cologne, Germany, region (see GERMAN VAMPIRES).
Typically a demon is an infernal, immortal being that was never human, but this is not the case for the lecherous and ravenous alp. In fact, it became what it is through one of a few fairly mundane acts, such as when a newborn male child dies, when a child whose mother went through a particularly long and painful childbirth dies, or when a family member dies and his spirit simply just returns with no further explanation added.
At night the alp seeks out its most common prey, a sleeping woman, although it has been known to occasionally attack men and young boys, as well as cattle, geese, horses, and rabbits. Once the prey is selected, the alp shape-shifts into mist and slips into the person's home completely undetected. Next, it sits upon the victim's chest and compresses the air out of their lungs so that they cannot scream. Then the alp will drink blood (and milk if the victim is a woman who is lactating), which will cause her to have both horrible nightmares and erotic dreams. The next day the victim will have vivid memories of the attack and be left feeling drained of energy and miserable. The attack event in its entirety is called an alpdr?cke. It is interesting to note that if a woman calls an alp to her, then the creature will be a gentle lover with her.
The alp, when it attacks a horse, is usually referred to as a mare. It will mount up and ride the animal to death. The alp, however, may also choose to crush the animal instead, as it is known to do when it crushes geese and rabbits to death in their pens. When an alp crushes cattle to death, it is called a schrattl attack.
Fortunately, as powerful as the alp is, its attacks can be fairly easily thwarted. To protect horses and cattle from being ridden and/or crushed to death, simply hang a pair of crossed measuring sticks in the barn or place a broom in the animal's stall.
There are numerous ways to prevent oneself or others from being attacked by an alp. According to lore, the alp's power is linked to its hat. If a person can steal the hat off its head, it will lose its superhuman strength and the ability to become invisible. Desperate to have its hat back, the alp will greatly reward anyone who returns it, although with what or how this will happen specifically is not known.
Another way to keep an alp at bay is during the Festival of the Three Kings (January 6); a person can draw a magical hexagram on the bedroom door with chalk and imbue it with the names of the three magi who visited the Christ child after his birth: Balthasar, Caspar, and Melchior. Variations of this preventative method say that the head of the household must make a pentagram on the bedroom door and empower it with names of the patriarchic prophets, Elias and Enoch.
Burying a stillborn child under the front door of one's home will protect all the occupants who sleep there not only from alp attacks, but also from attacks by other species of vampires as well.
A less invasive defensive method is to keep one's shoes at the side of the bed at night when falling asleep. If the toes are pointed toward the bedroom door, it will keep the alp from entering. Also, sleeping with a mirror upon one's chest will scare it off should it somehow manage to enter into the room.
At one time there was the practice of singing a specific song at the hearth before the last person in the house went to bed for the night. Sadly, this method is no longer with us, as the words, melody, and even the name of the song have been lost to history; only the memory of once doing so remains.
If despite the best attempts, all preventative measures have been taken and alp attacks continue to persist, there is hope to fend it off yet. If a person should awaken during the attack and find herself being pressed down upon by an alp,she can put her thumb in her hand and it will flee.
Occasionally a witch binds an alp to her in order to inflict harm upon others. Witches who have an alp in their possession have the telltale sign of letting their eyebrows grow together. They allow this to happen because the alp, in this instance, lives inside the witch's body when not in use. When it leaves her through an opening in her eyebrow, it takes on the guise of a moth or white butterfly. If it ever happens that a person awakens in the night and sees such an insect upon her chest, she should say to it, "Trud, come back tomorrow and I will lend you something." The insect should immediately fly away and the next day the alp, appearing as a human, will come to the home looking to borrow something. When that happens, the person should give it nothing but say to it, "Come back tomorrow and drink with me." The alp will leave and the following day the witch who sent the alp to attack will come to the home, seeking a drink. The person should give it to her and the attacks should stop.
Sometimes an alp will return night after night to assault the same person. Fortunately, there is a powerful, if bizarre, way to prevent this from continuing to happen. The victim needs to urinate into a clean, new bottle, which is then hung in a place where the sun can shine upon it for three days. Then, without saying a single word, the person carries the bottle to a running stream and throws it over his head into the water.
For all the trouble an alp can prove to be, it is as easy to kill as most every other form of vampire. Once it is captured, place a lemon in its mouth and set the creature ablaze.
Source: Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, 423, 442, 463; Jones, On the Nightmare, 126; Nuzum, Dead Travel Fast, 234, Riccardo, Liquid Dreams, 139
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