Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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FLYING HEADS

(Fly-ing Heds)
The Iroquois tribes of the northeastern United States have a vampiric creature in their folklore aptly named the flying heads. It is a large head with fiery red eyes, stringy HAIR, and rows of sharp teeth within a huge mouth that has locking jaws. It has wings where its ears should be. Flying heads glide through stormy skies, keeping aloft by the undulating of their HAIR while they look for prey. Once a suitable victim is found, the head dives down, biting into the person, its jaws locking into place.
Luring in a creature capable of flight so that it can be close enough to kill would be a difficult thing to do in the best of circumstances; fortunately, flying heads are not exceeding bright. The Iroquois would roast chestnuts over a fire made of many small coals. Then, they would eat them, making loud exclamations of how delicious the nuts tasted. The flying heads, wanting to eat something as wonderfully tasting as the nuts, would swoop down and grab up a mouthful of the red-hot coals. Once the jaws locked shut, the coals would begin to burn, and soon, the flying heads would ignite and burst into flames.
Source: Beauchamp, Iroquois Trail, 95; Canfield, Legends of the Iroquois, 125­26; Mc Leish, Myths and Leg-ends, 199; Rose, Giants, Monsters and Dragons, 124; Wonderley, Oneida Iroquois Folklore, 92
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