Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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MERMAID VAMPIRE

Variations: Siren
Mermaids ("sea women") were not always the sweet, HAIR-combing, lovelorn beauties of the sea as we think of them today. The mythology of the mermaid is dark, and the ancient Celts had good reason to fear these vampiric creatures. A beautiful woman from the waist up, it had the body of a fish or seal from the waist down. They lived in lakes and rivers as well as the sea, luring fishermen into danger using nothing more than their beautiful singing voices (much like the sirens of ancient Greece), causing them to wreck their ships on unseen rocks. As the men fell into the water, the mermaids would swim in, grab up the drowning men, and drag them even deeper under the water. Then the mermaids would begin to drain the men of their blood while they were still alive. Usually there was nothing left to let the tale of what happened to the ship be known except for the remaining flotsam and jetsam along the coastline along with the uneaten remains of a few sailors. There are numerous tales of mermaids living in the English Channel and along the Channel Islands, as well as all along the coast of Normandy. Some of these stories, such as The Laird of Lorntie, date back as far as the Middle Ages.
Source: Day, Vampires, 45; Gardner, New Woman and Her Sisters, 30; Rose, Giants, Monsters, and Dragons, 220; Silver, Strange and Secret Peoples, 177­78
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