Tag Archives: creatures

V is for Vargr

Fenrir by Chaos-Draco on DeviantArt
Vargr is another name for a worg in Norse mythology, but I’ve always been partial to vargr. In the mythology it represents Fenrir, Skoll, and Haiti, but it isn’t applied to other wolves. They show up in The Saga of Hervör and Heidrek—said to be Tolkien’s inspiration for building Middle Earth.

Far_away_and_long_ago_by_Willy_PoganyFar away and long ago by Willy Pogany” by Willy Pogany (1882–1955)

What is that lamp which lights up men, but flame engulfs it, and wargs grasp after it always. Heidrek knows the answer is the Sun, explaining, She lights up every land and shines over all men, and Skoll and Hatti are called wargs. Those are wolves, one going before the sun, the other after the moon.The Saga of Hervör and Heidrek


U is for Upir/Upyr


I love mythology, history, and the undead. Hey, I’m a bit morbid. So you’re probably scratching your head, unless you happen to know your Russian folklore. Essentially the Upir/Upyr are vampires, undead, and they rise from the grave. In many ways they’re similar to other vampiric myths.


So what makes them special?

Aside from the history? Nothing much. But all around Russia different myths arose as well as other names for the undead. The same goes for their abilities, yet the only things they have in common are drinking blood, sensitivity to sunlight, and they were evil in life.


According to the Orthodox Church, a Upir arises when the person committed horrendous sins or denounced Christ. In doing so, the church banished them and forced them outside of the community. But when they died, they would rise again as Upir.


Because of this, the church would find the bodies and burn them. Otherwise, the sinner would return and torment the believers, slowly aging, and with the ability to possess the dying. The sick patient would become Upir, too, and feed off children and family.


The Upir is weakened and harmed by sunlight, but there’s a particularly interesting part of the myth. They used wooden stakes, made specifically from aspen, and they buried the Upir upside down. When one was suspected of coming back to life, they would dig up the coffin, open it, remove the body, stake the body, and then burn it.

So how old is this myth? It’s hard to say, but historians have traced the word Upir to a Novgorodain prince (Upir’ Lixyj) as early as 1047, and then it resurfaces as a peasant’s name (Makarenko Upir’) in Novgorod in 1495.

Could this Prince be the original vampire legend? Do you have a favorite vampire legend?




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S is for Spirits

Ghosts, spectral beings, reverents, and spirits are common names for spooky beings we can neither prove or disprove the existence of yet. They show up in books, movies, and televisions shows. Some are dead, some are undead, and some are something else.

Spirits can be based on religion, people, elements, or anything with energy or energy absorption. Actually, The Paranormalistics created an awesome guide.

But writing about spirits isn’t the same as experiencing a spiritual encounter. Now, you’re probably thinking, “What could be hard about a ghost story?”

To which I reply, “I’m talking about writing a spirit as your MC.” For the sake of ease, I will refer to spirits in the ghostly sense here, like your average ghost haunting a house.

A normal spirit can’t have the ability to feel, taste, smell, or understand emotions like a human being. It’s a story that can still be shown, but you have to be careful of the senses and the reactions typical of spirits.

First, a spirit doesn’t have a flesh body controlled by a circulatory or nervous system. They can sometimes manifest energy, but it isn’t the same as mortal flesh. They have no heart, lungs, nose, taste buds, nerve endings, etc. Be aware of this when they react and move in the story.

Hearing and sight are another story. Without physical ears, how does the ghost hear? Without eyes, how does the spirit see? These are little more lenient. I mean, come on, if a spirit has no senses, you really can’t tell the story from their POV. For whatever reason, these are the most forgivable to use.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but the writer must support them well enough to suspend disbelief. Mythology comes in handy here as the various types of creatures are considered both spirits and members of the undead. The undead, like vampires, zombies, and draugr, are related to spirits, but they typically have… bodies.

So how do you write about spirits? Easy, you just do, but be aware of their limitations in your world. Support it, believe in it, and voila. Create reasons for them to break the rules and just have fun. I know I do.

Have you ever written a spirit as a main character or read one that stuck with you?


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