You might think fending off vampires is easy. Just wear a crucifix on a chain around your neck. There's also garlic, stakes, etc., but those can be awkward to carry around, so a crucifix sounds easiest. Never mind whether you personally believe in Jesus: Vampires exist, and vampires believe in Jesus, nothing else matters. But that raises a question that throws all we know about vampires into question. What if your vampire doesn't believe in Jesus? What if you meet a Jewish vampire?

Okay, that sounds like a joke you should groan at—and it was, in the Roman Polanksi film The Fearless Vampire Killers (later remade as the much better German musical Tanz der Vampire). It's also a serious point to consider. Because the Jewish vampires known as Estries are immune to holy symbols, even Old Testament ones. Clearly, the world has many types of vampires that each need their own special defenses.

With Estries, as with many vampires, decapitating or burning corpses was a smart move, but you could also keep them from rising by stuffing their mouths full of dirt. Exactly why this hurt the vampire, who does not need to breathe and yet could probably spit the earth out, is unclear, and yet stuffing a corpse's mouth is actually a good technique against several vampire types. 

Consider the neuntöten, a vampire from Germany (a country otherwise famous mostly for the vampire musical Tanz der Vampire).

To keep a body from rising as a neuntöten, place a lemon in its mouth. Possibly, this is because lemons smell so nice, while neuntötens literally smell like shit. Your child may be destined to become a neuntöten if it's born with a spoon in its mouth (again, we're being literal). If your child is born this way, don't bother asking where this wooden spoon came from. Instead react properly: You must burn the spoon and feed the baby the ashes. 

Neuntöten means "nine killer." A lot of vampires are said to have a thing about numbers. With Chinese vampires, you can leave an unexpected bag of rice in their path, and they will compulsively count the grains, distracting them from coming after you. Slavic vampires share this weakness, and if they find a fishing net, they must stop and count all the holes. 

We know what you're thinking: vampires who have to count? That explains Count von Count from Sesame Street! And yet the Children's Television Workshop were not thinking of this aspect of vampires when they made the character, as far as we know. They were just playing off the title "count," as in Count Dracula. 

Count von Count

PBS

Besides, counting only increases Count's bloodlust, as his many victims can attest.

Last up, let's quickly tell you about the kallikantzaros. This is a kind of vampire demon who roams Greece and surrounding countries and is strongest during the 12 days of Christmas, between December 25 and the festival of Epiphany. If you give birth to a baby during this period, you risk it turning into a kallikantzaros. To prevent this transformation, you must burn off its toenails

Honestly, that's just good advice for everyone. Toenails just cause a bunch of problems later on. 

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Top image: Katolophyromai/Wiki Commons

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