A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

What's the best way to kill a vampire?

July 16, 1982

Dear Cecil:

I have a question to which I need an immediate reply, which I hope you publish, as others on the community may feel the need to know this information. Please list in order the most preferred ways to kill a vampire.

Dear J.:

I'll admit I've heard some horror stories about crime in Baltimore, J., but vampires--land o' Goshen, honey, things are really getting out of hand. Grab your pencil.

To kill a vampire it is first necessary to determine its ethnic origin. I regret that I cannot offer much useful information on how this might be accomplished, but I'm sure you'll think of something.

Next, locate the vampire's daytime whereabouts, i.e., its grave. My vampire manual recommends placing "a young lad who is innocent of girls," such as Richard Simmons, atop a black virgin stallion, and leading the two through a likely graveyard. If the horse refuses to pass a certain grave, you've hit paydirt, so to speak. The telltale signs of a vampirous corpse are fluidity of the blood, lack of putrefaction, and flexibility of the limbs (we're talking about corpses now, mind you).

Finally, administer treatment as prescribed below:

SPECIES - COUNTRY - APPROVED METHOD OF DISPOSAL

Sampiro - Albania - Stake through heart

Nachtzehrer - Bavaria - Place coin in mouth, decapitate with ax

Ogoljen - Bohemia - Bury at crossroads

Krvoijac - Bulgaria - Chain to grave with wild roses

Kathakano - Crete - Boil head in vinegar

Brukalaco - Greece - Cut off and burn head

Vampir - Hungary - Stake through heart, nail through temples

Dearg-dul - Ireland - Pile stones on grave

Vryolakas - Macedonia - Pour boiling oil on, drive nail through navel

Upier - Poland - Bury face downwards

Gierach - Prussia - Put poppy seeds in grave

Strigoiul - Rumania - Remove heart, cut in two; garlic in mouth, nail in head

Vlkoslak - Serbia - Cut off toes, drive nail through neck

Neuntoter - Saxony - Lemon in mouth

Vampiro - Spain - No known remedy

I realize the above will not be much use in the case of a Third World vampire, but you can't have everything. Incidentally, we'll have none of this "preferred ways" business. There's a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Take some pride in your work.

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