Vampire Verisimilitude: “Thoughts On Thralling”

I took a holiday last weekend, so let’s jump back into it, shall we?

FromTheDeskOfJanissSignatureMr. Benson asks, “How does that whole Lugosi eyes-behind-the-cape hypnosis thing work?” I used the exact wording to your question because I love how you asked it, Charlie. This is one fact that both television and movies get wrong all the time (NBC’s “Dracula,” anyone?)

I’ll begin with the first thought that pops into my head: I DESPISE the ability. I hate it and everything about it. Surprised? It’s in no way fair to anyone that there are creatures who can look at you, speak as little as a word, and steal your mind. Full disclosure: it’s also how I wound up in this mess to begin with.

It doesn’t even seem to really make much sense. The physical manifestation of vampires include fangs, blackened eyes, and talons (why talons instead of claws? I think it’s a throwback to the idea we can shape-shift into bats, which I’ve seen no evidence we can do). I can tell you that blackened eyes help us see in almost total darkness (the irises open far wider than any normal human) while the fangs and talons excel at ripping open flesh. Even our own skin can absorb spilled blood when in direct contact with it (mark off the Countess Bathory space if you have her on your Bloodsucker Bingo card) but the mouth is faster; I’ll confirm there’s no lapping up blood like a dog involved when the thirst takes hold.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, coupled with an innate preternatural speed and strength, vampires are damnably efficient blood hunters already. So why a thrall ability, especially one that doesn’t work on other vampires? Assuming some kind of intelligent design (as if Darwinism had anything to do with it), it just doesn’t add up: it’s overkill. If you can thrall your prey, why not just use a single talon, pop a major artery, and drink your fill? Gross, yes, but still true.

Details? You want details.

First we need line-of-sight; our target must look into our eyes. No eye contact, no thrall. We also need at the same time to be heard, as if the brain must be attacked through two senses at once to be effective. Does that mean the blind can’t be thralled? Or the deaf? Perhaps, although I do know one vampire that needs neither because she can put both sight and sound into your head just by thinking about it, but we’ll skip that due to how uncommon that actually is.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know you’re all safe; regular infusions of my blood counter the effects of a vampire’s thrall…yes, including my own. It’s what also keeps our staff safe when dealing with other immortals to ensure heads remain clear and in the game.

If you weren’t ghouled, I would advise a few simple precautions. First, a vampire doesn’t like the daytime and can be easily recognized as the dead thing they are if seen in direct sunlight (yes, even me…and no, I’m not showing you) so this is very unlikely to happen to you during the day. From dusk until dawn is another story, however; if you are approached by a stranger, do not make direct eye contact.

It’s easier than you think…just focus on the nose or mouth whenever you look in the stranger’s direction. Hearing them within earshot is unavoidable unless you’re at a concert or in a construction zone, and since simultaneous sight and sound are required, a mere whisper in the ear is completely ineffective.

Of course, the best advice is to trust your instincts. No matter how helpless or handsome the stranger seems, even radiating a circle of charm and trust, you’re going to feel that little tinge of danger; LISTEN to it.

And if I’d only taken my own advice, you wouldn’t be reading this today.

Yes, this is one of those hypocritical “do as I say, not as I did” speeches.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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