Halloween. That yearly tradition of kids dressing up as their favorite character all in order to gather copious amounts of candy from total strangers while their parents pull a wagon full of adult beverages.
We have a tradition of going over to some friends neighborhood that contains a lot more kids than our neighborhood and pull said wagon. It is always a blast to see the costumes that the kids come up with – witches, werewolves, angry birds, and the assorted super hero. Zombies also appear to be the “hot” character this year. Every now and then you would see the classic vampire get up and that got me thinking about the whole vampires and garlic thing. I mean why no garlic love from the Nosferatu?
So off to the interwebz I go to research the vampiric agitation to garlic. (Cuz the interwebz is all knowing)
According to Lester over at GodsAndMonsters:
Garlic is indeed effective in repelling vampires. In particular, it is the chemical allicin in garlic that provides the effective chemical and odorous properties. As most people have noticed, garlic has a very strong smell, which in and of itself is not deadly or dangerous, but it does serve as a warning sign to bloodsuckers who are thinking of feeding on you.
When I say “bloodsuckers” I do mean it in a general sense. This aversion to garlic is not only seen in vampires but also in biting insects like mosquitoes. The odor of Garlic easily permeates the skin if you eat enough of it, essentially sending the signal out that you are not going to make a very tasty meal. Though you probably wouldn’t be able to eat enough garlic to actually kill a vampire, it does have natural antibacterial properties that can harm one.
This is the key to garlic’s effectiveness. Within the blood of vampires lives the bacteria that causes Porphyric Hemophilia. If a vampire ingests blood that is full of antibacterial allicin, they will be essentially killing off much of the bacteria that they need to live.
and from Moonlight over at Vampires.com:
Garlic used against vampire was big in southern Slavic countries and Romania as well. It was used to find vampires and to prevent vampires. A vampire in hiding could be spotted by not being willing to eat garlic. In the 1970s , a Romanian church distributed garlic during service, observing those who refused to eat it and figuring out if the person was a vampire. Crazy that this happened only 30 or so years ago right?
To prevent someone from being turned into a vampire it was common to stuff cloves of garlic in the corpse’s nose, mouth and ears to keep out all evil. It was also smeared over the eyes. Also, once they killed a vampire and cut off its head they would then fill its mouth with garlic to keep it from returning.
It wasn’t just the Slavic areas that used garlic. In China and Malaysia it was rubbed on children’s foreheads to prevent vampire attack. In the Philippines it was rubbed under the armpits. Damn, can you imagine how badly they smelled? And of course many countries simply hung garlic from their doors to ward off vamps.
People do you know what this means!! Not only does garlic taste great, is good for you, it also wards off the undead!
In the immortal words of Charlie Sheen – “Winning”!