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Pishtaco the Ravenous

“The pishtaco is a fantasy figure, a bogeyman….The pishtaco is nearly always a vampirelike white man, who roams the countryside and plunders the fat from Indian bodies…”

—Mary J. Weismantel, Cholas and Pishtacos: Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes

One of the strangest vampire species is the pishtaco of Peru, a species of vampire that was introduced by the Spanish missionaries and conquerors as the Spanish Empire started to expand its hold over the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. In Spain, this creature is known as a sacamantecas and its legend is older than that of the pishtaco. These monsters likely made the journey across the Atlantic, into the New World, where they continued their predatory ways in Peru and other South American locations. The pishtaco is so strange as, unlike other vampires, it does not seek blood but instead lives off of body fat.

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One Doesn’t Say Its Name

Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)

As Europeans infringed upon native peoples and their lands in Africa, eldritch beings and pacts came to light and began to evolve with the times. Once such creature is the Asanbosam. Now thought of as a cross between an ogre and an iron-fanged, living vampire, their origin is much more horrifying. As humans violated the unspoken pact between the Akan peoples and their deities, a convocation of witches summoned the ancient Sasabonsam, who protected Asaseyaa’s forests on Thursdays (her day of rest). Europeans from the recently captured Fort tantamkweri were brought as sacrifices, and rather than drinking all of their blood, Sasabonsam mated with many.

They were returned as part of the negotiations between the Ashanti Empire and the British, and nine months later, they all gave birth to healthy, pink, red-haired, Caucasian babies. Well, some were healthier than others. These newborns would all grow into adulthood and, in their late twenties or early thirties, felt drawn to the forests around them. Those that could, seek out the jungles of Africa and rejoin their Asanbosam kin while they undergo their transformation into Asanbosams, changing into what is needed to protect the sacred lands of the indigenous peoples.  

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Gatherers: Vampire Variant

We only learned about these things recently. Intel was right on, the bastard lived in a mansion and he was huge—well over six feet tall, built like a locomotive, and sexy as hell. Charming too, so persuasive he, it, could almost talk you out of your mission directive. Still, Daddy didn’t raise no fool, and I was wearing my big girl panties. God knows how many people this thing had killed over the years. We discovered them when this one took three, one of whom was our supervisor and friend.

Johnson had the shot and cracked off two rounds, Mr. Handsome bled, that was a plus. I rolled my frag, just like a bowling ball; perfect strike, it came to rest right beneath his masculine wiles. We all dove for cover and the grenade roared like a beast, almost tore him in half. Bio came out and cleaned up. Everyone came home safe.

—Beverly “B.B.” Bates, Project Star Special Operations Team Leader, Delta Team, Debriefing Statement, File ZZ-1209.
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The Scribe Vampires of the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174)

John had been trapped in the lab with that thing. Security unlocked the lab and was attacked by what looked like a mound of translucent-opaque gelatinous agony festering in what was John’s lab coat and pants. The creature with John was nowhere to be found. After the other thing in the room was put down, the scientists speculated that it was the remains of our friend John, who had transformed into some sort of proto-creature. His cells had been reduced to a smaller genetic code. He had recorded a brief voice mail to an associate saying, ‘it needs to finish the story….’

Scribe Vampires come from the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174) and usually only encounter cultists, crazed sorcerers, or the rare occult-oriented scientist that foolishly summon them. The attraction is that these creatures are believed to have recorded forbidden lore and are willing to negotiate with anyone—for a price. That price is for the ink upon which they write. The ink is the genetic material, DNA and RNA components, that all creatures on Earth have. A Scribe Vampire has no reservation about just taking what it needs and leaving the victim in a de-evolved primordial state. It forcibly drains the material directly, with its gossamer pseudopods, as it transforms the victim into the state that fits the genetic code left behind.

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Stay Out of the Forest on Thursdays

Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)

Thursdays are Asasseyaa’s sacred days, and as the earth mother, all must take a break from tilling the land and hunting. To this end, the iron-toothed Sasabonsam came into being, guarding the forests on Thursdays.

For as long as the earth and fertility goddess Asasseyaa has existed, so too has the guardian of the jungle, Sasabonsam. The creature appears to be immortal and is considered an asuman, or a lesser deity that interacts directly with people. The guardian of the forests gave its word that it would always keep mankind out of the goddess’s forests on Thursdays, and so it will until the end of days.

The Sasabonsam is considered unique among asumans, as most are considered “plural,” while there is thought to be only one Sasabonsam.

Times have changed, however. Before the 19th century, tradition served it well and the tribe native to the area stayed away. Those who broke tradition were sometimes led astray in the woods and managed to find their way out, days later, and considered lucky to be alive. But Europeans didn’t heed the lore of those who had lived on the land for millennia before their arrival. They were arrogant…cocky. And their actions have had grave consequences. Gone are the days when Sasabonsam would lead the occasional hunter astray, for these newcomers had no respect for the peoples, cultures, or lands of the Akan people of West Africa.

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Mercy, Father, Mercy

1892. Exeter Rhode Island. Folks are dying all around. George Brown’s family has been hit especially hard. First his wife Mary, and then his daughter Mary Olive passed on. His son Edwin had been sent away to Colorado in the hopes that the air would help him, but he returned because the sickness progressed. Then his daughter Mercy took sick and died.

How much can one man take? As Edwin’s illness grows worse, folks begin to talk. Three people dead in one family? Surely it wasn’t the “bacteria” these fancy doctors talk about. No, something was stalking the family. A curse….

George is a desperate man, ready to try anything to stop the hell he’s going through. Edwin is growing pale now and coughing up blood. The older folk in town are saying the dead of the Brown family are preying on the living to stay alive.

One day, George and some friends head to the cemetery. He’s had enough and he simply has to know. First they exhume Mary. She’s decomposed. Next they exhume Mary Olive. She’s decomposed. They turn their shovels to Mercy’s grave last. The men share a nervous glance when their shovels hit wood. Whispering a prayer to Almighty God, George opens the casket. Mercy lies in repose, looking as if she were merely sleeping. And then her eyes open….

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