Friday, May 9, 2014

High Stakes

Perry and Co. of Pittsburgh is a custom woodworking shop that just happens to offer custom lathed vampire killing stakes.  How cool is that?  They have a couple of different models available, but I want to focus on this one because it demonstrates one of my pet peeves- vampire killing stakes that can't kill anything.

I know this is pretty neckbeardy, but real stakes need to have a sharp point and a narrow shaft in order to slip between the ribs.  A point this broad is going to slip along the rib bones and become imbedded in the muscle tissue along the side of the chest.  Unless you're a professional blacksmith with incredibly developed arms you're simply not going to be able to pound a stake like this into a vampire's heart with a wooden mallet.  A five pound sledge might do it, but the point is still going to skitter across the bone.

Of course, there is a perfectly logical explanation for all these chunky vampire killing stakes- they're traps.  For decades actual vampires have been using enthralled humans to produce the kits, safe in the knowledge that the stakes are too blunt to actually harm them.  Ernst Blomberg?  One of the greatest traitors to humanity in the long, sad history of our battles against supernatural forces. 


damanoid said...

Pittsburgh vampires are different. You can't destroy them by staking them through the heart. The stake has to go in... a different part of the body.

Easier in some respects, but many vampire slayers find it even more disturbing. The stake has to go way up in there, too. You'll probably still have to hammer it home. It's helpful to have a couple other slayers along to hold the limbs steady.

Pittsburgh vampires aren't affected by holy water either, but they can be driven off by sprinkling them with Iron City beer.

Also, instead of shapeshifting into bats, wolves, or mist, Pittsburgh vampires can turn into nighthawks, hellbenders, ash-laden factory smoke, or any of the '79 Steelers starting lineup.

Actually it's probably best to just not hunt vampires in Pittsburgh.

CoastConFan said...

As Admiral Akbar the Vampire Hunter said, “it’s a trap!” Yes the stake thing can get a bit silly. Some experts call for dogwood stakes, but historically iron works too. See the following links for actual historical archeological digs that expose remains that were purported to be vampires or were pre-staked to keep potential vampire risings at bay:

Now does that give you pause about these “vampire hunting kits” – it should. Consider that for centuries that it was iron that dispelled (grounded?) unearthly spirits and unclean beings in folklore. Graveyards found in Bulgaria, Poland, and Greece having staked and decapitated bodies are a fact, whereas a fiction story is uh … fictional.

For a quick look at iron in folklore to dispel evil and attract or hold good look on Google: and for a start. The transition from the bronze age to the iron age also meant a change in belief systems. Iron was anathema to the older creatures, vampires included. So my vote for iron stakes for vampire hunting is cast. How do you like your stakes … rare, wood, or well done iron?

Ddrumss2112 said...

I haven't laughed this hard in a while, thanks!

Propnomicon said...

@ damanoid

"You'll probably still have to hammer it home."

That's where I really spewed.

Well played, sir. Well played. Heh.

@ CoastConFan

You know, this started as a joke, but it actually makes a scary kind of sense. Sweet Jebus, what if wooden stakes really are harmless to vampires? What if all these kits are just brilliantly clever defensive measures by the vampire elite? Now all those useless silver bullets make sense.

@ Ddrummss2112

You won't be laughing when the vampires finally rise up and we have no effective weapons. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

CoastConFan said...

@ Propnomicon
For those of you intrepid vampire hunters operating in Pennsylvania: “Do you even know what a Wawa is?” We also have a training film, Transylvania 6-5000 (see ref. ) . It actually takes place in Long Island, but was Shuffled Off to Buffalo. Oh, I misread the grimoire, you need to use a “stick” not use “shtick”.

bea said...

That's how I banged out mine. And like CoastConFan said: Since I was in Europe at the time I hit up flea markets and added allot of antique iron nails, stakes, spikes and bolts of iron. "Actual" excavated vampires in Europe OFTEN had iron stakes in them.

Markus said...

I have to admit I find those turned stakes not that nice, because they look just too good. Well, that sounds of course like an oxymoron at first, but turned wood ofen just looks too perfect and too clean for certain purposes. I just think that -somehow- something which was made to kill a blood-drinking undead should look somewhat more, let´s say crude or gnarly or nasty. Turned wood can look really beautyful for many purposes, and the perfect symmetry (ok, not that perfect if you use greenwood which shrinks after turning to a more or less oval diametre)is an aesthetic aspect of itself. But on the other hand I personally have a liking for carved objects, in which slight assymmetries or imperfections often add a lot of "life" to the objects. Turned wood just looks often somehow industrial. Turning wood is an old craft, and simple pole lathes were quite easy to build and even used in quite remote areas (even today in some areas), so -theoretically- stakes to kill vampires could have been turned on a pole lathe.
The alternative would be carved stakes. If somebody would have no other tools, they could be carved with a knife, but (imagine a somewhat imaginative story background) if they would be made by a real craftsman, they would be most probably made with an hatchet for the rough shape, and finished on a shaving horse. Depending on the time you are willed to take, you can produce very clean surfaces and straight lines with a draw-knife. If you want it somewhat faster or more rustic, you will get a lot of bigger nice elongated facets in the wood. I think that those facets could have even a somewhat practical use, as bigger facets could not only strengthen the wood to some degree, but would be also better to impale than a fully round stake. There are also some more things to say, for example that such stakes would be made of split wood and not of branches, because they could split during drying and could also have a soft pith ray in the center.
After writing so much about the possible ways to make a stake for killing vampires, I think I should actually make a stake myself in this way. Great, once again Propnomicon has inspired me to make a project I would have never imagined to do otherwise.