In the West, we all know the story of Dracula. For those of us of- 'a certain age', most of that Dracula
information came from the Hammer House of Horror films made in the 60's and 70's. We were brought up on a weekly
dose of vampires, Dracula or Frankenstein films usually on a Friday or Saturday night.
To be honest with you, I did not find Dracula or vampires at all realistic and, therefore, not frightening,
mostly because I and my family were Spiritualists, and, although we believed that a lot more was possible than most
people, those silly, but enjoyable films, were outside the bounds of the possible.
I liked the women in those films, because there were always lots of them and they were extremely sexy in their
diaphanous night dresses. It was more than a fifteen-year-old boy in a house of six males and a mother could put up
The fact that some people tried to find a justification for the story in Vlad the Impaler of Romania's
Transylvania cut little ice with me (or the rest of our family). A little later, when I was studying Latin at a
higher level, I found out that Pliny (I can't remember which one) had written about shape-shifters, who became
wolves. What we would call werewolves, although I can't remember whether he mentioned vampires or not.
The Transylvanian vampires may be a fairly modern invention, but that is not altogether certain. It may just be
a European version of a different story.
In South America, there really are vampire bats, and they do suck blood wherever they can get it from, which is
usually the backs of horses and cattle. I am not aware of these bats existing elsewhere in the world.
Then there is also the tale of the Tex-Mex chupacabra, 'sightings' of which have been reported in Russia's
Ukraine and the Philippines. When I moved to Thailand ten years ago, I was not surprised to find out that they have
their own versions of shape-shifters.
For example, there is 'Pee Pob' . He or she has different reputations in different parts of the country. Some
say it eats entrails others say that it sucks blood. Some say that it shape-shifts into a bat, while others say
that it becomes a huge black dog.
The Thais also have 'Pee Glatsen (Lady Vampire) and Pee Glahang (Lord Vampire). These latter two vampires are
not necessarily married or even partners.
The concept of vampires is different in Asia, but it is still there and not derived from the European version,
or anywhere else, as far as I can see, and many people believe in them and are frightened of them especially in
Isaan. For example, you MUST not whistle after dark for fear of calling one.
Last week, I was talking to a businessman and his Thai wife about my book, 'The Disallowed' and she said that
her father had gone out for a smoke early that morning and seen a large black dog in their garden. The dog became a
woman when it saw the man and he went back to bed very afraid.
No-one in the world can prove that shape-shifting is not possible, but there are many who say that it is, so do
vampires or Pee Pob exist?
The ball is in your court.
by +Owen Jones