Iceland - Alfemoe /Draugr /Fylgia
Alfemoe: The Icelandic equivalent to the German Alp.
Draugr: Mentioned in several of the 'Phantoms and Revenants' type books of differing languages. Possibly more of a 'were' creature than a vampire.
Here is some new information I got on this creature, it seems that there are several regional differences in spelling and pronunciation. Still being researched.
Drauger- Icelandic Saga- this is an animated corpse that comes forth from its grave mound or shows restlessness on the way to the burial place. This creature is also know as an Aptrgangr (after-goer or one who walkers after death.) The Drauger is the roaming undead most frequently encountered in Icelandic Sagas. Whichever name used, the undead of Scandinavia was a physical body, the actual corpse of the deceased.
The physical descriptions of the undead in Scandinavian cultures are said to be "hel-blar" or black as death. Another term used to describe the undead is "na-fole" meaning corpse pale. The other characteristics of the Draugr are that it can swell to an enormous size and also heavy which suggests that the swelling be not due to decay gases. Described as being uncorrupt for many years after death. The creature has extreme strength. They tend to kill by crushing their victim to death.
The Drauger also reportedly possessed magical powers, they had knowledge of the future, can control the weather, shape-shifting capabilities. The Drauger could also move magically through the earth, as though they were swimming through the stone.
Luckily for the Vikings there were precautions that they could take against the Drauger. These precautions were practiced from Viking times to present to prevent the dead from rising again in Scandinavia. Some of the easier ways to prevent the dead from rising they could place an open pair of scissors on the dead persons chest, laying straws crosswise under the shroud, they would also tie the big toes together so that the legs could not be separated and needles run into the soles of the feet.
The precautions listed above were always done directly to the corpse, the following however, were precautions taken on the things surrounding the corpse to prevent it from rising. When the coffin is carried out, the bearers would stop at the door, just within the threshold and they would raise and lower the coffin three times in different directions, thus forming the sign of the cross. Once this has been done all the chairs and stools on which the casket had rested on, must be turned over. During the actual burial, in the churchyard, the parson must pray for the rest of the dead and binds the grave itself with magical words, thus making it impossible for the dead to escape.
The Scandinavians also had special corpse doors in the home. These were bricked up openings that could be torn down to remove the coffin, feet first. Then the doorway would be resealed again firmly. This was done immediately, because it was believed that the dead could only enter a home from the way that they were removed. By removing the corpse feet first it was thought that they were depriving the undead of a clear view of how they were removed from their home.
Considering the time period during which the legends of Scandinavia were created it is no surprise that they were unaware of the effect that the germs from the corpses had on them. So, of course, they believed that the dead were just trying to spread evil. As the draugr was dead it was felt that they had a longing for the things of life and even envied those still alive. They felt cold, hungry and longed for their loved ones. So to express their feelings and needs they killed things. They would decimate livestock of those that they cared about by running them to death.
To kill the Drauger, one must overcome them by hand-to-hand combat, wrestling it until it has been subdued. Then the combatant must decapitate the ghost with a sword. Some traditions have the hero leap or walk between the head and body three times. Or the hero could drive a wooden stake into the headless body. The final step was to burn the remains until they became cold ashes and then either bury the ashes in a remote spot or throw them out to sea. Draug was an Old Norwegian term that may have had cross over
Note that the Drauger and the Grendel of Beowulf display a lot of the same characteristics. The Grendel was a giant shape-shifting creature, a dweller of the supernatural environment. The Grendel spends most of its time acting out motives of envy and desire for the things in life (does this sound vaguely familiar.). Incorporated are elements from the old Germanic culture of Anglo-Saxons and newer influences of Christianity
Fylgia: Vampire of Icelandic folklore, under research.
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