Dragon’s blood is not a magical concoction but a real ingredient in medicine, incense, and more. By Magda Origjanska

The so-called modern pagans frequently come upon “dragon’s blood” as one of the ingredients needed for their rituals. The name of this substance signifies the blood of a mythical, flying creature that, according to many stories, performs wonders and heals even the sorest of wounds and most grievous illnesses. Surprisingly, dragon’s blood is not only “real” but also has been used since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.

In some medieval encyclopedias, dragon’s blood is mentioned as the actual blood of dragons or elephants who perished in mortal combat.

In reality, dragon’s blood is actually a resin harvested from various plant species such as Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang, and Pterocarpus. Its main feature is the red pigment that lends it the name dragon’s blood.

According to the book “Modern Herbal” by Maud Grieve, published in 1931, “The berries are the size of a cherry and pointed. When ripe they are covered with a reddish, resinous substance which is separated in several ways, the most satisfactory being by steaming, or by shaking or rubbing in coarse, canvas bags. An inferior kind is obtained by boiling the fruits to obtain a decoction after they have undergone the second process. The product may come to market in beads, joined as if forming a necklace, and covered with leaves … or in small, round sticks about 18 inches long, packed in leaves and strips of cane. Other varieties are found in irregular lumps, or in a reddish powder. They are known as lump, stick, reed, tear, or saucer Dragon’s Blood.”

Dracaena draco leaves showing dragon’s blood pigment at the base. The red pigment, called “dragon’s blood,” is said to have been used on Stradivarius violins. Photographed in the gardens of Lotusland—in Montecito, near Santa Barbara in southern California. Author: Sharktopus. CC BY-SA 3.0

Historical records of the Romans and Greeks also note Dracaena cinnabari, a byproduct of the cinnabar tree that was found on an island in the Indian Ocean. The resin of Dracaena species, the “authentic” dragon’s blood, and the extremely poisonous mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) were often confused by the ancient Romans. The types of dragon’s blood derived from different species were also hardly distinguished from one another in ancient China.

Dragon’s blood, powdered pigment or apothecary’s grade and roughly crushed incense. Author: Andy Dingley CC BY-SA 3.0

The pigment in the tree’s gum has numerous uses, including as a dye and also as a colorant in cosmetics. Some women used the powder in a ritual that was supposed to attract a marriage proposal. They would write their lover’s name on a tiny piece of paper, then their own name on the top, sprinkle it with some dragon’s blood, and fold it. Afterwards, they threw it onto burning charcoal while saying a prayer.

Dragon’s Blood Tree Author Rod Waddington. CC by 2.0

In the 18th century, dragon’s blood was used as a varnish for Italian violin makers. Moreover, there was a recipe for a toothpaste containing dragon’s blood. In India, it has been used in ceremonies for face painting or as a red varnish for wooden furniture. Another use of it was coloring the surface of writing paper, especially the decorative type that was used for weddings and during Chinese New Year.

In New Orleans voodoo and American hoodoo folk magic, it is used for attracting money or love and often as an incense that cleanses space and casts away negative energies. It is also added to ink to make “dragon’s blood ink,” a substance used to inscribe magical seals and talismans.

Dragon’s blood from Dracaena cinnabari. Sanguis draconis, Dracaena cinnabari. Author: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivod. CC BY-SA 3.0

The vibrant red color explains why dragon’s blood refers to the element of fire, and it’s often used in rituals that involve fire, heat, or power. In some traditions of folk magic, the resin is blended until it turns to oil. The oil of dragon’s blood is then applied to one’s wrists in order to

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/03/09/dragons-blood-2/

10 Terrifying Haunted Castles in Ireland | Rue Morgue

By: MADDI MCGILLVRAY

When one thinks about Ireland they often picture lush green hills, rolling cliffs, and maybe a pint of Guinness or two. But just like any place with a rich history, Ireland has its fair share of hauntings.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, why not celebrate early by taking a tour through Ireland’s most haunted castles.

1. Leap Castle – Offaly
Considered as one of the most haunted castles in the world, thousands of tourists flock to Leap Castle each year in the hopes that they will run into its former occupants. The castle is said to be haunted by a number of spectres, the most terrifying being a small hunchback creature with a nauseating stench of sulphur and decomposing c

READ MORE HERE:

https://rue-morgue.com/10-terrifying-haunted-castles-in-ireland/

The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler | Live Science by Impaler By Marc Lallanilla

Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.

Though Dracula is a purely fictional creation, Stoker named his infamous character after a real person who happened to have a taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler. The morbid nickname is a testament to the Wallachian prince’s favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.

But other than having the same name, the two Draculas don’t really have much in common, according to historians who have studied the link between Stoker’s vampire count and Vlad III.

The real Dracula

By most accounts, Vlad III was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania, the central region of modern-day Romania. However, the link between Vlad the Impaler and Transylvania is

READ MORE HERE:

https://www.livescience.com/40843-real-dracula-vlad-the-impaler.html

Interview with a real-life vampire: why drinking blood isn’t like in Hollywood by: Kim Wall

vampires

 Vampires: ‘We do not identify with fictional characters, supernatural powers, or immortality, nor do we have any difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.’ Illustration: Celine Loup for the Guardian

People who claim to be vampires are in the thousands, with demographics transcending class, race and gender. But there’s a reason they stay in the shadows

 Vampires: ‘We do not identify with fictional characters, supernatural powers, or immortality, nor do we have any difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.’ Illustration: Celine Loup for the Guardian

Drinking blood isn’t what Hollywood makes it out to be, according to real-life vampires.

First of all, there’s no biting – that’s neither safe nor sanitary – and with too many vital arteries, the neck isn’t the favored spot. Transactions aren’t carnages leaving the victim lifeless behind in a dark alley, and nor do vampires sleep in coffins or burn in daylight. They’re generally cool with garlic. Most of them don’t even have fangs.

Instead, modern vampires get their sustenance from inch-long incisions made by a sterilized scalpel on a fleshy part of the body that doesn’t scar. Though the vampire may suck it up directly from the source, medically trained personnel usually perform the procedure. There’s paperwork too: “donors” don’t just have to consent, but also provide health certificates proving the absence of blood-borne diseases. Still, feeding is a sensual and sacred ritual.

“We’re people you pass on the street and likely socialize with on a daily basis,” says Merticus, the 37-year-old founding member of Atlanta’s Vampire Alliance. “We often keep this aspect of our life secret for fear we’ll be misunderstood and to safeguard against reprisals from what society deems taboo.”

Merticus has identified as a real vampire since 1997, and speaks eloquently and passionately about what vampirism is and what it is not. (“Not a cult, a religion, a dangerous practice, a paraphilia, an offshoot of the BDSM community, a community of disillusioned teenagers and definitely not what’s depicted in fictional books, movies or television.”) 

An antique dealer by profession, married with two dogs, he’s one of exceptionally few vampires to be open about his identity (“I hide in plain sight,” he explains). For almost a decade, he has personally worked with academics, social scientists, psychologists, lawyers, law enforcement agencies and others on how to best approach, research and understand the vampire subculture.

An Atlanta native, he is known as Merticus both legally and personally – even on his Starbucks card. And while he mostly dresses head-to-toe in black, he doesn’t don colored lenses or fang prosthetics. In fact, he is keen to say he isn’t into it because vampirism is “cool”. Real vampires don’t care much for pop culture buzz, and most don’t look the stereotype (only some 35% of real vampires are into goth, he claims). Some even sneer at the “lifestylers” (also known as “fashion vampires” and “posers”).

READ MORE HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/15/real-life-vampires-interview

 

 

 

 

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