Darrell J. Pursiful

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Vampire Vednesdays: Mosquito Folk

These creatures of the Pacific Northwest are called ts’iihchuk by the Haida people. The Twilight saga notwithstanding, there are precious few “vampire” myths in North America, and no Native American vampire-like creature bares the slightest resemblance to Edward Cullen and company. In their true form, they are vaguely insect-like, with spindly limbs and huge, black eyes. They are masters of disguise, however, and easily blend in with the human population.

Mosquito folk are so-called because they suck blood and other bodily fluids out of their victims by means of a thorn-like proboscis that normally hides within their mouths. They can do this with incredible speed. A common story tells of a mosquito person insinuating itself into a gathering where adults are passing around a baby to play with and admire. The mosquito person sucks out the infant’s brain so quickly that no one notices, and when it passes the baby on to the next person, it is already dead.

These creatures serve as a reminder that vampire-like creatures don’t always easily fit into the living-or-undead paradigm. The most that can be said of mosquito folk is that they used to be human, but their evil deeds turned them into eldritch horrors. But did this transformation happen in life or only at death? Or was the transformation what killed them?

Monsters of this nature are the least like popular conceptions of “vampires.” Within their own cultural contexts, they are often called “witches” or “ogres” instead. But they are in some sense driven by an insatiable, demonic hunger, and thus by the broadest of definitions might justifiably be called “vampiric.”

A similar creature is known among the indigenous peoples of the South American rainforests, and both creatures have sometimes been compared to the Puerto Rican “vampiro de Moca,” perhaps a relative of the chupacabra.


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