Friday, July 20, 2012

The Draugr

Undead (Corporeal, Restless)
Other Names
The Draugr is known to the Norsemen by two distinctive names: Draug and Aptrgangr (literally, "one who walks after death").
The Draugr (pronounced “drah-ger”) is one of the most feared of the Undead, and goes by many names. There is more than one species of the creature as well. One, the Draug, is bound to the sea and terrorizes sailors. The Aptrgangr is merely another name for the creature. The Haugbui is another, weaker species of the Scandinavian Undead altogether. This creature doesn’t leave its burial mound to hunt, but stays inside its mound at all times, killing anyone who enters. However, it will leave to slay an intruder immediately outside of the mound.
The Draugr inhabits the burial mounds of deceased Viking warriors, inhabiting the dead warriors’ bodies and reanimating them for evil purposes. Usually, the Draugr can be found in Norway, Scandinavia, and Iceland, although the creature may also be found on the coasts of America, where the Vikings once settled.
The Draugr is purely anthropophagous and takes great delight in devouring the flesh and blood of its victims, preferring to tear them from limb from limb before ripping into the unfortunate victim’s corpse.
The Draugr appears much as it did in life, except for its pale, corpselike countenance or a deathly blue skin tone. It reeks of death and decay. Sometimes, the revenant is described as having a skull-like face, and it always has glowing red eyes. The Draugr always has a heavy, muscular build and the creature is usually dressed in decaying leather and corroded steel armor. More often than not, the Draugr will carry weapons, such as a sword or an axe.
The Draugr may be a vicious, powerful killer, but it is also paranoid, selfish, and greedy. Since the Vikings were often buried with great amounts of wealth, the Draugr greedily guards its horde. The revenant will attack and kill anyone who tries to take even one gold piece.
From time to time, when darkness falls, the Draugr will leave its grave unguarded for a short period of time, and will attack sleeping humans. The creature’s attack is highly destructive, leaving only torn and blood-covered bodies in its wake. The revenant then feasts on the warm flesh and flowing blood with an unnatural relish. Once it has had its fill, the Draugr hurries back to the burial mound to check on its treasure.

The Draugr is an undead monster, driven by nothing more than its utter hatred of the living and its hunger for human flesh and blood. The Draugr has supernatural strength and endurance, being so powerful that it crushes its victims to death and rips the unfortunate individual limb from limb before feasting on the corpse. According to some legends, the Draugr can increase its size at will, effectively doubling its already-considerable strength.
The Draugr is said to be able to command the weather, summoning thick fog to conceal itself as it leaves its cairn to hunt. It is able to call upon fierce storms to slow down any pursuers (most often the family of the revenant’s victims). The Draugr is a shapeshifter, able to transform itself into a great gray wolf, a seal, or a large predatory bird at will. These forms allow the revenant to cover great distances at speed, while arousing minimal suspicion from the living.
The Draugr is greatly feared, not only because of its great strength and shapeshifting abilities, but because the creature is completely impervious to all weapons forged by human hands. Swords shatter on its breast, spears break, arrows splinter, and bullets bounce off. There is almost no way to physically harm or kill the Draugr.
The Draugr is a virtually unstoppable monster, and possesses only a handful of weaknesses. According to one legend, one man drove the revenant away using a mixture of herbs and his own semen. This man was eventually burned at the stake as a witch. 
The only other weaknesses the Draugr could possibly have is fire and decapitation. Fire is a vulnerability shared by most of the corporeal undead, a sure sign that nature itself rebels against the very existence of the undead. However, decapitation only works after the creature has been wrestled to the ground and defeated. Therefore, decapitation and burning are the only methods of permanently destroying the Draugr.
Slaying the Draugr
While this unliving horror cannot be slain in the traditional sense, there is one way to defeat the Draugr. A hero, one who is pure of heart and is in good standing with God, must face the creature with only his bare hands, for only by wrestling this revenant into submission can one hope to defeat this monster. Then, the creature must be decapitated (preferably with the Draugr’s own sword or axe), and burned to ashes. Some people took the extra precaution of driving a wooden stake through the corpse before decapitating and cremating the Draugr (which is why this revenant is sometimes identified with the Vampire). Unfortunately, such dignified warriors are very rare, and the average man stands no chance against the fury of a hungry Draugr.
However, some legends suggest that the Draugr is susceptible to weapons made of cold-forged iron. This is a likely means of slaying this creature, since all evil fears iron. Whether this actually works or not is subject to folklore.


The Draugr is a strange revenant that is found in Norway and the surrounding regions. It is created when a demonic spirit possesses the deceased corpse of a Viking warrior, creating an undead monstrosity so powerful that no weapons forged by mortal men can possibly harm the creature. This revenant is not of this world. The Draugr is one of the few things that Viking warriors truly feared, as they were fearless and brutal in battle. It is believed that one who is slain by the Draugr will arise from the grave as one of the Undead

Maberry, Jonathan. The Vampire Slayers’ Field Guide to the Undead. Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Strider Nolan Publishing. Copyright ©2003 by Jonathan Maberry.

Curran, Dr. Bob. Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures that Stalk the Night. Franklin Lakes, NJ: The Career Press, Inc. Copyright ©2005 by Dr. Bob Curran.

The Walking Dead: Draugr and Aptrgangr in Old Norse Literature (The Viking Answer Lady)

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