Apotropaic objects

The Cross and Holy Water

Across most of Europe, the vampire, as an agent of Satan, was held to be subject to the dominion of the symbols of Christ. The Cross, Holy Water and other symbols of the Church were almost universally held to be powerful weapons against vampires, werewolves, witches and other spawn of Satan.

Various parts of the Bible were recited to help heal and prevent further vampire attacks, or verses from the Gospels may be carried on the person to prevent attacks. One should also take communion, attend Mass and pray to prevent attacks by any evil entity.

This conception has evolved with centuries and the propagation of the vampire myth beyond the Christian world. Modern authors are definitely moving away from religious symbolism to control/avoid vampires. It can be explained by a growing awareness in our society of the variety of religious experiences available around the world, and the recognition that there are many people (including vampires) to whom Christian religious symbols are meaningless. Anne Rice’s vampires have no fear of holy symbols and may kill priests as any other victims.

The consensus seemed to be that the power of the symbol derived from the faith of the wielder (or more rarely, from the belief of the vampire) rather than any intrinsic power of the symbol itself. If a person try to intimidate a vampire with a cross but has no faith, the cross will be useless.

Christian symbols may be replaced with other religious symbols according to the belief system of the wielder and/or vampire. In other words, if a person, confronted by a hungry and hostile vampire, presents any symbol, which they truly believe to represent the power of Light and Goodness, their very belief will manifest itself in a force sufficient to drive away the undead.

In some modern stories, “younger” vampires are often susceptible to the effects of such objects regardless of the wielder’s belief, but faith is required to affect “older” and more powerful vampires. It has been recorded that some very powerful vampires and Vampire Regents have been able to resist the effects of religious objects, but they still remain as the vampire hunter’s most potent defence.


Anything that resemble to a Christian cross and has been blessed will repel the vampire. Placed inside his empty coffin, it will prevent Dracula from returning to rest there.

Putting a wooden cross on a household’s door or smearing tar on it in the shape of a cross would keep vampires away (Barber, 1988, 64). 

Silver bullets

A consecrated bullet fired through the coffin at this time will kill him. Some vampire’s hunters used silver holly bullets to destroy the vampires they chased. A Serbian belief also states that a silver coin inscribed with a cross, cut into quarters, loaded into a shotgun shell, and then fired at a vampire will kill it. 

Eucharistic wafers

Placed in the vampire’s coffin, they will prevent him from using it as a resting place. Moreover, it cannot use anymore the earth from his native land. 

Holy water

While it would require generous amounts to actually destroy a vampire, holy water (i.e. – water that has been blessed by a priest or cleric of faith) acts like concentrated sulfuric acid when it comes in contact with a vampire’s flesh.