Revenants in fiction
Transylvania, Serbia Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia
The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa
is a visible ghost or animated corpse that is believed to have revived from death to haunt the living. The word is derived from the Old French word, , the "returning" (see also the related French verb , meaning "to come back").
English historians in the Middle Ages. William of Newburgh wrote during the 1190s, "It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction of the living, and again return to the tomb, which of its own accord spontaneously opened to receive them, did not frequent examples, occurring in our own times, suffice to establish this fact, to the truth of which there is abundant testimony."
Historia rerum Anglicarum the corpse of one revenant is reported to have been found in the grave, swollen and "suffused with blood". When it was pierced, a stream of blood flew out of the wound. This part of the story is paralleled in many accounts of alleged vampires, and the phenomenon it depicts is, in fact, known to occur frequently as part of the natural process of corpse decomposition. Revenants are therefore another example of the widespread historical belief in vampires.
Augustin Calmet conducted extensive research on the topic in his work titled Traité sur les apparitions des esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c. (1751) in which he relates the rumors of men at the time:
excommunicated would not decay in their graves or tombs. Modern day and past Greeks have reported that these bodies are black in appearance with long nails. The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy all believe in bodies of saints not decomposing as a sign of sainthood. He explains "that the incorruptibility of a body was rather a probable mark of the sanctity of the person and a proof of the particular protection of God, extended to a body which during its lifetime had been the temple of the Holy Spirit, and of one who had retained in justice and innocence the mark of Christianity."
King James of Britain wrote in his dissertation of Daemonologie the idea that a demonic entity could possess a dead body and have sexual relations with women, being one of the methods used by incubi.
aptrgangr (literally "again-walker", meaning one who walks after death) of Norse mythology, although the aptrgangr, or , is usually much more powerful, possessing magical abilities and most notably is not confined to a deathlike sleep during the day—although it does usually stay in its burial mound during the daylight hours—and will resist intruders, which renders the destruction of its body a dangerous affair to be undertaken by individual heroes. Consequently, stories involving the often involve direct confrontations with the creature, in which it often reveals to be immune to conventional weapons. Such elements are absent from the revenant lore, where the body is engaged in its inert state in daylight, and rendered harmless.
) are usually visually indistinguishable from the living, and usually they are first mistaken for the living at first. They are often well-dressed, up to being out of place. The protagonists may react with annoyance and try to chase the intruder out, only realizing it was a ghost later. Their undead nature is betrayed by their odd behavior, like appearing in unlikely places, not speaking, being oblivious to being seen, or by supernatural events like sudden appearances and disappearances, bilocation, mystically reappearing uninjured and in normal dress after being buried, or being animated and speaking with fatal injuries like decapitation. They are typically explained as restless souls of people who have met a violent death. Etiäinen, a type of bilocation, is a related tradition. For example, dying people can be seen as apparitions by their loved ones at or around the moment of death, regardless of distance. They may also manifest themselves only as odd, out-of-place sounds and footprints.
William of Newburgh (1136?–1198?) wrote of a number of cases "...as a warning to posterity." He says these stories were very common and that "were I to write down all the instances of this kind which I have ascertained to have befallen in our times, the undertaking would be beyond measure laborious and troublesome."
Burton tells the story of two runaway peasants from about 1090 who died suddenly of unknown causes and were buried, but:
Walter Map, a Welshman writing during the 12th century, tells of a "wicked man" in Hereford who revived from the dead and wandered the streets of his village at night calling out the names of those who would die of sickness within three days. The response by bishop Gilbert Foliot was "Dig up the body and cut off the head with a spade, sprinkle it with holy water and re-inter it".
Augustin Calmet, author of (1751)
Beloved, novel by Toni Morrison
Rotten Johnny Reb (US Civil War revenant)
The Monkey's Paw" (1902 short story)
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, a novel, and The Revenant, its 2015 film adaption
Nav (Slavic folklore)
"Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm. 16 Bde. (in 32 Teilbänden). Leipzig: S. Hirzel 1854–1960" (in German). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007.
"Vampire". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14.
"Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé" (in French). Archived from the original on 2012-05-26.
(in French). Paris: Librairie Larousse. OCLC 904687.
. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-5331-4568-0.
, see Chapter 11, Section 6 "Death and the Dead".
, Book 5, Ch. 24.
Book 5, Ch. 24, paragraph 7.
Finding "vampires" in graves for more details.
. pp. 303–304. ISBN 1-5331-4568-7.
. p. 305. ISBN 1-5331-4568-7.
. pp. 79–83. ISBN 1-5329-6891-4.
(published by SKS) or http://www.alhainen.net/kummitus/index.html
, Book 5, Ch. 22.
, pg. 613.
, Book 2, Ch. 27.
. pp. 303–305. ISBN 1-5331-4568-7.
. Oxford. ISBN 0-19-925101-0.
Past & Present. : 3–45. doi:10.1093/past/152.1.3. JSTOR 651055.
Townsend, Dorian Aleksandra, , Ph.D. Dissertation, School of German and Russian Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, May 2011.
, full text online.
The dictionary definition of revenant at Wiktionary
Categories: English legendary creaturesCorporeal undeadMedieval legendsSupernatural legendsCS1 German-language sources (de)CS1 French-language sources (fr)
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