By: Christopher Rogue Ostrowski
Zombies seem to be the main attraction in so many movies and TV shows lately. I would be remiss to leave them out of my weekly article. Since my Ancestry is
Norse/Teutonic, I wanted to do their take on the Zombie or Draugr.
The Draugr are said to have pale flesh or skin as black as Hel, Hel being Norse Hel. She is the Goddess of the Helheim. She is said to have a face that half a beautiful woman and the other half of a Corpse.
Think the colors of a nasty bruise. The deep blues, plums, sickly greens and yellows. That would pretty much make up the every square inch of the Draugr’s body.
There are stories of Draugr being able to shapeshift. Horses, bulls, seals and cats are the common stories. Imagine going to bed with your new stray cat. It curls up on your chest, purring away. Then slowly gets heavier and heavier till it crushes you to death.
Draugr’s are said to be “as big as an Ox” Their swollen bodies are used to ram down doors. Smash through Halls. The all take part in an activity called “House Riding”. The climb to the top of a house, straddle it like a horse and drum their heels on the sides of the roof. Terrifying those below, while they are destroying the rafters.
While our Western image of the zombie draws more from the Caribbean influence of voodoo, it’s good to keep in mind the other traditions that have dealt with the undead. Norse mythology certainly has some great twists on the myths.
Saxo Grammaticus, Vol I
Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans. Eyrbyggja Saga. Buffalo, U of Toronto P, 1973