|“||I know you get desiccation in theory, Stefan. But in reality, it's much worse. Your heart still beats, struggling to pump whatever blood remains. When it's gone, your veins rub together like sandpaper.||”|
Desiccation is a weakness of immortals, original vampires, vampires and hybrids that occurs to their bodies due to the lack of blood consumption. This is an automated process where their bodies dry out due to lack of any type of blood in their system.
In addition, this can also be achieved by bleeding out the body or stopping the heart from pumping.
The Effects of Desiccation
When a vampire does not drink blood their bodies begin to dry out, due to their physiology being forced to feed upon itself in order to survive. When this occurs, overtime the vampire in question becomes weak, and their skin becomes pale.The vampire in question also becomes weak as a result of a lack of blood, but not enough to kill them. Vampires who have been desiccated for a long time look disturbingly similar to mummified bodies.
After a long period of time, the body of a vampire undergoes a process similar to fossilization, and their limbs become impossible to move unless they are fed. Once a vampire begins to feed again, they return to normal.The color of their skin returns to normal, and they regain their strength. Apparently, desiccation can also happen if the vampire dies in what can be described as a "slow" death, and could also happen at the final stages of being bitten by a Werewolf.
While it is possible to desiccate a vampire by simply withholding blood from him/her, there is one other method that can be used. Abby Bennett once used a spell to desiccate a vampire. Mikael the vampire-vampire hunter came to Mystic Falls 15 years ago looking for the Petrova doppelgänger. Abby states in The Ties That Bind that no one could kill Mikael, so she used this spell to incapacitate him. She then placed him in a cemetery in Charlotte.
The spell has been used a number of times til date, though it may have been used by other witches. After Mikael, Abby's daughter Bonnie Bennett attempts to use the spell on 1 vampire and 1 hybrid. The vampire was Alaric Saltzman, and the hybrid was Klaus. The first attempt failed, though her second attempt to desiccate a hybrid succeeded when she used the spell on Klaus. Like regular desiccation, a vampire that is desiccated using the desiccation spell can regain their strength when they feed again.
Abby explains in Before Sunset that the spell works by stopping a vampire's heart. The spell is considered Dark Magic because it does not rely upon magic that comes from the earth (which is pure), but rather it draws it's power inwardly.
One must also strike a balance with the living. This means that a witch must use a human heart in order to stop the heart of the vampire she wishes to desiccate.
In addition to this stopping a human heart, one must also make a physical connection with the vampire that one wishes to desiccate. To do this you must make a physical connection with something that is connected with the heart of the vampire. It can be a vein or an artery or the heart of the vampire itself. You must also maintain the physical connection with that part of the body that you are touching. If the person in question is no longer touching that part of the body that is connected with the heart or if they are no longer touching the heart itself, then the connection will be broken and the witch performing the spell can no longer desiccate the vampire.
This can be clearly seen when Stefan, Damon and Klaus attempt to assist Bonnie in her performance of the desiccation spell. Alaric succeeds in fending off an attack from Stefan, and Damon, and Klaus attempts to make a physical connection with Alaric so the spell can take effect. Klaus makes a connection with Alaric's heart by pushing his hand into his chest. Alaric removes his hand and the connection is immediately broken. You also need the blood of the witch performing the spell. If the witch's blood is ingested then it will connect the witch with the people helping the witch perform the spell. The witch's blood bridges them all together.
After a vampire is desiccated using this spell their skin becomes grey, and the vampire loses all of their strength. The vampire who's desiccation has been completed can no longer talk, nor walk, nor move at all. They are completely immobilized. The only thing a vampire that has been desiccated can do is move their eyes a little. They can open and close their eyes whenever they wish, though all other parts of their body are completely immobile until someone gives them blood to drink.
List of Witches
- Qetsiyah (she invented the spell with an unknown form of magic; most likely Traditional Magic, and she used it against Silas 2000 years later, at an unnatural speed).
- Abby Bennett Wilson (she adopted and duplicated the spell in the form of Dark Magic).
- Bonnie Bennett (she used the spell twice in both Dark Magic and Expression).
- Papa Tunde (uses a variant of Desiccation with Sacrificial Magic).
- Finn Mikaelson (used the blade to dissect and channel the powers of Lenore's body)
- Dahlia (she most likely used Dark Magic to desiccate both Mikael and Klaus at equally an unnatural speed)
- Silas (Qestiyah used the spell on him twice for betraying her love.)
- Mikael (Abby used the spell on him when he tormented her town. Dahlia used the spell on him during their confrontation.)
- Niklaus Mikaelson (Bonnie used the spell on him in the form of Dark Magic when he tormented her town. Dahlia used the spell on him during their confrontation.)
- Silas (Bonnie used this spell on him in the form of Expression when he tormented her friends.)
- Rebekah Mikaelson (Papa Tunde used the Desiccation Touch on her in order to draw strength from her)
- Esther/Lenore (Finn used the blade to dissect your body and channel their powers.)
- Damon Salvatore (Self Desiccated)
- Qetsiyah may have used the Desiccation Spell to entomb Silas on The Island, but this is unlikely, given the fact that the witch threw him at the bottom of a cave with the cure in hopes of him consuming it, Silas wouldn't be able to drink it in desiccated form.
- Qetsiyah, Dahlia, Bonnie and Abby are the only known witches who had cast the desiccation spell directly on an Immortal/Vampire so far.
- The spell has been used on an Immortal: Silas, and 3 Original Vampires so far: Mikael, Niklaus and Alaric who was made into an Enhanced Original by Esther though he is not a member of the Original family nor one of the first vampires.
- This spell requires the witch in question to draw power from within instead of from the earth.
- Silas and Amara were the two longest desiccated immortal beings before they were revived.
- Wes created a poison which made Enzo's heart stop. It's possible this could be used on Originals and Immortals.
- Unless Stefan was merely hallucinating him drowning as well, apparently water or being locked in a box can prevent a vampire from desiccating as he was seen awake the entire summer without desiccating where as it usually takes a vampire about a week to desiccate.
- Practitioners of Sacrificial Magic practice a variant of desiccation by touching the victim.
- Practitioners of Expression are able to petrify their victims in a more advanced and instantaneous manner, similar to desiccation.
- Vampires are able to avoid natural desiccation by consuming just a few drops of blood a week as proven by Lillian Salvatore, who had survived for over a century by doing this.
- The white oak ash daggers will almost immediately desiccate an Original Vampire whose heart it pierces, and they will remain desiccated as long as it is in their hearts. When it is removed, they will gain life and mobility enough to walk around but will require blood if they want to regain their strength.