|“||I know you get desiccation in theory, Stefan. But in reality, it's much worse.||”|
Desiccation is what occurs when a vampire's body begins to dry out due to lack of human blood or any type of blood in their system.
The Effects of DesiccationEdit
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.
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 at least 3 times to 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.
How The Desiccation Spell WorksEdit
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 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.
- Bonnie, Abby and Qetsiyah are the only known witches who had cast the dessication spell so far.
- The Dessication Spell has been only been used by the Bennett witches so far.
- The spell has been used on 3 original vampires so far: Mikael, Niklaus and Alaric who was made into an 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 has been dessicated the longest, and is the only vampire who has been dessicated to the point of fossilization