The Vampire Dichotomy
A non-exhaustive primer on vampire lore -
In order to be a Vampire writer it is not only necessary, but prudent, to explore the history and the formation of Vampires. Britanica.org notes the idea of vampires is “thought by some to have been inspired in part by the cruel acts of the 15th-century prince Vlad III Dracula of Transylvania, also known as 'the Impaler,' and Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who was believed to have murdered dozens of young women during the 16th and 17th centuries in order to bathe in their blood."
Dracula himself didn’t show up until the title of Count Dracula was established in Bram Stoker’s 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula. He is considered to be both the prototypical and the archetypal vampire in subsequent works of fiction. He is also depicted in the novel to be the origin of werewolf legends. (Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Chapter 20, Johnathon Harker’s Journal, Letter, Mitchell, Sons. "Candy To Lord Goddamning," 1 October. p. 391.)
One of Dracula’s most iconic powers is his ability to turn others into vampires by biting them. Other character aspects have been added or altered in subsequent popular fictional works. The character has appeared frequently in pop culture from films to animated media to breakfast cereals.
But vampires aren’t just a matter of lore or drugstore fiction. Some people do drink human blood. Sanguinarians, or “real vampires,” crave blood as a life force. They shouldn’t be confused with lifestyle vampires — people interested in the culture, but who have no need to “feed.” (Healthline.com).
Vampires are generally agreed to have hailed from Romania. As referenced by Stoker and others, Romanian vampires were known as moroi (from the Romanian word “mort” meaning “dead” or the Slavic word meaning “nightmare”) and strigoi, with the latter classified as either living or dead. (Silver & Ursini, pp. 22-2). The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of ”The Vampyre” by the English writer John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. (Silver, A., & Ursini, J. (1997). The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Interview with the Vampire (pp. 37–38). New York: Limelight Editions.) It is important to note five factors about original vampires. 1) they're dead, 2) they change into bats, 3) they suck blood, 4) can only be killed by sunlight or a stake through the body; also, 5) in death, they turn to dust.
Probably a discussion of “living dead is needed here.” In 1968 the horror film Night of the Living Dead conceived by George A. Romeroand and John A. Russo, hit the scene. The loosely connected franchise predominantly centered on different groups of people attempting to survive during the outbreak and evolution of a zombie apocalypse. The term may also refer to the reanimated human corpses that feast on the flesh and/or brains of the living seen in the films. (Boluk, Stephanie; Lenz, Wylie (June 16, 2011). “Introduction: Generation Z, the Age of Apocalypse”. In Boluk, Stephanie; Lenz, Wylie (eds.). Generation Zombie: Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture. Jefferson, North Carolina, US: McFarland & Company. p. 5). Could it be justified then that Zombies are really Vampires without an aversion to light?
How about garlic? One of the earliest Vampire aversions was the plant garlic. Indeed, a persistent belief is the power of garlic is to ward off vampires. Probably the most popular theory of the origin of the vampire is the disease porphyria, a term for several diseases which are all caused by irregularities in the production of heme, a chemical in blood. (torantogarlicfestival.ca).
Hanging garlic on the door to ward off vampires is actually a loose translation of a biblical passage in which blood was posted on the door posts to ward off evil (Exodus 12:13).
Other traditional methods of killing vampires include decapitation and stuffing the severed head’s mouth with garlic; a sacred (blessed though not silver) bullet; a stake through the chest (not necessarily through the heart)…(Livescience.com).
Earliest Vampires did not seem to have and problem with Holy water, but In the Balkans, a vampire could also be killed by being shot or drowned, by repeating the funeral service, by sprinkling holy water on the body, or by exorcism. In Romania, garlic could be placed in the mouth, and as recently as the 19th century, the precaution of shooting a bullet through the coffin was taken. (Barber, Paul (1988). Vampires, Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality. New York: Yale University Press).
Mirrors and Vampires seem to be bone of contention. American writer’s have allowed reflections in some novels; however, vampires must avoid mirrors, because they do not exist (vampires, not mirrors), it is because the specular reflection, servile reproduction of reality, throws them in the face the tangible proof of their non-existence. (tandfoline.com). “Although not traditionally regarded as an apotropaic, mirrors have been used to ward off vampires when placed, facing outwards, on a door (in some cultures, vampires do not have a reflection and sometimes do not cast a shadow, perhaps as a manifestation of the vampire’s lack of a soul.”(Wilson, Katharina M. (October–December 1985). “The History of the Word ’Vampire’“. Journal of the History of Ideas. 46 (4): 577–583.).
The Queen of Vampire writers is Anne Rice. She is the author of gothic fiction, Christian literature, and erotic literature. She is perhaps best known for her series of novels The Vampire Chronicles, which revolve around the central character Lestat. (Annerice.com).
We live in a world of Vampires, look around. They are the is energy vampires, they are the walking dead of our society. They don’t take accountability. They’re always involved in some kind of drama. They always one-up you. They diminish your problems and play up their own. They act like a martyr. They use your good nature against you. They use guilt trips or ultimatums. (Healthline.com) The Vampires of the 15th thru the 21st. century were taken from the antics of real life. Blood suckers are everywhere – BEWARE.
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