Do you know about vampire mythology? Across every culture in the world there appears to be some variation on the myth of the vampire, a blood drinking ghoul that rising from the grave to feed upon the living. Blood drinking corpses feature in earliest Assyrian and Chaldean legends, which likely influenced the evolution of the vampiric myth throughout time.
The vampire has been portrayed as anything from decomposing corpses to elegant gentleman monsters running the gamut between the two. In Hebrew lore, vampire-like creatures are considered Qlippothic ‘husks’ of inverted human potential. Asian legends have vampires capable of detaching their heads to float around hunting victims, trailing a pouch of bodily organs behind.
No matter what culture, there is a corresponding vampire mythology, from the terrifying to the absurd. There are differing accounts as to how a vampire is created too. In Eastern Europe, where most of the traditional ‘vampire’ legends originate, it is believed the vampire is simply a born monster, or a soul that is damned through its actions in life.
Asian legends and vampire mythology typically believe that the vampire is a damned soul that crawled its way back from the Yomi hells and is now re-occupying its previous body. Yuck!
In more modern interpretations, in which vampirism is used as an analogy for a blood disease, transmission of the vampiric state requires a sharing of blood with the victim. Traditionally, over the course of three nights, the vampire replaces the victim’s blood with its own, and once the victim dies it will rise again as a vampire.
Accounts on what kills a vampire vary likewise. A wooden stake impaling the vampire’s heart is a traditional account of how to destroy a vampire, however, some legends say that a vampire is only paralyzed and can rise again once the stake is removed. Traditional Romanian folklore requires that the head of the vampire be severed, the mouth propped open with garlic and wild roses, and the body weighted down and tossed into a running body of water.
Fire is also considered an effective means of destroying the vampire body, as fire purifies according to legend, and a vampire cannot reconstitute a physical form after being reduced to ash. Modern vampire movies and tales show that sunlight will destroy a vampire, but this is a Hollywood invention introduced in the film Nosferatu.
This is likely simply an exaggeration of the vampire's nocturnal tendencies, as according to lore, sunlight has no effect on the vampire except to render it slightly weaker. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the count was known to walk through daylight London without having any adverse effects.
The Vampire has evolved as a monster through the years, and continues to undergo revisions and iterations as new generations and writers let their imagination shape the vampire for generations to come. At present, the vampire is a waning threat, used more as a metaphor for sexual awakening and forbidden passion than the hell-bound, bloodthirsty monsters of legend.
Given enough time, the vampire will rise again to cast its monstrous shadow across the human psyche. And the thing is, how will vampire mythology evolve now and what will it become later?