Is it a tall, gaunt figure with piercing eyes and fanged teeth, dressed in evening clothes with a long black cape sweeping across its shoulders? Is it the “reanimated” body of a dead person, emerging from the grave to terrorize people as it seeks living blood to revitalize itself? Is it a corpse that has been reassembled outside the grave, changed into a creature of blazing red eyes, razor sharp talons, covered entirely by pale hair of a greenish tint, a beast that sucks blood and eats the flesh of its living animals?
The vampire has been all of these things to people across the world throughout history. Although films and television have popularized a picture of a cape-clad vampire, in some parts of the world, the belief in vampires as real creatures continues today. Each age and each part of the world, has had a differing view of the vampire, but each of them fits more or less into one of three categories: 1. The astral vampire – the mass that floats around in the air. The person who has been attacked grows pale from loss of blood and often dies.
2. The “UN-dead” vampire – a creature that is neither dead nor alive. It is a corpse that has risen from the grave at night – either powered by the devil (which is the Christian concept) or by its past misdeeds/misfortunes. It wanders about in search for victims to secure blood to revitalize itself. 3. The human-being vampire, apparently alive and well. It seeks blood from other humans. They may be a member of a cult. There have been notable proven cases of vampirism. C. Baker VAMPIRES The Origin of the Word “Vampire”
The word vampire comes from the part of the world most famous in literature and history as the home of the vampire: Transylvania. The first known English use of the word occurred in 1734 in a travel book published in London, The Travels of Three English Gentlemen, whose authors said that “vampyres” found in central Europe were supposed to be “bodies of deceased persons, animated by evil spirits, which come out of the graves in the night-time, suck the blood of many of the living and thereby destroy them.
” Following the publication of that book, the word gained circulation throughout England, just as it was doing on the European continent. The Original Vampire There are vampire legends from as far back as 125AD, when one of the first known vampire stories occurred. Its origin was Greek. Vampire legends originated in the Far East and made their way west. The Slavic people have the richest vampire legends in the world. They were originally related to the Iranians and they migrated to where they are now around the 8th century.
Almost as soon as they arrived the Christianization process began, and vampire legends survived as myths. Gypsies arrived in Transylvania shortly before Vlad Dracula was born in 1431. The vampire here was the ghost of a dead person, which in most cases had been a witch, sorcerer or suicide. C. Baker VAMPIRES The Original Vampire contd Vampires were feared creatures, because they killed people but at the same time looked like people; the only differences were that they didn’t have a shadow. Nor did they reflect in the mirror. They could change their shape into a bat, which made them impossible to catch.
At daytime the vampires slept in their coffins, but at night they lived from drinking human blood, as the sun’s rays were deadly for them. The most common method of acquiring the blood they needed to survive was to fly through a window by midnight, in the shape of a bat and bite the victim’s neck and suck it dry for blood. Vampires couldn’t enter a house if they weren’t invited in, but as soon as they had, they could re-enter as often as they liked. The Slavic vampire wasn’t only dangerous because it killed people, but also because the victims, after death turned into vampires.