The History Of Vampires

Are you scared of vampires? Read here to find out all about the origin and history of these mysterious creatures.

The idea of drinking blood to be immortal is not a foreign one to the human mind. Indians, Greeks and Christians have all had a part in this conception. Drinking the blood of another is sometimes understood as obtaining the "life-blood" of someone else for yourself. Therefore, the idea of the vampire stems from cannibalism, and the concept of putting someone's body inside your own to obtain more life.

Vampires are creatures that maintain immortality by sucking blood from humans and animals. They are night creatures, and the sight of sunlight turns them to stone, or sometimes dust. Typically, they are characterized by black capes, long corpse-like bodies and the ability to fly, although whether or not these characteristics were included in the original vampire myths is not known. They sleep in coffins, can't stand churches, and scream at the sight of garlic. Vampires are also highly sexual, and they often prey on members of both sexes.

There are several creatures that may have acted as precursors to the vampire. The leech is perhaps the most basic, representing the idea of a slimy, forboding creature taking human blood. The chupacabra, a blood-sucking alien creature that feasts on animals, is another vampire-like myth. This myth originated in the hills of South America, and still exists today. The myth of the fury, or a women that sucks the life from a sleeping victim, was created in Greek times to represent the wrath of the Gods. These creatures were released upon the earth to suck sould through the mouths of their victims, and send them to agony-filled torment in Hades, or Hell. Finally, a species known as the "vampire bat" has been studied by many scientists because of its strange eating habits. This bat sucks the blood of its victims by making a clean cut to the neck and main artery. It's saliva contains chemicals that gradually take consciousness from the creature it it eating.

The vampire myth appears to have originated in Transylvania, according to the Stoker novel, in the dark hills of eastern Europe. Stoker's Dracula is an old, placid man that appears harmless except for an air of doom about his castle. His vampires are the curse of the surrounding towns, and the descendants of a strange disease.

It is often very hard to tell which pieces of the vampire myth were added from literature, and which were originally spread through word of mouth. Bram Stoker's Dracula is the cause of new conventions in the vampire legend. His book included the use of garlic to fend off vampires, stakes as killing tools and the ability of vampires to crawl upside-down on a wall. The novels of Anne Rice, including Interview With a Vampire, are also spreading twists in the definition of a vampire. Her vampires are immortal, jaded and mostly ordinary people caught in something they cannot understand.

It is interesting to note the way that the concept of vampires is used in the literature that contains it. Stoker's Dracula was an unconscious comment on Victorian England, and underneath its plot one can see female subjugation. Stoker himself was torn between the convention of the sexes in this day, and underneath this book one can see his inner struggle. Similarly, Anne Rice uses vampires to examine the reaction of the modern world to the magical and horrific. In Interview With A Vampire, the main character asks to be made into a vampire. The vampire he asks is unwilling to comply.

Today there are actually some cults of "vampires" that exist. These people drink small amounts of blood from willing victims in keeping with the ancient belief that it will bring power and life.

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