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Ethymology The word 'vampire' derives from the Slavic word 'vampir' or 'vampyr', first appearing in the 1600s in the Eastern European region in the Balkans.
'vampir' is derived from 'upir', which first appeared in print in an Old Russian manuscript from 1047 AC in which a Novgorodian prince is referred to as 'Upir Lichyj' (Wicked Vampire).
But the origin of 'upir' is even more controversial. Franz Miklosich suggested that 'upir' is derived from 'uber', a Turkish word for 'witch' whereas Andre Vaillant suggests just the opposite. Kazimierz Moszynski suggests that 'u-pir' is from a Serbo-Croatian word 'pirati' (to blow). Aleksandr Afanasev points to the Slavic 'pij' (to drink), which may have entered the Slavic language from the Greek, via Old Church Slavonic. A. Bruckner proposes Russian 'netopyr' (bat).
Diseases linked to Vampirism Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), meaning pigmented dry skin is a rare, often fatal genetic disorder that leaves its victims acutely vulnerable to skin and eye cancers if they are even briefly exposed to sun or any ultraviolet rays. The body fails to produce one of the enzymes necessary to make heme, the red pigment in hemeglobin. Strangely, Garlic stimulates heme production (a reason for its inclusion in many herbal blood tonics) and can turn a mild case of porphryia into a severe and painful one. There is less than 100,000 identified cases of XP nowadays but inbreeding could have stimulated the disease in the middle ages, creating pockets of it in isolated areas. Drinking blood could have been considered as a remedy in the dark ages but the human body is not made to assimilate heme directly from blood so it cannot be a cause of vampirism.
Mythology The first Vampire was Lilith, also the first wife of Adam that she eventually left for Lucifer. In short, the bone of the quarrel was that Lilith would prefer to stand over Adam but God wanted the man to rule. Lilith is also the Queen of Death and Demons. She was and is still adored in almost all religions by magicians, sorcecers and witches.
Anne Rice is a famous author that wrote many books about modern vampires.
All Ricean vampires are related through their blood to Those Who Must Be Kept. These are their original 'parents,' Enkil and Akasha of Egypt, who were attacked by traitors who unwittingly gave a demon entrance into their victims' bodies. This turned these mortals into creatures who could no longer procreate, nor tolerate daylight, and who must take mortal blood to survive. In the course of the Vampire Chronicles, it becomes plain that all vampires are thus interrelated, because when Those Who Must Be Kept are left out in the sunlight by an elder weary of caring for them, all other vampires are burned or destroyed by the transmitted effects of the sunlight upon their parents. And at the end of 'Queen of the Damned' only a cannibalistic ritual act performed by Maharet and Mekare, an echo of the loving ritual they had once set out to perform upon their mother's body, can save the entire population of vampires from death as Akasha herself dies.
The Vampire as a negative double The european vampire who appeared in Europe during the Dark Ages was an explanation for Death. A village suffered from a disease or death or, as is more often the case, a series of deaths. These events were mysterious, in the sense that there were no physical causes known to the villagers that could be offered to account for them.
Often times such deaths were attributed to vampires, which were corpses that came to the victims at night, attacking them, often times sucking their blood to the point of death. The way to stop the vampire was to either use various precautions to prevent it from entering the home, or to actually destroy the vampire itself. This was usually done by digging up graves, searching for corpses that showed signs of being a vampire. Although these signs varied, they usually included characteristics indicating consumption of blood and/or lack of decay (i.e. red lips, flushed cheeks, bloated figures, etc.).
A vampire corpse, once identified was disposed of in a certain prescribed way. Frequent methods used were decapitation of the corpse, removal of its heart, impaling of the heart with a special sharp object, cremation, or some combination of these acts. By these methods, the vampire was found and eliminated. Attributing the deaths to a vampire is the only thing explaining the fatalities, since there was no known physical cause at the time. By doing this, the villagers could take a course of action to stop the deaths.
If vampires did not exist, nothing would explain these deaths and people would feel helpless, since they would not have known what to do. In other words, by attributing a cause to the terrible event, a course of action could be taken to make things better. In this case, the vampire is that cause, or a scapegoat for the deaths. It is feared because of this, yet steps can be taken to destroy the vampire, and stop the deaths. Thus, in the minds of the Slavs, the vampire was an anxiety reliever since it was a scapegoat for a fearful event, which could be destroyed. Today, we have medical science to explain diseases and epidemics, and this function of the vampire is gone. We may still be afraid of having a disease, but now we turn to a doctor, not a vampire, to explain. Thus, although the image of the vampire among the Slavs remains with us, there is no room for its previous social role in our society.
With its original association with evil, disease, and death, it is surprising that this creature of the dark has garnered the appeal it has in American culture today. Indeed, our fascination with something that was once feared seems to indicate that the vampire's function in today's society is fundamentally different from that which it was originally.
Many scholars have attempted to explain the vampire's appeal in psychological terms literary scholar James Twitchell claims that psychoanalytically speaking, the vampire image is so popular because it represents a "complete condensation of problems and resolutions of preadolescence." He claims that children must deal with first time feelings of sexual energy and hostility, and that the vampire image acts out these situations, through its blood sucking and preying on the living.
Kirk J. Schneider, a faculty member of the California School of Professional Psychology, offers a vastly different explanation. He maintains that the vampire figure, specifically Dracula, is appealing because it is horrifying. Schneider states that true horror is when we are unexpectedly immersed in the infinite. Seeing this boundlessness is analogous to the boundlessness of that which is sacred, and thus dealing with the horror allows us to get a feel of what it would be like to deal with the holy. Dracula seems infinite is his power -- and the characters in the story as well as the audience must deal with that endless power. In regards to Dracula, Schneider states that "Dracula is not simply about a monster, it is about the mysterious force which permits monstrosities."
Perkowski claims that the figure of Dracula the Vampire functions as a symbol of evil. He states the Vampire "is a focus of fascination for forbidden, proscribed feelings and acts rife with guilt and fear, a focus for venting one's secret desires to surfeit." To support his claim, he contrasts Dracula's role with that of Santa Claus, claiming that they embody elements that make them polar opposites.
There are many reasons that vampires are so popular. The vampire has the appeal of immortality, which has been a goal of man for ages. Men built the pyramids in an attempt to gain immortality, yet it comes naturally to vampires. Vampires have the appeal of power over others, which is very alluring to someone who feels that they have no power of their own. Finally and most importantly, vampires have a sexual appeal. This sexual appeal ranges from the more normal (dominance, charming, and innuendo of oral sex) to the strange (blood fetishes, sadomasochism, and necrophilia). All claims can be justified in some way or another.
As part of Dresser's research, she asked people what they found so appealing about the vampire. The answers she reports reveal incredible diversity. Qualities mentioned include: eroticism, immortality, power, victimization, beauty, elegance, romanticism, the supernatural, mystery, and the unknown. Of these, three were mentioned most often, the first of which was sexual attraction. People found the biting and blood-sucking element of the vampire extremely sexual. They also found the fact that vampires are immortal quite appealing. This should come as no surprise, given that we live in an age where science strives to prolong lives as our population continues to age. The third major appeal of the vampire is power. The vampire's dominance in the biting of its victim was especially highlighted in this category. All three of these appeals are supported with extensive testimony by vampire fans.
With all of these interpretations of the vampire, it is clear that the image is much less threatening today than it was in Slavic society. As a result, associations are freely made with it and are much more diverse, and leave us hanging with the question of what its social role is. Many explanations have been offered, and these are well supported under the context in which they are presented. Some are scholarly and deal with it at a subliminal level, while others are openly acknowledged by vampire fans themselves. But to take any one of these and assign it as the unifying social function of the vampire, which is often done or implied, would be a mistake. Although their validity may have been proven in certain contexts, it must be remembered that these contexts are not shared by all, or even a majority of the population. Since the image, and not its associations, is what we receive today through television and the rest of the media, the context of the vampire is determined by the psyche it enters, and thus varies from individual to individual. This accounts for its diversity of interpretation that we witness today.
The Antechrist Another interesting origin of the vampire is the negative image of the Christ. A series of oppositions can be easily described:
Blood Blood represents life in the Christian religion and the Eucharestia is the transformation of wine into blood, bread into flesh. The vampire is the total negation of all the symbol of the Eucharestia as Dracula sucks the blood that Jesus is giving away. More interesting is the process of contamination by which the Vampire is dividing himself into new Vampires by having them drunk his own dark blood.
Eternity As the Christ lives in Eternity, the vampire is dealing time against blood. The vampire is moving in an endless time, as the Christ will come back at the end of times.
Give / Take Christ is the source, an energy that radiates, and a supernovae. Dracula is the end, a place where nothing comes out, and a black hole. Christ gives his life to save humanity as Dracula takes the other’s lifes to save him from returning to dust.
The Passion Both are lying on wood before they die – Christ against a cross and Dracula in the wooden coffin. The nails of the cross correspond to the fangs of the vampire. Christ dies loosing his blood from the wounds caused by the nails on the Golgotha as Dracula sucks the blood with his fangs causing his victim’s death for his own survival.
Saints and martyrs are sometime bearing the stigmata from the Christ as the victims of the vampires are marked by the two little holes from the kiss of the vampire.
The hammer / the spear / the stake There is a parallel between the roman soldier that put his spear into Jesus’ chest and the killing of the vampire through the perforation of his heart with a stake. On one hand Christ lives the divine escaping from his wound and on the other hand Dracula is destroyed by the world that brutally invades his body.
The dove / the moon To the holy couple sun/dove correspond the satanic couple moon/bat.
Blood and vampirism Vampires do not necessarily kill their victims, it seems that they need a relatively small amount of blood daily from their victims. Most time, the victim eventually dies exhausted by the constant drain of blood but only when the vampire is feeding night after night on the same body. Being evil, most vampires take pleasure in killing their victims, justifying their act by the desire to remain secret or to save their victim’s soul from being damned.
Vampires can live without feeding for long periods of time, entering a state of hibernation where they almost don’t move, sleeping or remaining in the dark without moving.
If the victim is not killed, he/she will turn into a vampire within 2 to 7 days (varying according to the stories). The master will then initiate the newborn vampire until he can survive by himself. The victim must drink the blood of the vampire. This is the act that van Helsing calls 'the vampire's baptism of blood.’ Once the victim has swallowed the vampire blood, the victim dies as for a poison to reborn as vampire. The victim is under the mental domination of the master vampire and can only exert an independent will during the daylight hours or when the master vampire consciously releases his control. Only the death of the master vampire can free the victim from its curse and only if he has not killed to sustain his blood feed.
It is not widely accepted if vampires can live on animal blood. In European folklore vampires were reported to have assaulted cattle and other domestic animals. In some regions the vampires appear to have fed mainly off the cattle and sheep herds of the peasants.
In our modern society, one could think that it would be easy to spot vampires only by following the murder cases. However, the vampire is a clever creature that can easily dispose of the body of its victims (that would account for “missing persons”) or simply buy its gallon of blood from a “Blood bank” or a hospital thus living no traces of its existence to mortals.
Blood is the vital element of the vampire; he cannot survive without feeding with fresh blood. As every myth, the vampire is related to the eternal struggle between Life and Death, Good and Evil and it is no wonder if we find a lot of parallel between the Myth of the Vampire and Christian symbols
Other theories You may subscribe or not to these theories. They have been stated because they exist but to most of our knowledge there are no serious proofs to sustain them.
The Hormone Theory According to this theory, the vampire is the next step of human evolution. A genetic complex present inside our body but usually dormant get activated by a hormone brought in from an external source. The hormone transforms the victim's physical form and the new vampire will be able to inject the hormone into another victim.
The Fallen Angels Theory
This theory inspired from the Books of Enoch claims that vampires are the offspring of the union between the Watchers (Fallen Angels) and humans. When the Children of the Watchers had consumed all of the food available, they turned to mankind and began to eat their flesh and drink their blood. In another adjunct, vampires are the offspring of the daughters of Eve (female humans) and the Angel of Death sent by God on Earth. Vampires have the mission to control and thwart the demonic offspring of the fallen angels.
The Nanobot Theory
Nanobots, created either by renegade scientists or a race of reptilians, were introduced into a handful of human bodies in order to repair damaged cells. These nanobots performed so well that they rendered their hosts immortal. However, the Nanobots themselves are not immortal and must self-replicate by utilizing the iron atoms from the hemoglobin in the host's red blood cells. The result of this nanoreplication process is the constant need for sufficient supplies of blood. Unable to keep up with the demand, the host has no choice but to seek out blood from others. If the colony of Nanobots exceeds the host's ability to supply sufficient RBCs, some nanobots may migrate into another host, usually the next victim of the primary host's bite.
The Atlantis Theory
The Atlantans, in their quest to prolong life, have conducted biological and genetic experiments which end result was a new human that could live for centuries but had to drink the blood of humans in order to survive. Vampires have escaped the Great Flood as the Atlantans, not satisfied with the results, had buried them in an underground crypt.
The Alien Vampire Theory
Since H.G. Wells’ "The Flowering of the Strange Orchid" in 1894, there has been many writings and movies exploring the possibility of a space alien taking over a human body in order to live off the life energies of others. Those space aliens are some kind of parasites that control our mind and draw our vital forces. When they have exhausted the body, they look for a new host. In another adjunct, vampires do not come from outter space but from another dimension.
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There are a number of cultures which have were-creatures in thier mythology, usually involving large predators that hunt by night. Often the were-creatures takes the form of the most dangerous animal found in the area. India has weretigers, Africa has wereleopards, but the most famous of all are the werewolves of medieval Europe.
The term "were" is from the old english word "wer" meaning man, Thus, werewolves , man-wolves, are half human and half animal.
References to wolf-men arose in Europe at around the time of Christ. In book Ten of Homer's Odysseus , the grandfather of the hero Odysseus is named Autolykos, meaning "he who is wolf." The people of Arcadia believed some members of thier culture had the ability to turn themselves into wolves. If they tasted human flesh during the transformation they were doomed to live out their lives as wild beasts unless they abstained from human flesh for nine years. The Roman poet Virgil wrote in the first century B.C about a sorcerer who took poisonous herbs to turn himself into a werewolf.
Werewolves were believed to have two origins, voluntary and involuntary.
- Many voluntary werewolves were believed to be people who had made a pact with the devil. most werewolf tales describe men who turned into werewolves at night, when they devoured people and animals, and then returned to human form at daybreak. Night was a time of the devil.
- Involuntary werewolves were those whose actions had inadvertently caused a horrible transformation. Persons born on Christmas Eve were often thought to be werewolves. In Sicily, a child conceived during a new moon was thought sure to grow up to be a werewolf. German folk tales told of a mountain brook whose waters turned humans into werewolves.
- Tales in Serbia created werewolves from people who drank water collected in wolf footprints
- People with slanted eyebrows were also automatically assumed to be wolfmen. In Greece, all epileptics were thought to be werewolves.
Some werewolves were believed to be sinners transformed by god for thier actions. Certain saints were thought to have the power to change sinners in to werewolves. In Armenia, it was believed that an adulterous woman would be visited by the devil, who would bring her a wolf skin to wear. To pay for her sins, she had to wear the skin for seven years before she could return to human form.
Surprisingly, even today there are those who still believe in werewolves. One study showed that eighty percent of Russian farmers surveyed believed in werewolves, proving that the negative imagery associated with wolves still lives