The origins of the vampire myth are difficult to pinpoint, but certainly vampires have been around for centuries. There is a belief that vampires were born of sorcery in ancient Egypt – the summoning of a demon into our world. The Chinese jiangshi are wrathful dieties who attack people to drain their life essence. They appear in a variety of works, such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
There are many elements of the lore people associate with vampires, but interpretations vary considerably. Some consider them shape shifters, able to turn into bats or wolves. In some tales they have a reflection, in others they don’t – a fact which helps to identify their true nature. There are differing views and depictions on sunlight, and holy water, and the ways in which people defend against the creatures are also many and varied.
There is no doubt that writers enjoy to play with the rules, as it were. The one reoccurring theme, which is rarely deviated from, is that vampires drain a body of its life energy – normally blood. The idea that you become a vampire by being bitten is a one of the modern interpretations. Earlier beliefs relate to a vampire being identified at birth.
Superstition clearly plays a role in the creation of vampires, especially in their association with death. The most famous vampire is perhaps the character created by Bram Stoker. This interpretation could be based on the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, who is actually viewed by some, not as a blood sucking monster, but as a hero who defended his people.
Besides Stoker, vampires were also used in the Penny Dreadful serial publication. Vampires play an important part in classic horror films, including Nosferatu and the 1931 film Dracula, staring Bela Lugosi.
There are a multitude of references in film, literature, gaming and television. Rather than listing them, I’d prefer hear from you. What’s your favourite depiction? Let’s talk vampires!
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.