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The Mythology of the Vampire

By Karen Thompson


The vampire is a specter which has been feared by peoples around the world for many centuries. Despite the wide distribution of time and distance from which tales of the vampire have come, the lore of the vampire is surprisingly uniform. Most of the descriptions of the vampire attacks have come from Greece, China, and the Slavic nations; the notions that these widely separated peoples had of the origin of the vampire, his power, and his limitations are very similar.

The vampire is commonly considered to be one who exists in the state of "living death," literally a re-animated corpse. Some traditions have it that a vampire is a corpse inhabited by an alien demon, others, that it is a corpse in the possession of a sorcerer as a "familiar," (a situation within the realms of black magic) and still others, by far the majority, which describe the vampire as a body possessed by the soul it had in life. Whatever the means of animation, the vampire is one who once lived, died a corporeal death, and then rose from the grave to walk the earth and haunt the living. He inhabits the grave of his burial during the day and roams at night. The purpose of his wanderings is the attainment of that which will maintain his "living-death" state. He seeks blood, the life-fluid of the living, to retain his own vitality. His victims grow emaciated, anemic, and extremely weak; his death usually follows, while the vampire attains a state of "health." Having drunk blood of a living being, the vampire, previously a fleshless and bloodless ghastly figure gains the corporeal qualities of human life and health: extreme strength, the power of speech, the ability to take in food, and to beget children. The vampire also gains vitality through sexual intercourse with the living and children are sometimes born from this union.

It is only during the day that those who seek to destroy the vampire may come, for the vampire's potency exists only at night, and disappears at cock-crow. When the body of a vampire is exhumed, the corpse is found to be uncorrupted--in the same undecayed from as on the day of its burial. The body seems gorged and turgid, the hair and nails have grown, the lips are blood-stains, the eyes are open, and the cheeks are more rosy than in life. To end the wanderings of the vampire a stake must be driven through its heart with one blow of a mallet; two blows would wake him up. The head is then cut off and placed between the legs. Once the vampire is "killed," the body turns immediately to dust, or to the state of corporeal corruption that would be natural to the time period following the "first death." Often the body is also cremated to make certain of the destruction of the body. According to some tales, care must be taken during the cremation not to allow any of the vermin(snakes & lizards) associated with or contained within the vampire's body to escape destruction; if any do escape, the vampire will grown from these to flourish anew.

There are many who become vampires after their death. Their commonest denominator is that there was some irregularity in their burial rites; for this reason their souls are not permitted to rest and they are doomed to walk the earth until their corpse has been properly buried, the original irregularity being corrected. The list of "potential vampires" includes primarily those refused the burial sacraments of the church because they had been excommunicated, or had died unabsolved of their sins in life, had been suicides, or died by drowning. Those who died especially violent deaths were refused proper burial; those killed by lightning are refused burial because their deaths are attributed directly to the wrath of God. Those especially wicked in life are buried in unhallowed ground, as are suspected sorcerers. Those dying while under the curse of a witch, second generation illegitimate children, still-born babies, unbaptized children, the seventh out of seven children born to one family, anyone touched by the blood of the vampire, anyone with a caul(this only in the Slavic nations; in other countries, a baby born with the caul is considered lucky.) the baby of a pregnant woman who doesn't eat salt or who is seen by a vampire, or anyone who is killed by a vampire will become, after his burial, a vampire. Emphasizing the close connection between the vampire and the werewolf, anyone who is a werewolf in life will be a vampire after death; the offspring of the union between a witch and a werewolf is also a vampire. A corpse over which a cat or dog jumps, or upon which the shadow of one of these animals falls will become a vampire. A vampire may also be a soul in revolt against the natural order of the universe, one who doesn't wish to relinquish his material body at death and thus returns to walk the earth. The incidents of vampire attacks increase as does an epidemic since anyone who is killed by one, becomes one.

Many charms and methods have evolved to prevent vampire attacks, to discover the location of the vampire's grave, to kill the vampire, and to keep a suspected corpse quiet. Most charms were directed toward the immediate protection of the house and its occupants. The most common charms were crosses of tar and pitch painted on doors and windows to prevent the entry of vampires and witches. The rationale was that the vampire would become stuck in the tar, and remain so until dawn when the light of the sun would render him powerless. The rationale was that the vampire would become stuck in the tar, and remain so until dawn when the light of the sun would render him powerless. The vampire also fears the sign of the cross, indeed anything connected with Christ, so this amulet was double affective. Wreaths of thistle and thorn shrubs were used in the same manner, the vampire supposedly becoming entangled in the thorns. Garlands of garlic flowers were hung around the house, and around the neck of the individual. Garlic is especially odious to the vampire so it is used as an amulet. The mouth of a suspected corpse was often stuffed with it to prevent his wandering. A man was considered a potential vampire if he refused to eat garlic. Garlands of garlic flower, thistles, or wild roses were often wrapped around the coffin of a suspected vampire to prevent his exit, he could become entangled in the briars. Millet grains were often spread over a vampire's grave because it was felt that he could not pass until he had counted them all, and by that time it would be dawn. On that same rationale that a vampire must follow out any complicated pattern or task presented to him before he may pass it, other charms consisted of complex braids or painted patterns and were placed on doors and windows, and around the grave itself.

Special means were used to find the grave of a vampire. As a direct contrast to the evil of the vampire, virgin purity was used to seek him out. A virgin boy on a pure white stallion which had not yet mated walked through the cemetery. The horse would not step over the grave of the vampire, and it would become extremely agitated. A gander was sometimes used in place of the horse and it, too, would not step on that grave. Once found, the measures already described were used to dispose of the vampire. Differences arise among various peoples as to the type of wood which will make the stake more effective. Most prevalent are the thorn woods and mistletoe. A method of destruction used in China was to place red rice, peas and pieces of iron around the grave of a vampire at night, when he returned to his grave before dawn he would not able to pass into the earth, and so would be rendered powerless when the sun rose. Another variation was used in Greece. There, some vampires were transported during the day to an island. The vampire cannot cross water, so there were effectively isolated.


The vampire, as I described above, is what I tern a historical vector-sum, the product of the accumulation of man's darkest fears and deepest beliefs. The different vectors are primitive man's fear of the dead, his search for immortality, his desire to control his environment, his anthropomorphic concepts of the fertility of the earth and its creation, his animism, his concept of the universe and his place in it, and his gradual, intellectual maturity, all of which have, over a long period of time, converged to give the relatively sophisticated picture of the vampire we have today. The most significant fact about the vampire, that he is able to go on "living" beyond mortal death, and the myths concerning his origin and the articles connected with him indicated a very strong connection between the vampire and the serpent. The vampire is related to the ancient fertility myths, both by the original fertility significance held by the serpent, and the vampire's own cycled characteristics of life: his sleep patterns, his return from the dead, and his revitalization through nourishment and intercourse with the living.

The two myths explaining the origin of what may be called the vampire are very similar. They probably are, therefore, variations on the same folk-lore motif. The first myth is the story of Lamia, the beautiful queen of Libya who was loved by Zeus. A child was born of their union. Hera, out of jealousy and anger, stole the infant. Sorrowing, Lamia retired to a cave by the sea. Time passed, and Lamia, now represented in an ugly form, roamed at night, stealing and eating the new-born babies of others. Gradually her tastes expanded to the seduction of young men, killing them by either making love to them until they died, or by drinking their blood. She was able to assume a beautiful form at will, but always returned to her ugliness. During one of her states, the lower half of her body was serpentine, and she had wings. This half-dragon state was considered to be one of her states of existence or a transition between the beautiful woman and the serpent-dragon. Modern female vampires are supposed to have red hair, very pale skin, and green eyes which they may remove at will. Lamia, and those that followed her, known as Lamiae, was also able to remove her eyes from her head.

The second myth concerns Lilith, the first wife of Adam in the Bible. Lilith was created at the same time as Adam, from the same clay as he was, and therefore his equal in all things. She refused to be subservient to Adam, developed wings, and flew from him. The angels found her hiding place and told her that her punishment for leaving Adam would be that all children born to her would die. Deep in sorrow, she contemplated suicide. The angels took pity on her and gave her full power over all babies born for their first week of life. Into more recent times, there are spells which mention Lilith by name to keep her away from one's child. Special care is taken to place the baby in the care of the angels to protect them from harm resulting from Lilith's jealousy and sorrow for her own lost children. Lilith later became the wife of Satan, himself often described as a serpent. Children of their union, which apparently were not subject to the original course, lived and were known as demons. Lilith also seduced young men and killed them.

Both Lamia and Lilith had strong identification with the serpent. In one of the translations of the Bible, specifically the Vulgate, the translation of the name Lilith is Lamia. Lilith also means a screech owl, a specter, or a ghost. Lamia and Lilith both seduced their male victims and "loved" them to death. Ishtar, the Mesopotamian fertility goddess, killed her lovers in a like manner. She, however, was not demonified as were Lamia and Lilith, indicating religious conflicts and the supplanting of the goddess in the latter two. Lamia and Lamus were children of Poseidon who were worshipped as gods. Their worship died out and they were demoted to demon status, when Zeus came to power. The second "vector" contributing to the vampire was that primitive man feared death and everything connected with it. The beliefs concerning the state of death varied widely, as did those concerning the exact extent of the connection between the living and the dead. Common to the beliefs of the primitive European peoples was the requirement that the body had to be buried. If the soul was to pass on to any sort of astral world beyond death, to its final resting state, burial was a necessity. The body held the spirit to the earth, so the spirit was not free until the material body was covered by the earth and on its way toward dissolution. A universal Slavic belief is that after death the soul hovers on the earth, fluttering near the grave, and visiting the places known in life. At the end of forty days it tries to reenter its body, long-buried, and partially decomposed by this time. The soul is repelled by the decay, and leaves earth for its new astral environment. (A vampire, of course, would find his body undecayed, and reenter it, thus "coming back" from the dead.) It was thus the duty of any man coming upon a corpse, to bury it, both for the repose of its soul, and for the safety of the living. The souls of the unburied fluttered about the body, and would haunt the living.

Common to both ancient Greek and Roman beliefs was the association of the serpent with the state of death. The snake was commonly seen around cemeteries and so was assumed to be the embodiment of the dead soul. It became a symbol of the grave. Hermes, who was supposed to be the conductor of the dead to Hades was often represented by a serpent.

The early peoples never felt that the dead were wholly extinct, or widely separated from the living. It was popularly believed that the dead lived in an underworld closely associated with the grave. At first it was thought that the underworld was the exact replica of the world of life, a belief reinforced by the fact that the sun seemed to go into the underworld when it set at night. An entrance to the underworld was, therefore, considered to be in the west, near the point where the sun entered the earth. Later, the idea of the dark and horrible underworld came into being. It seemed to be an extension of the type of underworld which Ishtar entered in search of her lover, Tammuz, and since this was an early myth, the Greek and Roman ideas may well have developed from the Mesopotamian idea of hell. To the early Romans, the soul rested with the body within the grave. Articles pertaining to life maintenance were placed in and around the grave to sustain the soul in its afterlife. The continued existence of the soul after death was thoroughly emphasized. The Greeks, too, believed in the immortality of the soul. In one concept of the after-life, the soul resided with the body in the grave, and maintained its life-like existence there. The grave also contained "eidola," the winged figure of the dead person to whom the grave belonged. It demonstrated the powerlessness of the body. There was a great snake representative of the collective strengths of the dead, the powers of life, reincarnation, and of the immortality of the tribe. It was partially through this last image that the grave came to be known as the temple of the serpent. Another concept of the state of the underworld was the one in which all the souls existed together, this the more common impression of the afterlife. It was dark and gloomy, the sun never came to these premises. The souls were called "shadows," or "shades;" they were particularly described as being bloodless specters, without the power of speech, or the ability to gratify any human desires; Ulysses visited this type of underworld and had to feed these spirits blood to give them speech in the <b>Odyssey</b>.

The return of a malignant soul was especially feared, so special pains were taken to ensure rest for the soul. Another consideration was that the dead were at the mercy of the living for a decent burial so that they could rest in afterlife. The funeral and mode of burial seemed, therefore, to take on a double purpose: the protection of the living from the wandering of ill-buried souls, and the assurance, for the dead, of repose in the underworld. Variations arose in which aspect was emphasized by a particular people.

In order to protect the living from the dead, special precautions were taken during the funeral procedure and in the means of burial, all directed toward keeping the dead in the grave. Before the corpse is removed from the house, the relatives walk around it three times, a practice known as circumambulation, meant to remind the body to remain in the grave. In removing the body from the house, special care is taken so that the dead one, if everything else fails, won't be able to find his way back into the house. It is always carried out feet first, often blindfolded so it cannot "see" where it is going and find its way back. Since the vampire always returned to attack his own relatives first, this precaution was especially important. Since the soul could return through the same means of exit used during the funeral, often the body was not transported through the door, but through a window. Sometimes a part of the masonry of a wall was removed, the body passed through, and then the wall repaired again. There is even the incidence of the threshold of the doorway being lifted, the body carried underneath, and then the threshold replaced. The returning spirit could not then cross <b>over</b> the threshold. A vampire could not return to harm a house protected in this way; his only means of entry would now be to be let in by a member of the household, and then he could enter at will on successive occasions.

At the site of the burial other precautions were taken. The corpse was often buried face-down in the grave so he could not find the way out. The body could also be bound; some primitive peoples cut the sinews and the backbone to prevent movement, others practiced really severe mutilation of the corpse. Once buried, stones were piled on the grave so the site could not be disturbed from within. Sometimes burial in a temporarily diverted riverbed took place. Water was a truly effective block for any wandering spirit, since it cannot cross water. Suicides, dead particularly likely to wander since burial rites were refused them, were buried at a crossroads, with a stake through the heart. The living were thus protected from the dead. Included in those precautions were the specific measures to prevent the suspected vampire from walking, described previously.

The dead were also feared because of the ritual defilement incurred by touching a corpse. An unburied body implied potential contact with a disembodied soul, a situation very much feared. On returning, from a funeral, all vessels containing water were emptied in front of the house to prevent anything from following. During the period of mourning all mirrors were turned to the wall. In ancient times the reflection was seen as the soul. If the spirit of the dead one happened by, he could perhaps steal the soul reflected in the mirror and then that person would have to follow him to the lower world. The mirror is supposed to reflect truth and good; Thus no vampire or spirit may see himself reflected in the mirror. The corpse is also considered one of the sources of the evil eye. The "glance" of the corpse, the vampire, meant disease and death. The most feared characteristic of the evil eye was its power to fascinate. It was believed that under the control of the evil eye, a man could be led to his own destruction. Much of the dread of such fascination was expanded from the serpent's power to fascinate its prey. The Medusa, whose glance turned men to stone, was considered another example of the evil eye; she was partly serpentine. The evil eye projects the malignancy of its owner, thereby inflicting the injury and death. The Slavs feel that its invisible powers cause disease, the symptoms of which are: pallor, loss of appetite, nervousness, loss of weight, insomnia, vomiting, and depression. These symptoms are the same as those manifested by one who is attacked by a vampire. As mentioned before, a vampire's eyes are open when the body is exhumed, therefore a perpetual look of death... or the glance of the evil eye.

In ancient Greece and Rome there were festivals at set times of the year celebrating the return of the dead. In Rome it was the "Lemuria," in Greece, the "Anthesteria." During these festivals, generally lasting three days, sacrifices were made and special household observances were kept, all with the purpose of making the dead welcome. Since death does not change the character one had in life, there were the good dead, the "Manes," the benevolent souls who returned to bless the living, and the malevolent ones, the "Lemures," who returned only to do damage. The festivals only lasted for three days because of the extent of the evil that could be done if the Lemures were to remain longer. Each household prepared its own special welcome for its returning ancestors; elaborate pastries known as "soul-cakes" and some provision to appease the thirst of the ghost were the most frequent repasts set out for the dead. To protect against the Lemures, charms, such as tar and pitch designs were placed on the doors and windows; the Athenians tied ropes around their temples to prevent defilement of the sacred premises by the dead. Before the dead departed for the underworld at the end of the festival, it was felt that some of the dead might try to take some of the living back to the underworld with them. Thus, if during this time, one heard his name called in the middle of the night , he was not to answer until he was called by name three times. The Lemurs could call but once. If one awoke in such a manner did answer the first summons, he was found dead the next morning. At the end of the three day festival period, each Roman or Greek household held its own exorcism ceremony to rid the house of the returned souls and ensure blessing for the following year. The specially purified head of the house performed the ceremony, a part of which was throwing backwards, over his shoulders, black beans, saying, "With these beans I ransom the household." It is very curious that this part of the ceremony should be common to exorcisms of this sort as far away as China and Japan.

Two attitudes prevailed concerning the powers of the dead. The dead were responsible for good or evil which affected the entire community. The benevolence of the dead resulted in good harvests, plenty of rainfall, many offspring, and other more general blessings. The malevolence of the dead resulted in dead, disease barrenness of the woman and of the land, poor harvests, storms, earthquakes, and the eclipse. The opposite attitudes could possibly be explained in terms of the status accorded the serpent by the nation involved, since the serpent was either a symbol of life and fertility or death, depending on the culture; but this will be discussed in more detail later.

Another major "vector" contributing to the modern concept of the vampire was primitive man's association of the vampire with the serpent's attributes as a fertility symbol and later as a representation of evil. The serpent seemed immortal because it shed its skin seasonally and thus seemed to be born anew each year; the vampire's immortality stemmed from his return to the dead. The vampire shared with the serpent the blame for meteorological phenomena. As one of the "malevolent dead" and a possessor of the evil eye, the vampire was seen as the cause of the bad harvests and storms. In Rumania, the vampire is specifically named as the cause of the eclipse: he east the sun and the moon. Other peoples felt that the eclipse was caused by the winged serpent, the dragon, who streaked across the sky, devouring the sun and the moon. By virtue of these associations, therefore, and by the intimate relation to dead that they both had, the early vampire, and the serpent were considered synonymous. Thus, through this identification, the lore associated with the vampire was dependent upon the serpent's status among the ancient peoples, and on the ideas concerning his powers.

One of the most prevalent figures appearing in many of the hieroglyphics of ancient Persia, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece, among others, is the hierogram known as "Uraeus." It is a triple emblem consisting of a circle or sphere, a pair of wings, and the serpent, which here is definitely benevolent in nature, because the Uraeus was the symbol of the supreme deity. The circle represents the solar disk-- the visible embodiment of the deity or the expression of the transcendental and invincible creator in terms of the full circle of the universe and heavens. The sphere is the simple essence of God, the perfect being, and the first Intellect. The sphere is also the symbol of creative motion, of the rotation necessary for the force of creation. The sphere or disk is the top of the column of the cosmos which spins constantly. In some interpretations of the Uraeus, the sphere is the Egg, the image of creation. The serpent emerging from the disk is the "Word" of the deity, or "the vivifying quality of Divine Life which called all creation into existence." (The Encircled Serpent, p.1) Thus the serpent was the essence of fertility. The wings represent the omnipresence of the love and power of the Supreme Being. The entire emblem thus represents the deity on the omnipotent creator and preserver.

The dragon was the symbol of the cult of the encircled serpent worshipers. Its wings represented the swiftness of thought, thus again the omnipresent "word" of the deity. The dragon, on a religious standard, was the symbol of the god himself, and of his power as the creator, preserver, and destroyer. The serpent, by itself, was a potent fertility symbol. In the form of a circle, with its tail in its mouth, it represented the Wheel of Life that stood for continuation and immortality, and was the disk of the deity in the Uraeus.

The serpent was an ambivalent life symbol, as represented, for example with the Medusa. The Medusa seems to mark a transition between the benevolent and malevolent aspects of the snake. The Medusa was one of the Gorgons, three sisters(Stheno, Medusa, and Euryale) whose hair was intertwined with serpents and whose glances turned men to stone. The face of the Medusa itself is mild; There is nothing frightening or evil about it. The horrible aspect must therefore be the serpents in her hair. The further ambiguity of the serpent in the Medusa is especially evident if the face is removed, leaving only the ring of snakes. The remaining image is of the old fertility symbol-the serpent ring. According to one of the old myths which preceded the Olympic Pantheon, Medusa, the eclipse, slain by Perseus, giving birth to the sun and the moon. Perseus, in order to "slay" the darkness, the Medusa, was armed with weapons provided by the dawn, the sun, and the winds. The sisters of the wind were the Graiae, otherwise known as the Lamiae; they gave him wings. In general, the eclipse always portended some evil to come; it also threatened the return to the primordial darkness that primitive man feared. During an eclipse the appearance of the moon, which through its regular monthly phases suggested predated cycles of death and restoration of life.

The intertwined snakes of the Medusa's hair are similar to another serpent symbol, the caduceus of Hermes, the messenger, a herald god. Often represented by a serpent himself, he conducted the dead to Hades. The staff of caduceus symbolized power,(spinning cosmic force of creation) the serpents, wisdom, and the wings, activity. Hermes, as the messenger, was the connection between gods and men, while Christ, often represented as a dragon was also a connection between God and men. Moses' serpent-rod in the Bible was the delegated manifestation of the power of God to be used for good or evil. The serpent eventually came to represent evil. This might possibly have been because of the supplanting and subsequent demonification and symbolizing, such as what happened in the case of the Medusa or because the snake as an animal naturally evokes fear. The serpent came to represent the figure of death. A thirteenth century impression of death was an almost too beautiful woman whose back was covered with adders and vipers. The devil is always pictured partly serpentine. The Eumenides, the three sisters representing the conscience, were half serpent. The physical pain was pictured as a dragon attacking the body. In the Bible, the serpent is held responsible for the introduction of sin into the world through his guile. Finally, the serpent was thought to have stolen the immortality meant for men. In the "Epic of Gilgamesh" of Mesopotamia the hero Gilgamesh searches the world over for what will give him eternal life. After many trials and privations Gilgamesh found the plant that would give him immortality. When he took a nap a short time later, a serpent smelled the plant and ate it, gaining the eternal life himself. Thus the vampire's serpentine antecedents came to be associated with evil.

Another vector that has become a part of the vampire is the special life-significance of blood. The vampire's nightly wanderings were specifically in search of blood. The attainment of this goal meant the renewal of the human capacities of corporeal life, but not only temporary. By drinking the blood of a living human, the vampire gained the power of speech, strength, sexual potency, and the appearance of extreme bodily health. The vampire, in effect, took life from his victim in the blood, literally and figuratively. Primitive man felt that the blood was the life of the person. The empirical proof was the fact that extensive blood loss was always followed by death. The possession of blood was the essence of life. Physically taking-in someone else's blood resulted in the increment of one's own vitality. Since blood was so vital to life, it was thought to have a soul of its own; thus drinking the blood of another came to be identified with the removal and possession of his soul. The heart of the vampire was always pierced with a seat of the emotions. The heart of the vampire was always pierced with a stake when the vampire was being destroyed, thus putting an end to his malice.

The vampire's evil may be elucidated in terms of the column of the cosmos. The vampire is evil, because he represents a perversion of the ideas of the cosmos. The aspect of the column of interest here is its concept of the cycles of life--specifically the ideas of birth and death as shown in the Yin-Yang. The birth of one cycle of life was the death of another; likewise the death of one was the birth of another. Birth and death were thus equal phenomena; they were the two most important acts of a man's life, and in the natural order he had no control over them at all. During life, the body and the soul represent the unit. Mortal death represents the birth of a new existence. The body dies and decays; through this corporeal decay, the soul is freed. In the natural order of the cosmos physical death is the means to this new state of being for the soul. The soul can now ascend the cosmic column toward the deity, and the body "descend" to become a part of the earth from which it originally came. The grave is the body's 'entrance' to the cosmic column. The vampire perverts this natural order. The vampire's death is not the birth of the new cycle or spirit life. The vampire retains his body; thus his soul is still tied to the earth. The grave does not put the vampire in "order" with the cosmic column, because the body does not decay to return to the earth. The cosmic order is perverted because the stage of the unity of body and soul is maintained. The stake that is used to kill the vampire may be seen as a crude representation of the cosmic column. Pounding the stake into the heart of the vampire places him or his body under the column, literally. When the vampire is placed in order with the cosmos by virtue of having been staked, his body turns to dust immediately, to assume its rightful place as part of the earth. The earth, metaphorically, seems to revolt from the vampire when he is in his potency. The earth will not receive his evilness and the body does not decay; dissolution only follows when the vampire has accepted the order of the cosmos and ceased to try to maintain his hold on the previous cycle of life. Only when birth and death are seen as the same phenomena, viewed from opposite sides, neither occurring without the order, is the cosmic order preserved.


Does the vampire exist or not? He certainly cannot be viewed only as a mythological phenomenon. Logical explanations are in terms of scientific, social and psychological rather than mythological concepts. The lore of the vampire's ghoulish "habits" may be due to existence of parallel psychological phenomena having to do with actions of a living person toward the dead. These perversions include: necrophagism, eating the dad; necrosadism, receiving erotic satisfaction from mutilation of the dead; and necrophilia, achieving actual sexual intercourse with the dead. There are maniacs who possess the unnatural craving for blood. Due to the infancy of medical science, at the time when vampires were truly feared, people in coma or shock were often buried alive; those who managed to escape their premature graves were looked upon with awe because they had "returned." Another type of vampire is the one who taps the psychic energy of another through fear perhaps, and thus drains them of the will to live. Another facet was the coincidence of plagues and the onset of vampire attacks. The vampire attacks were always considered an epidemic because anyone killed by a vampire became one, and the numbers increased in a rapid mathematical progression as did the victims of a plague. The vampire, then, is at least partially scientifically explainable.

The development of man's conceptions which over the epochs since man's own inception, have crystalized in the form of the vampire may be described by the evolutionary phrase, "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." - Individual development of the person repeats the history of the race. The perceptual development of a child from infancy to adulthood follows the same progression as did the conceptions of man about his environment, from his most primitive roots to his present sophistication. The most primitive man saw his world as a baby sees his: an environment that he could not control, the seasons, day and night, and the progression of life toward death. As a child does, he named these things, for to name is to have power and to know. He attributed life to inanimate objects and tried to survive in his unknown universe. Daily wonders, like the sun rising every morning, he began to take for granted as he gain confidence in what he saw around him. As they do a child, deviations from his expected daily observances frightened him. The eclipse was such a deviation, and new aspects of his environment were frightening. Although man grew intellectually, he was always subject dark fantasies which despite increasing technology never could quite be explained away. The vampire grew out of these fantasies and remains with the race of man, as an unexplained childhood fear can stay with a man for the rest of his life.


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(19) The Supernatural, Its Origin, Nature, and Evolution, John King. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 1892.

(20) Demonology and Devil Lore, Moncure Conway. Chatto & Windus, London; 1879.

(21) Ritual and Belief, E.S. Hartman. Charles Scriberner's Sons, New York; 1914.

(22) Outlines of Primitive Belief, Charles Keary. Longmans, Green & Co., London; 1882.

(23) The Golden Bough(The Taboo & Perils of the Soul), J.G. Frazer. Macmillan Co., London; 1919.

(24) The New Golden Bough, J.G. Frazer. Criterion Books; 1959.

(25) Taboo, Magic, and Spirits, Eli Burris. Macmillan Co., New York; 1931.

(26) Memoirs of Popular Delusions, Charles Mackay. Richard Bently Co., London; 1841.

(27) An Outline of Theosophy, C.W. Leadbeater. Theosophical Book Concern, Los Angeles, CA.; 1916.

(28) Theosophy Simplified, I. Cooper. The Theosophical Press, Wheaton, Ill.; 1915.

(29) Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Andrew Lang. Longmans, Green & Co., London; 1887.

(30) Teutonic Mythology, Jacob Grimm. George Bell & Sons, London; 1888.

(31) Encyclopedia of Occultism, Lewis Spence. University Books, New York; 1960.