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What Are Vampires?

QUESTIONS ABOUT VAMPIRES [2.01] How do you define "vampire"? There is no mutually-agreed upon newsgroup definition for "vampire." Ask a dozen readers, and you're likely to get a dozen different answers. However, a workable blanket definition for the various types of vampires from legend and fiction [q.v. 2.04] might go something like this: A vampire is a being who, in order to maintain its existence, must feed on the vitality of humans. Given that core definition, you're now free to qualify the terms to suit the specific type of vampire being described. For example, the vampire can be living, dead, undead, or spiritual. "Vitality" can mean blood, lifeforce, passion, chi, soul, psychic/sexual energy, etc. Important to the definition is the word "must" in that it disqualifies blood fetishers who do not NEED blood to survive. "Feed" can be changed to "ingest", "suck", "prey" or "drink" but, whatever term is selected, it should disqualify flesh-eating beings such as ghouls. A few years ago, in an attempt to add more bite to the definition, I surveyed readers of a.v. and asked them to rate 16 characteristics as to their perceived importance to the definition of "vampire." The most important features of a "vampire," according to the 150+ replies I received, are that s/he feeds on human lifeforce, does not age, is immortal, and drinks human blood. This gives more weight to the suggested blanket definition in which the vampire is a being who must feed on the vitality of humans in order to survive, with the added qualifiers that, if the need is met, the vampire is rendered unaging and long-lived. [NOTE: The term "long-lived" is currently preferred over "immortal" because immortality implies that one cannot cease to exist, yet there are a number of ways that vampires can be destroyed [q.v. 2.07]. Of medium importance are that the vampire is a living corpse, is telepathic, is harmed by the sun, feeds on human passions, and has fangs. Of little importance is that s/he casts no reflection, loves darkness, has a pale complexion, sleeps in a coffin, is repelled by a cross, is prone to obsessive love, and wears a black cape. [2.02] Where did the word "vampire" come from? Most etymologists (persons who study the origins of words) agree that "vampire" is from the Slavic "vampir" or "vampyr" and first appeared in the 1600s in the area of what is now Bulgaria and Yugoslavia on the Balkan peninsula. However, attempts to trace back the origin of the Slavic "vampir" are still under dispute. The theory currently favored is that "vampir" came from "upir", which first appeared in print in a 1047 CE East Slavic (Old Russian) manuscript in which a Novrogordian prince is referred to as "Upir Lichy" (Wicked Vampire). Tracing the source of "upir" and its Slavic cognates (i.e., upior, obyrbi, upirbi, obiri) is even more controversial, fraught with many theories but little documented evidence. For example, Franz Miklosich, a late 19th century linguist, suggested that "upir" is derived from "uber", a Turkish word for "witch". Andre Vaillant suggests just the opposite--that the Northern Turkish word "uber" is derived from the Slavic "upir". More recently, Jan Perkowski, who has done a great deal of research on the vampires of the Slavs, also favors a Slavic origin to the word. But even amongst those who lean towards a Slavic origin, there is considerable disagreement. Kazimierz Moszynski suggests that "u-pir" is from a Serbo-Croatian word "pirati" (to blow). Aleksandr Afanas'ev 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). These are just a few of the possible origins of the word "vampire." For now, it appears that the best answer to the question of where the word originated is that it's a Slavic word. But where the Slavs got it is still an unanswered question. [2.03] What is the translation of "nosferatu" into English? Bram Stoker used the word "nosferatu" in his novel _Dracula_. Most people think it is a Romanian word for "vampire" or "undead." Actually, no such word exists in any Romanian dictionary. It first appears in print in an article entitled "Transylvanian Superstitions" [Emily Gerard in _The Nineteenth Century_, July 1885, pp 128-144]. Gerard had spent some time in Transylvania and may have heard a word that sounded to her like "nosferatu." It may be a corrupted form of "nesuferit" or the Greek "Nosophoros," both of which translate as "plague-bearer." The word "nosferatu" was later incorporated by Gerard into her book _The Land Beyond the Forest_ (1888). We are not sure if Stoker ever consulted this book; it is not on his own list of sources. But the article is. In fact, Stoker borrowed many items from this article, including the blue flames and St George's Eve. To quote from Gerard's book, "More decidedly evil is the nosferatu, or vampire, in which every Roumanian peasant believes as he does in heaven or hell." [written in part by Elizabeth Miller] [2.04] What types of vampires are in existence? This is a sampler of vampire legends from around the world. - Asasabonsam: W. African. Folklore of the Ashanti people. Asasabonsam are human looking vampires except that they have hooks instead of feet and iron teeth. The Asasabonsam are tree dwelling vampires that live deep in the forest. They sit in the tops of trees with their legs dangling down which enables them to catch their victims with their hooked feet. They tend to bite their victims on the thumb. - Baital: Indian. These vampires natural form is that of a half-man, half-bat creature roughly four feet tall. They are otherwise unremarkable. - Bajang: Malaysian. The bajang normally take the form of polecats. Sorcerers could enslave and force them to kill his enemies, and some families were believed to be hereditarily stalked by the bajang. - Baobhan Sith: Scottish. The baobhan sith (pronounced buh-van she) are evil fairies who appear as beautiful young women and will dance with men they find until the men are exhausted and then feed on them. The baobhan sith can be harmed and destroyed by cold iron. - Callicantzaros (also spelled as Kallikantzaros): Medieval and Modern Greece. According to Christian Greek folk belief, a child born during the time from the beginning of Christmas to New Year's Day (or, in some versions, to Epiphany, Jan. 6) will become a callicantzaros. It is also during this period of the year that the callicantzaroi become a threat to normal humans. Then they roam the countryside, sleeping in caves during the day and entering villages at night. They can appear half-human, half-animal shapes. At the end of this period, they travel down caverns or other tunnels to Hades where they remain until the next Christmas. While on the world's surface, a male Callicantzaros is apt to kidnap a mortal woman to return with him to the underworld as his bride and to bear his children who also become callicantzaroi. To To prevent an infant of two mortal parents born during the Yuletide season from becoming a callicantzaros, the infant was sometimes held feet down over a fire until the toenails were singed. It was said that the first victims of a callicantzaros whose parents were both mortal were often his own brothers and sisters, whom he was apt to bite and devour. The callicantzoroi are actually closer to werewolves than to vampires--there is no direct connection with blood drinking--but they are frequently described in nonfictional books about vampires. (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Ch'ing Shih: Chinese. Ch'ing shih appear livid and may kill with poisonous breath in addition to draining blood. If a Ch'ing Shih encounters a pile of rice, it must count the grains before it can pass the pile. They can be harmed and destroyed by normal weapons and by sunlight. Their immaterial form is a glowing sphere of light, much like a will-o'-the-wisp. - Civateteo: Mexican. These vampire-witches held Sabbaths at crossroads and were believed to attack young children and to mate with human men, producing children who were also vampires. They were believed to be linked to the god Tezcatlipoca. - Dearg-due: Irish. The dearg-due is a standard European vampire, except that it cannot shapeshift and may be defeated by building a cairn of stones over its grave. - Empusa: Ancient Greece and Rome. Empusas appear as either beautiful women or ancient hags. They are strongly related to the incubi and succubi (q.v). - Ekimmu: Assyrian. Montague Summers described the ekimmu as vampires, but recent re-interpretations of "The Gilgamesh Epic" seem to refute this conclusion. The ekimmu are simply the souls of those who died without proper burial and so they wander the Netherworld looking for peace, not blood. - Hanh Saburo: Indian. These creatures live in forests and can control dogs. They will attempt to lure or drive travelers into the forest to attack them. - Incubus: European. Incubi (plural of incubus) are sexual vampires. They are spirit vampires of a demonic nature. The general way they feed is by having sexual relations with the victim, exhausting them, and feeding on the energy released during sex. They may enter homes uninvited and can take on the appearance of other persons. They will often visit the same victim repeatedly. A victim of an incubus will experience the visits as dreams. The female version of an incubus is a succubus. Closely related to the incubi/sucubi are the Slavic mora, the German mahr, and the Scandinavian mara, from which the word "nightmare" is derived. - Jararaca: Brazilian. Normally appearing as snakes, jararaca are said to drink the milk, as well as the blood, of sleeping women. - Krvopijac: Bulgarian. Krvopijacs (also known as obours) look like normal vampires except that they have only one nostril. They can be immobilized by placing wild roses around their graves. One way to destroy a krvopijac is for a magician to order its spirit into a bottle, which must then be thrown into a fire. - Lamia: Ancient Greece and Rome. Lamias are exclusively female vampires. They often appear in half-human, half-animal forms and eat the flesh of their victims in addition to drinking their blood. Lamias can be attacked and killed with normal weapons. - Loogaro: West Indies. Appearing as old women, these vampires go abroad at night as blobs of light, much like the will-o'-the-wisp. - Mulo: Gypsy. Gypsies all over Europe generally believed that the mulo was the spirit of a dead person which left its corpse in its grave at night and returned to the corpse at dawn. The mulo was generally invisible but could be visible to certain people, in which case it usually appeared in the original form of the dead person. Some Gypsy clans believed that their muli were too loyal to their clan to trouble them. But in the cases of clans who believed otherwise, esp. in Balkan countries such as Kosova, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia, the mulo often played the role of the vampire. The vampiric mulo mostly preyed on sheep and cattle, but there are tales of entire households being victimized by a mulo. In the Balkan countries, the adult male mulo typically came at night to visit his widow or perhaps a woman he had loved during his lifetime. In some versions of the story, he acted kindly towards her, helping her with household tasks and regaining her favor. Or, he might make demands on her for good tasting food, always rejecting what she offered. While visible to his wife, he might at the same time be invisible to other family members, behaving much like a poltergeist. In a third version, the mulo is invisible even to his wife--but he lies upon her and rapes her while she feels paralyzed and is unable to cry out for help. In these chases, the widow may become sick with terror, refuse food and drink, and eventually die. Some Gypsies in Kosova believed that twin brothers and sisters born on a Saturday could see a vampiric mulo if they wore their underwear and shirts inside out. The mulo would flee as soon as it was seen by the twins. A Gypsy practice in Moravia, now the eastern province of the Czech Republic, was to use a hen's egg to bait and ambush an invisible mulo. When the egg suddenly disappeared, the men would fire their guns at the spot. (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Nachzerer: German. These are ghosts of the recently dead that return to kill their families. - Rakshasa: Indian. The Rakshasas are powerful vampires of the spirit variety. They usually appear as humans with animal features (claws, fangs, slitted eyes, etc.) or as animals with human features (flattened noses, hands, etc.). They often appear as tigers. In any form, rakshasas are powerful magicians. They eat the flesh of their victims in addition to drinking blood. Burning, sunlight, or exorcism may destroy Rakshasas. - Shtriga: Medieval and Modern Albanian. The Albanian Shtriga, like the ancient Roman Stryx, is a witch who preys upon infants by drinking their blood at night. But instead of transforming into an owl when she goes for her midnight snack, she is more apt to take the form of a flying insect. As recently as the early 20th century, many Albanians regarded the Shtriga to be the most common cause of infant deaths. (See also Veshtitza.) (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Strigoi: Medieval and Modern Romania, including Transylvania. The feminine form of the name is Strigoiaca. The terms derive from the name of the blood-sucking, shape-changing, ancient Roman 'Stryx' [which see]. They apply to either a person who is already an undead vampire (Strigoi Mort) or to one who is still living (Strigoi Viu) but predestined to become a Strigoi Mort. In most ways, the Strigoi Morti resemble the undead vampires found in other Eastern European countries. They can be destroyed by such typical means as impaling with a stake or by cremating them. They were often blamed as the cause of death in cases of epidemics --with the dead victims frequently becoming Strigoi Morti, too. The Strigoi Vii are more unusual. According to old Romanian folklore, a person who is born with a caul (a veil of fetal membrane still attached to the head), a small tail, or other peculiar circumstances is a Strigoi Viu. While living, the Strigoi Viu is not a blood drinker, but his powers include what could be called psychic vampirism--he can steal the vitality of his neighbors' crops and animals to enhance his own. Also, he can leave his body at night and travel in the form of an animal or a small spark of light. Sometimes it was said that a Strigoi Viu took animal form by stealing the form from the animal. The Strigoi Vii join together in covens and meet with the Strigoi Morti on special nights such as the Eve of St. George (April 22)--the same auspicious night when Jonathan Harker meets Dracula in Bram Stoker's novel. (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Stryx: Ancient Roman. Stryx [plur: striges] literally means "screech "owl" but the ancient Romans also applied the term to witches who transformed into owls at night in order to prey upon infants, drinking their blood and sometimes eating their internal organs. In modern Italian, "striga" has become a general word for "witch". Ovid, in his book _Fasti_, tells a story about an infant who was attacked each night by a flock of striges. The demigoddess Crane is called upon to ward away the striges by sprinklng the doorway with "drugged" water and placing a branch of hawthorn in the window. In later European lore, hawthorn is often as effective as garlic for warding away or confining vampires and is the best material for stakes to pound through their hearts. [See also Shtriga, Strigoi, and Veshtitza] (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Vampir: Serbian. The vampir is naturally invisible but can be seen by animals or by a dhampir [q.v], the living offspring of a vampir. The Serbian vampir cannot shapeshift. - Veshtitza: Medieval and modern Montenegro and Serbia. A blood drinking witch similar to the Roman Stryx and the Albanian Shtriga [q.v.]. The. soul of a Veshtitza leaves her body at night and enters the body of a hen or black moth. In this body, the veshtitza flies about until she finds a home where there are infants or young children. She drinks their blood and eats their hearts. Veshtitze may join together to form covens, the members of which flock together in the branches of trees at midnight on certain nights to hold a meeting while they snack upon what they have gathered earlier. Since it was commonly believed that witches become vampires after they die, it seems unlikely that the natural death of a veshtitza ends her drinking habit. (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Vrykolakas: 17th - early 20th Century Greece. The term derives from the Southern Slavic name Vorkudlak which can either mean an undead vampire or a werewolf. The name Vrykolakas (plur: Vrykolakes) has variants such as Vourkalakas and Vrukolakas. On the isle of Crete, the name is often replaced by 'Kathakano". In some moutain regions on the mainland, the term Vrykolakis could also apply to a shepherd who is compelled by the full moon to go about biting and eating both man and beast. But most generally it was applied to dead people who return from their graves, bringing death to the living. When a dead person was suspected of being a Vrykolakas, his corpse was exhumed to see if it had resisted decay. Also, there was a religious practice of exhuming all corpses after three years from their original burial. Typically, an exhumed corpse appeared bloated and ruddy. This was interpreted as evidence that the body had become a Vrykolakas and had gorged itself on the blood of its victims. A person could become a Vrykolakas after death by having been excommunicated, by having committed a serious crime or by having led a sinful life. Those conceived or born on a holy day were predestined to become Vrykolakes. Even if a person died without these taints, he was apt to become a Vrykolakas if a cat jumped over his corpse before burial. Though Vrykolakes were most active at night, they could also go about during daylight. They were only obliged to be in their graves on each Saturday. According to one report from the 17th century, revenant Vrykolakes prowl at night, knocking on doors and calling out the names of the inhabitants. Anyone who answered was doomed, but those who resisted were spared. Perhaps this is the origin of the modern literary tradition that a vampire cannot enter a home unless invited? Vrykolakes can be destroyed by exorcism or burning. Yet another recourse was to rebury the corpse on a desert island. This was done in belief that a Vrykolakas could not cross sea water (s/b Patrick Johnson) - Wampir: Polish and Russian. Wampiri appear exactly as normal humans and have a "sting" under their tongue rather than fangs. They are active from noon until midnight. A vampir may only be destroyed by burning. When burned, the wampir's body will burst, releasing hundreds of small, disgusting maggots, rats, etc. If any of these escape, the wampir's "spirit" will escape as well and will later return to seek revenge. Wampiri may also be called vieszcy and upierczi. Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Some other regional variants on the vampire are: Austrian dracul, Amer. Indian kwakiytl, Bohemian ogolgen, Brazilian lobishomen, African otgiruru, African owenga, Romanian avarcolac, Babylonian sharabisu, Greek brucolacas, Tibetan khadro, Singhalese kattakhanes, and Hindu kalika. [2.05] What powers are most commonly ascribed to vampires? There are many different versions of the vampire myth, both in legend and in fiction, therefore any ability you could name has probably been been ascribed to vampires at some point. Here are some of the powers traditionally ascribed to European vampires (the kind most often portrayed in movies and literature)... - Ability to change shape. Common animate forms assumed are: wolf, bat, rat, cat, owl, fox, weasel, raven, spider, scorpion, moth and fly. Inanimate objects which might also be assumed are mist, orbs of light, even a ball of dust like you find under your bed [q.v. ch'ing shih, loogaroo 2.03]. In some myths, the vampire's true form is inhuman, and they shapechange into humans [q.v lamia, baital, bejang, jaracara, rakshasas 2.03]. - Strength, speed and sensory perception far greater than that of humans. - Ability to summon and control animals, particularly rats and wolves. - Mind-control...may command mortals, strike fear with a look, or cause selective amnesia. - Ability to control the weather...summoning rain clouds and fog. - Ability to command some form of magical or mystical beings, with the implicit idea that the vampyre is in league with an evil entity. [2.06] What are the vulnerabilities of vampires? - Weakened or harmed by sunlight. Although this vulnerability seems prevalent, there are notable exceptions to it, i.e., Dracula was relatively unaffected by sunlight. - Repelled/harmed by religious symbols. This is a subject of debate. One theory is that the symbol itself is useless unless the wielder possesses a strong faith in the efficacy of the symbol as a despoiler of evil. As such, the symbol is a mere vehicle for the faith of the holder, thus the actual symbol need not be religious. Another theory is that the icon is powerful in and of itself and channels power from above, whether or not the holder believes in it. - Repelled by garlic. During the Middle Ages, breakouts of certain communicable diseases were sometimes attributed to the presence of a vampire, for example, bubonic plague. During the early 1700s, as the plague swept across Europe, people turned to a concoction of vinegar and garlic called "Four Thieves' Vinegar (FTV)." FTV is said to have originated with four thieves who confessed that wearing a facemask saturated with garlic vinegar protected them against catching the plague when they plundered the dead. It is true that garlic contains an antibacterial substance which might very well have afforded some protection against the plague bacillus and other pathogens. - Repelled by wolfbane. Wolfbane was mentioned in the Bela Lugosi movie version of "Dracula" and was used in place of garlic. - Does not cast a reflection in a mirror. Reflections were believed to capture a bit of a person's soul, something a vampire is thought not to possess. In some areas, vampires were also believed not to show in photographs or to cast shadows. - Unable to cross running water, except at the ebb and flow of the tide. The reason for this is uncertain. Some say it may be linked to the similarities between mirrors and the surface of the water. Others suggest that it has to do with water being a purifier. Regardless of the theory as to how it works, it became a practice in some places to bury suspected vampires on islands so that they couldn't return by crossing the water. One famous such island is Santorini (in the Aegean Sea, north of Crete) which was reputed as having so many vampires buried there that the phrase "sending vampires to Santorini" has a meaning similar to "selling freezers to Eskimos". They don't need any. - Can't enter the home of someone without an invitation. - Must pass the daylight hours in a coffin filled with the soil in which he was originally buried. - Cannot pass a thicket of wild rose or a line of salt - Has to stop and count every grain in a pile of grain (type of grain varies, such as millet, rice, even sand) [2.07] How can one kill a vampire? Vampires in legend and fiction are usually already dead...er...UNdead. Therefore, the aim is not to kill them but to destroy them in such a way that they can never again rise up to walk among the living. Some time-honored ways of destroying a vampire include: - Burning. This seems to be a universal method in both legend and fiction of destroying vampires. - Cutting out the heart and burning it. - Cutting off the head. Some legends say that this must be done with a gravedigger's shovel. In fiction, however, Van Helsing's autopsy knives seemed to work just fine on Lucy. Other legends require that the head be moved away from the body lest the head and body re-unite. - Driving a stake through the heart. This method seems to work best on fictional vampires. In legendary vampire lore, staking a vampire serves merely to "nail" him in place so as to prevent him from leaving the coffin or to allow other procedures [as above] to be performed without having to worry about the vampire moving, shapeshifting, or otherwise escaping. In many of these legends, the stake must be of a particular wood, such as ash, hawthorne, maple, blackthorn, buckthorn, or aspen. The power of these woods is often claimed to lie in Christian symbolism. For example, ash has been cited as the wood from which Christ's cross was made. Plants with thorns, such as hawthorn, wild roses, and blackthorn, are associated with the crown of thorns worn by Christ at his crucifixion. However, in his book _Fasti_ [which was written prior to the death of Christ], Ovid describes the value of hawthorn in warding off vampire striges [see 2.04 Stryx] who like to feed on the blood and guts of human infants, so the roots of some of these legends obviously predate Christian influences. - Exposing to sunlight. Like staking, exposing a vampire to sunlight has become one of the more common methods of destroying fictional vampires, at least since Count Orlock greeted the dawn through a window in the 1922 classic movie "Nosferatu". Legendary vampires are not quite so sun-sensitive. [see Vrykolakas 2.04, vulnerabilities 2.06, and dhampirs 2.08] - Dispelling the vampire with holy symbols, such as the Eucharist or holy water. This idea seems to derive from the Christian belief, as espoused by Leo Allatius (and later by Dom Augustin Calmet) that vampires are in league with Satan. In modern fiction, however, this tactic is more commonly used to prevent a vampire from returning to his coffin, and he is consequently killed by exposure to the sun. - Calling in a dhampir. [2.08] What are dhampirs? In Eastern European and gypsy vampire lore, some vampires are believed to be invisible to all but a dhampir, the offspring of a vampire and a mortal. In spite of the fact that the gypsy mulo [q.v. 2:03] was said to be a spirit of the dead person separate from the physical corpse, it was also believed that the male mulo was capable of impregnating living women, often their grieving widows. The resulting child was variously called a "vampijorivic", a "vampiric", or a "lampijerovic", all of which mean "little vampire". Another name for such an offspring is "dhampir". Depending on the legend, dhampirs may be able to automatically see vampires, or they may have to enact some sort of ritual, such as putting on their clothes backwards or looking through a sleeve. The typical dhampir story has a vampire bothering a town. A wandering dhampir comes through, hears of the town's vampire problem, and offers to kill the vampire--for a fee, of course. The dhampir goes to the town square and calls out a challenge to the vampire, asking him to meet the dhampir there on the morrow. (Vampires in these legends aren't limited to nighttime.) The next day, the dhampir returns to the town square and waits for the vampire to arrive. When the vampire "appears", the dhampir wrestles the invisible creature, shoots him with a gun, or somehow bests him and chases the vampire out of town. End of the town's vampire problem. There are also cases where a dhampir is able to detect the grave of a vampire and destroy it by shooting a bullet into the corpse or by more traditional means such as staking, beheading or cremation. The natural male offspring of a dhampir were also believed to be dhampirs, and so the profession of vampire hunting was often an inherited career. At least as late as 1959 in Kosova, there were dhampirs still in the business of hunting down and destroying vampires. Dhampirs in legend don't have special abilities other than being able to see invisible vampires. As with legends, however, writers have liked the idea of a dhampir and have added to the legend, often completely redoing it and just taking the name, as with Vampire Hunter D, for example. (written in part by Cathy Krusberg) [2.09] What is a "psychic vampire"? The term "psychic vampire" was popularized in the mid-1800s when members of The Theosophical Society turned their attention to researching the psyche, described as the human mind, soul, emotions, and all the latent mental processes which take place within an individual and which are not visible or measurable in the physical world. Psychic vampires (sometimes referred to as psi-vamps) are characterized as individuals who suck energy (as opposed to blood) from others. Members of The Theosophical Society theorized two types of psychic vampires. One was the "astral", described by Henry Steele Olcott as undead but able to separate astral from material body and leave the grave in search of blood or energy from the living, which it could send back to the buried body in order to sustain its hold on life. The other was the "magnetic", described by Franz Hartmann as a living "psychic sponge" who absorbed energy from those around it. Although psychic vampirism seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon, legends about vampirelike beings who drain others of their energy or lifeforce, soul or vitality, chi or pa, predate blood-drinking revenants by many centuries. Maladies that we now recognize as cancer, tuberculosis, crib death, plague, etc. were blamed on vampires and witches during the Middle Ages. As long ago as 2,000 BC, nocturnal emissions and unexpected pregnancies were ascribed to vampiric beings who came during the night to steal a man's ***** or rape a woman in his/her sleep. More information on some of these ancient psychic vampires can be found in section 2.04, q.v. empusa, incucubus, and mulo. Today, persons who call themselves "psychic vampires" generally build on Hartmann's definition. They admit to being alive but claim that they are deficient in engendering their own energy and must absorb it from others. In some cases, they do so by agreement with a donor. In other cases, they claim the ability to sponge from crowds or to steal psychic energy from a victim without the victim's knowledge. To date, there is no evidence to show that psychic vampirism is a verifiable condition or that any form of energy is flowing from donor to donee. There is no qualified definition of what constitutes "psychic" energy nor are there any valid measures of it. The entire concept of "psychic vampirism" is built on anecdotes, theories, and conjecture. [2.10] How does one become a vampire? There are many possible routes of becoming a vampire. Some of the more prevalent mythological routes are: - Suicide - Excommunication, dying unbaptized/apostate, or anything else that puts one "outside of the church" - Being a wizard/witch - Having been a werewolf - Having your parents curse you, as in "May the earth reject you!" - Being born with teeth or a caul (sometimes specifically a red caul). In this case, it may be possible to prevent the inevitable by burning the caul and feeding the ashes to the baby. - Having a cat or other animal jump over your corpse before it gets properly buried. - Possessing red hair. - Being a victim of an unavenged murder. - Being a seventh son. - Being sexually promiscuous. - Being the offspring of a human woman and a demon or incubus. - Being bitten by a vampire. In some versions, the victim has to die from the bite to become a vampire; in others, three bites are necessary. - Drinking the blood of a vampire. If it is suspected that someone is likely to become a vampire, it is possible to prevent the occurrence by using one or more of the methods listed in 2.07 for destroying vampires or by burying the suspect body face downwards. In Eastern Europe, it was common to periodically check bodies to see if they showed any signs of vampirism. In China, potential vampires were not buried until after they had decayed considerably. [2.11] What is porphyria, why is it called "The Vampire Disease"? Porphyria is actually a group of diseases, all pertaining to the metabolism of porphyrin rings that, along with iron, are responsible for the oxygen-carrying properties of hemoglobin--the red ingredient in blood. Porphyria is a very rare genetic disorder and is not contagious. It may have developed among the European nobility due to inbreeding. In a 1964 article in the _Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine_, it was proposed that porphyria might be an explanation for werewolf legends. Twenty-one years later, chemist David Dolphin presented a paper at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, proposing that porphyria might explain vampire legends. It was later refuted by other professionals, due to the fact that the only form of porphyria which could have been likened to vampirism was the rarest form, occurring in very few people throughout history. So why the link between porphyria and vampirism? One of the varieties of porphyria, congenital erythropoietic porphyria, has among its symptoms: severe light sensitivity, reddish-brown urine and teeth, mutilation of the nose, ears, eyelids, and fingers, an excess of body hair, and anemia (compare these symptoms with the description of Stoker's Dracula). In addition, some kinds of porphyria are associated with epilepsy. However, there is no evidence that porphyrics have any sort of craving to drink blood and, although it has been conjectured that eating garlic might be harmful to them, it is not. In short, the hullabaloo over porphyria and vampirism was simply a media overreaction which negatively affected the lives of porphyrics by associating them with vampirism. In one instance, for example, a woman's husband left her because he was afraid he would be bitten in his sleep and have his blood drained by her. So please, take a grain of salt along with anything you hear about porphyrics as vampires. [2.12] I've Heard That Vampirism Is REALLY Due To a Vampire Retrovirus. Is This True? Yes, we've heard all about the DNA-altering vampire retrovirus as well as vampiric symbionts from across "the veil." Unfortunately, the originators of both of these theories, convincing as they may sound, are attempting to pass off their theories as "truths". Theories presented to alt.vampyres as "fact" or "truth" will probably be scrutinized, challenged, and referred to experts. To whit: Following is a letter I received from Jon Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor for Virology at Mercer University School of Medicine. Dr. Martin explains the current status of human retroviruses: "...Personally, I think the retrovirus as an explanation is a clever notion ... but nothing more than that. There are only three retroviruses known to infect the human. One of them is HIV, which causes AIDS. A second one causes an uncommon leukemia (human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus; HTLV), and the third is not yet clearly associated with human disease (but is related to HTLV)." [2.13] I have a theory about how vampires originated. Care to hear? Sure. Theorizing about the origin of the vampire is a hot topic here and one which often results in some interesting discussions. Just be sure to phrase it in terms of a "theory". If you present it as a "truth", and claim to have proof, you will probably be asked to provide it-- a situation which can lead to some wicked debates. Here is a sampler of some theories that have been discussed in the past. THE VAMPIRE HORMONE THEORY A genetic complex that is usually dormant becomes activated by a hormone brought in from an external source, i.e., a bite. The genetic complex produces more of the hormone, thereby creating a chain reaction in the victim's body. The hormone also transforms the victim's physical form. The new form will be superficially human but with a pair of fangs with poison sacs which can inject the hormone into another victim, should the vampire so choose. [Madman Who is Sane] THE FALLEN ANGEL THEORY: The first Vampires were Fallen Angels aka "The Watchers", who were cast out of heaven for bringing sin unto the Earth [Stef Zodiak]. An adjunct to this theory suggests that the first vampires were the offspring of humans and Watchers. When the Children of the Watchers had consumed all of the available food, they turned to mankind and began to eat their flesh and drink their blood. THE ANGEL OF DEATH THEORY: The Bible says that the fallen angels came to earth and mated with the "daughters of Eve" to create half demon types who terrorized the populous in pre-flood times. God wanted to even the score and sent His loyal angel, the Angel of Death, to mate with a daughter of Eve in order to create vampires to control the demonic offspring of the fallen angels. After the flood, however, the demons were gone and the vampires (who of course survived because they are immortal and can't drown) had no purpose and began preying on humans. [Sable Siren] THE VAMPIRE ALLERGEN THEORY: The vampire injects an allergen of some sort. The allergic reaction in the victim transforms him into another vampire. [White Spirit] THE VAMPIRE POLYMER THEORY: Vampires are the victims of a DNA-like polymer that was created by the decomposition of a dead body many thousands of years ago. The polymer is transmitted to others via a bite to a vein or artery and may have the ability to evolve, like other life on Earth. [Madman who is Sane] THE REPRODUCTION THEORY: Similar to the Vampire Polymer Theory, but the material passed to the victim is actual DNA, created by a completely different species which uses humans as hosts for a method of asexual reproduction. The human host eventually changes into a member of the vampire species. [Madman Who is Sane] THE ATLANTIS THEORY: The Atlantans, in their quest to prolong life, were doing genetic experiments, the end result being a new human that could live forever but had to drink the blood of humans in order to survive. [Aziel] THE INTERDIMENSIONAL THEORY: Vampires are interdimensional travellers who come to this dimension to feed on humans because their blood source died out long ago in their own dimension. [Aziel] THE HUMAN PREDATOR THEORY: Humans are destructive to Nature and so Nature, striving for balance, created a humanoid mutation in order to "cull the herd". Seems fitting that it would be a vampire, since vampires would be able to walk with humans without creating too much notice. THE VAMPIRE HOMINID THEORY: Vampires are an ancient offshoot from human evolution. They evolved in a barren region, i.e., desert or tundra, so they have high tolerance for the elements but no way to make hunting tools. Consequently, they learned to steal from humans. The vampire's thirst for blood lies in their need to take as much water as possible from the arid environment in which they evolved. [BJ] THE ALIEN VAMPIRE THEORY: In 1894, in "The Flowering of the Strange Orchid", H.G. Wells explored the possibility of space aliens taking over a human body in order to live off the life energy of others. Since then, vampires have become a favorite alien in SciFi. Many theories have issued since, ranging from the purely fantastic to plausable, but all were inspired by the host of SciFi books and movies that portray vampires as space aliens. THE VAMPIRE NANOBOT THEORY: Nanobots, created by either a) renegade scientists or b) a race of reptilian saurians, were introduced into a handful of human bodies in order to repair cell damage. The 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 blood. Unable to keep up with the demand, the host has no choice but to seek blood from another. If the colony of Nanobots exceeds the host's ability to feed, some Nanobots may migrate into another host, usually the next victim of the primary host's bite. [LuckyHoodoo9 (a) and klaatu (b)] THE SEVEN MAGES THEORY Seven mages made a deal with seven demons many millenia ago. The mages were granted certain powers. In exchange, the demons were able to cross the Veil into this world. They merged with the mages, turning them into vampires. Each time a demon-infested vampire reproduces, a part of the demon passes into the child. [Trinn] THE ANCIENT GODS THEORY Ancient gods such as Kali, YHVH, the Huruka, and the orishas were actually Vampires who either fled the planet or became extinct, which is why there are no vampires today. [bilionmaniac8] PART 3: QUESTIONS ABOUT SPECIFIC VAMPIRES IN HISTORICAL FACT/FICTION [3.01] Who was the first vampire? Caine? Lilith? Lord Ruthven? It could be all of the above or none of the above, depending upon how "vampire" is defined. Whitewolf fiction names Caine as the first [see _The Book of Nod_]. In other rpgs, Lilith is the first. Etymologists might consider a 1047 CE reference to one "Upir Lichy" [q.v. 2.02] as the first mention of a vampire. Historians might point to the influence of the Gypsies as they spread across Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Certainly there is a strong similarity between the Gypsy mulo [q.v. 2.04] and the Eastern European vampire. On the other hand, the literati might look to Polidori's Lord Ruthven [q.v. 3.03] as the inspiration for today's fictional vampire. The oldest known document with a reference to a vampirelike being is a @2400 BCE tablet known as "The Sumerian King List", a very boring list of all the kings of Sumer, their paternal lineage, and the years of their rule. One entry is for the famous King Gilgamesh. It says that Gilgamesh's father was a Lillu. In Sumerian myth, there were a number of beings who, like the incubi and succubi [q.v. 2.04], come to sleeping individuals to mate with them. Lillu is an incubus (male). One of the succubi was Lilake/Lilitu whom some claim is the forerunner of Lilith. But not even Sumer can be definitively credited as coming up with the first vampire. Why? Because Sumer is also the first civilization to develop cuneiform, a form of writing which uses word sounds rather than pictures. Consequently, there is no written histories prior to Sumer. [3.02] Is Lilith really mentioned in the Bible? The Bible is a compilation of many individual "books" written by different authors at different times in history. The Old Testament concerns events prior to the birth of Christ. The New Testament tells the story of Christ and the teachings of his disciples. In some versions of the Old Testament (Jewish Tanakh, Biblia Hebraica, etc.) the word "lilith" appears in the Book of Isaiah 34:14, said to have been written during or just after the Babylonian Captivity @597 BCE. Translated, it reads something like: "Wild beasts shall meet with hyenas, the satyr shall cry to his fellow; there shall [the lilith] alight, and find for herself a resting place." When this passage was translated for the Greek Septuagint in the 3rd century BCE, "lilith" became "onokentauroi" [*** centaur]. When Jerome translated it in the 4th century CE for the Latin Vulgate, he changed it to "lamia". The King James version of the English bible, published in the early 1600s, substituted "night hag." Modern translations may be found using everything from "lilith" to "night creatures" to "screech owl". The oldest known copy of the Book of Isaiah is the Qumran Isaiah scroll, found in the Dead Sea caves in the 1940s. It has been dated to the 1st or 2nd century BCE. The text, handwritten on a 26cm by 7m leather scroll, is in Hebrew. The word in 34:14 is "lilith." So, as of now, it appears that "lilith" is indeed the original word. However, there are still many questions surrounding this passage, not the least of which is: To whom (or what) does "lilith" refer? Is it Lilith the Demoness herself, one of a group of succubi known as the lilim, or is it merely a word for an owl common to Mesopotamia? [3.03] Who is Lord Ruthven? Long before Dracula was even a gleam in Bram Stoker's eye, there was Lord Ruthven, a fictional vampire popularized by John Polidori in a short story published April 1819 in "The New Monthly Magazine" [England]. The story behind the story goes that Polidori was a guest at Lord Byron's Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva (Switzerland) in June 1816. During a rainy spell, Byron suggested that the guests pass the time by writing ghost stories. One of the stories to come out of this write-a-thon was Mary Shelley's _Frankenstein_. Byron himself wrote a fragment of a tale about a vampire he called Augustus Darvell. John Polidori's contribution was apparently unremarkable. Three years later, however, after a falling out with Byron, Polidori published "The Vampyre", which featured the suave yet fiendish Lord Ruthven. There are many rumors surrounding the writing of "The Vampyre," i.e., it was first attributed to Lord Byron then to Polidori, and then it was rumored that Polidori based the fiendish Lord Ruthven ON Byron. In actuality, Lord Ruthven had already been created several years prior by Lady Caroline Lamb, one of Byron's discarded lovers, to portray the heartless, but non-vampire, lover in her novel _Glenarvon_. Within a year after "The Vampyre" was published, the vampyre Ruthven became hugely popular throughout western Europe. By June of 1819, he was already onstage at the Theatre de la Porte-Saint-Martin (Paris) in a melodrama called "Le Vampire", written by Charles Nodier. In August of 1820, James Planche brought Nodier's play to the London Lyceum under the name "The Vampire, or The Bride of the Isles." Although adapted from Nodier's "Le Vampire", it wasn't quite the same play, as Planche's version was written to fit the available wardrobe, and so his play was set in Scotland. (Vampires in kilts...oh la la!) In that same year, Nodier's friend Cyprien Berard wrote a long sequel to Polidori's story, which he titled "Lord Ruthven ou Les Vampires." Berard's sequel has the distinction of being the first vampire novel ever written (till then, everything had been in the form of short stories, plays or poetry). In 1823, Alexandre Dumas attended a revival of Nodier's "Le Vampire" and wrote about the experience in his _Memoirs_. Dumas was so impressed with the vampire Ruthven that he rewrote Nodier's play and took it back to the Paris stage in 1851. He also authored a piece about Ruthven-type vampires that has appeared under the title "The Pale Lady" and may be the first story to set the vampires in the Carpathian Mountains. In 1828, Polidori's Ruthven was recast in the first vampire opera, "Der Vampyr", by Heinrich Marschner. Marschner's brother-in-law (Wilhelm Wohlbruck) wrote the libretto, and "Der Vampyr" was performed for the first time in Leipzig (Germany) in March 1829 where it, too, was a great success. By August, "Der Vampyr" was on the stage at the London Lyceum, the same theater that, some 70 years later, would be frequented by Bram Stoker and would become the site of the original dramatization of the most famous vampire story ever written-- _Dracula_. [3.04] Ever heard of "The Ruthvenian"? In his book _Monsters_, Donald Glut mentions The Ruthvenian. He writes: "Many infamous vampires are found in literature. The first to achieve real notoriety was Lord Ruthven, star of 'The Vampyre,' a story by Doctor John Polidori published in 1819. The 'Ruthvenian,' the bible of the vampires, was named after Lord Ruthven." [w/b Lord Ruthven]. Actually, the "Ruthvenian" was a supposedly "legendary book" that I made up for my novel _Frankenstein Meets Dracula_. From there, I carried it into the "Dr Spektor" comic book, which I created and wrote for Gold Key. It has since turned up in various places, including my recent movie "Scarlet Countess" (on DVD/video as "The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula"). [private communication from Donald Glut] [3.05] What is the chupacabra? Is the chupacabra really some type of vampire? Imagine an animal that looks like a gorilla-reptile-gargoygle with batlike wings, bulging red eyes, large claws, fangs and a long darting tongue. Imagine that this creature can fly or, at least, take great leaps. Imagine it to be a nocturnal predator of livestock such as goats, sheep, chickens, and cows, and that it feeds on them by drinking their blood from two puncture wounds near the jugular vein, doing no other damage to the body. Finally, imagine that this creature's handiwork has been reported as far north as Michigan, south as Chile, west as California, and east as Puerto Rico, although it seems to prefer the Latin American countries. This is the chupacabra as pieced together from reports made by persons who claim to have seen it. Sightings of the Chupacabra [from Spanish "chupar" (to suck) + "cabra" (goat)] gained worldwide attention in the mid-1990s, but chupacabras have been around since the 1960s. After more then 40 years, however, no one has yet photographed or caught a chupacabra, live or dead. Cryptozoologists (scientists who study animals which may or may not be real) have placed the chupacabra right up there with Bigfoot and Loch Nessie but have found no evidence to confirm or deny its existence. Locals think the chupacabra is some sort of genetically-engineered bat or other experimental animal which got loose. Skeptics blame something more normal, such as dogs, coyotes, wolves, or pumas. But one thing is certain. There are hundreds of photos of livestock carcasses that have been drained of blood with no bodily damage other than two puncture wounds in their necks. If not a chupacabra, then what? PART 4: MISCELLANEOUS VAMPIRE STUFF [4.01] How can I find out more about [name of TV show]? Forever Knight: alt.tv.forever-knight - The FAQ for this group can be found at http://lavender.fortunecity.com/wildbunch/241/ Buffy the Vampire Slayer: alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer - The FAQ for this group can be found [4/01] at: http://alcor.concordia.ca/~ra_forti/FAQ alt.tv.angel - The FAQ for this group can be found [4.01] at: http://alcor.concordia.ca/~ra_forti/angelfaq [4.02] Where can I get more info about _Interview with a Vampire_ and the rest of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles? alt.books.anne-rice - The FAQ for this group can be found [4/01] at: http://www.angelfire.com/ri/cerat/ARFAQintro.html [4.03] Where can I get more info on White Wolf's "Vampire: The Masquerade"? alt.games.whitewolf - The FAQ for this group can be found [7/01] at: http://www.mants-lair.org.uk/WoD/faq.txt alt.games.vampire.the.masquerade - The FAQ for this group can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6242/2agvtmq.html alt.games.vampire.tremere - The FAQ for this group can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6242/agvtfaq.txt rec.games.frp.storyteller [4.04] Where can I get more info on real vampires? Actually, alt.vampyres *IS* about real vampires--the vampires from the histories and legends of multiple cultures. If what you mean by "real vampires" is blood fetishers and others who liberally apply the term "vampire" to themselves, try: alt.culture.vampires - The FAQ for this group can be found [4/01] at http://earthops.org/a-c-v/faq.html [4.05] Do you know of any good websites about vampires? There are hundreds, far too many to include in this faq. A good place to start might be Strigoi's Tomb [http://zyworld.com/vampirelore/]. Strigoi (aka Patrick Johnson) explores the legends of the undead in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Western Europe, Asia, and the Americas, looking at everything from vampire fairies to vampire fangs. [4.06] Where can I get a copy of [this hard-to-find vampire movie]? Try Tapes of Terror. Write them for a catalog at P. Riggs, 6226 Darnell, Dept. VC, Houston, TX 77074-7416, USA. You can also view their online catalog at: www.morticiasmorgue.com/tot.html. Another online video store with a number of hard--to-find vampire movies is www.DiabolikDVD. com. [4.07] I'm really into anime. Does any anime feature vampires? Yes. Some anime features vampires in starring roles or as prominent characters: Blood: The Last Vampire [2000] Blood 2002 {sequel to Blood: The Last Vampire} Don Dracula (aka Don Dorakyura) [1982] Dracula (Sovereign of the Damned/Tomb of Dracula) [1980] Ghost Sweeper Mikami [1994] Hellsing [2002] Kimera [1997] Master of Mosquiton The Vampire [1996] {6 episode series} Master of Mosquiton [1997] {26 episode TV series} Nightwalker: Midnight Detective (Mayonaka no Tantei Nightwalker) [2000] Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (Vampire Hunter) [1997] Vampire Hunter D (Kyuketsuki* Hantaa D) [1985] Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust [2000] Vampire Princess Miyu (Kyuketsuki* Miyu) [1988; 4 ep series] Vampire Princess Miyu (Kyuketsuki* Miyu] [1997 TV series] Vampire Wars (Vampire Senzo/Vampaiaa Sensou) [1991] Vampirians: The Veggie Vampires (Vampaiyan Kids) [2001] Other anime, usually TV series, may have vampires in selected episodes: Bastard!! [1992] {ep.4} Bubblegum Crisis (Baburugamu Kuraishisu) [1987] {eps.5-6} Cyber City Oedo 808 [1990] {File 3} Descendents of Darkness (Yami no Matsuei) {ep 1-3} Ghost Sweeper Mikami [1993] {TV series} I'm Gonna Be an Angel (Tenshi ni Narumon) [1999] {TV series} JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Jojo no Kimyo na boken) [1993] Phantom Quest Corp (Yugen Kaisha*) [1994] {ep 1} Red (Riding) Hood Chacha (Akazukin Chacha) [1994] Sailor Moon Super S Special {TV series 1995-2000} Those Obnoxious Aliens (Urusei Yatsura) {ep.27; TV series 1981-1986} [List thanks to Cathy Kursberg and Kay Koehler] For more information about these and other anime, check out: The Internet Movie Database (us.imdb.com) Anime (www.btinternet.com/~vampires/movies/anime/) The Anime News Network (www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia) *Cathy Krusberg says that the proper ascii (i.e., nonJapanese friendly) rendition should be 'uu', i.e., Kyuuketsuki/Yuugen, but I've listed these with a single 'u' because the IMDB spells it that way. Sometimes a 'u' can be fatal on the IMDB when you're trying to find a movie.

blackandgold blackandgold 18-21, F 3 Responses Sep 29, 2009

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vampires as a define - blood, sex, death also defines demon's, monsters, killers , living dead, have no sole, etc...

a vampire is really a genetically advanced human being. We're faster, smarter and stronger than humans. They do exist in the real world, however, movies have twisted vampires up so much, the idea of them existing rarely exists now. Thanks so F#$%ing much, Hollywood!

wouldn't a genetically advanced human being still be a human being come on bro? You could have went with the vampires are from space Idea. At least then you wouldn't have to call them Humans. Plus I love the Idea of the media feeding into that vampires are cute and cuddly makes their job easier.

Please reply with authenticity, support, and respect

wow didn't realize it was so long!