I’m sure many of us are somewhat familiar with vampire types, be those examples fictional or not.
From slick, blood thirsty revenants, to mindless eater zombies, to people of magic cheating death, to those who were never human in the first place. Vampyric beings cover a very broad spectrum, worldwide and throughout history.
Why are these tales and accounts so wide spread?
Where one ancient culture exists, there may be an even older one under its feet.
Travel is something truly prehistoric, ancient documents offer us accounts of cultural mingling, stories from others and epic adventures that span across time and geographical space. The term travel may come from an old word meaning work/labour, so as long as the word travel has been in use, their was a motive of venturing somewhere for a purpose, if people could travel then work in a new location, than there has to be some degree of understanding among foreigners, so stories may have been easily shared, or perhaps, people back then saw what we don’t today?
Tales and accounts of vampires often feature other shifters, such as werewolves, aswell as witchcraft; so often an origin story, these stories fleshed out with fantastical romance, stealing of innocence, wariness of the newcomer, fear of the hermit, condeming of those who won’t accept the ways.
As much as paranormal stories deliver a source of interest, entertainment, or fear, it’s worth noting that often, they exist as a means of potential propaganda pieces, which are no fun at all for the accused.
Scary, inhuman beasts can unite people, bringing what really matters into perspective, they can also drive people into a ditch of despair and hopelessness, but then, there’s also paranoia.
Poverty plays a large role in accounts of the dead rising and humans as a food source. When poverty won’t shift, many people turn to the notion of this being a supernatural attack.
Manipulating the populous could prove a practical way to control them. That universal threat has everybody falling in line.
In a society were the general public must follow their leader, innocent and sound advice like “don’t talk to strangers”, “don’t follow strangers”, “don’t let strangers into your home” can easily extend to ‘don’t mingle with outsiders, don’t trade with them, don’t work with them, don’t befriend them, don’t express any interest because who knows they’re intentions’. Exclusion of outside influence often isn’t good for industry, but there’s the threat of competition trader to trader, along with the worry of people questioning the ways they’re accustomed to.
The real threat of sinister people prowling around at night like a nocturnal animal has the added element of authentic, predatory beasts being out, aswell as cryptids and demonic beings that are a mystery to us, who knows what horrors something that defies our understanding of nature could possess? A potential trouble maker not only not being part of society, but not a part of humanity is a creative way to explain away differences and undesirablity.
Still, I don’t rule out these beings existing.
Poverty usually plays a part in environmental chaos. Poverty usually boil down to famine, pestilence and war, issues we are aware of, yet many of us fortunately aren’t too versed in, still, that other horseman crossed paths with even the most comfortable of people, this being death. No matter how well one may live, death affects and effects us all, often partnering with the injustice of his former three comrades.
Surprising, death can place a fortunate person into abject poverty quickly, for example, the death of a loved one can change the circumstances of a household and even those outside of it, say the departed is the breadwinner whose every penny was swallowed up in expenses or savings inaccessible, they may be that invaluable person who helps someone outside the household, they could even be the beloved family pet who has left the home a depressing shell of people who now just exist. So many, when feeling hopeless and looking to what is and isn’t fair or right, may blame this spell of misfortune on a curse, yet where would such a curses come from? Who casts it? Who benefits?
Various cultures renovated their beliefs, generally for political reasons, say, a new leader wants to merge beliefs for easier leadership
It’s worth noting that there are stories of witchcraft being used to extend lives and/or restore youth, often at the expense of others; vampires for example.
Elizabeth Bathory for example was rumoured to bath in the blood of females to extend her youth, just as Cleopatra was said to bathe in milk. However there is little evidence that the stories of Elizabeth Bathory hold any truth and weren’t just slander of a wealthy shut in. In a similar sense, a very elderly person, often a woman, who, to be frank, may not look like your average living, aging person (anymore), who may be from a generation with ways that aren’t too common anymore, who may also live alone, could easily find themselves isolated be
We are inundated with stories of powerful, inhuman beings, becoming attracted to regular human women; there’s just that something about her that has resulted in her being the chosen one. They may date back to the tales of the angels/sons of god, coming down to earth and taking human wives, yet there are fellow old stories of witches having a pacts with demonic types who will turn on her if not satiated with blood, one being the east African Impundulu; a familiar who looks like an attractive male, feeds off blood and will turn on his witch owner. A witch is said to commonly pass this being off to her daughter. Accounts of this being could be one of the many roots of the sexy vampire genre.
Rationing vs the rich. The luxury of hoarding as opposed to the need to stock up and look after assets. With the universal threats of theft along with the power those of high status possesses, fear thy neighbour and wariness of the alien at the door are common divisions.
Each side often beleives the grass is greener for their supposed polar opposite, yet one thing that is prevalent in many cultures is fear at what the wealthy are doing and are capable of. Foreign wealthy are a particularly mysterious entity, subject to various stories that get lost in translation in the best case scenarios, ot are highly fabricated. To some, the cut-aboves aren’t just different socially, but a whole other species; their riches are obtained entirely at the expense of the every day person who is little but livestock, economically and physically. Whilst vampires amongst the poor are often a loved one returning as a nuisance revenant who locals know how to deal with, a wealthy person in power is harder to see off.
Now here’s a list of beings from across the world.
Body snatching light beings
The Loogaroo, Asema and Soucouyant of west indie and South American folklore is vampiric entity. This being is said to begin life as a human who managed via witchcraft to exit their flesh body as ball of light or fire, their body is then but a sac of saggy skin. These beings will sap people of their blood and may even use their victim as replacement flesh.
These beings are generally depicted as elderly ladies, similar to the universal old hags, who were often witches, within fairytales. The scary old hag has many discriminatory ties, from resentment at the frail elderly who can do little in the community, to the surprise at the appearance of the very advance aged, to changes in times and erasure of the old ways in place for the newest wave, a keen example being the numberours witch trials of the middle ages which saw a load of culture and knowledge lost and an assortment of people forced to adapt or die if they even had any choice.
At the same time, if someone is cheating death and not gaining youth, continued aging fits.
Similar to the west African adze, who can turn into a number of bugs, famously, a firefly, to sneak up on people and consume blood.
This being is an interesting one, as it is also known to causes chaos in communities by consuming palm oil and coconut water, valuable foods that could be staples in maintaining good health.
Cryptids, shifters, animals
In west Africa folklore we have asanbosam and sasabonsam, two humanoid beings that ambush humans and feast on blood.
Both creatures have bat-like characteristics, tying in with European and Indian depictions of vampires within medieval and modern stories. The sasabonsam are described to look like a human and bat merger, whilst the asanbosan looks human, only it hangs from trees with hook like feet.
African and middle eastern hyena shifters are often depicted as shamans who are keen on bloodletting. Another presentation is that of a handsome men who seduce women to eat in private
Deities and spirits
Throughout the ages and all over the world, many similar tales and images exist.
Beings that are ‘nature itself’ in its many aspects are at the heart of many stories. Nature is something many of us are moving further away from, take the words; paranormal, supernatural and even alien, they all fall into vague descriptions of ‘things not understood’, yet even areas in nature understood enough to receive a name such as; biology, chemistry or physics, aren’t understood in their entirity.
Within numberous cultures, Aztec being a well known one, humans were essentially in debt to the gods and could only repay them in blood. Human sacrifice would be a high honour. Human remains were often consumed for assorted, ritualistic reason; sometimes someone chosen to represent a deity will be propped up as sacrifice, whilst the eating may be done by the human representations of the gods intended to receive the offering, along with assumed nobility.
Ancient Egypt has the godess Sekhmet, a sun god and warrior who turned land into dessert, initially tasked to slay unruly humans. Inspite of being a destructive god known for bloodlust, frenzied behaviour and getting drunk drinking a river of blood that wasn’t as it looked, Sekhmet is also looked to as a harvest god, harvest gods and blood sacrifice are common partners, she is also the goddess of menstruation, along with being a healer who continues to look after valiant pharaohs after death. Sekhmet looks a merger of a woman and a lioness. I found this article that also speculates Sekhmet being an early vampire.
In recent years, an oral account said to be eons old know as ‘Scriptures of Delphi’ also speak of the character Ambrogio, has emerged. This story serves as a Selene story that alters her canon from a titan and the moon itself, to human turned moon godesses. Within this story, Ambrogio takes on a number of trials set by the gods which result in him taking on a range of afflictions that equate to the vampires many of us are familiar with.
They’re not all blood thirsty
The incubus and sucubus are said to draining lifeforce during sexual intercourse, however the incubus is also said to also attack by inflicting mild, nuisance cold like symptoms on people, whilst sucubus are also known for presenting as the sleep paralysis hag that sits on people in bed.
A.K.A energy vampires are a fairly new phenomenon used in the psychological field. Someone who “saps the life out of a conversation/room” may be described as an energy vampire.
Referances in modern Pop culture
The character Eugene Tooms in the tv series X-files bough some similarities to the caribean soucouyant, a being that is said to come to be by extracting oil from a deceased persons liver. Eugene is able to stretch his skin to get into people’s homes via vents so that he could steal their liver.
Eugene has lives an unnaturally long life and no explanation is given as to what he is. Eugene was an unassuming man who appeared to have gotten by working unglamorous jobs that could be carried out alone.
That quiet person, likely an introvert, who nobody knows anything about is often subject to suspicion, harsh and unreasonable judgement and accusations. Others lack of respect for them down to the mutual lack of communication and it’s easy to place blame on outsiders.
On the other hand, how would a mutant/former human, who has always been within society but hasn’t any means, knowhow or want to leave, manage to get by. They would have to be inconspicuous.
Check out the ‘Impundulu’ within the segments ‘Witchcraft’ above.
The 1992 film adaptation of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers has werecat, psychic vampires who feed off the lifeforce of virginal females. They are potentially the last of their species, their age and lore is unknown. The two of them drift from town to town in search of prey, all rests upon the son to seduce young females and bring them to the household.
Both characters are very popular predatory models. We don’t see the mother making any effort to lure in females and I’m not sure whether or not they absolutely must feed on virgins who are female, yet the mother is glamorous looking and could easily be the attractive older lady archetype of media, who could easily gain the attention of young males, whilst the son plays the roughly high school age badboy type.
The Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavour offers us a backstory that begins in pre-columbian south America, were long ago, a human learnt magic from a leopard spirit and went on to prosper, only this feline expected blood sacrifices in return. The human in the present remains in existence as a spirit who possesses the bodies of the living.
The Underworld franchise has a leading character named Selene. Selene is a vampire assassin who hunts lycan.
A lot like the story of Ambrogio with a twist, this is a female enduring trials who has gained power from the blood of her lover. Lycan are similar to werewolves, the latter beings transform during a full moon, Selene is a/the moon godesses.
The film What we do in the shadows, along with its tv spinoff, are mockumentaries that features vampires living*, every day lives. The tv series features an energy vampire as a leading character, an immortal, dreary office worker, cantankerous pest and internet troll who feeds off frustration and boredom. This series has introduced few other species of energy vampires with different specialties, one who relays sad stories and feeds off pity and another who gets stoned with others and feeds off their stupor.
We are all individuals, everyone has a right to an existence, it’s not realistic to only be around people who we like, so socially, sometimes we have to put up with others we would rather be away from or, depending on the situation and relationship, live in hope that they will alter their ways. These are generally things we always have to endure. Labels for those based on how we feel around them are common, so the concept that the likes of dread at being around a certain someone, or being used to seeing someone always chilled; so relaxed that people feel the same around them, is a clever metaphor.
Dio of Jojo’s bizarre adventure doesn’t drain blood via biting, but by embedding his fingers into people. He became a vampire thanks to an antique mask, this mask is a contraption that has spikes on it that penetrate the wearer. The mask was created by ‘The pillarmen‘; an ancient species that are somewhat like humans, however they have the ability to consume humans by absorbing people into their bodies.
The pillarmen fit well into the likes of Aztec or Maya folklore. Maya culture for example remains mysterious in spite of a load of information being out there. Maya culture has a number of accounts of ‘ends’ within the well known calendar, whilst the Aztec culture has a number of resets/ages that will bring forth new beings – in one story, the earth itself craved human blo deities crafting new humans using the remains of the old ones occur more than once.
Real life accounts
On a technical level, does a dependency on blood transfusions count as vampirism? People who indulge in vampiric acts can bring about illness, let alone stigma and though consuming human blood is a bizarre pastime, it’s possible that it can bring about a dependency? A strong need to have something becoming an addiction.
Personally, my closest experiences with being I would deem vampires have been within dreams.
I have three accounts, all three stood out because I became suddenly exhausted before or after dreaming:
1. I had a sudden migraine and headed to bed, I saw a shadow figure walking in front of me, however seeing shadows and flashes are something I have seen numberours times during migraines, yet when I went to bed and slept immediately, I found myself in a dream with what I knew to be the same shadow figure, only this time it was presenting as a cat, it told me it’s name, said it was a vampire and let me know that it would live in a certian plant in the garden, this plant soon after began to brown and inspite of efforts made, won’t return to it’s original state.
2. I had a black eyed child dream. I was awake in the morning and feeling fine, yet suddenly became exhausted and lay back down. Instantly I was dreaming, within this dream, a little girl showed up at the front door, she spoke no English but was deferment to have me usher her into my home. I had hold of her wrist, trying to hold her hand and stand by the gate, looking for a potential parent who is searching for their child, but she would wriggle and get pointing and jerking towards the indoors, I noticed her eyes upon trying to hold her hand and remember the feeling of her skin, regardless of this being a dream; she was very sticky. I knew to not let her in my home. She pulled a load, not particularly stronger than any other child, but then I heard and felt a cracking, knowing it was her arm dislocating or breaking, but I looked down to see she was missing. I heard a childs laughter to the side of me, in that direction, there was a large blue tarpooling on the ground, ontop of it was a slim like substance I just knew was the same stickiness on this girls arm, it began to bubble, then the tarp began to rise, as if a body was forming underneath it. This is where I woke up, and I was exhausted the remainder of the day!
3. The week that followed the above dream had me dropping off back to sleep inspite of feeling fine yet again. This time I was on a beach by a clifside, I was stood in very clear, shin deep water, balanced on large, dark grey pebbles when a large group of people, who looked like they could have been merged together, rushed towards me and ambushed me in a hug. This wasn’t remotely pleasant, as I only saw and heard them for a moment, they seemed friendly in disposition and looked like laidback newagers, however when they did get a hold of me, I realized their fingers were injected into my torso and they were draining my energy, a lot like the method of vampirism of Dio, mentioned above. They did soon leave, one woman behind them told me “they always do that”, before I woke up, exhausted!
Do you believe that there are beings just out of sight,?