Page name: What is Vampirism? [Logged in view] [RSS]
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2007-07-06 23:57:20
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What is Vampirism?

Vampire Text by [Muerta]
From the ECM Vampire Text

First things first, for all those who are completely new to the concept of vampirism here is a brief summary/dictionary definition of exactly what a vampire is:

vampire (disambiguation):
A vampire is an undead monster from the legends of various cultures which is said to rise out of graves at night and suck the blood of living people.

Vampire may also refer to:
Electricity vampire, an electrical appliance that consumes electricity when turned off and supposed to be dead.
Energy vampire (psychic vampire), a being said to have the ability to feed off the "life force" of other living creatures
Vampire lifestyle, for people who believe themselves to be vampires, or who like pretending to be vampires for fun
Vampire bat, flying animals that feed on blood
a slang term for a seductive girl, or woman
Vampire (car), current holder of the British Land Speed Record
de Havilland Vampire, the second jet engined aircraft commissioned into the Royal Air Force during World War II

This particular page deals with the origins of the Slavic forms of vampires and their traits. There are also many mentions of vampiric creatures in other cultures, for example Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Greek; but the most commonly known type of vampire survives in the Slavic folktales.

The origin of Slavic vampire myths developed during 9th C as a result of conflict between pre-Christian paganism and Christianity. Christianity won out with the vampires and other pagan beliefs surviving in folklore.

Causes of vampirism included: being born with a caul, teeth, or tail, being conceived on certain days, irregular death, excommunication, improper burial rituals etc.
Preventative measures included: placing a crucifix in the coffin, or blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, placing millet or poppy seeds in the grave because vampires had a fascination with counting (this particular trait has been omitted from the popular movie and novel adaptations), or piercing the body with thorns or stakes.
Evidence that a vampire was at work in the neighbourhood included: death of cattle, sheep, relatives, neighbours, exhumed bodies being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair, or if the body was swelled up like a drum, or there was blood on the mouth and if the corpse had a ruddy complexion.

Vampires could be destroyed by staking, decapitation (the Kashubs placed the head between the feet), burning, repeating the funeral service, holy water on the grave, exorcism.

Enter Dracula.
No vampiric wiki page would be complete without a mention of Dracula.

Many, many stories have been written about Dracula, the father of all vampires, the Patriarch. The most famous of which was Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" written around a character which he based on the historical figure Vlad the Impaler. What is interesting to note, is that Stoker's vampire, while being loosely based on Vlad the Impaler, is nowhere near as threatening, nor as sadistic. Stoker's Dracula is a mysterious, somewhat sensual character who kills and feeds to survive, much like any being in nature. In fact, as much as there is reference to the evil of Dracula, it can be reasoned that all of his actions were motivated by survival. Vlad the Impaler, on the other hand, killed not to feed, but to revel in his own power, and just for the sheer pleasure of seeing the suffering of his numerous victims.

Bram Stoker wrote this novel about the father of all vampires in the 1800's but Dracula's real origins could date back far further, possibly to the 300 B.C. mark. The Ancient Sumarians worshiped a creature called Dagon, whose characteristics are almost identical to those of Dracula: the vampiric sucking of human blood, aversion to sunlight and general shapeshifting to name a few.

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