I am sure by now that you have heard everything there is about Vampires, but I just might surprise you with how little you actually know. We grew accustomed to Hollywood presentation of these mysterious beings that live in darkness, feast on blood and prey on virgins, but did you know the origin of those stories and how did they came to be? Truth is far grimmer than what you have expected.
Vampire is the one and only Serbian word that in all languages is pronounced the same with the same meaning. Nobody is sure how Vampire was invented and who originally did it, but there are some things we do know. In between the years of 1717. and 1739., a couple of Austrian ambassadors traveled through the south region of Serbia where they came onto a peculiar custom performed by the locals. Not knowing what is happening, they followed the mob to the graveyard where a coffin was dug out and opened to show a pale corpse like it was buried that morning. One of the villagers plunged a hawthorn stake through the deceased and priest held a ceremony of banishing evil spirits away. When asked what is happening, locals explained that Vampire was let loose on a killing spree in the village and this guy was the first one laid in the ground before it all started.
The whole thing was strange, as corpse was preserved for more than 10 days without rotting in the ground, the inhuman pale color of the skin and dripping blood from the man’s mouth was still fresh. Are Vampires real? No! So what actually happened and how was this possible? Well, the ground had clay in it which kept the oxygen away from the body and kept it fresh for a long time, then the natural liquids reacted in the body that started to bloat collecting gasses and pushed the man’s blood out from the cavities he already had like eyes, ears, nose and mouth. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
People of those days were deeply religious and driven by omens of the land, so Vampire myth grew into what we know now. Those Austrian ambassadors wrote to their King, warning him about evil that woke up in the Eastern Europe, so myth was spread on the Catholic Church and this is where we get those assumptions of what weaponry might kill a Vampire if infestation spreads west. You know, garlic, holy water, crucifixion, Sun light and combination of all.
These methods of killing a Vampire didn’t originally came from the Eastern Europe where the only weapon against a Vampire is hawthorn stake. All of these Catholic mumbo-jumbo is completely false and useless.
The blood cult
Vampires among Slavs and Serbs in this matter were not seen as creatures that feed on blood, but for what is in the blood. Strong upbringings thought the Slavs that strength is in the family, in the tribe, in the bloodlines. This bloodline cult is still in full swing among the Balkan folk, like many other pagan beliefs, tribal superstitions and ancient customs. So, we can say that strength is in the blood, right? Vampires that fed on people, actually drained them not of blood, but power and strength, so when someone tells you: “You are such an energy Vampire.”, he just told you that you are an original Vampire myth… Which is not that bad, or is it?
Many times when some ancient Slav couldn’t rise from his bed having a fever, he would blame on the Vampire that came over night and took his strength. Those Vampires couldn’t turn a man into a Vampire. That is just a western delusion. They could only drain the men dead, but not make them another Vampire.
To sum it up: drinks blood = taking life essence.
Look and powers
Now you will be fairly disappointed with this segment. To divide the numerous sorts of Vampires there are, I must make a clear boundaries around this myth. To start categorizing them all, I will stick to historical data when they appeared, so we have: Post-Barbaric Vampire, Catholic Church Vampire and Modern Vampire.
This type belongs to Orthodox Church and Slavic myth pantheon. As I already explained, this is the one who got into the world first and started the Vampire sensation. The actual myth probably started decades ago before it reached the Balkans where it got popularized and spread around Europe. To some extended beliefs in Slavic folklore, Vampires are considered as shape shifters who can take form of a small animal of an insect. They prey on everybody, not just virgins and “drop dead” beautiful girls. They can be either male or female, it depends on a deceased. Pale skin, drains power so that makes them strong, but not like dozen men strong, just an average strength. Weakness: hawthorn stake to the heart and nothing else. Sharp screaming and owl howling in the night is what they commonly do. No natural enemy like werewolves or similar creatures.
Slavic Vampires have various appearances and characteristics that change from Nation to Nation, but the original Serbian Vampire is a man of the people in traditional clothes with sheep fur vest covered with dirt, splintered nails, long and untidy beard and bulged eyes, all teeth overgrown to resemble sharp canines.
Invented around eighty years after the original version, maybe more. Belongs to Catholic Church pantheon. Presented as a demon or an evil spirit. Shape shifter (mostly reserved for transformation into a bat), royal descend, immortality, soulless, no reflection in the mirror for the reasons he doesn’t have a soul, very strong, very fast, mind control and fire red eyes. Weakness: holly water, crucifixion, garlic, any sort of stake to the heart and day light.
His appearance is usually based as a man in slightly noble clothes with long cape, sometimes portrayed as a gentleman with a cane or a personal weapon like sword. Posh, eloquent and elegant by posture. Because of this distinct characteristics, Count Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula is the most renowned Vampire of all.
Ah, the one we all hate and get aroused by… Haven’t you seen the Vampire Diaries or Twilight? Yup, fit and gorgeous creatures that can run with the speed of light, enormous strength, fair skin, posh, versatile, cute fangs, extremely sexual and young. These sorts of Vampires were created by the writers, artists and fans of the occult. Now, we have a plethora of Vampires, their powers and physical characteristics that more or less follow the same standard. Even if these new Vampires have nothing to do with religion, nor do they rely on historical data and myths, we can still see something borrowed from the myth, but never from the Eastern Europe versions or even older version when Vampire was known by other name in other cultures.
Often portrayed as teenagers or baby face adults, writers were challenged to show the Vampire community, their life and daily struggle to control the insatiable thirst for blood. Many authors even tried to develop a complex history of vampirism, epic battles and romances that were mostly present in the horror movies of the 50’. Good old days.
What is there to conclude? Go write your own Vampire story, novel, scenario and use whatever elements you want. Please try to be original so the myth can evolve.
This text has 36 Vampires including this one. Someone call Buffy or Blade, these things are multiplying!!!
I see you wanted a story. Well, I got something for you.