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vampira - Comics/Fantasy/Anime



*) Vampires (*

Travellers who visited remote parts of Transylvania in the 16th century returned with strange and horrifying tales of creatures that were neither living nor dead... creatures that feasted on human blood.

These monsters went by various names: vurculac, wampyr and vampire. Although similar creatures are recorded in Greek, Roman and Hebrew mythology, the story of the vampire stems almost entirely from Eastern Europe: from the Carpathian mountains, Transylvania and from neighbouring areas in the Balkans.

At the root of the vampire myth lies two concepts. First, that an evil spirit can take over a corpse and use it for its own malevolent purposes. Second, that the soul of a person considered too wicked to enter the realm of of the dead can continue to inhabit his own body - in the guise of a vampyre. The defining characteristics of vampires are that they are dead and that they rise as corpses in the night to suck the blood of the living.

The earliest known depiction of a blood-sucking human form appears in a Babylonian cylinder seal about 4000 years old. Blood-sucking spirits and corpses occur across the Indian subcontinent and in china.

The word "vampire" of Slav origin, first appeared in English in 1732 in a report on the case of the Serbian vampire Arnold Paole, an ordinary Serbian villager had returned from a tour of army duty in Greece strangely disquieted. Eventialy he revealed to his wife that he had been bitten by a vampire whilst abroud. After his early death in an accident, neighbours in his village near Belgrade reported seeing him wondering around. When Paole's corpse was exhumed it was found with blood staining its open jaws. The traditional central European test for vampirism was a stake through the heart. To the horror of the witnesses, when this was done to Paole's corpse, copious blood spurted out accompanied by a chilling scream. His corpse was burned, as was customary in such cases, and there was some evidence of vampire activity in later years which was blamed on Paole's victims. This illustrates another belief about vampires, that a bite from one condemns the victim also to turn into a vampire.

By the begging of the 19th Century the details of the European vampire were broadly agreed. Vampires could be of either sex with sharp teeth, pale skin and staring eyes. The creatures actions took place a night, and being both magical and dead, they were hard to stop, although garlic was believed to be a deterant. Becomming a vampire was not thought to be voluntarily. It was believed vampires were those who lived an unpleasant sinfull live, the innocent could become vampires by being infected. Those who had died in irregular deaths, suicides and unavenged murder victims were likely to become vampires.

At the end of the 19th Century the Irish writer Bram Stroker wrote his historic novel Dracula. The name Dracula was derived from the family of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Romanian ruler whose cruel and bloodthirsty nature earned his father the name Dracul or Devil, and Vlad the name Dracula, son of the devil. Vlad lived the life of a tyrant and made many enimies. He died mysteriously and his body was never identified or buried, but there are no historical suggestions that he was a vampire.

Even today there are those who believe in the existance of real vampires; there is a Vampire Research Centre in New York to which reports of active vampires are made, and vampire societies exist in many European and American cities.


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