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Vampirism-Origination & folklore f diffrnt culturz

In every culture around the world we find signs and folklore pertaining to vampirism.
In this article i will define the different categories and classifications of vampires,as well as introducesome more new legends.
So.., without any further delay let us move onto our first legend:

The story of Lillith
This tale comes from a rabbinical fable called a Midrash. Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was cast out of Eden because she refused to assume a subordinate sexual position. Lilith was transformed into a nocturnal monster whom mated with animals, and sought out the children of Adam & Eve, killing them vengefully and consuming their flesh.

There is another version of this fable, which we will look into later when we examine the different species of vampires in other cultures.

How about a little vampire humor to set the stage:

Imagine vampire astronauts. Now what about being in orbit, where the sun appears above the horizon about once an hour. You get up. You go back to bed. You get up. You go back to bed.

Lets start off with some quotes from a few authors that have written extensively on the subject of Vampires.

"Vampirism was one of the most demonic outbreaks of mass hysteria ever to sweep the world. Its origins are rooted at the beginning of time and almost all of them are founded on superstition."

Anthony Masters- THE NATIONAL HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE.

"The origins of the vampire myth lie in the mystery cults of oriental civilizations…..The Nepalese Lord of Death, The Tibetan Devil, and the Mongolian God of Time."

Devandra P. Varma- THE VAMPIRE IN MYTH LEGEND A LORE

"There is evidence to suggest that the vampire emerged at one time and place, and then diffused around the world from that primal source."

J Gordon Melton- THE VAMPIRE BOOK: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNDEAD

Thus we begin a study of the vampire in different cultures. At one time it was believed that vampires were ranked highest among the demons as chief agents of sin by the different cultures of the world. Almost every country has some sort of vampire legend. Often they have two or three legends. The stories can be traced back as far as the time of Egyptian pyramid building. Egypt or India has been considered the birthplace of the vampire. It also has been suggested that the home of the vampire is Tibet. Santorini is traditionally the most vampire-infested place in the world.

Some characteristics that different cultures attributed to vampires are quite interesting and should be noted. The Greeks and regions of the Balkans believed that blue-eyed people were most likely to become vampires, this belief was due to the fact that there was a serious lack of blue-eyed people in that region. They were different and therefore there must be something wrong with them. The Irish believed that blue or gray-eyed people had the ability to see ghosts and as vampires where sometimes considered the walking dead these people would be able to see them for what they were also. The Greek also believed that red hair combined with blue eyes was a vampiric attribute. An interesting note, in European folklore there was never mention of fangs as an attribute of the vampire. Earliest mention of fangs is in literature, VARNEY THE VAMPIRE in 1840.

We can also look at the study of the Slavic and American Vampire. Considering the original association with evil, disease and death it is amazing that this creature of darkness has become the most sensually appealing part of American culture today. The vampire image originated in Slavic traditions. The image that we started with before literature and Hollywood started messing with it was a horrible beast.

Prime example of this creature would be the Balkan vampire. The vampire of Eastern Europe was often considered either a very old woman or a very young woman. There are only rare examples of male Vampires, and when they turn up their characteristics are usually quite different. The version of the male vampire is not a noble one, they tended to be the of the opposite social strata. Hermits and the homeless were often targeted as vampires and put on trial for the murderous ways in Medieval Europe.

When we look at the vampires myths origination one can understand why some beliefs are that the vampire originated in the Far East. Such places as China, Tibet and India. With the track caravans moving along the silk routes to the Mediterranean and then spreading the stories out along the Black sea coast to Greece, the Balkans and of course the Carpathian Mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania. Slavs came from the north of the Black Sea and were closely related to the Iranians.

Another facet of this tale to look into is between the Church and Vampirism. With Christianity in the world the role great evil changed. One god and one strength, evil thus became weakened. Vampires of seduction, possession and death were considered the minions of the devil along with alchemists, witches, sorcerers and atheists. When the Catholic Church formerly broke in 1054 AD the Bulgarians, Russians and Serbian’s staying Orthodox, while Poles Czechs and Croatians went Roman Catholic. This split caused a big difference in the development of vampire lore. The Roman Church believed that incorrupt bodies were saints, while the Orthodox Church believed these same incorrupt bodies were those of vampires. Roman Christianity won out with the vampires and other pagan beliefs only surviving in folklore.

While researching for this article I came across a quite interesting piece of work on the Web Site PATHWAYS TO DARKNESS. It was part of a collection called "In the Blood" written by Steve Bernheisel. This piece explores the similarities between the Catholic Church and vampirism by our modern definitions.

The link between the church and Vampirism is the act of communion. Millions of Catholics participate in this act every time that they attend mass. By drinking the wine and eating the host they are eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ. The theory here is that by drinking the blood (wine) of Christ you have eternal life with God.

This is similar to the vampire but only in modern traditions; (keep in mind that the earlier vampire traditions of Europe did not always depict the creature as one who rose from the dead. It was more like a beast or cannibal.) Our modern day vampire folklore however, shows that our risen from the dead creature drinks blood and is given eternal life, as blood is the life essence of all creatures. This is something to think about.

Here is some further information about the vampire that I did not have at the time the first article was written. Basically the following are all preventative measures. You can keep a vampire in his grave by nailing his clothes to the coffin walls; this will also prevent him from eating the shroud. Another form of prevention was opening the graves and checking to see if the corpse has become one of the undead. A child’s grave would be opened after three years, a young person would be given five years before the opening, and an adult would be checked after seven years. Also one could try placing a headstone over the grave, it seems that headstones were not originally used as a remembrance of loved ones, but as a weight to prevent a vampire from escaping. Try burying food with the vampire, as a well-fed vampire does not feel the need to cannibalize itself or leave the grave to vampirize others. The last way to document is taking the left sock from the corpse and filling it with stones, then throw it into the river.

The varieties of vampires

From the erotic tales of the Lamia in Roman & Greek literature to the decrepit depictions of the Raksas by the Hindu’s Vedas, one can see a certain evolution of the role of the vampire that parallels humanities concept of the forbidden & evil. People of polytheistic religions with many Gods and Goddesses who are all assigned certain responsibilities., would most likely be able to recognize the various degrees of good and bad and the importance of all in life. Those of a monotheistic belief would most certainly have set definitions of what is good and what is evil in a black & white outlook. This is something to keep in mind while reviewing the following information on the varieties of vampires. Also a critically important characteristic to watch for is the selective feeding practices of the vampire, they are partial to children and members of the opposite sex.

So without much further ado here is the list of Vampires in different Cultures:

The walking dead, the Drauger & Aptranger in Old Norse literature-

From the people who brought us Beowulf comes even more fun creatures. The Vikings concept of the afterlife, once dead body placed in the grave believed to become animated with a strange life and power. The dead person continued a pseudo life within the grave. These creatures are not depicted as a spirit or ghost, more like a description of a Nosferastu. The undead were known by many different names in Norse literature.

Haubui- (Norwiegin)- a mound dweller. A dead body living on in its tomb. Rarely found far from the burial place. They will only harm those who dare to trespass on it’s grave.

Drauger- Icelandic Saga- this is an animated corpse that comes forth from its grave mound or shows restlessness on the way to the burial place. This creature is also know as an Aptrgangr (after-goer or one who walkers after death.) The Draugr is the roaming undead most frequently encountered in Icelandic Sagas. Whichever name used, the undead of Scandinavia was a physical body, the actual corpse of the deceased.

The physical descriptions of the undead in Scandinavian cultures are said to be "hel-blar" or black as death. Another term used to describe the undead is "na-fole" meaning corpse pale. The other characteristics of the Draugr are the undead sports that can swell to an enormous size and also heavy which suggests that the swelling be not due to decay gases. Described as being uncorrupt and for many years after death. The creature has extreme strength. They tend to kill by crushing their victim to death.
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