perjantai 5. kesäkuuta 2015

Vampire in Folklore

Today I will come out with few words about Vampires and Vampire Myths. We all know that creature of night who sucks blood and can take the form of wolf or bat.

In popular culture the Vampire has become a famous character and in few last years even fashion by the success of series like True Blood and Twilight, but before them there was already a robust foothold for these stories and legends. We all remember Buffy, we are all been scared by the dark atmosphere of Dracula and we all saw the Interview With The Vampire which based to Anne Rice story. These stories and many others have made Vampire to be the durable character of popular culture and the horror scene of literature.

What then is the origin of these stories?

In Eastern Europe one can find a rich tradition of myths about demons, blood sucking monsters and undead or living dead beings. Many scholars have been studying the roots of these legends from Romania and Russia back to Greece.

Many ancient cultures had creatures like Vampire. One of the most famous ones was Babylonian Lilu, whom Jews later named Lilith. Egyptian had a goddess Sekhmet who drank the blood and Hindus have a goddess Kali who drinks the blood of her enemies. Many of these demon like female goddesses can be defined Vampire as the Vampire has been defined.

Vampire has few marks which are typical to this certain character. First, they drink the blood aka lifeforce from humans (and sometimes from other animals as well), secondly they can change their form from human character to animals like bats, birds, wolf etc. Third, they are described dead beings who live so they do not have a pulse, heartbeat nor things like that. In eastern Europe area well known Dracula has all these marks though it´s role model Vlad, the Romanian king, had not.

These marks can be found from ancient India from Demon called Rakshasa. Rakshasa was demon who drank blood, had big teeth and changed it´s form to bat. It´s very well known and famous character in Hindu and Buddhist myths of the area. Gypsies of Eastern Europe had their roots in India, their ancestors traveled from Northern India to the area of Eastern Europe and many scholars have been suggesting that nowadays Vampire is actually form of Rakshasa which have been living in the myths and legends of Gypsies centuries before it got popularized.

The word Vampire is English The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of the English word vampire (as vampyre) in English from 1734, in a travelogue titled Travels of Three English Gentlemen published in the Harleiana Miscellany in 1745. In 1735 English journalist used the word Vampyre in famous Arnold Paole case where Vampyres has told to been sucking the bloods from human beings in Hungary (though the are was actually Serbia). Before this it was already known as the form of Yppur in Slavic languages like Romania, Russia etc.

So it is highly possible that Slavic yppur which nowadays have been called with it´s English name Vampire has it´s origin in Indian continent and traveled from India and Tibet with Gypsies to Europe. Of course we can´t forget and let without notion the fact that etymology knows many Vampire like beings from many area of ancient world, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Roman empire, Ancient Greek and Hebrew tradition. Still the folklore we know today as a vampire myth is almost certainly originated to Eastern European culture which has many parts of it´s roots on India, though that´s where the gypsies came to Europe first place.

Though Vampire is very mythical being and has it´s roots in ancient civilizations, there is still a quite numerous variety of beliefs and even practices under the name of vampirism today. There is a groups who are enthusiastic with the fetishistic side of vampirism. They makeup goth style, use teeth and suck each others blood. Many of these people get the power by the fetish itself. They dress with leather and PVC and practice many sadomasochistic things under the name.

There is also so called Psychic or Energy vampires who practice the astral energy feeding and things like that. They are usually serious practitioners of vampirism who think the blood sucking as a metaphor of energy drinking. Psychic has been used a lot of these practices, though I personally think, that Energy Vampirism would be more definiable for the practice itself.

Psychic Vampire is a term which Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of Satanism and organization called the Church of Satan, gave to certain type of people who always take from others and use them never giving anything back.

As denouement of this essay I would say that vampires still live and prosper in todays world and todays popular culture. They have last centuries, but their fascinating effect to audience haven´t last a bit during decades and centuries. Many still believe in Vampires, many still practice Vampirism. Many still gets excited of them and many, like me, scholar the issue and writes about these things.

I end my essay with the words of Bram Stoker:

“Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men´s eyes, because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.”

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