Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's Myths--The Vampire

I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist. This picture is classic!

Moving on...

Mankind has always been fascinated with the idea of the un-dead rising from their graves to come and feast on the living, and I'd have to say that the vampire has typically been at the head of the pack. And there always seems to be new stories coming up with new variations of the myth. While I've heard some pretty staunch opinions concerning the matter of sparkling vampires in sunlight, there are actually tales of the un-dead not burning to a fine crisp under the Sun's glow.

For example, modern-day vampires are usually fashioned after the Australian myth of the Pink Vampire. Yes, this variety does sound cute and cuddly from its name, but its description may sound familiar to you. These vampires have cold skin and fangs and when angered, their eyes turn to a bloodshot red color. Where modern myth has deviated is in this area: the Pink Vampire is not harmed by daylight and it cannot be killed. Period. Not so cute and cuddly now! Is it? Ha ha ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.

There are tales from all over the world concerning this creature. One that particularly caught my eye (and let's not read too much into this, please!) is from Brazil called Lobishomen and it turns its victims (all women) into nymphomaniacs. Interesting...

There are far too many tales for me to go into in this post, so I'll just send you to Mythical Creatures Guide. I really wanted to go over at least a dozen more, but I haven't yet gotten to the origins! So go and check out that site. If you've wanted to write a story about vampires, but didn't want it to be cliche, use this site. Already, my little wheels are cranking!

And now on to origins... Yes, there are probably as many different origins stories as there are tales, but this one seems to be the dominant one in Europe, parts of the Middle East, and amongst Jews.

According to Jewish apocrypha texts (not the Torah), God had originally created Lilith for Adam, but she rebelled against the man's attempted dominance over her and disappeared when she uttered God's holy name. It is said that angels went to retrieve her, but that she made a bargain with them to be allowed to live free of Adam. This bargain said that she would become the mother of all the demons. Now I don't know why they agreed to this, but according to the texts, they did.

The texts also say that when God cast Cain away for killing his brother, the first murderer upon the Earth found Lilith during his travels and fathered children by her. These children are said to be the first vampires/demons. This origins story is even partially recorded in Beowulf, "the oldest surviving epic in British literature."

Whatever the history and however we interpret it in our writing, the tale of the vampire seems to have a very bright future. Ha ha ha!

~Emily White

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Really enjoyed the post, Emily! I remember reading Beowulf and how Grendel was descended from Cain. I loved that epic poem be the way.


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