The History of Vampire Mythology

Vampires are becoming extremely popular these days. They have found a place in the pop-culture of movies and TV shows like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight. The future of the vampire motif in contemporary literature and art completely depends on its ability to sustain its supernatural origins. All vampire stories must follow the same rules when it comes to describing these supernatural creatures.

vampire mythologyCredit: it cannot be known when the first vampire stories were told, it is accepted that they are very old and rooted in myth. So the research must start from that point, from cosmogony myths about the creation of the world. They stories always begin with a conflict of great divinities and forces of chaos. When gods prevail, a supreme cultural act takes place: the winner-god reorders chaos into cosmos and all that is left is sealed in a coffin, an urn or a cup that is placed into the underworld. The underworld is ruled by a supreme demon, surrounded by his minions. Thus occurs the legend about a bloodthirsty demon of death, which is a mythic equivalent to vampires seen in folklore from all over the world.

Vampires are Rooted in Slavic Myth

vampires, real or myth?Credit: contemporary image of the vampire has roots in a Slavic vampire myth and the very word "vampire" is of Serbian origin and is pronounced “vampir” there. In that myth, a vampire is described as a demon, an impure soul that comes back to haunt the living and do them harm, even to suck the victim’s blood, thus killing them. The vampire in story form can take various shapes, although the most common shape is that of a person as it was while alive.

Vampires Appear at "Border" Areas

Vampires tend to appears at borders, such as doorsteps, watermills, gates, water springs, wells, crossroads, as it is believed that those places separate this world from the “other” world. Vampires can appear at sunset, or at midnight, at the times of fasting, during "impure" days and it is believed that in those hours the souls of the deceased are particularly active”. Even living a certain quality of life can turn you into a vampire after death: sinners, offenders, misers, suicides all have historically become vampires. As are those who were not christened or have not received a proper burial ceremony.

Protection Against Vampires

Protection against vampires includes magic rites, strong words, sacred objects, or giving sacrifices. Vampire can be killed by a hawthorn stake driven through his heart or belly and later his head needs to be cut off and body burnt while simultaneously being sprinkled with holy water. Obviously, vampires are hard to kill.

Vampire History (Fiction vs. Folklore)