Vampires History and Legends Part 1

About the history, legends, myths, and folklore surrounding the vampire who drinks blood, fears the sun, and is killed by a stake.

Vampires

"To die, to be really dead, that must be really glorious. . . . There are far worse things awaiting man than death. . . ."--Count Dracula, in Bram Stoker's Dracula

Vampire legends have developed independently in many cultures of the world, and all of these tales have the same fundamental characteristics. Such tales have been recorded in Greece, Rome, England, Ireland, Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Cases of suspected vampirism have been reported even in the 20th century.

Vampires by tradition leave their graves at night and return to them before the light of day. Their active hours are spent sucking blood from the necks of their mesmerized victims. Vampirism supposedly occurs in an epidemic form, which throws a village into an uproar. Often when the grave of an alleged vampire is dug up, he is reported to have had fresh blood in his veins. A typical description says, ". . . they found him as though he were in a trance, gently breathing, his eyes wide open and glaring horribly. . . . His mouth was all slobbered and stained with fresh blood." In Romania these beings are often referred to as the "Moroi" or the "undead."

According to tradition, to kill a vampire, it is necessary to run a stake through its heart or to behead it, and then one must burn the corpse. (However, in 1823 England outlawed the practice of driving stakes through the hearts of suicides, although suicides were thought to be potential vampires.)

The most reliable method of fending off vampires is to keep some garlic around. Naturally, anyone who shows a marked aversion to garlic is suspect. If the situation seems particularly dangerous, it is wise to rub the hearth, all keyholes, and any domestic animals with garlic juice. It has been said that a cross also provides protection.

The explanations for vampirism are many. It is often said that candidates for becoming full-fledged vampires are: suicides, anyone under a curse, illegitimates, the excommunicated, the 7th son of a 7th son, those born with teeth or a caul, and--most especially--those who have been bitten by a vampire.

Some occultists offer a tentative explanation of this phenomenon. They say that the physical body is not the only body which a person possesses--he also possesses--he also possesses what is known as an "astral" body, which exists on a different plane. When a person dies, his astral body will eventually leave his physical body. However, in certain cases, this astral body is trapped within his physical body at the time of death. When this occurs, the astral body will see to it that the basic life fluid, blood, is made available to the corporeal body through vampirism.

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