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Also in His Image: The True Origins of the Vampire

May 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 160

The popularity of the vampire genre continues at a steady pace, whether in film or fiction. Like all captivating myths, the past is often modified to ironically strengthen interest for present and future audiences. Folklore also bends to the social gravity of the surrounding culture or the imagination of the artist; and thus the exact beginnings of the vampire legend become a mystery.

Yet the genesis of the vampire trope can be found in the same genesis as everything else under the heavens-the divine. The bizarre twist is that, in a sense, the vampire might have been around long before humanity!

The vampire mythos is located across the world throughout all of history. However, scholars of mythology and religion have indicated that the exact birth is found in primordial civilizations. Many ancient humans believed the gods required blood in order to function in the material world (and even survive, according to some lore). Animal or human blood was the ultimate nourishment of existence itself, no small influence on the rulers of the universe. Sacrificial rituals were conceived to make sure the higher powers could manage the cosmos, hopefully for the benefit of a specific people.

The notion of a malignant bloodsucker arose not exactly with the divine, but with their underlings. After all, mortals would never blame the gods in public! Scholarship also details how evolving humans began to pack creation with lesser supernatural beings. They also required blood to remain in the lower dimensions. Simultaneously, the gods became loftier and less directly involved with human affairs.

Rebellious underlings like elementals or spirits became the perfect scapegoat to many unsolved maladies and tragedies. The gruesome threat of these proto-vampires remained useful, even with continuous medical and scientific breakthroughs. For example, a priest might warn the tribe that evil entities occasionally possessed corpses in order to hunt for precious blood; but this was likely a tale to keep burial sites untouched by grave robbers. And as always there were always children requiring a good scare to stay obedient.

The exact nature of these monsters changed depending on the specific culture and its beliefs; however the origins always pointed to the unemployed henchmen of the divine. As civilizations became more secular or individualistic, humans replaced gods and their underlings as the archetypal vampire.

A perfect illustration is the most famous vampire story: Bram Stoker's Dracula. Many have written this work is much more than a mere horror story. It symbolizes the corruption of Victorian patriarchal values; and the collective fear of disease in a time when more people migrated to already overpopulated cities.

The trend of human and vampire being symbiotic continues to this day, with variations of course. Perhaps in the future vampire and machine will marry in the stream of myth and storytelling (it might have already begun, with such movies as The Matrix and The War of the Worlds presenting vampiric machines...godlike almost).

Regardless, the vampire genre will probably continue in both popularity and evolution. What is interesting is that it although man was made in God's image, it seems so were vampires. And as mentioned, the arrival of the vampire and the divine to this world perhaps came before man (at least according to some of the oldest mythologies).

A bloody irony.

Also in His Image: The True Origins of the Vampire by Miguel Conner.


Man Made God by Barbara Walker

No Go The Bogeyman by Marina Warner

Miguel is the author of The Dark Instinct Series, a highly acclaimed vampire epic, as well as other works that include Voices of Gnosticism and The Executioner's Daughter (to be released late in 2012). For more on his work and more vampires, please visit He is also the host of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, a popular weekly podcast dealing with the occult and ancient mysteries. If you're not afraid of the dark, find out more on this timeless heresy by visiting

Source: EzineArticles
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