The History of Vampires – Steve’s Ghost Stories
It's October and that means that Steve is doing his Steve's Stories spooky style! This week he talks about the History of Vampires!
The idea of a creature that sucks the life force, or blood from humans has been around since the beginning of time. The Mesopotamians had a blood drinking creature called a Lamashtu with the head of a lion and the body of a donkey. In Malaysia they had the myth of Penanggalan which was a blood sucking flying female head with her entrails hanging below her. And you can find some sort of blood sucker myth in every other culture and civilization throughout time.
As with any myth, the legend of vampiric monsters morphed over time and across cultures. That is, until the 1800s in Eastern Europe when people began to fear the dead. There were reports of men and women coming back to life after being buried and drinking the blood of the living. These reports were validated when townsfolk exhumed the bodies of the dead and found blood around their mouths, bloated bellies, and hair and nail growth.
What they didn't realize at the time is that these were all normal signs of decomposition of the bodies. These misconceptions are what led to the appearance iconic appearance of the undead vampire. This look has persevered from the 1800s to modern day depictions of vampires.
The rest of the vampire lore was really filled in with Bram Stoker's, Dracula. This is when vampires began to be viewed as seductive and debonair. It also solidified the concept that vampires are Eastern European, specifically from Transylvania.
The vampire myth has further expanded in modern times and this is visible in the hit Twilight novels and movies. For example, instead of vampires burning up in the sunlight, Twilight vampires simply sparkle.
The vampire mythos is truly expansive, and can't be fully described in a single blog or video. But if you want a much better telling of the history of Vampires, you should check out this cool video by the folks over at TED-ed.