Mythology and Folklore
They are the shadows of midnight. They are unspeakable dark specters that haunt our dreams and spark our imagination. They are romantic yet emotionless. They are powerful and still they are vulnerable. They can be dreadfully scary and viscous, or gentle and kind. They have passionate feelings without emotion. They are ageless, although they each have an age.
You have heard of them, but what do you really know about them? Do the stories you have heard really define the vampires of legend? Or are they merely the machinations of a writerís fancy? Did Dracula really exist? Who is Nosferatu? When I set out to create my site, those are some of the questions I had. I read texts and books, searched through all available resources, and studied the impact that vampires have had on our society. This article is the result of my research relevant to vampire mythology and folklore worldwide. I started my search for real vampires by exploring relevant mythology, to attempt to establish or disprove any link between fact and fiction.
The truth as I have found it is printed within these articles. You may not find the answers you are looking for. Then again if you only seek the answers you wish to hear, you aren't looking for the truth. I have looked at the issue from all sides and have drawn no conclusions without first obtaining satisfactory proof of credibility. I have attempted to remain objective regardless of what I have heard or seen. My own opinions are not within these pages, only the facts as I discovered them to be.
Throughout history, these beings have resided alongside man. Myths and folktales from all points of the globe speak of beings that feed on the living. From the Japanese Kasha to the Irish Dearg-Du and the Tlaciques of the Mexican Nahautl Indians and the Arabic Algul they exist. Germany alone has a minimum of three distinct types of vampire including the Alp, the Neuntoter, and the Doppelslauger of Germany's northern regions. These sinister creatures have permeated virtually every culture and time period, dating as far back as the Ekimmu of ancient Babylon and Assyria.
Despite the prevalence of vampires throughout society, not all cultures attribute the same characteristics to them. In some instances, they appear only at certain times, or under extraordinary circumstances, while others seem to have the ability to exist under any conditions. Not all vampires are killers, as in the case of the Raksasha from India, which is said to cause only, vomiting in its victims. Not all vampires are evil. The Italian Stregoni Benefici, although a vampire itself, is believed to be an ally against evil vampires.
Contrary to widely accepted mythology, vampires do not always feed on the blood of the living. There are several records of "psychic" vampires such as the Bebarlangs of the Philippines and the well-known Incubus (male), and Succubus (female). These beings simply drain away the victim's life force or psychic energy, leaving the victim physically and emotionally weak. The Babarlangs was actually a culmination of tribal spirits sent out to draw energy from its victims. The Incubus and Sucubus were known for entering the sleeping chambers of women and men respectively and (like the Leanhaum-Shee of Ireland) making love to them while drawing the life force from them.
There are also vampires that feed on other parts of the human body, such as the Jigarkhwar of India which eats the liver and the Brazilian Jaracacas which feeds on the breasts of nursing women, as well as the Lamia of Libyia which consumes the entire body of its victims. One last listing in this category is the Brahmaparush of India. This vampire drinks the blood of its victim AND eats it's brain before donning the unfortunate personís intestines as some sort of ritualistic wardrobe.
Vampires are also not always dwellers of the night. The Bruxsa, a vampire of Portuguese origin and the Aswang of the Philippines are both said to live a perfectly normal life among humans during the day, each appearing as a beautiful maiden. The difference between these two forms of vampire lies in the fact that although the Aswang prefers to feed on children the Bruxsa is believed to be capable of bearing them.
The Polish Upier also falls into this category as it is reported as rising at midday and returning to rest at midnight.
Although death is not a prerequisite to becoming a vampire in all legends, it does appear to be the most universally accepted theory for indoctrination into this infamous subculture of humanity. Some notable exceptions are the Moroii of Romania and the Obayifo of Africa, which are described as living vampires. The Pisacha of India is also exclusive to death in that it is believed to be created by the evils of humanity.
Although many seem to associate vampires with the fictional character of Dracula, males actually seem to be a minority in the global reports of these creatures. Female entities make up approximately eighty percent of all vampire legends worldwide. This causes a discontinuity between the vampire of fiction and the vampire of mythology. While the fictional night stalking vampires are often considered romantic, womanizing playboys; the mythological creatures are predominantly vengeful and angry females who feed on the blood of children.
In closing, the interesting thing to note is that although the creatures of mythology largely contradict the popular view of vampires, they do exist. They exist at all corners of the world and in nearly every culture known to man. Although they exist as superstition and folklore, they persist in appearing in the dark shadows of humanity. Often times, those things we consider mythology, have, in some small way, a foundation of truth to them. One of the purposes of my research is to find the origin of the myths to try to ascertain whether or not any truth ever did exist in them during the long forgotten history of man.