I don't know what triggered my obsession for vampires. But I have fallen in love with their lifestyle. Anything old, anything unexplained. -L.W
*most info taken from other sites
What is a "vampire"?
This simple question is the basis of the most common, and the most confounding, debate among those who consider themselves living vampires or "real vampires" and those who discuss vampire fiction and folklore. There is no consensus, because the vampire itself has a thousand faces--as Nina Auerbach writes, "there is no such creature as 'The Vampire'; there are only vampires" (Auerbach, 1995). For decades, folklorists and vampirologists have been busily universalising the vampire--every culture, every people, has a vampire of its very own, they say. "Vampires" are identified under every mythic and folkloric bush. There are undead vampires, supernatural vampires, vampire deities, vampire demons, vampire spirits, vampire animals, living vampires and psychic vampires. Anything that returns from the dead, that is not human but desires sex with humans, that kills people in the night, that seems interested in blood, is labeled a "vampire". Ghouls, gods, succubi, psychopaths, devils and witches all are crowded under the same aegis. They're all "vampires", and all for different reasons. When living people calling themselves "real vampires" attempt to define what they mean by the word, they find no greater clarity. "Real vampires" may be blood-drinkers or psychic vampires, turned or born, may have any combination of secondary traits or none at all. According to the source you read, "real vampires" may be "Inheritors", "Classicals", "viral vampires", or just pitiful "wannabees". Ultimately, the "vampire" seems to be whatever any given individual wants it to be. No limitations are allowed to apply.
History of Eastern Europe
In the 300's A.D., Slavic people gradually began to drift southward from the Danube Valley (around modern-day Austria) and into the Balkans. There they formed tribes and farmed the land. These waves of migration continued until the early 600's. As the Slavs moved in, they displaced or assimilated the native Balkan inhabitants. The Illyrians were assimilated or forced into modern-day Albania. The Greeks, on the other hand, assimilated the Slavic tribes. Tharacians and Dacians retreated to isolated mountain areas and stayed in relatively small groups. Several centuries later they reappear as nomadic Vlachs and northern Romanians. The Slavs themselves eventually formed into four groups: Slovenes, Croatians, Serbs and Slavs, later known as Bulgarians. They were roughly situated in what is now modern-day Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria-- (see map). They formed a group known as Southern Slavs, united with Western and Eastern Slavs by a commonality of language and ancestry. These Southern Slavic states also form part of what is known as the Balkans or the Balkan Peninsula. The first of the Slavic empires that was organized was that of the Bulgarians. The Bulgarians themselves were not Slavs, but warlike and nomadic people, known as Finno-Tatars and related to the Huns. After subduing the Slavs, they left were left to rule themselves. Bulgarians who remained in the area were assimilated into the Slavic culture, although they Slavs themselves kept the non-Slavic name "Bulgarian" to identify themselves and, later, their country. Nothing else remains of the Bulgarians among the people or the language. Later, a leader-- or Khan-- known as Khan Boris made substansial conquests in the name of the Bulgarian Empire, including one south into Constantinople. In exchange for official recognition by the Byzantine Empire, Khan Boris agreed to adopt Orthodox Christianity. With the help of Greek Orthodox missionaries, the Bulgarians, in large part, converted to Orthodox Christianity. The Greek missionaries also created an alphabet and translated the Scriptures into Slavonic, and this, rather than Greek or Latin, became the official language of the Bulgarian church. The Bulgarian Empire's high point was during the rule of Simeon-- Boris's son-- 893-927. At the time the Bulgarians were becoming Orthodox, their neighbors, the Serbs, were also converting. However, there was a struggle in Croatia and Slovenia between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Eventually, though, the Catholic Church prevailed in both regions. The Byzantine Empire, however, was soon to prevail over the Slavs, as it conquered the Bulgarian Empire when it crumbled after Simeon's death. But quickly after their triumph over the Bulgarian state, the Byzantine Empire began its own descent. With the power of Constantinople seriously weakened, the Bulgarians and the Serbians, were able to revive Slavic power.
Cain and Lilith Enter Lilith: This myth begins at the very creation of man. Lilith, according to Hebrew/ Jewish texts, was the first woman created for Adam.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:27-28
Many have made her a model for feminism, because when Adam demanded that she always be on the bottom for... um... sleeping purposes, she grew angry. "Why must I always be on the bottom? I was made of the same stuff as you. I should be on the top equally." When Adam would not relent in his domination of her, she grew so angry that she uttered the holy name of God and vanished. God then had to make Eve for Adam, making her of his rib bone, rather than wholly dust, so that she would be attached to him and not leave as Lilith had done.
Lilith went out to the Red Sea, where she made a bargain with the angels who had been sent to fetch her back to Adam. She was allowed to stay out on her own, as a witch, mother of all demons. She was allowed to kill infants up until their naming day (I believe 7 days for girls and 8 days for boys), unless they had a charm over their sleeping place with the names of the angels on them. Then, she promised, she would not kill them. (This story is usually explained as being an explanation for SIDS-- sudden infant death syndrome.) Lilith killed human children in retaliation for the thousands of her own demon children who were killed in the wars between good and evil.
Enter Cain: Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. He was banished, with a mark, from the land of his parents because he killed his brother in a jealous rage.
10 What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crith unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold. And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest any finding him shall kill him." Genesis 4:10-15
According to vampire legend, Cain wandered until he found Lilith by the Red Sea. She took him in and showed him the power of blood. (My religion teacher put it that the tree of life is represented in blood. Thus why Jewish persons staunchly drain all blood away from their meat before cooking and eating it. And thus why drinking blood/ being a vampire is such a big deal in a religious context.)
From Cain and Lilith came a host of demons and vampires in the vague myths. Cain is mentioned in the Bible as having a number of legitimate children, with an unnamed woman/ wife. Some of his children are even highly regarded, as they are listed with their inventions, such as the harp and metal working. But, past Gen. 4:26 there is no more mention of Cain's children or his line. Cain himself is referred to only twice more, in the New Testament, as "the prototype of the wicked man."
From what there is presented in the Bible, there is little to go on with the myth of Cain and Lilith. Lilith herself appears only in Jewish apocrypha texts-- she is in neither the Torah or the Bible. But what is interesting is Cain-- and it might be inferred Lilith too-- appears in the epic poem Beowulf, and with much more mention than he ever receives in the Bible.
...Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend, Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild Marshes, and made his home in a hell Not hell but earth. He was spawned in that slime, Conceived by a pair of those monsters born Of Cain, murderous creatures banished By God, punished forever for the crime Of Abel's death. The Almighty drove Those demons out, and their exile was bitter, Shut away from men; they split Into a thousand forms of evil-- spirits And fiends, goblins, monsters, giants, A brood forever opposing the Lord's Will, and again and again defeated. (Ll. 101-114)
...Cain had killed his only Brother, slain his father's son With an angry sword, God drove him off, Outlawed him to the dry and barren desert, And branded him with a murder's mark. And he bore A race of fiends accursed like their father... (Ll. 1261-1266)
How intriguing is that? Where does the author's venom for Cain come from? Yes, he's a sinner, but in the Bible it seems that he goes off and does the best he can, building the city of Enoch, and having a lineage of creative descendants. In the other references to him, he is used as an example of a sinner, but without malice. But the author(s) of Beowulf seems to heap undue vileness onto Cain. There is simply no place in the Bible that speaks of Cain in such a hate-filled regard.
What's even more interesting is that Grendel's forefathers are referred to as a pair. "The Almighty drove/ Those demons out" when there is clearly no mention of God driving anyone out of Eden but Cain. The only other time we see sin in (around) Eden is when we look at the legends of Lilith. It was she who said the holy name of God and vanished out from Eden. And Lilith, in the Jewish tradition, has always been seen as the mother of demons. So for there to have been demons, Lilith must have conceived them (Cain's wife was busy having good children). I think the original author of Beowulf must have known of this Lilith legend (it certainly isn't obscure) and implied this in his writing, because the audience otherwise knows that there was no one expelled but Cain, and that, in the Bible, he stays a legitimate person, not a bearer of monsters.
To further drive home the point that the author knew what he was talking about, Beowulf was first written down and preserved by monks-- who were the only literate people in their time. The tale originated somewhere in the 600's in England, and was thought to have been written down at a later time (it was a bard's tale before that, made to be sung). As monks have a notorious reputation for adding God and His works into things as they write, we would certainly expect to find more references to Christianity than would have probably been present in the newly-Christian world that the poem was composed in. So it can only be concluded that the author knew what he was talking about and wrote down something that had meaning to his audience at the time, but which has been lost to us since. At the time of the composing of the poem, and during the later years when it was written down, the Bible of choice was the Vulgate, of Jerome's Latin Bible. I have attempted to look through the Latin text of this Bible, and have searched for Cain references, but it appears to have no more to say about Cain than does the later (and most popular) version, the King James Version (which most all of us know). The origin of the Cain = monstrous evil myth is well obscured and lost, which allows us to speculate even more as to where monsters-- in particular, vampires-- came from
Minor Living Vampires
The Shepherd of Blow
In the village of Blow, there was once a shepherd, who died for unknown reasons. Several days after his burial, he took to reappearing in his village and tormenting the people there. Anyone on whom he visited would die within 8 days. His case would be unremarkable, but for what happened next. Tired of his nightly ravishes, the villagers took the body from the grave-- finding it, of course, to be in a vampire state-- and they staked it through the heart and put it back in the grave. That night, the shepherd was again seen, and even angrier and more vicious than before. He now carried the stake in his hand, and he taunted that the stake made a good weapon to defend himself against the village dogs. The frightened people disinterred the body again and had it burned, finally ending the shepherd's deadly spree.
Arnod Paole (Arnold Paul)
In 1727 a young soldier, by the name of Arnod Paole, returned home to a village near Belgrade, after completing his service. He had enough money to but some land and a house, and though he was a wonderful neighbor, his social skills were a little less than desireable, as he always had an air of sorrow about him. He finally fell in love with a neighbor girl and they married, though his melencholia still persisted. His wife finally managed to get the reason for his saddness out of him. Arnod admitted to her that while on duty one night, in a far town, he was attacked by a creature who bit him and tried to drain his blood. He managed to fight the thing off until dawn, when the body fell lifeless and he was able to stake and burn the body to ashes. Before doing so he drank a small amount of the vampire's blood, but being unfamiliar with the local territory, he was unable to find the vampire's grave to extract adn consume the dirt from it. Arnod told his wife that he was fearful, since he had not competed the ritual, that he would become a vampire upon his death.
Not long after his confession, a loaded wagon of hay fell on Arnod one day in the field and crushed him to death. About a month after his burial, townspeople reported seeing Arnod wandering around the village, and those whom he came in direct contact with died within a few days. After ceaseless nightly attacks, the villagers decided to raise Arnod's body. His case was made unique in that government officials were called out to inspect the body and an official report was made of it. In attendance at the public exhumation were two military surgeons. When the sexton finally raised the coffin and pried open the lid, they found Arnod's body, in the ground some 40 days, fresh and in a vampiric state. The sexton exclaimed over the fresh blood at his mouth, "Ah, you didn't wipe your mouth after last night's work." A young attendant of the surgeons fainted at the sight. Arnod's body, however, was staked and burned to ash, the ashes being replaced in the grave. Several others who were have believed to have died from Arnod's attack were also exhumed and similarly reduced to ash.
However, the nightly attacks resumed some five years later, and another official investigation was conducted and many more graves were open, some being in a vampire state and others being in a normal state of decomposition. Burning the suspected vampires, and returning the others to their graves, the vamprie plague finally ceased once and for all. The report given by witnesses-- military surgeons, ang various officals-- was sent to the highest authorities and still remains intact to this day.
Ten years after the death of one Peter Plogojowitz, his village in Hungary reported seeing Peter wandering the streets by night. In some instances, he came into people's houses and choked them, causing them to die in less than 24 hours. Even the widow Plogojowitz reported that her deceased husband had appeared to her, demanding his shoes. The villagers asked the local military officials for permission to disinter the body. Though reluctant, they ageed. One officer and a minister were present at the exhumation, upon which they found Peter's body intact, despite his being dead for a decade. His body was staked-- a great amount of fresh blood flowing from it-- and burnt to ash, wherein the deaths in the village ceased.
Aswid and Asmund
From Book 2 of the Eyrbyggia Saga, Icelandic-- There were once two great Icelandic warriors, Aswid and Asmund. They were not only the greatest of generals, but they were also blood brothers. One of them suggested, as they grew older, that they should make a death pact-- that when one of them died, the other would go to the grave with his friend. They both agreed to this and swore on their blood.
It came to pass that Aswid grew ill and died. All of the people mourned, and there was many days of funeral rites and feasting, to commemerate the fallen hero. True to his oath, Asmund followed his friend to the grave, despite the protests of other close friends and advisors. Asmund was sealed alive in the tomb with the body of his friend and many other tributes to entertain the dead in the afterlife, such as food, horses, Aswid's favorite dog and weapons.
Before Asmund had decided how best to kill himself, Aswid awoke from his death sleep. Rising as a vampire, he first consumed the body of his dog, then of the horses. He then turned his attention on his friend, and attacked him with a demonic fury. Taking up a sword, Aswid fought off his former friend.
Some three hundred years later, several daring young men set off to the tomb of the famous warriors. Despite warnings of the tomb being haunted, and of the religious implications of disturbing the dead, the brave young men went to the grave and opened it. Hearing sounds of struggle, one man volunteered to go down into the tomb. Lowering him on a rope, he went down to investigate. The friends called to him after several minutes, then were met by a great tug on the rope. They pulled the rope up, only to find an old-fashioned armored warrior at the end of it. Trying to catch his breath, Asmund told them of the story of Aswid rising as a vampire and trying to kill him. He had been fighting for his life for three hundred years, and had succeded only when the young man had appeared, offering a distraction. With that, he fell over dead. The young men, realizing the bravery of the warrior Asmund, buried him in the tomb with full honor, their companion beside him. They took the decapitated body of Aswid out and burned it, scattering his ashes to the wind.
Vlad The Impaler (Dracula)
Vlad Dracula was born in Wallachia, admist a tumultuous, dark period for Eastern Europe. The smaller countries warred interally between a ruling family line and the line of the aristocrats that very much determined what the kings would do, and who would be on the throne. Outside the countries they warred amongst each other, always forming tenative treaties and marraige alliances, only to be broken for better ones with former enemies. Above all the Church ruled, and each king was held accountable to the religion and to the Byzantine Emperor. Add to this the threat of invasion from the Ottoman Turks, and you have a really nasty time.
Vlad Dracula was born the second son of Vlad Dracul and an unknown woman. Because of a lack of documentation (either through it being lost, or just never being recorded), the date of Dracula's birth is unknown, but by looking at the earliest records written by Drakul, mentioning his second son, scholars have dated Vlad Dracula's birth to be between 1429 and 1437. Mircea, the eldest, and Vlad were probably full brothers, born of the same woman. The third son of Dracul, Radu, was born of a different woman. Two other brother, Vlad the Monk and Mircea, were born of yet another woman, or possibly two different women, most likely Dracul's mistresses. Only the eldest Mircea, Vlad Dracula and Radu were officially recognized by their father and considered as legitimate heirs to the throne their father worked so hard to obtain.
Vlad Dracul's policy for his country seemed to be preserving peace and independence. Though from a Christian sect that swore to uphold Christian allies over any pagans, Vlad Dracul tried very hard to keep the peace with his southern neighbors, the much stronger Turks. Vlad was very reluctant and hesitant to give aid to any of his Christian neighbors. In one instance, when he could no longer afford to overlook his Christian brethren, he was forced to break treaty with the Turks. Afterward he was obligated to send his children (either through his own idea of keeping peace, or the Turks'), Dracula, 12 or 13, and Radu, about 9, to the Turks as hostages. Dracul would not dare break any more treaties with the Turks for fear of them retaliating against the children.
Dracula spent nearly four years in Turkish captivity, although most of it was probably not spent in a jail cell. While there Dracula learned the Turkish language, finished his education and learned Turkish methods for welfare. Later on, when Vlad Dracul broke another treaty with the Turks, the boys' stay became harsher. Radu, weaker in nature, most likely ended up in the Sultan's harem, and later became a favorite of the Sultan. Vlad was kept solely as a prisoner, as he was more rebellious. It is here that most scholars think Dracula learned his brutal ways. He certainly got his inclination towards impaling from the Turks, as well as, most likely, a deep abiding hatred for his father who sent him there, and his brother Mircea, who was allowed to stay at their father's side, out of harm's way.
In 1447 Dracul's enemies among the Christians finally caught up with him. Hunyady of Hungary attacked Vlad Dracul's castle in Tirgoviste. Mircea was captured by enemy boyars (noblemen) who buried him alive. Vlad Dracul was chased down to marshes near the town and was slain. He was buried, apparently, in an unmarked grave, which has never been found.
Vladislav II was put in charage of Transylvania following the death of Vlad Drakul. Meanwhile, Dracula had been placed in the Turkish amy, and was rapidly gaining experience as a commander. During an upset of power in October 1448, Dracula, with the help of his Turkish forces, marched into Transylvania and took over his father's throne. This is his first reigning period. Little is known about this time, as it lasted less than two months, but it is very likely that Dracula took revenge on any of the boyars he could find who had been instrumental in his father and brother's death. By Decemeber Vladislav was able to regroup and he pushed back into Transylvania, forcing Dracula back to his Turk allies.
Defeated, Dracula eventually made his way to Moldavia, where he stayed and fought alongside his cousin, Stephen the Great. When Stephen's father, the king, was assinated, the two young men went to Wallachia, and threw themselves on the mercy of Hunyady, who had taken over the Wallachian province after Vladislav's defeat. After a second exile to Moldavia, then a return to Wallachia, Dracula was given some command of the Hungarian-Wallachian army. Not long after, the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Turks, Hunyady died from the plague, and Dracula took his loyal boyars and Wallachians and killed Vladislav, removing all obstacles to his throne. On September 6, 1456 Dracula took an oath of loyalty to the Hungarian king, followed by a tribute to a Turkish envoy. Dracula's second reign had begun.