Section 1: Introduction -- Are Vampires Real?
Many of us have been in that position in life. We let our minds wander throughout our imagination, creating these mythical creatures that wreak havoc in ourselves. As we think of the word "vampire", we conjure up the image of blood-sucking demons that are out to kill. Some of us believe that we are actual vampires due to sensitivity of sunlight, admiring the taste and scent of blood, pale skin, abnormalities, and other syndromes, as quoted from one of my friends. But what exactly is a "vampire"? Since when did they become so popular so quickly? Perhaps the blood lusting inhuman being is our doppelganger. We all have a monster inside of us, but most don't realize it. Or don't want to realize such an absurd thought. As strange as it may seem, there could be a way for us humans to become this creature of another realm. But we must learn more about them in order to understand who these mythical creatures really are. We must learn to be open-minded and to not close ourselves from this world that we have created, yet shun and scoff at. I have decided to write this essay because of all the stereotypical comments I hear about vampires and people who live their lives as one. It isn't fair to them that they are classified as "freaks of nature" and "Satan worshipers" because of their specific interests. As for me, I have such a fascination for vampires that it is almost overwhelming. The brooding and melancholy nature of these beings is amazing. They have amazed people like me even before the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us look into the past and decipher the vampire's code, their myths and beliefs, and their rather extraordinary lifestyle. There are many things that most don't realize about them and it is time to uncover the truth of the undead.
Section 2: The Vampire Anatomy
You wake up stiff and sore, not knowing what happened to you last night. Once you touch your arm, a shiver runs down your spine. You realize that you are inexplicably cold. As you start to come back into consciousness, you make your way to your mirror. Nothing held you back from screaming at the top of your lungs. Who is this creature that stands in front of you? It certainly isn't human in any way possible. Your once flawless skin turned into bluish pale granite, too hard to the touch. You run a finger under your bottom eyelid, feeling the purple circle that surrounded it. In that reflection, you see that both of your eyes have a red sclera with black irises that vary in color. You turn off the light because your eyes grew very sensitive to it. Your skinny and feeble body compliments your sleep-deprived appearance. You are so hungry, but not for any cheeseburgers like last night. No; you hunger for a few pints of A+ blood. And you are even more stunned when you see yourself growl, showing a set of gleaming white canine fangs.
I have yet to meet a vampire, per say, but some folklore beliefs help you understand how powerful a vampire really is.
If you have read Stephanie Meyer's first Twilight book, Edward explains a few vampire concepts in chapter 14, Mind over Matter. He says that while a vampire is fast, strong, agile, have acute senses, and are immortal, any trait that you inherited in the first life will be brought with you, but it will be strengthened or "intensified". For example, if you were conscious about what people were thinking (Edward Cullen), then you became a mind reader. If you can predict what will happen before it does (Alice Cullen), then you would have clear premonitions. If you could change the mood of someone just by you being there (Jasper Cullen), then you are the master manipulator of human emotions. These are just examples of some of a few traits that a vampire can "intensify", but the same theory goes if:
- They were very fast runners
- They were able to lift very heavy objects
- They had perfect vision
- They had a high tolerance for pain
- They could seduce anyone they pleased
There are some different types of vampires that can do more than this, like sensing other vampires or manipulating the weather.
A vampire is strong, no doubt, but they aren't necessarily invulnerable. There are many myths about what weakens and/or kills them.
In Christian belief, vampires are afraid of:
- Their own reflection
- Religious objects such as the crucifix and the rosary
In Christian belief, vampires can be killed by:
- Direct sunlight, burning them into ashes
- A silver bullet
- A stake to the heart
Of course, these are myths. This will be explained in the 8th section.
How One Becomes a Vampire
In certain novels and beliefs, there are several ways to become a vampire (i.e. a vampiric virus). Some say that no one can be turned into a vampire, unless they are born one. The most common way to become a vampire is if you are bitten by one on the neck. But you most know that it isn't as simple as that. Just because someone is bitten doesn't make them a vampire immediately. There is a process that must start before any kind of transformation.
- Once a vampire locates its victim, they first make the victim vulnerable. They try to soothe the victim, by conversation or, possibly, an intimate moment.
- The vampire's bloodlust kicks in, making them sink their canine teeth into the neck. The frenzy begins. The neck is an essential place to be bitten because of the jugular vein on each side of the neck, where blood goes away from the brain.
- The vampire injects his/her venom from their saliva into the broken vessel of the victim. The victim has not realized yet that the venom is already spreading throughout their entire body, flowing with the blood cells in the circulatory system. In this stage, the vampire's DNA is making copies of itself inside the victim's body. Soon, this retrovirus will spread all throughout the body, making it the reconstructed DNA the victim will possess.
- The victim is now in a state of immense and unimaginable pain. They are completely unaware of the effect of the venom going around the body. Their breaths are shallow and are mere gasps, their heart rate off the charts, they shake and sweat profusely. They will soon go into shock or paralysis, which will have to depend on the amount of effect the venom gives off.
- Within the hour of the attack, they are at "near death" experience. They have stopped breathing altogether. They have no heartbeat, putting them into cardiac arrest. The lack of oxygen after a few minutes causes their skin to turn pale rather rapidly. They are considered to be in a vampiric coma. How long they stay in that state depends on how much venom has been injected.
- There are only two outcomes with this process. The victim never recovers and dies, due to their immune system. Or the victim wakes up and has newfound abilities. Whatever the outcome is, the victim will be practically "dead". They have neither circulation of blood nor respiration of oxygen. They are literally a "walking corpse" and their thirst for blood begins relatively soon after the transformation.
The vampire virus acts in a similar way, although it does not require a vampire bite. One who is born a vampire does not need to undergo this extreme process, for they are already one.
I am not one to say if these stories are true or not, even though I am a person who is very open-minded. There could be many other ways that someone becomes a vampire, but it has yet to be documented. There are many things out there that science cannot explain.
Section 3: The History of Vampires
The influence of vampires began even before the birth of Jesus Christ. It certainly wouldn't be easy if I put it in a paragraph form, so instead here is a timeline of the events that took place from 5000 BC to today.
- 5000 BC- Vampirism in the Mediterranean Basin.
- 2000 BC- Tomb of vampire erected in Giza, Egypt.
- 31- Jesus is accused of healing vampires.
- 140- Reign of Longius, Rome's Vampire Emperor.
- 773- Charlemagne defeats Vampire Quadilla, saving Rome.
- 1047- "Upir", reference to Russian prince "Upir Lichy" or "Wicked Vampire".
- 1096- First Crusade expels vampires from Jerusalem.
- 1196- "Chronicles" by William of Newburgh. About several stories of vampires in England.
- 1428- Vlad Tepes (Vlad Dracula) was born.
- 1477- Vlad Tepes was assassinated.
- 1484- Heinrich Kramer's "The Malleus Maleficarium" Explaining how to kill a vampire.
- 1530- Ludovico Fatinelli's "Treatise on Vampires", which explains the biological cause of vampirism.
- 1560- Countess Elizabeth Bathory is born.
- 1607- "The Ship of the Dead" brings vampires to the New World.
- 1610- Bathory is convicted of torturing and murdering hundreds of girls. Her sentence is life imprisonment.
- 1614- Bathory dies in her closet of her castle.
- 1679- "De Masticatione Mortuorum" a vampire text by Phillip Rohr.
- 1734- The word "vampire" in English text.
- 1748- "Der Vampir", a vampire poem.
- 1813- Lord Byron's "The Giaour", where a vampire appears.
- 1819- John Polidori's "The Vampyre"
- 1847- Abraham (Bram) Stoker is born.
- 1850- The Paris Vampire Quarter is destroyed by Haussman.
- 1854- The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (FZVA) were created in Copper Creak Siege in California.
- 1872- In Italy, Vincenzo Verzeni is convicted of two murders and drinking their blood.
- 1872- Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's gothic novella "Carmilla" was published.
- 1882- New York vampire riots break out.
- 1891- The Vampire Rights movement in France by Steketee.
- 1897- Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was published.
- 1905- Vampire population: over 1,000,000.
- 1924- (The Vampire of Hanover) Fritz Haarman is convicted of killing more than 20 people in a vampire crime spree.
- 1931- Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" movie was released.
- 1932- Carl Theodore Dreyer's "Vampyr" movie is released.
- 1936- "Dracula's Daughter" movie is released.
- 1943- "Son of Dracula" movie is released (starring Lon Chaney).
- 1943- Franklin Roosevelt's "Zozobra Project".
- 1950- Joe Valdez discovers a vampire vaccine.
- 1962- U.S "Count Dracula Society" founded by Donald Reed.
- 1964- "The Munsters" and "The Addams Family" air on TV.
- 1965- The Count Dracula Fan Club founded by Jeanne Youngson.
- 1967- Ban of vampire blood research by the U.N because of the Lazo disaster in Siberia.
- 1970- Sean Manchester- Vampire Research Society founder
Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu- "In Search of Dracula"
Stephen Kaplan- Vampire Research Centre
- 1976- Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicle "Interview with the Vampire" is published.
- 1979- "Dracula" remake (starring Frank Langella).
- 1980- Richard Chase commits suicide in prison (The Dracula Killer of Sacramento).
- 1985- Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat" is published.
- 1986- Reagan lifts ban off of vampire and zombie blood research.
- 1987- Santa Rosa Institute's "Methuselah Project".
- 1988- Anne Rice's "The Queen of the Damned" is published.
- 1989- The Australian "Lesbian Vampire Killer" Tracey Wigginton. She has killed an inebriated man by stabbing him 27 times, nearly severing his head and then drinking his blood. She received life imprisonment.
- 1991- Vampire: The Masquerade game created by White Wolf.
- 1992- Bram Stoker's "Dracula" movie (starring Gary Oldman)
Andrei Chikatilo kills and performs vampirism on 55 people.
Anne Rice's "The Tale of the Body Thief" is published.
"Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" movie (starring Kristen Swanson)
- 1994- "Interview with a Vampire" movie (starring Brad Pitt)
- 1996- "Kindred- the Embraced" airs on TV.
- 1996- In Murray, Kentucky, a vampire clan formed. This included Roderick Justin Ferrell, Heather Ann Wendorf, Scott Anderson, Dana Cooper, and Charity Keesee. Ferrell killed both of Wendorf's parents while with Anderson. Ferrell received life imprisonment and Anderson was an accessory to murder. Keesee and Cooper were charged and convicted of 3rd Degree murder. Wendorf had all of her charges dropped.
- 1998- "Blade" movie (starring Wesley Snipes).
- 1999- "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" series airs on TV (starring Sarah Michelle Gellar)
- 1999- "Vittorio, the Vampire", by Anne Rice.
- 2002- "Blade 2" movie (starring Wesley Snipes)
- 2002- "30 Days of Night" horror comic book series about vampires living in Alaska.
- 2007- "30 Days of Night" movie is released.
- 2008- TV series "True Blood" on HBO.
- 2008- "Twilight" movie (starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart)
- 2009- "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (starring Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner).
- 2009- "The Vampire Diaries" air on TV (starring Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley)
- 2010- "Daybreakers" movie.
So, as you see, the vampire fascination has been around longer than we originally thought. Even today, vampires are still considered "alive" although they are technically "dead"!
The Vampire Scare in the 1800's
There was a supposed "vampire epidemic" in the 1800's. The villagers believed that there was a "walking corpse" terrorizing the townspeople in England. As you know back then, science wasn't as advanced as of today. Many didn't understand the concept of post-mortem decomposition. The pathologists misinterpreted this as signs of vampirism. There were 3 major things that didn't seem to fit a person who has deceased.
- The corpse had a discharge of liquid from their mouth and is "bloated", for lack of a better word. The corpse seemed to have gained weight from feeding off of human blood.
- The corpse had longer fingernails, toenails, and hair. The pathologists believed that the copse must be still living. Back then, their belief was that when a person dies, all growth and aging stops.
- The body had no real signs of decomposition. The body was completely in tact, with no signs of rotting flesh or deterioration.
At night, villagers would sneak into graveyards and exhume the bodies of the deceased. Once they see those three signs of vampirism, they do three things to kill the "vampire":
- They drove a wooden stake to the heart.
- Decapitation of the head.
- They burn the body to ashes.
Their fear of vampires all were derived from the Christian myths, saying that vampires are evil and are worshipers of Satan. We all know now that it is preposterous and ridiculous. If it wasn't for science developing to being this advanced from years ago, we would all still be living in the dark ages, worried that a vampire will lurk in your neighborhood.
Section 4: Vampire Types
We all know about the famous vampire who frightens all mortals and drinks blood to keep their existence. But is that the ONLY kind of vampire? That is certainly not the case. There are many different kinds of vampires, all ranging from folklore to modern day vampires. I could be writing pages upon pages about this, but there are several categories of vampires that I think are important.
The several mythical vampires include the Ancient Babylonian vampire (Lilith), western European vampire (the traditional vampire), the Greek and Romanian vampire (strigoi and the Lamia), the Ancient Egyptian vampire (goddess Sehkmet), the Greek vampire (vrykolakas), the African vampires (the asanbosan and the adze), the Asian vampire (the Bhuta or Prêt, the Mandurago, the Manananggal, the Penenggalan, the Leyak and the Jiang Shi), and the North and Central American Vampire (the Chupacabra).
A well-known Ancient Babylonian Vampire was called Lilitu or Lilith. She was the first wife of Adam. She is classified as a type of vampire called the succubus. A succubus is a highly-sexual demon who takes the form of a female to feed off of men. Once men are attracted to the succubus, they cannot escape the strong seduction of the woman. The demon takes control of the men by intimacy and then literally devours their flesh. The incubus is the male counterpart of the succubus. The incubus takes control of women to have sexual intercourse. The victim's life comes to an end once he takes the life out of her.
The Western European Vampire is the traditional vampire, without the traits that Hollywood movies gave them (undying beauty, sex appeal, the ability to read minds, etc.). Instead, the traditional vampire is just a corpse that "comes alive" and hunts for human blood. There is nothing romantic or very appealing about it. There is no beauty radiating from them, for they are all in the process of arrested decomposition. The traditional vampire is said to have no soul, so they are afraid of anything relating to Christianity, including churches. Vampires are not immune to holy water or silver because it represents purity. Vampires have heightened senses, so garlic would especially be a very potent odor for the vampire. Driving a wooden stake through their body means that the corpse will never be able to move from the spot they were pinned to. Decapitation represents the cut off from God, since Jesus was considered to be the "head" of God. Burning the corpse means that when you are resurrected, you cannot return to your body or walk around as a vampire.
The Greek and Romanian Vampires are called the strigoi and the lamia. They usually haunt the family that they once lived with before they died in their mortal life. The ways that one can become a strigoi are if that person dies before marriage, a cat crosses over their corpse, the person is filled with pain and regret, or if they were born with a caul on top of their head. The strigoi is a troubled spirit of the deceased that rise from the grave. It is at first not a body, but a "bag of blood" with red eyes. After 40 days of existence, they soon grow and develop bones and flesh. According to Romanian mythology, the strigoi has red hair, blue eyes, and two hearts. There are ways to prevent a strigoi according to the myths:
- If the person died before marriage, one must marry the corpse to an unwed person. If this fails, then stab them in the heart with a piercing object.
- If the person has a cat walk over their body, then one must bury a bottle of wine next to the grave. Six weeks later, drink it and give the wine to your family members so the strigoi will not haunt the family.
- If the person was filled with pain and regret while they lived, then one must pierce a needle through the body or place a candle, coin, or towel on the hand of the corpse.
- Walking around the grave with burning hemp or burying a bottle of wine with the grave will stop a strigoi. They will drink the wine and not return to the family.
- If you were to cut out the heart of the strigoi, then you can either burn it or put a rosebush or aspen wood to the stake that went through the heart and the ground.
- You are able to use the techniques of killing the traditional vampire to kill the strigoi.
But let it be known that the strigoi may live up to seven years without being noticed. They can very well be in another country altogether. They can marry, have children, and live their lives, but they will become a vampire when they die.
The lamia, the Greek vampire, is the daughter of King Belus and granddaughter of Poseidon. She became queen of Libya after her father's death. She was said to have an affair with the god Zeus and then bore his children. In a fit of rage, Hera, Zeus's wife, found out about the affair and killed the children. While depressed and in grief, lamia devoured her children. The stories about the child-eating demon called the lamia were all were routed from this belief in Greek mythology. The portrait of the lamia (made in 1909 by Herbert James Draper) depicted a young woman with snakeskin around her waist and a small snake on her right forearm.
The Ancient Egyptian Vampire is the goddess Sehkmet. She is the daughter of Nut and Geb, the wife of Ptah, and the mother of Nefer-Tem. She is represented by a head of a lion. She was the sun god, with powers which represents the burning, scorching, and destructive heat of the sun. She was so relentless that she destroyed the enemies of Osiris and Ra. Sehkmet would have destroyed all of mankind if it wasn't for a trick that Ra played on her. He dyed the beer that she drank blood red, which made her lose all of her anger while she was drunk.
One of the Greek Vampires is called the vrykolakas. One can become one by a sacrilegious (unholy) lifestyle, excommunication (kicked out of the church), being buried on an unconsecrated ground (ground that has not been blessed), or eating meat that has been wounded by a wolf or werewolf. A werewolf itself has the potential to become a vampire when it dies. They will keep the wolf fangs, hairy palms, and the red-glowing eyes. The vrykolaka's appearance resembles that of the Balkan vampire, but they don't decay. Their body gets to be more "rounded" as they store blood in their bodies. They are known to spread epidemics throughout villages. Once a vrykolaka knocks on a person's door, you are not to answer it. However, if that person does, they will die within a few days and become a vrykolaka. A vrykolaka will continue to grow more powerful until you cremate the body, behead it, impale it, or perform an exorcism.
The African Vampires include the asanbosan and the adze. The asanbosan legend derived from the Ashanti people in Africa. The asanbosan have iron teeth and iron hooks for feet. They live in trees to attack from above. The adze was derived from the Ewe people of Ghana and Togo. The adze takes form of a firefly, but it can be a human form as well. The can possess people at will, which would make the victim witches. Usually, these people who were accused of being a witch were women with brothers, the old, and the poor. The adze doesn't need a witch to be dangerous, however. They can feed off of and hunt for blood, coconut water, pine oil, and children.
Some of the Asian Vampires are the Bhuta/Prêt, the Mandurago, the Pennengalan, the Leyak, and the Jiang-Shi. The Bhuta/Prêt is the soul of a man who died unexpectedly. It lives like a ghoul, wandering around and attacking the living. The Philippine vampire is the Mandurago and the Pennengalan. The Malaysian Mandurago takes the form of an attractive lady by day and then grows huge, bat-like wings and a thread-like tongue at night. The tongue is used to suck the blood out of the victims. She prefers to attack pregnant women to suck the fetus out of their body while they sleep. The Malaysian Pennengalan is an older woman who rejuvenates her beauty through the use of black magic. She detaches her fanged head at night to look for blood. The Balinese folklore Leyak is a woman who died while giving birth to her child. She becomes undead and wanders around the village to terrorize people. She looks like a beautiful young lady with long black hair. The hair covers the hole in the back of her neck, which is used to feed off of children. The Chinese Jiang-Shi has greenish-white and furry skin from mold growing on the corpse; it is a reanimated corpse that hops about and kills people to absorb their "chi" or life energy. A way that a person becomes a Jiang-Shi is if a person's soul refuses to leave the body after death.
The North and South American Vampire is called the chupacabra. In literal terms, it means "goat sucker". They are approximately 4 feet tall, even with their long and skinny legs with three toes and claws at the end; they have gray fur and white spots. They have huge eyes that spread to the side of their face. On their back, the chupacabra has spikes running down to make an even more intimidating appearance. The chupacabra became well-known only very recently (1990's).
This term became popular in the mid-1800 A.D. There is a modern-day vampire called the Psychic Vampire whom feed off of their victim's life energy (chi or prana). You can gain this skill through meditation, mentally altering drugs, or inheritance. The concept of energy draining is similar to the old Chinese folklore of the Jiang-Shi who also feed off of life-energy. The only difference is that Psychic Vampires don't kill their victims and they establish a close relationship with their consenting donors. They are able to see auras in which they can absorb through physical contact or mental contact. The two popular types of psychic vampires are the Astral and the Magnetic Vampire. The Astral Vampire can eject its soul from its body out of the grave to drink blood from their victims. The Magnetic Vampire can drain energy from people around them. The most popular Psychic Vampire of today is Michelle Belanger, who maintains her health by draining energy out of her consenting donors.
The term "sanguinarian" is Latin for blood. This type of vampire is like any other human being, except they drink actual blood, whether it's from animals or people. Some Sang-Vampires are born to drink blood, but most Sang-Vampires develop the need for blood through adolescence. The most famous of these vampires is Don Henrey. He has affinity with blood, but will only drink from consenting donors. Doctors who examined him originally thought that he has a rare blood disorder when the patient is in dire need for blood cells because their blood supply is limited. Even after the examinations, doctors found no signs of illness. Don has proved that blood-drinking isn't necessarily a sickness. Although not usual, people can develop a need for blood. The two types of Sang-Vampires are the Moderate/Blood craving Vampires and the Severe/Blood lusting Vampires. The Moderate/Blood craving Vampires are people who don't need as much blood as the typical Sanguinarian Vampire. The Severe/ Blood lusting Vampires are at the line of psychosis. They NEED blood, even more than the real vampire. Speaking of blood and blood consumption, Sang-Vampires need to be careful when they drink blood. As you know, there are a lot of blood disorders out there (i.e. Hepatitis C and HIV), so Sang-Vampires always monitor their donors before any type of consumption.
Animal Vampires are animals with vampire traits. Let's take, for example, the vampire bat. The most common vampire bat is called Desmotus rotundus. They have fur that looks like burnt amber on their backsides and light brown fur on their stomachs. Their diet is blood from large birds, cattle, horses, pigs, and sometimes humans if there isn't any nearby food. Desmotus rotundus uses its razor-sharp teeth to take bits of skin off of their victim's wound. They use an anticoagulant to make the wound bleed easier so they can feed off of it. Another example of an animal vampire is the Candiru. They are more of parasites, for they would swim up a victim's urethra. They are attracted to urine. The vampire fish is the relative of the Candiru. They are small enough to swim into a fish's gills to suck their blood.
These are the most dangerous vampires of all. Their longing for blood is out of control and will do nearly everything (including murder) to taste, see, and feel blood. Some say that Psychotic Vampires will sometimes dress and live their life as a vampire would (i.e. stay out of the sunlight, roam around at night, and the consumption of blood). This is a clinical illness called clinical vampirism, where the person drinks actual human blood. Another syndrome where someone will live their life as a vampire and has a psychological problem whereas they think of themselves as vampires is called the "Renfield's Syndrome", as seen in Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Some famous Psychotic Vampires are Gilles de Rais, Vlad Tepes, Elizabeth Bathory, and Rod Ferrell.
Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard)
He was born in Machecoul, France in 1404 to his parents Guy de Laval-Montmorency and Marie de Craon. He was rather a smart child who spoke fluent Latin, wrote manuscripts, and used his education for military and intellectual developments. He and his brother, Rene de la Suze lived with their maternal grandfather, Jean de Craon, after the death of their parents in 1415. Gilles was tricked by Jean into marrying one of the wealthiest heiresses in Normandy, but his plan failed. Instead, Jean married him off to Catherine de Thouars and had a child, Marie, in 1429.
Following the War of the Breton Succession, he was granted his money. In 1427, he served as a commander of the Royal Army. In 1429, he fought beside Joan of Arc in campaigns against the English and the Burundians during the Hundred Years War. In 1434-35, he retired from his military life and joined the occult, led by Fransesco Prelati. By this time, Gilles had no more money and needed to get all of the lost fortune back. According to Gilles, Prelati told him that that could be possible, but he must sacrifice children to a devil named 'Barron".
From 1435 to 1440, Gilles spent his time committing sodomy on children and killing them. He would decapitate them with a short, thick double-edged sword called a "braquemard". He didn't care who he killed, boys or girls. Gilles was so sadistic, that when he cut up the bodies, he would kiss and hold up the dismembered body parts high. Gilles loved it when they screamed as they lay dying. He would sit on top of them on their stomachs and laugh. He was soon arrested and charged with the murder of 80-200 murders. There were about 40 bodies discovered in Machecoul alone in 1437 that he was guilty of. His first murders happened in Champtoce, but were never documented in the trial. His last was the murder of the son of Eorret de Villeblanche and Macee Poitu. He was hanged in Nantes, France in October 26, 1440. He was the inspiration to Black Beard the pirate in the 1600's.
Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler)
"The son of the Dragon/Devil" was born in November or December of 1431. His father was Vlad Dracul, who was part of the Order of the Dragon, located in Nuremburg, Germany. Vlad was initiated at age 5 and had a good education. With it, he learned how to fight like a knight. He could speak German and Latin, besides his native Romanian. He studied geography, math, science, church studies, literature, and philosophy. Vlad Dracul was thrown out of the throne in Wallachia by the Ottomans. Vlad and Radu (his brother) were taken as hostages and were brought to an underground prison, where they were chastised. Radu was initiated to the Turkish court, but Vlad refused to be part of any Turkish activity. He remained true to his vow to destroy them.
In his first reign, his newly-learned method of impalement will soon help him bring order to the people. Vlad Dracul was killed in 1447 and the throne was given to Vlad upon his return from exile. The rule was short lived, and Vlad fled to Moldavia and lived under the protection of his uncle upon planning his return. He led his own army in Wallachia, defeated the Turks, and killed Vladislav Basarab, pretender to the throne, in hand-to-hand combat.
In his second reign, Wallachia was a literal mess and needed to improve its economy, defense, and political power. Vlad created new severe laws to ensure a strengthened country. He made sure that his followers were loyal to him. This is when he introduced the punishment of impalement. Impalement is when a sharpened stake is used to penetrate the anus and exit through the back or chest area. He made sure that this was public and that the people could see what the consequences of their actions are. For those who were loyal to him, he gave mercenaries the land he conquered and built a church to honor his father. Vlad raided Transylvanian cities, targeted the noblemen who had the power to resist him, and ordered thousands of people to be impaled. In 1459, the Turks sent messengers to Vlad to pay tribute to him. They refused to take off their hats in front of them, so Vlad nailed the turbans to their heads. He started war against the Ottomans but were impaled. Ottomans tried to stop him, but they were quickly impaled. Even his brother tried to gain troops to stop him. More Ottomans came and were disgusted when they were forced to walk through the "Forest of the Impaled". Money ran short and Vlad went to Hungary for help, but was arrested and imprisoned for high treason. It did not last long, though.
The first wife of Vlad (name unknown) was shot by an arrow and fell through the window into the moat below. She was mistaken for Vlad. His second wife was the cousin of King Matthias and was given a house before his capture. The King helped Vlad plan the takeover of Wallachia.
He eventually ascended the throne before being decapitated by the Ottoman Turks in 1476. His head was sent to Constantinople for the Sultan King to gloat. Vlad Dracula was no more, and his burial sight is still unknown to this day. He became the inspiration to Bram Stoker's "Dracula".
The "Blood Countess" was born in Nyirbator, Hungary August 7, 1560 and lived in the Ecsed Castle. Her father was Gyorgy Bathory (Ecsed branch of the family). Her father's brother was Andrew Bonaventura Bathory (Voivod of Transylvania). Her mother was Anna Bathory and her father was Stephen Bathory (Voivod of Transylvania), Elizabeth's uncle.
Elizabeth always had unique interests, which included Latin, German, Greek languages. She was considered trilingual. Her other interests were science and astronomy.
She was engaged at 15 and married 3 years later to Nadasdy Ferenc. She moved into the Nadasdy Castle and was mostly on her own while her husband was in Vienna at war. In 1578, he became the chief commander of the Hungarian troops and was at war with the Ottomans. In 1604, he died due to war injuries. He was only 51 and the couple was married for 29 years.
After her husband's death, Elizabeth had trouble keeping her flawless beauty, sent her hated mother-in-law away, and started to take part in animal sacrifices.
One day, one of her servant girls was combing Elizabeth's hair and accidentally pulled it. Elizabeth became irate and slapped the young girl's hand so hard that it bled. As the blood dripped onto her hand, Elizabeth discovered that it gave her skin a young, beautiful glow to it. She believed that the only way to retain her beauty was to collect virgin's blood and bathe in it. And that is what she did. Day by day, she would kill many girls, drain them of their blood, and bathe in it as their bodies hang from the ceiling next to her, turning pale and brittle. She would have the bodies secretly buried so she can keep up with her "hobby", thanks to her four loyal collaborators. After a while, Elizabeth starts to get very cocky and conceited. She thinks that no one will ever find out about this, so she starts having the bodies thrown out of her top window, which littered the ground.
Her scheme didn't go as planned and one day, one of her victims escapes alive and tells authorities about the horrific events that happened in Cachtice Castle. Gyorgy Bathory was ordered to raid the castle in December 30, 1610. He expected the worst and he saw just that: a dead woman with the blood drained out of her in the main room and a girl alive (barely) with holes polka-dotting her skin.
Elizabeth Bathory was charged, but never convicted of murder because of her royal inheritance. Instead, she was imprisoned for life in her closet of her castle. Even when she died in 1614, she denies any wrongdoing.
The gothic Vampire Clan leader was born March 28, 1980. In Murray, Kentucky, he had an infamous group of teenagers, which included Scott Anderson, Charity Keesee (Rod's girlfriend), Dana Cooper, and Heather Wendorf (Rod's ex-girlfriend).
Before leaving to New Orleans, Louisiana, Dana and Charity drove Heather to her apartment and wanted to say goodbye to her parents, Richard and Naoma Wendorf. Rod wanted her to get out of the place she, herself, called "hell". Rod and Scott easily snuck into the house through the unlocked garage. While sleeping in the sofa, Rod hit Richard multiple times with a crowbar, cracking open his ribs and skull. Naoma comes in soon after and finds both Scott and Rod. Rod intended on letting her live, but when she lunges at him and throws coffee in his face, he changed his mind. She was killed in the same fashion as Richard. He was found with burn marks on his arm with a "V" for "Versago" (the 500-year-old vampire he claimed to be) and dots to represent the members of the clan.
Arriving in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Clan needed money, so Charity called up her mother to ask for help. She contacted police and told them the Clan's whereabouts. The police tricked them into staying at a nearby Howard Johnson's Hotel, where they were arrested at. The Clan was extradited back to Florida and then moved to a juvenile facility in Ocala.
In February 12, 1998, Rod (then 17) pled guilty to both murders and claimed that Scott was an accessory. He was given the Death Penalty, but was changed to life imprisonment. He shows no remorse, even to this day. Dana Cooper and Charity Keesee were charged with 3rd degree murder. Heather Wendorf was cleared of all charges.
The Clan was the inspiration of the 2002 film "The Vampire Clan.
This breed of vampire you can find anywhere. Yes, they are real as real could be. They use the term "vampyre" to differentiate themselves from the mythical folklore vampires. Vampyres are common in the Gothic Subculture and can be found, most likely, with fangs, pale skin, and colored eye contacts. They indeed follow the way of the vampire and they could sometimes act similar to one, from dressing like one to adapting their feeding habits. Vampyres are similar to the Psychotic and "Renfields" out there, but most don't have an impulse to kill for blood. They, like the Sanguinarian Vampires, drink blood from consenting donors. Believe it or not, they might be the safest people to be around. Their brooding yet understanding and gentle qualities make you feel at peace with yourself without losing your psyche.
The most interesting vampire is the human kind. The only difference is that they were originally human, but not anymore. In lame one term, a Viral Vampire is just a human infected by a vampire's virus. Not all victims are exactly "transformed" into a vampire. It depends on the potency of the venom, as mentioned earlier. When this particular virus enters the body, the victim undergoes three stages before transformation is complete.
Stage 1: Infection
The victim will start to receive flu-like symptoms, such as a headache, high temperature, soar throat, runny or itchy nose, or hot and cold sensations. This will last anywhere from 6-12 hours from being bitten. You can eliminate the virus quickly, since it's at an early stage of development. The vaccine, at this point in time, will be up to 100% effective.
Stage 2: Vampiric Coma
If the vaccine shows no effect, their chronic flu-like symptoms worsens. The victim's pulse rate speeds up rapidly as the heart experiences palpitations. The breathing becomes scarce as if in the point of suffocation. The eyes become dilated or pinpoint, making the victim lose their sight and faint. They lose consciousness and begin to fall into a deep, deep coma. The duration varies from days to months to possibly years. The vaccine has 50% effect. The victim has only two options: be reborn or death.
The vaccine is useless and is rejected. Survivors in this stage are around 18-35 years of age, and will remain that way. Their transformation is complete and they soon find out about their newfound abilities. At first, the victim is paranoid and confused, not knowing what has become of them. Within 24 hours of their transformation, they will start hunting.
Their appearance is quite shocking. They have yellow skin that turns blue within a few days. The body temperature drops to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Their finger and toenails will grow rapidly. The signs of postmortem decomposition are accompanied with sharp and pointed canines, heightened senses, as well as fast reflexes, which are excellent hunting necessities. After 10 years of their "turning", their body hair falls off and they grow skinny and brittle. Do not let that fool you, however. They are even stronger and harder to kill because of the completed development of their supernatural powers.
These are the very old, centuries old, vampires that are nearly invulnerable. Regents are highly intelligent and powerful, nonetheless. In myths, the younger vampires are at least 3-5 times faster and stronger, but the Regents are up to 20 times faster and stronger. Because of their intelligence, they are able to control a mortal's will, whether it is controlled verbally or telepathically. Regents are master shape-shifters that can transform into most animals (the common vampire bat, cat, etc.). Although not a common trait, a Regent's mind can be so powerful that they can manipulate the weather. They could change weather patterns at will. Being that they are powerful, Regents don't require large amounts of sleep or blood. All they need to worry about is to how to avoid sunlight. When they were younger, the Regents were afraid of religious objects like the rosary and crucifix. Now, being centuries old, they are immune to them. Regents can even destroy or disintegrate them by a touch of their cold fingers.
If you remember the Dementor in the third Harry Potter film, then you can see the close relation between them, the succubus/incubus, and this species of vampires. They are your emotional leeches. The Emphatic Vampire is the closest to the succubus/incubus. Their diet consists of the negative emotions of other people (anger, sorrow, jealousy, etc.). Emphatic Vampires can be up to 5 meters away from their victims, but once they make physical contact, their powers increase dramatically. There really is no limit to how much emotion they can take from the victim. As long as they feel alive, the Emphatic Vampire will live on. They will reject every happy memory you have until you are at the point of death.
As the name suggests, a Soul Vampire feeds on a person's soul in order to survive. This means that they kill each victim they come in contact with. Other than the succubus/incubus, the Soul Vampire is one of the most intimate vampires. They need to be in close proximity with their victim. Once the victim is dead, the Soul Vampire can carry their soul around for a week. After that, they must release it to the next realm.
They are the most human-like vampire species, and probably the only kind that need to sleep at night. The Dreamscape Vampire can only attack their victims in their dreams. In the daytime, they are like any other human. At night when they slumber, they are the most deadly.
Section 5: The Influence of Vampires in Novels
If one really wants to do some serious research on vampires, then they can look up novels that helped us shape up our definition of what a vampire is. Below are five books, listed in chronological order, which changed the definition of vampirism throughout the years.
- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, published in 1872.
Synopsis: Young Laura narrates the story on how she met a pretty young girl named Carmilla. Now, Carmilla is anything but normal. She sleeps most of the day and does not eat. She has constant mood swings, which Laura doesn't find appealing to her. As she and Laura become close friends, Carmilla falls desperately in love with her. It makes Laura very uneasy, but what she finds out about her new friend is even more sickening. This is the first Gothic novella that suggests vampirism as sensual, emotional, and romantic. It is now considered one of the aspects of a vampire. They would have the tendency to draw in their victims with intimacy, which is what Carmilla did.
2) Dracula by Bram Stoker, published in 1897.
Synopsis: For real estate transactions, Johnathan Harkins must travel to the castle located in the Carpathian Mountains. Little did he know that it was the home of the world-famous Dracula, inspired by the real-life Vlad the Impaler. Although doomed to die in his hands and of his undead servants, Dracula let him live. Whilst on the Demeter ship, Johnathan escapes and Dracula hunts down his fiancée, Mina. Johnathan writes many letters to his wife, saying how much he misses her. But Mina has something else on her mind: Dracula. She is yet to discover his terrorizing secret that terrorizes the rest of the town. This novel carries on the consensual nature of Carmilla.
3) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, published in 1954.
Synopsis: A science-fiction/ horror novel that suggests vampirism to be spread as a disease. Robert Neville lives in LA and is the only human not infected by the worldwide pandemic, or so he thought. While trying to make the best of his life, he meets Ruth. They both try to find a cure to somehow reverse this disease. It isn't exactly easy, considered that they are the only two humans left. This is the first novel that depicted humans becoming vampires through some form of a rare disease. Whether this is true or not is beyond me.
4) The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, published in 1976.
Synopsis: This is a series of books all focused on a French nobleman named Lestat de Lioncourt. In the first book of the series, Interview with the Vampire, he is introduced when Louis, a 200-year-old vampire, tells about his encounter with him with the interviewer, Daniel Molloy. Louis is his forever companion when he is turned into a vampire by Lestat. Vampirism is interpreted as companionship between the vampire and the victim. They grow a sort of friendship before being "turned"
5) The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyers, published in 2005.
Synopsis: The series follows a four-book storyline of an awkward teenager and an ancient vampire. Things didn't seem to go as Isabella "Bella" Swan planned when she moved to the cloudy and ominous Forks from the sunny and way too hot Arizona. She already feels out of place when she is in her new high school half way through the semester. To her surprise, Bella meets other people in her school that are so much like her, yet so much different. They call themselves the Cullens. They are so inhumanly beautiful with their marble, pale skin and their liquid topaz eyes. The most beautiful and the most mysterious of the Cullens is Edward Cullen. When she finally encounters them, she learns about their dark secrets and Edward's true obsession: Bella's blood. The attraction between the victim and the bloodthirsty vampire interprets vampirism to be a very gloomy, dark, and forbidden romance.
As you can see, the definition of the vampire has been altered quite a bit for the past few centuries. It was at first a reanimated corpse that rises from the grave to murder and consume the blood of the living. Now, this creature is considered one of the most undying and gorgeous creatures the world has ever heard and seen.
Section 6: The Mystery behind the "Vampire Virus"
Earlier in the essay, I have touched upon a certain type of vampire called the Viral Vampire. They are really humans infected by the virus called V5. Once they get bitten by a vampire, their body undergoes a three-stage chemical change that gives them new traits that they lacked when they were human (strength, speed, agility, mind control, immortality). But the traits weren't granted if they didn't complete all of the stages if they either wake up, unharmed, or never wake up at all. Those who don't awaken are considered "dead", but those who survive the coma are "reborn". But is this myth really just a myth? Could there be an actual virus that can do this to another human being? The answer really lies on the line between scientific fact and open-mindedness. To find out questions and prove/disprove myths like this, you must know what a retrovirus is, including how it affects the human DNA.
First of all, a retrovirus is an RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) virus that produces its own DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) from its genome. The retrovirus genome is stored and delivered to the cells without the immune system detecting it to be an actual virus. As the genome is being passed to other cells, it replicates itself so it produces more of the RNA. Think about the cell being the "messenger" to get a better understanding. When a cell receives a transcription, it will deliver it to the other cells as a "messenger" would if it received a letter. Now, once it gets inside the cell, the cell gets a "reversed transcription", which is really the RNA retrovirus. As the virus gets passed around the body, it will continue to replicate itself over and over again, overwhelming, if you will, the body's defenses. This will make the person fall ill. This is the theory behind the V5 virus.
In the 1st stage, when the vampire's DNA is injected into the victim's body, the vampire's DNA is fused with the victim's one cell and is then passed along. In the 2nd stage, the cells are carrying the retrovirus all around the body within the circulatory system. The individual is sick, but in this case, they fall into a deep coma. For a regular virus, it usually takes about a week for the immune system to destroy the virus. Only in some cases, does it work with the V5 virus. The vaccine can be a success if caught early enough. However, if this virus is caught too late, the individual will die from sickness or become a vampire in the 3rd stage. Whatever the outcome, the person is technically "not living" due to the fact that the immune system failed to fight off the disease. Once the individual dies, the virus will stay with them forever, biologically. That is why the Viral Vampire is supposed to be dead in order to carry on the virus that turned them that way.
If someone was to die, it is fact that the disease will be part of the corpse. It is yet to be proven that one can be "resurrected" if you passed away. Again, whether or not this V5 virus is a real virus is not for me to say.
Section 7: Conclusion
To conclude this essay, I would like to say that vampirism is a relevant lifestyle existing throughout the world. What does the future have in store for the vampire? Through research and original DNA revision, he might very well find a place in mainstream society and ALSO be the cause of the eradication of diseases which have plagued us for centuries (cancer, HIV, flesh-eating diseases, etc.). It will be interesting to see what develops…
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