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Where Did Vampires Come From?

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Photo:Graham Denholm

There is not of course, just one solid tale of where vampires came from or how they originated. Bram Stoker’s Dracula may be the most famous but he was certainly not the first to come up with the concept. This leaves us wondering, where did this myth come from?

People have for centuries feared what they don’t know. If there was a disease or a phenomenon that could not easily be explained, then it was a vampire. Before embalming, if you dug up a grave, the person would appear bloated and often times, blood would leave the body via the mouth. This gave people the assumption that the dead had been eating others.

A fear of the dead is prevalent in all of these tales. As with disease, deformities were often looked at as marks of evil. Many infants were killed very young because of rare deformities believed to be the mark of the devil. If they were allowed to grow up, they had to bear the misfortune of being under constant scrutiny by the public eye.

In the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible, there is talk of a women created equally to Adam, Lilth who lived in the garden of Eden with him prior to Eve. The two argued often about the Adam’s desire to have sex with Lilth while she was on her back. Adam became made at God for this and insisted a wife be made in his image. Lilth was punished for her disobedience and was forbidden, as well as her offspring, to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. In retaliation, Lilth began to eat from the tree again until she was chased out of the garden by Adam under God’s command. She then slept with a different man every night and had a terrible fear of children. This stemmed from the fact that she was convinced any child of Adam and Eve’s would be sent to find and kill her, therefore she started consuming children. Due to her evil ways, it is said she turned into a winged monster. Thus, the myth of the vampire was born.

In different parts of the world, there are different vampires.

In ancient Egypt, Osiris and Set were vampire brothers abandoned by their parents and sent to live with a family who practiced magic and had two daughters. Isis and Nephytus. Osiris and Isis got married and gained control of the land. Set became jealous, created vampires and eventually overthrew and killed his brother Osiris. Horus, Osiris and Isis’ son, went to work with a sorceress Ra. Horus and Ra cursed Set and his vampire offspring by condemning them to the darkness. If they were to walk in the daylight, they would be destroyed. During this period of time, Isis raised Osiris from the dead but doing so condemned him to live in the underworld. The underworld is associated with Hades, hell and darkness. It is easy to tell where the modern world obtained some of it’s vampiric ideologies after reading this tale.

In almost every culture, there is a slightly different version of what we call the vampire. Some do not even resemble humans but are known more as a type of beast. Whichever you chose to believe or not believe. It is quite obvious that the idea of the undead, the vampire, has been around for centuries and it clearly doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere any time soon.

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