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Vampire Myths and Legends

Sourabh Gupta
What is it about vampires that bewitch us? Is it their virile sexuality or the fact that they're all somehow incredibly attractive even if they come off as a tad scary? Vampires have been the stuff of mythology for years, tracing its roots back to as far as the 730s CE (Christian Era).
The idea behind the existence of vampires has been around for centuries, where the proof of this notion was first detailed in German and French literature. The word vampire was coined from the French word vampyre or possibly the German one for vampir.
There was a time when the idea of a vampire (or more) roaming the streets was a strong belief among townsfolk during the early 18th century in southeastern Europe. People would get hysterical about those they suspected of being blood-sucking vampires, executing them in public as a morbid result.
They believed that vampires were the reincarnations of witches, sinister people, or victims of suicide.

Vampires were thought of as healthy beings that had little or no traces of decomposition, where they were plump and slightly discolored.
There were rituals conducted in graveyards to gauge whether those buried were vampires or not, especially if mass attacks occurred like the death of livestock, or people of a town. Over the years myths have been weaved that are either unbelievable or downright ridiculous.
While the belief in the existence of vampires is nothing but a fanciful mythology, it is nonetheless a compelling myth to delve deeper into.

Famous Interpretations

Everyone knows about the novel that stoked life into the world of vampires that remained dormant in later centuries.
The novel that I speak of is Bram Stoker's Dracula; it became an inspirational tool for great literary works, films, and ultimately video games. He also touched upon other mythologies involving strange demons and werewolves, bringing to light a whole new world of never-heard-of creatures.
Great books on vampires include The Vampyre by John Polidori and Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer. Modern-day interpretations come in the form of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, and TV shows like True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Vampire Diaries.

Myths about Vampires

There have been a slew of myths spun with regard to vampires, where experts and those who've conducted extensive studies will vouch for the fact that they're nothing but mythological beings.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

This myth sustained itself through the years where vampires supposedly cannot see their reflection in a mirror.
This belief (a Bulgarian superstition) stemmed from the fact that corpses weren't allowed to be in the presence of mirrors, since it was likely that another death would take place.
A condition known as porphyria further took the myth a whole mile, since patients stricken with the illness didn't want to view themselves for its deteriorate effect. How the connection is drawn is unclear.

Bloody Affair

Some say that vampires drank blood to energize themselves when clearly this was not the case. There are many blood-related disorders that fit the bill when it comes to feeling weak.
Drinking blood is not the answer to getting a quick energy spurt. Those suffering from blood-related disorders were thrown into the limelight for thinking that drinking this would in some way help with their condition.

Cozy Confinement

Vampires have always been portrayed as coffin-sleeping creeps that rise (in dramatic slow motion) from coffins or caskets. Just because they are purportedly undead, it doesn't mean that they need to lie in some coffin until the moon comes out.

Forever Young

While vampires obviously do age (although slower apparently), they can withstand harm but not all kinds of it - this makes them as mortal as any human being.
Vampire immortality has been portrayed in many films and books, making this myth a classic among the rest. Staking a vampire through the heart would most definitely kill them but so would any lethal method of extermination

Toothy Creatures of the Dark

Vampires have been linked with bats for as long as anyone can remember. It stems from the belief that if a bat or any other flying creature passed over a corpse, he / she would rise from the dead - the Romanians are to blame for this notion.
The disease porphyria affected the way one's lips and gums formed, making them look horrific because of the way they'd recede. Because of this facial deformity, one's teeth were longer than normal thus assuming they were fang-like. And no, vampires can't fly

Bright Lights

The myth that vampires are photosensitive is nothing but a bunch of nonsense, where skin conditions are prevalent among people who are sensitive to light.
Sensitivity to light also affects one's eyes where patients need to shield or squint in the sunlight. Health conditions seem to be taking up an alarming amount of space as part of the myths.
A vampire is nothing but a fascinating (if not actual) kind of being, who has been entertaining and frightening people for centuries. For a fun reading session on vampires, head to vampirewebsite.
The adoration for vampires today is simply because they exude the sort of confidence and sensuality that is so unlike the common man (or woman), where striking beauty seems to be the highlight of modern-day vampires. What happened to ghoul-like vampires? It seems like they've evolved quite remarkably over the years.
"No man knows till he experiences it, what it is like to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the woman he loves."
- Bram Stoker, Dracula