Vampire Facts That May Have Been Missed
Characteristics of the Primitive European Vampire
There are many definitions for vampires and it is according to whom you ask to what definition you will get. In European minds, Vampires have been known to look bloated and have a dark color. Some have even given the color purple to vampires because there bodies look bruised and used. People who describe the vampire this way uses purple because the vampire would have been seen after the drinking blood. In these European descriptions, often blood was described as being at the corner of the mouth or nose. If the vampire was described in the coffin, often the description will have the vampire sleeping with the left eye open. Another feature of the primitive European vampire was that the vampire would be buried in it’s original death shroud and when seen, the hair and nails would be grown, but no fangs were present.
Comparison of Christianity and Vampirism
The comparison of Christianity and the belief in vampires has been wrought with contradictions and assumptions. The idea, during the communion ceremony, is that as the Christian drinks wine to signify the blood of Christ, the vampire actually drinks blood for the same pursuit of everlasting life. The difference, in my opinion, is that the wine is the hope for eternal life and the blood that the vampire drinks is essential for vampire to survive. Eternal life is a given but the vampire must have its food to keep the killing machine of its body going. There is documentation that in some areas of the world, vampirism pre-dated the belief in Christianity.
As some pagan rituals were pulled from the pagan beliefs after conversation such as the celebration of spring and harvest, the idea of drinking blood to achieve everlasting life could also be derived from the pagan culture of the new Christian convert. Living forever is a romantic idea that some have taken as a foundation of their existence here on earth. So is vampirism a building block of Christianity or does the ideas pervert the true Christian meaning of ‘drinking the blood of Christ? Just some food for thought.
Chinese Vampires: Not the Stuff of European Legend
Chinese vampire or Jiang Shi is a little different than European or Modern vampires. Chinese vampires absorb the life essence of the victim and are not the romanticized vampires that most know of. These are reanimated corpses that are reanimated when the soul of a dead person refuses to leave the body. The amount of discomposure or length of time since the death of the person sometimes will lend to the characteristics. If a person is fresh in the grave then the Jiang Shi will be less decomposed, but a person a long time in the grave will give a more monstrous appearance.
Chinese vampires also do not have the puffy or pale skin that is akin to European or American vampires but they have white furry skin that is contributed to some sort of mold or fungus. Also the dark hair of the familiar vampire is different. The Chinese vampire has long, white hair. The idea of the Chinese vampire has changed over time and with Americanization, the vampire in legend is now taking on more Western appearances
Vampire Literature from the 16th and 17th Centuries
The vampire tradition and legend has some validity on a global scale. Through antiquity the notes and journals of travelers mention the vampire in a few paragraphs or a quick note that they have heard the legend. In ancient times the writings about vampires exist, but exist in few numbers. Writings of vampires have been found more recently in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Leone Allacci’s “De Graecorum Hodie Quorundam Opinationibus” published in 1645 had several volumes devoted to the vampire mystery. Later in 1657, more was written about vampires in Father Francois Richard’s “Relation De Ce Qui S’est Passe De Plus Remarquable Sant-Erini.
During the turn of the 20th Century, there were more written on vampires, particularly the Modern Greek vampire in J.G. Lawson’s “Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion,” but this only covered the Greek legends and did not transcend to other Mediterranean or European countries. His rich detail could have lent to the perseverance of neighboring countries that are rich in vampire lore. All documents from the sixteenth and seventeenth century as well a Lawson’s work tends to point that there was a virtual plague of vampirism around Hungary and other Eastern Europe and Baltic states.
Today's Vampires: Philosophy or Lifestyle?
Has the idealization of vampirism turned into a philosophy? It is an age old concept that tampers with the dark side and at the same time gives hope in romanticism to otherwise bleak circumstances. Vampirism in today’s society has turned from an idle fascination to a full blown lifestyle that allows those who choose to a fantasy world where the economy, parents, teachers, and wars do not interfere. The players of this lifestyle live as vampires who seek out each other for role playing and for love.
Vampire followers take the lore and legend of the past and mix it with the hype and media of the present. It is like being on the wrong side of the law without really taking a chance of being arrested. Vampires is what people fear and people who take up the lifestyle are usually those who enjoy the fear, enjoy scaring other people, or just a way to take command of their lives and live off the beaten track just outside of the fringe of society. Is it wrong? That is according to who you ask, but the philosophy of vampirism is spreading and people are turning to a fake dark side before the real dark side of our society swallows them whole.
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