Vampire Truths on Immortal Monday

This just in: Daily New reports the existence of vampires is (not) real!

Could you imagine?  It isn’t so, but every time they find a new and interesting discovery backing up myth and folklore, the news makes sure to word their headlines in the proper way to send the believers into a dither. So I guess that leaves me standing at the point where I must ask – are you a believer?

Today, Immortal Monday will take a look at beliefs and fears  that lead to actions that might quite possibly have been the inspiration for the original Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Modern society has a romanticized image of vampires. Just look at Twilight, True Blood or Vampire Diaries. But, at the core of their birth, they were something to be feared. There was no soft side to cuddle up to, or desirable lips to kiss behind your father’s back. Dracula was a vicious killer and blood sucker. He was the thing nightmares are made of. But our image of vampires seems  to reflect a change in society’s way of thinking. And where there was once fear in the stories, it is now replaced with romance.

Both Twilight and True Blood started as popular books and went on to make a big splash on the large and small screen. They feature both hunters of the paranormal, the vampire and the werewolf. But it might surprise you to learn that, if you go back far enough in folklore, you’ll find they were originally believed to be one and the same. That’s right, you read that correctly – the werewolf is a vampire. Or rather, it was believed that the werewolf became a vampire when they died. It’s most likely one such belief lead to the staking and burial of the poor soul recently discovered in Bulgaria in July of this year (a huge thanks to my friend Darin, for bringing this to my attention when I was otherwise engaged).

700 years old and no teeth. That’s what was found. How do they jump to the conclusion – Vampire? When the body was exhumed, the evidence simply added up. The iron had been stabbed through his chest and the canine teeth had been pulled. It is theorized that this method was used to prevent the subject from making the transformation into a vampire. Was the individual then considered a werewolf during their existence. We may never know. Perhaps they were exceptionally hairy. 😉

In 2009, in Venice Italy, a skull was found in a mass grave that left people scratching their heads – vampire? It wasn’t just any skull. This one had a brick shoved in its mouth. A method used back before they understood forensic science. It was meant to prevent the spread of the “Black Death,” vampires were believed to cause. Of course, this was in a time when the bubonic plague was rampant.  People were dying, and they were getting thrown in large mass graves. They would have been dying with our without the vampires help.

Not the actual skull found

Sometimes, older graves would be opened to add new dead. The grave diggers found themselves confused by what they saw. They didn’t understand bloated bodies, fingernails that still grew or blood trickling from a mouth. It only stands to reason that their minds would race to what they feared most – monsters. So, when the grave diggers saw so many dead bodies with blood at their lips and concave or scratched cloth over their faces, they assumed vampire rather than natural causes. From this, the brick method was born in hopes of preventing any further spread of this ugly disease. (To see what it really looked like, go here).

Now, we Americans don’t need to travel so excessively far for a taste of vampire lore. We have our own legend right here on Rhode Island. Again, most likely the result of a lack of knowledge and a fear of what people don’t understand. But in the late 1800’s. 1883 to be exact, there was a young girl by the name of Mercy Lena Brown. Her family started dropping like flies around her. Death touched her family in a large way. It was the time of consumption and Tuberculosis, so we must take that into consideration. In 1892 Mercy, herself, passed on. She was only 19 years of age. Two months after her death, the coffin was exhumed by a family member. To their surprise it appeared that she had shifted in her coffin, there was blood in her veins, her hair and nails appeared to have grown, and her heart was still soft, fleshy and juicy. Mercy died in January. Due to the weather the ground was too hard for digging so her coffin was stored. It’s possible her body was preserved by the cold weather. It’s possible.

As mentioned earlier, man was not educated in forensics back then, as we are today, and they got a little worked up about this find. Mercy’s heart was quickly removed and burned to ashes. One more vampire beats the dust.

What have we discussed? Werewolves and vampires were of the same creature. Misunderstanding the decomposition process and a lack of knowledge regarding disease led to the fear of vampirism. Can you add any more superstitions to the list? As you can see, our stories and folklore are generally built upon misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge. On occasion, the stories were created to instill fear or create order and  control in a situation. Be it enforce a curfew or other.

There are still schools of die-hard believers. I’ve trolled the sites, seen the polls and was surprised at the numbers. Do you believe that vampires were born out of truth (a disease that inflicts the living or the dead) or a result of all the things mentioned above? Is there another explanation?

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Thor is booking a trip to visit other bloggers across the world. Add your stop to the list! You could blog all about Thor’s visit and I’ll promote you here on my blog as well as track his progress. Let me know and we’ll add you to the list.

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~oOo~

I love hearing from you! If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous posts, I’d be delighted to have you hit the follow button or add this blog to your RSS feed! You may also find me on twitter at @DebraKrist. Tootles! Thanks for stopping by!

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
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47 Responses to Vampire Truths on Immortal Monday

  1. I hadn’t heard that…about Werewolves being Vampires. That could lead to a whole new breed of stories! An interesting post. One does have to wonder at the sudden rise in popularity concerning werewolves and vampires. What drives this interest I wonder? Maybe in some alternate reality, they do really exist. Who knows?

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That was a new one for me as well. Although, I read a snippet of a book recently that alluded to this very thing, so I guess at least one other author has put that folklore into play in their book. vampires have always been popular in some crowds, but I think the mass interest came from Twilight making them less threatening. That was what I thought, anyway. Of course, Interview with a Vampire had a successful run and that was pre-Twilight. The alternate reality theory might be good material for your next book. 🙂

  2. susielindau says:

    People love drama and to be frightened. That is such a great explanation! I don’t believe in any of those creatures, but there are a lot of nocturnal crazy lunatics out there that are even more dangerous!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Drama and fear are extreme emotional highs! And out of fear the stories get exaggerated. I have taken the night walking tour through New Orleans several times by a guy who fancies himself a vampire. He’s quite the character. The stories about New Orleans that they can tell you might have many believing in vampires. But if you look deep enough I’m sure you can always find an explanation – gruesome, but explainable, none the less. And yes, it can make some people down right dangerous!

  3. News to me. You always find such good info, Debra. I don’t get the werewolf/vampire attraction. I’ve tried reading about them in fiction and it just turns me off. sighhhh I guess I will never be cool.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Well, I imagine the attraction has to do with power and control. But I’m only guessing. A lot of people are drawn to that. And don’t sell yourself short. You are very cool. Especially because you aren’t willing to follow a trend, but to set your own! Strong, independent women are way cool!

  4. Coleen Patrick says:

    When I was a kid I used to pretend I could travel to Transylvania–I think I thought Dracula was kind of cool. 🙂
    Oh and tell me what I’d need to do to host Thor–I’m interested. 🙂

  5. Emma says:

    I didn’t know about werewolves and vampires being the same creature. I don’t believe in vampires (I hear you sighing in relief :)) but stories begin with some kind of truth. I do remember reading that graverobbing in medieval ages led to rumours of the undead rising from their graves.

  6. Gosh. Well I’m no vampire expert, but I believe that many characters and archetypes stem from societal beliefs and issues. A bloodsucking person could represent any number of topics or personas. Then again, maybe I keep too much garlic around to ever find out. 😉

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Ha ha ha! You funny girl. But your right. I think when we right our characters, good, bad or ugly, they all stem from something like that. The character might represent an oppressive nation or just someone you, as the writer, didn’t like. It’s all subjective. Thanks for your comment August.

  7. Well, first of all, I would love to host Thor or feature him in some way to promote his travels and wide range of interests. Please consider my blog his blog.

    As far as vampires? There is no such thing as vampires. I know because I asked Big Foot and he says they’re just mythical creatures. I guess he would know.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That’s great Jansen. I sent you a message on FB regarding Thor’s visit. Let me know if you got it or not. As for vampires, I am soo glad you and Bigfoot cleared that up. Thanks for that! 😀

  8. This was an interesting post. I’d never heard the theory that vampires and werewolves were the same being! Of course, my mind went to interesting places; perfect mash-up of Edward and Jacob; Eric and Alcide. Yum. But since it appeared you weren’t going there with me and were actually going to discuss forensic science and theories (sigh)… 🙂
    By the way, I wanted to click on the link to see what the bodies really looked like, but I was scared.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That would be a fantastic post and one I think I should definitely follow up on! How great would that be?! Yum! Now were do I find blog safe pictures of those yummy guys? Sigh.And the picture is really just a skull. Nothing too scary. Thanks for popping Tracey!

  9. Whether fact or not, vampires are intriguing! It’s interesting to see the progression art has taken with them, from the creepy, “I vant to suck your blood” days of Bela Lugosi to today’s sparkly vampires. I wonder what the next generation will look like?

    • Debra Kristi says:

      My guess is they will lean more towards something of the traditional vamp, but slightly less scary. Now that they’ve been so romanticized and all. Vampires like Damon – yummy!

  10. What a cool tidbit that some people believed werewolves became vampires after death. I agree with Emma that there is propably some event that causes the stories. And then they grow with each telling. People of old weren’t always efficient in identifying when a person had really died so cases of being buried alive might have lead to vampire stories. That or some post-mortem physical changes.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      That’s the most likely scenario. Someone “mostly” dead (Princess Bride!)that found their way back to the living. 😉 Even with all that we know today there are the occasional cases of people getting wheeled off to the morgue only to wake up in that cold place. Didn’t I read recently about a baby that was actually in the coffin only to be found alive? Could you imagine? My grandmother died – flat lined – and yet she lives today. So anything could have happened back then that they wouldn’t have understood. The vampire stories may have made perfect sense.

  11. Wow, I’d also never heard the werewolves become vampires theory! Intriguing.

    I loved vampire romances before they got super-popular, but now there are so many they start to all read alike. I never read Twilight, partly because I couldn’t get over the idea of a vampire sparkling. I prefer the stories that remain closer to the old mythology – can’t go out in the sun, stakes kill them, etc. and many of the newer ones seem to dismiss everything but the blood, strength, and immortality.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      National Geographic did an interview with Mark Collin Jenkins. He published a book on vampire forensics. He apparently did a full study on vampires, their origins, history, folklore, and so much more. He refreshed my memory of the werewolf vampire theory. It’s not the first time I have heard it though. As for vampires sparkling, I admit I was a little taken back by that as well but then when I thought about it I could see a little bit of genius in the thought. Of course the idea would never fly with millions of vampire fans everywhere. Yes, there are many new families of vampires cropping up. I’m a Blade fan myself. I like the Daywalker. But there can be only one. Oooh! Wrong show. 😉

  12. No matter how many times someone says “vampires are done…over…no more vampire stories!” I noticed they remain popular, both on tv and in books. It’s just so fascinating! I suspect some of it is the longing for that long of a life-span and never ending youth.

    Had no idea werewolves and vampires were supposed to be the same thing. Interesting.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Yes, long life, youth, strength and power. That’s what appeals. Wager a bet on what the next popular phase will be? My Immortals? LOL! 😀 I saw a few Jin books popping up. Maybe hunky men wish grantors are coming into popularity. Werewolf books have been increasing since Jacob, as well. All the girls want a hot wolf boy. Hehehe. I shy away from the traditional vampire and werewolf when I write. There are plenty of other sups that have long or everlasting lives that hold their youth. Many of them are very powerful as well. You know that, don’t you? 😀

  13. I never knew about the brick in the mouth burials. Really interesting!

  14. I suspect that the vampire/werewolf thing was very similar to the Salem witch trials. Narrow minded people…who may or may not have been afraid. I think they just liked to condemn people who were capable of having thoughts that weren’t put there by them. They probably wanted clones of themselves and when people failed to conform, they were labeled monsters.

    Stories like this make me very glad I was born in ‘modern’ times. Yeah, we still have some serious problems in the world today…and some of this stuff may still go on in underdeveloped countries, but people don’t have to live in fear of being different in most places.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Oh, I’m sure it was all born out of fear and narrow minds. I was thinking of you when I was writing about Mercy because of the way everyone died of TB but the community labeled her a vampire. I don’t know, the era and the disease – yes different than Enza, but relateable.

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  19. Awesome post. Going to check out that link in the comments about the Chinese boy. It’s very strange, but also a shame that people have given him this label. (What’s wrong with folks?)

    I find the evolution of the vampire legend fascinating… taking such a terrifying creature and transforming it in every way imaginable. (And sometimes into something that’s even downright yummy!) ~snicker~

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