There is a vast difference between Hollywood depictions of vampires compared to folklore legends. In films and novels, vampires are depicted as aristocratic, attractive and intelligent with a thirst for blood. They sleep in coffins and are well-dressed with long capes. They have strong mental abilities such as mind control, telepathy and can even transform themselves into animals. In folklore legends, however, vampires are depicted as unintelligent and peasant-like. They were cremated with or without being staked through the heart. In folklore, one becomes a vampire when one is bitten by another vampire or if they were once a werewolf and also if they practiced sorcery.
One of the earliest accounts of vampires, date as far back as 4000BC, during Babylonian and Sumerian times. According to their legend, the “ekimmu” (meaning “snatched away”), is a type of demon. It is evil because it may have had a violent and unexpected death, with an improper burial or no burial at ll.
Though blood-sucking may not necessarily take place, the ekimmu feeds off of the life of humans, animals, and plants.
“Uruku” means a vampire that attacks humans. It can cause severe injury, just by looking into its eyes. It looks very similar to an ekimmu [demon-like] and haunts deserted areas, such as mountains, seas, and graveyards.
3. Succubi & Incubi
Succubi are female vampires, whereas Incubi are male vampires. They seduce and feed upon innocent victims. They manifest themselves in people’s dreams and use sexual seduction to trap their victims in their sleep before they prey on them.
Lamashtu (daughter of the sun-god Anu) was considered to be the evilest of all female demons, in Mesopotamian religion. She too would seduce her male victims in their sleep, drinking their blood and eating their flesh. It was also said that she killed children and caused miscarriages in pregnant women.
According to Babylonian demonology, Lilith was actually the first wife of Adam [not Eve]. She disobeyed her husband Adam and was then forever doomed to wander the earth as a demon, sometimes transforming herself into an owl to hunt her prey. She was also known for putting erotic dreams in the minds of men. Other favourite victims were pregnant women and newborn children.
This is a vampire of ancient Greece. It is a corpse possessed by a demon, which rises from its grave at night and knocks on people’s doors, calling their names. It is said, that if the vrykolakas called your name, you would die from a terrible disease. It did not suck blood and could only call a person’s name one at a time. Those who managed to avoid death were those who waited for their name to be called twice, making it safe that is was not the vrykolakas at their front door.
Dracula is the most famous and well-known of vampires in the world. The Gaelic meaning of Dracula (Drac Ullah) is “bad blood”. The character of Count Dracula was inspired by a Romanian ruler, Vlad Dracula, who was nicknamed Vlad Tepes meaning Vlad the “Impaler”. He was the prince of Wallachia (a region of Romania) three times, between 1448 and his death in 1477. He came into conflict with Transylvanian Saxons, ravaged their villages and had his victims’ bodies impaled on spikes. He then went into the Ottoman territories and continued to massacre thousands of Turks and Bulgarians.
His most cruel acts of murder finally came to an end when he was murdered in January 1477. He was described as a demented psychopath, a sadist and a masochist that committed the cruelest and gruesome murders.
So, do vampires really exist? The glamorous ones that live in coffins probably don’t exist, but the interesting thing about legends, dating back to ancient times, is that there is a good reason for them. No one can prove nor disprove the origins of spiritual beings, that have possibly existed for thousands of years and continue to exist today. It makes one think, doesn’t it?