Once upon a time people believed that the dead could rise up and harm the living. This wasn’t fiction, a scary notion to entertain ourselves with, it was genuine belief. As internal organs of the dead begin to break down, a dark fluid can leak from the nose and mouth. This was assumed to be blood that the dead person had fed on from beyond the grave. Vampires were also blamed for the spread of disease.
Various tactics were employed to try and prevent these evil beings from causing more harm, including burying the body with a brick, soil or coin in their mouth. Some anti vampire rituals were still being practiced relatively recently. In Bulgaria it was believed that the body should be stabbed through the heart with an iron or wooden stake in order to pin them to their grave and prevent them from leaving. As recently as only thirty years ago there were people who’s job it was to stab the dead in this manner. Many vampire graves have been found throughout Europe.
As our knowledge of medical science increased and people were less afraid of the unknown, more certain of how everything around us works, somewhere along that line we decided to shun the idea of vampires as disgusting creatures and turn them into something beautiful.
It began with The Vampyre (John William Polidori) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, paving the way for vampires in modern fiction. We gradually sexed them up more and more, until eventually – yes, they sparkled.
I wonder what the people of the 1800s would make of this? If they were told that one day we would be so taken by vampires that men and women around the world would lust after them. Their perfect skin, taught muscles, smoldering eyes.
Forget stuffing a brick into the mouths of our undead, we would give them silk-lined coffins, to have them at our sides, in our bedrooms!
They suck blood and kill people? Meh – we can get past that because they’re hot as hell.
More on the origins of vampires, before they were sex on legs, can be found at the links below!
National Geographic – The bloody truth about vampires
Ancient Origins – Anti-Vampire Rituals
Look out for my next article about the modern-day vampires, those living amongst us who believe they are indeed Vampire.
Thanks for sharing!