‘The Vampyres, which come out of the graves in the night-time, rush upon people sleeping in their beds, suck out all their blood, and destroy them. They attack men, women, and children; sparing neither age nor sex. The people, attacked by them, complain of suffocation, and a great interception of spirits; after which, they soon expire. Some of them, being asked, at the point of death, what is the matter with them? say they suffer in the manner just related from people lately dead, or rather the spectres of those people; upon which, their bodies (from the description given of them, by the sick person,) being dug out of the graves, appear in all parts, as the nostrils, cheeks, breast, mouth, &c. turgid and full of blood. Their countenances are fresh and ruddy; and their nails, as well as hair, very much grown. And, though they have been much longer dead than many other bodies, which are perfectly putrified, notthe least mark of corruption is visible upon them. Those who are destroyed by them, after their death, become Vampyres; so that, to prevent so spreading an evil, it is found requisite to drive a stake through the dead body, from whence, on this occasion, the blood flows as if the person was alive. Sometimes the body is dug out of the grave, and burnt to ashes; upon which, all disturbances cease. The Hungarians call these spectre Pamgri, and the Servians, Vampyres; but the etymon or reason of these names is not known.’
In other cultures the word can be traced back to 1047 A.D. It can be found in a manuscript of the book of Psalms where a priest writes of a man whose name meant “Wicked Vampire”. Predating the name “Vampire” Ancient Greeks, Pomans and Mesopotamians recorded blood sucking demons in texts before Christ walked the Earth. These precursors of the modern day Vampire are depicted as creatures and spirits. The modern day Vampire originates almost exclusively from the 18th century South-Eastern Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. The common belief was that the Vampire was a reanimated corpse that sucked the blood from their victims either from their neck or stomach. Voltaire wrote:
“These vampires were corpses, who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomachs, after which they returned to their cemeteries. The persons so sucked waned, grew pale, and fell into consumption; while the sucking corpses grew fat, got rosy, and enjoyed an excellent appetite. It was in Poland, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Austria, and Lorraine, that the dead made this good cheer.”
By the 19th century the Vampire had evolved into a more “mortal” appearance, only revealing the beast within when provoked. Though not as attractive as the modern day vampire, They retained their youth through feeding on their victims. The 19th century vampire fed indiscriminately having no concern of seducing their prey.
Today’s vampire has evolved to a sophisticated and beautiful creature, violent only when provoked. The modern era Vampire has found a more open minded society where he is accepted and respected for what he is and represents.
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