Culture of the Vampyri
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Now and again, one hearkens to a hissing whisper, silent and sibilant as the slithering of the serpent.  Vampyr.  Amidst the shadowy shards of magic and the occult, there is no figure so malignant so dreaded and noxious, yet glamorized with fetishes of fear, neither god nor devil yet partakes of both, than the apocryphal Vampyr.  Foul and exotic, erotic are the ravages and folklore of Vampyri.  The tradition of the Vampyri is of dateless antiquity, approached often with perplexing and fantasized scholarship.

To defog the lore of Vampyri, the investigator and recorder must dight an aura of cautious criticism and skepticism in unearthing the paranormal phenomena of this tradition.  Theologians and investigators often are reluctant in assigning the intervention of a supernatural agency to inexplicable events that eroticize the human imagination.  In the obscure grimoires of witchcraft, diabolatry, and incantations of necromancy, one is assailed homogeneously with the same supernatural happenings ascribed to a common thread of shadowy character.

Foremost amongst such occult phenomena are lycanthropy and vampirism.  In the old countries, there is whispered a close connection between the lycanthrope and vampyr.  Religion marched on with civilization, persisting across history losing and regaining its monstrous shades of superstitious heresy, yet it is the horror of diablerie, and necromancy that retains the truth of fear exemplified in the Vampyr.

The end of the seventeenth century, and more particular the beginning of the eighteenth century appeared a veritable epidemic of alleged vampyric activity.  The superstitious faith of early Christians seems to posit an idea that spirits of the dead retained a corporeity, reflected in the treatise “De Anima” {circa A.D. 208-211} by Bishop Tertullian of Carthage.  For the good Christian, the Vampyr is the most dreaded of ghouls, for the undead have no world at all, such toxic beings possess no hierarchic office, be it devil or angel.  The edicts of the Fourth Lateran Council under Pope Innocent III, A.D. 1215, lay down “Diabolus enim et alii daemons a Deo quidem natura create sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali.”

The origins of Vampyri traditions are versed in melancholic romanticism and wild sensationalism, offering the investigator a look into the primal relationship between soul and body.  Archetypal conventions of the “Vampyri” and “Vampirism” have existed since the First Dynasty of Ur in the XXVIIth Century of Sumerian culture.  From the echoing voids of hidden history, the earliest inhabitants of Ur, Kush, and Babylon always held a belief in dark and malignant powers of diabolatry.  Inhabitants of early antiquity in Babylonia recognized a triad of malignant specters ready to invade the minds and flesh of clods that expose themselves to such antediluvian phenomena through negligence or accident.

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A class of Babylonian spirits specters thought to perambulate aimlessly upon the face of the earth from their graves.  A second caste of specters in Assyrian and the ancient countries were said to be a monstrous hybrid of human and demonic entities; a third caste of specters is referred to in their various incantations as “lilîtu, {Sumerian „night monster‟}” “âhhazu, {Sumerian, „seizers‟}” “îlu limnu, {„evil god‟ in Sumerian}” In the English language, these entities associated in Babylonian antiquity with plagues and pestilence, are the evil ones, or liars-in-wait.  The antediluvian thread to such legendary and mythic entities begins with the Sumerian lî-la, Akkadian lîlu.  The demons of the lîlu grade are the îdlu lîli, the ardat lîlu, and the lilîtu all were summoned in barren areas such as deserts.

Such castes of entities were said to instill terror by haunting desolate places and seducing young men at night as apparitions and spawning them ghostly children, even strangling the brood of women deemed “impure” by cultural-social construct.  Diverse subdivisions also existed from the Assyrian pantheons, including the well-known pestilent spirit, utukku that according to scholar Dr. R. Campbell Thompson {London, 1903} differs from the allegedly malevolent.

The êdimmu spirit of the unburied dead according to Campbell finds no rest and was condoned to prowl across the earth so long as the corpse remains unburied.  A description of this ghoul is given by the ghost of Ea-bani to Gilgamesh in the “Epic of Gilgamesh” {Tablet xii}: “The man whose corpse lieth in the desert Thou and I have often seen such an one His spirit resteth not in the earth; The man whose spirit hath none to care for it Thou and I have often seen such an one, The dregs of the vessel–the leavings of the feast, And that which is cast out into the street are his food.”

Analogous specters of calamitous souls whom know no solace are described as “Whether thou art a ghost unburied, Or a ghost that none careth for, Or a ghost with none to make offerings to it.  Or a ghost that hath none to pour libations to it, Or a ghost that hath no prosperity.”  May neglected specters often were believed by Elamites, and other cultures of antiquity to return from the abodes of the undead to prowl for what the soul has been deprived of while living.  A Babylonian incantation provided by Dr. R.C. Thompson lists a sacerdotal incantation to exorcize against ghoulish copula in which diverse grades of vampyric entities are indicted:

“Whether thou are a ghost that has come from the earth, Or a phantom of night that hath no couch, Or a woman (that hath died) a virgin, Or a man (that hath died) unmarried, Or one that lieth dead in the desert, Or one that lieth dead in the desert, uncovered with earth, Or one that in the desert Or one that hath been torn from a date palm, Or one that cometh through the waters in a boat, Or a ghost unburied, Or a ghost that none careth for, Or a ghost with none to make offerings, Or a ghost with none to pour libations, Or a ghost that hath no posterity, Or a hag-demon, Or a ghoul, Or a robber-sprite, Or a harlot (that hath died) whose body is sick, Or a woman (that hath died) in travail, Or a woman (that hath died) with a babe at her breast, Or a weeping woman (that hath died) with a babe at her breast, Or an evil man (that hath died), Or an (evil) spirit, Or one that haunteth (the neighborhood), Or one that haunteth (the vicinity), Or whether thou be one with whom on a day (I have eaten), Or whether thou be one with whom on a day (I have drunk), Or with whom on a day I have anointed myself, Or with whom on a day I have clothed myself, Or whether thou be one with whom I have entered and eaten, Or with whom I have entered and drunk, Or with whom I have entered and anointed myself, Or with whom I have entered and clothed myself, Or whether thou be one with whom I have eaten food when I was hungry, Or with whom I have drunk water when I was thirsty, Or with whom I have anointed myself with oil when I was sore, Or with whom when I was cold I have clothed his nakedness with a garment, (Whatever thou be) until thou art removed, Until thou departest from the body of the man, the son of his god, Thou shalt have no food to eat, Thou shalt have no water to drink, If thou wouldst fly up to heaven Thou shalt have no wings, If thou wouldst lurk in ambush on earth, Thou shalt secure no resting-place. Unto the man, the son of his god–come not nigh, Get thee hence!  Place not thy head upon his head, Place not thy (hand) upon his hand, Place not thy foot upon his foot, With thy hand touch him not, Turn (not) thy back upon him, Lift not thine eyes (against him), Look not behind thee, Gibber not against him, Into the house enter thou not, Through the fence break thou not, Into the chamber enter thou not, In the midst of the city encircle him not, Near him make no circuit; By the Word of Ea, May the man, the son of his god, Become pure, become clean, become bright!  May his welfare be secured at the kindly hands of the gods.”  {Dr. R. Campbell Thompson “The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia” London, 1903 vol. pg. xxviii}

Here we see the numerous incantations against the unburied corpses, which lay upon the earth, a wandering ghost, referring readily to the gravity the ancient Greek and Egyptians placed upon funerary rites.  Such unburied ghosts‟ predilection for human blood is committed to exorcism in the most unambiguous prayers again translated by Dr. R Campbell Thompson:

“ Spirits that minish heaven and earth, That minish the land, Spirits that minish the land, Of giant strength, Of giant strength and giant tread, Demons (like) raging bulls, great ghosts, Ghosts that break through all houses, Demons that have no shame, Seven are they!  Knowing no care, They grind the land like corn Knowing no mercy.  They rage against humanity: They spill their blood like rain, Devouring their flesh, (and) sucking their veins.  Where the images of the gods are, there they quake In the Temple of Nabû, who fertilizes the shoots of wheat.  They are demons full of violence Ceaselessly devouring blood.  Invoke the ban against them, That they no more return to this neighborhood.  By heaven be ye exorcised!  By Earth be ye exorcised!”

The primacy of these incantations threads the archaic traditions of unburied, parasitical entities that posed terror in ancient lore.  The Legend of Lilith evolves from diverse Religious and cultural sources, appearing in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, the Zohar, and in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  Lilith as a primal vampyric effigy in cultures of antiquity experiences evolutions from archaic goddess to colorless ghost and desert terror.   In the philosophy of the Hebrew Kabbalah, Lilith corresponds to the daemon of Malchut in the Qliphot {the World of Shells, or husks).  Pertaining to Kabbalah every world is a husk of the world above and below.  The Qliphot are shells of the dead, and by conquering the fear of the Mystery of Death does the Initiate attain to the Vision of the Wrathful Maiden.  Lilith is the arcane archetype of sexual dominance and the fear of Death, the archetypal primacy of Lilith annihilates litanies of inhibitions in the human psyche.  Etymological origins of Lilith independent of Jehovian-Semitic templates point to the Sumero-Babylonian Lilû, which Dr. Thompson translates to “a demon equivalent to a male vampire.”  As derived from Sumerian, Lila refers to “wind,” or “storm.”  Opting for an Akkadian translation, Dr. Thompson suggests Lalu, also Lulu as “lecherous,” and “wandering.”

From the Akkadian Lilitû and her Sumero-Babylonian compliments, Ardat-Lili, Idlu-Lili, and Lamaştû, derives the Semitic LYLYT {Lilith}.  The Lilitû primarily feasted upon women and children, referred to by the terrified inhabitants of Ur and Babylon as night-ghosts that roamed the deserts away from populace.  Pictographs from 800 B.C. to 500 B.C. Babylonia depict “Lilith” in the company of snakes and other abominable animals, keeping with themes of her malevolence in Babylonian pottery, Persian and Jewish amulets and in the Qumran scrolls.  The night-ghosts here evolved into the Jehovian mythopoeia seeping into the Christian paradigms of diabolatry.

Isaiah 34; xiv in the Vulgate refers to “he-goats,” “hairy monsters,” again carried over from Judaic paradigm.  The Vulgate thusly reads; “Et occurrent daemonia onocentauris, et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum; ibi cubauit lamia, et inuenit sibi requiem.”  The Greek Lamia possibly refers to Lamiae, unclean spirits though to feed of blood, a related term in Latin, if not mythic, is strix, the screech owl.  Judaic allusions to spectral ghosts concerned with blood feasting, stem mostly from commandments against consumption of blood found in the Book of Proverbs and Leviticus.  Few cultures and religions of antiquity have shunned the mysterious powers intimated in blood consumption.  The soul of animals and man was ascribed to reside in the blood, hence the implications in ancient Chinese medicinal texts, references in the Zend Avesta, and Roman lore that the feasting of blood provided for the dead and living praetor-human powers such as discerptibility, subtility, obfuscation, domination, auspex and the like.

The archaic practices of propitiation from the dead and extricating blood to serve as sacral fluids were uncompromisingly deplored as heathenish in Mosaic canon.  Hygienic and social prohibitions against blood exchange and consumption denounced with divine prejudice the perpetrators of these heresies as demon leeches spreading black magic.  Divine sanctions against vampirism and blood-drinking stem from the Book of Proverbs with references to demonic entities in Chapter XXX, verse 15 {KJV}; “The horseleach hath two daughters, {crying}, Give, give.  There are three [things that] are never satisfied, {yea}, four {things} say not, {It is} enough:” The vulgate has: “sanguisugae duae sunt filiae dicentes adfer adfer tria sunt insaturabilia et quartum quod numquam dicit sufficit.”  Sanguisugae translates as “horseleech,” and the Greek scriptures provide the word “βδέλλη.”  The term horseleech undoubtedly refers to a vampyric source or taboo associated with extricating blood.

Further divine commands against catheterizing and consuming blood come again from Judaic law in the Old Testament.  In Leviticus XVII: 10-14 the Vulgate translates:

“homo quilibet de domo Israhel et de advenis qui peregrinantur inter eos si comederit sanguinem obfirmabo faciem meam contra animam illius et disperdam eam de populo suo. quia anima carnis in sanguine est et ego dedi illum vobis ut super altare in eo expietis pro animabus vestris et sanguis pro animae piaculo sit. idcirco dixi filiis Israhel omnis anima ex vobis non comedet sanguinem nec ex advenis qui peregrinantur inter vos. homo quicumque de filiis Israhel et de advenis qui peregrinantur apud vos si venatione atque aucupio ceperit feram vel avem quibus vesci licitum est fundat sanguinem eius et operiat illum terra. anima enim omnis carnis in sanguine est unde dixi filiis Israhel sanguinem universae carnis non comedetis quia anima carnis in sanguine est et quicumque comederit illum interibit.”

The Revised Standard Version gives the English:

“If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, due to the life.  Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.  Any man also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust.  For the life of every creature is the blood of it; therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”

Biblical injunctions against consuming blood heralded a proto-Judaic belief, inherited from Babylonian and Sumerian diabolatry, that blood mysteriously contained the primal construct of the soul.  A fruitful explanation of what entices a vampyric entity to vitalize and rejuvenate their own “dead” bodies.  Judaic prohibitions against catheterizing blood extend to making incisions upon the living body and upon the dead, also to shaving parts of the dead.  Although such codes are presumably hygienic, one can discern the fixation against toiling with the essence of blood in such customs banned again in Leviticus:

“non comedetis cum sanguine non augurabimini nec observabitis somnia. neque in rotundum adtondebitis comam nec radatis barbam et super mortuo non incidetis carnem vestram neque figuras aliquas et stigmata facietis vobis ego Dominus.”

The authors of Leviticus seemingly were concerned with preserving Mosaic hygienic codes; yet again the taboo against consuming blood or marking incisions upon the living and the dead clearly disturbed the Levitican forgers.  The word “vampire” in much beastly black magic superstition originally stems from Slavonic origin.  The linguistic origins of the word come from variants in the same Russian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, and Romany roots.  The English vampire {vampire} is rooted in the Magyar vampr, and nosufur-atu as both terms denote references to “unclean” and “plague-carrier.”

The same linguistic variants occur in the Bulgarian vapir, vepir, the Russian upyr, and Polish upier.  A less probable derivation is the Sanskrit pâ, pî, and pî‟bâmi, the Slavic origins also likely emerging from the Latin bibo, bibere, “to drink.”  Compare vampir with the Lithuanian wempti, “to drink,” and wampiti, “to growl, to mutter,” and we infer characteristics of intoxication via blood drinking. Old folklore in Croatia refers to a blood-drunken ghoul as pijauica, Serbian and Slovakian speak of the same as a vlkodlak.  The conception of the folksy Medieval vampir is peculiar to the Balkan countries, in Russia, Bohemia, Silesia, Hungary, parts of Greece, and Moravia with native Romany still leery of the body foully endued with blood and accursed state of neither living nor dead.

Dark traditions of the Vampyr in literature first began to appear in gothic poetic and literary circles in the seventeenth and later the eighteenth centuries.  Startling themes of the occult and vampirism capture the attention of academic and philosophic treatises in German universities imbued with anti-Catholic sentiment.  Gothic folklore and fetishes of fantasy vis-à-vis vampirism peaked during the Bohemian literary genre of the eighteenth century most notably The Vampyre: a Tale by Lord Byron {writ by Dr. John William Polidori, physician and companion to the poet Lord Byron} published 1 April 1819, and the more infamous Abraham Stoker’s Dracula, A Tale published 1897.   Philosophical and scholarly dissertations on the occult and vampirism in German universities at Cologne {Leone Allacci, De Græcorum hodie quorundam opinationibus} and Leipzig {Phillip Rohr, De Masticatione Mortuorum} provided the stage for John Christian Harenberg‟s Von Vampyren, published 1739.  First use of the term vampire traces to early compositions of British literature, the first incidence of the word is found in The Travels of Three English Gentlemen published around 1734.

Giuseppe Davanzati {Archbishop of Alexandria} published in 1744 his treatise Dissertazione sopra I Vampiri, a copy of which was presented to the Pontiff H.H. Benedict XIV.  Dissertazione sopra I Vampiri was one of the first comprehensive volumes dedicated to “investigating” {why would the Roman Catholic Church be as engrossed in such occult practices as exorcism, diablerie , and vampirism?}  demonic instances of vampire and their “culture” and generation in humanity’s history.  Archbishop Davanzati displays reputable knowledge of folklore surrounding the dark traditions and official reports of vampirism in the old country of eastern Europe and the Orient.  Archbishop Davanzati decides that the vampire cannot be placed in a category of phantoms and apparitions but begged a different unorthodox explanation under the stress of actual reports of vampire cases to his diocese.

Allaci‟s De Græcorum hodie quorundam opinationibus cites the vampire as a vrykolakas “a body of a man of wicked and debauched life, very often of one whom has been excommunicated by his bishop.  Such bodies do not like other corpses suffer decomposition after burial nor fall to dust…”  According to Allaci, the vrykolakas roams about the streets of a village, knocking upon the hearth and summoning members of the household by name, and if the person called unwittingly answers, s/he is doomed to die the following day.  Needless to say, both common folk and Church officiates and ecclesia both believed in the vampire.

The scribes of the Malleus Maleficarum teach in the first volume how there are “Three Necessary concomitants of Witchcraft, which are the Devil, the Dead Body, and the Permission of God.”  Vampyres in the Malleus Maleficarum are thought to be specters of antiquities, fetid ghosts spewed forth from Purgatory.  Roman Catholic ecclesia who learnt from the Malleus Maleficarum believed vrykolakas rested in his grave on Saturday, and could not roam abroad.  Recall during the Inquisition era that witches for their Sabbats particularly avoided Saturday, sacred to the Immaculate Mother of God.  Nevertheless, many witches did indeed summon on their Sabbats, the unclean, the dead trapped in their maddening nightmarish lust for blood.

The necro-sadistic diablerie and bacchanalia of Countess Báthory Erzsébet, also known as Countess Elizabeth Báthory spent her life at Čachtice Castle.  Countess Báthory with four of her handmaidens was said to have murdered dozens, or hundreds {depending on the source} of young girls, consuming their blood, and meticulously recording it in her diaries.  Various legends about her life, including the idea that she bathed in or drank the blood of servant girls, are thought by some to have been the origin of numerous vampire myths, the Dracula story, and the trope of the sexually sadistic vampyress in particular.  Legends rose around the bloody Countess concerning vampirism and necro-sadism earned her the epithet “la comtesse hongroise sanguinaire.”  While she was investigated in absentia of her abominations, Elizabeth was kept under stern house arrest and waged her defense by a furious thread of letters.  The bloody countess was bricked up in her own private chamber of her castle, kept alive only by food poked through a slit in the door, and died there on 21 August 1614.

To speak of the death-dealing spectre of antiquity, the maleficent vampyr theme in literature, one must take into consideration the vast wealth of vampyr-themed material in print, on stage and film.  No theme has trumped such a seduction with the dark arte than the vampyr.  An exhaustive inquiry into vampyric themes in literature is nigh impossible.  Fetishes over vampirism, bloodletting, mutilation, masochism, mortification, and fantasy role-playing by despondent and often morose teenagers and 20-somethings {or older cyber-vampires cloaking their aliases on the Internet}.  We find passing references to the vampyr in archaic poetry such as Goethe’s ballad Die Braut von Korinth {“The Bride of Korinth” 1797.}  Goethe’s Die Baut von Korinth is the originator of the vampyric theme in literature and poetry.  Goethe himself refers to his vampyric poem as a ballad of love from beyond the grave.  Images of blood drinking and the undead are conjured in the lines:
“Eben schlug die dumpfe Geisterstunde, Und nun schien es ihr erst wohl zu sein. Gierig schlürfte sie mit blassem Munde Nun den dunkel blutgefärbten Wein … Aus dem Grabe werd ich ausgetrieben, Noch zu suchen das vermißte Gut, Noch den schon verlornen Mann zu lieben Und zu saugen seines Herzens Blut. Ists um den geschehn, Muß nach andern gehn, Und das junge Volk erliegt der Wut …”

Varney the Vampire” also titled the “Feast of Blood” published in 1845 as another notable predecessor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Thomas Preskett Prest, a prolific novelist authored “Varney the Vampire” however there are suggestions of authorship to James Malcolm Rymer, or a variety of hands.  Notable vampyri themes also deserve mention are Edgar Allen Poe’s “Berenic, Montella, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Oval Portrait” all written between 1835 and 1842.  The Marquis D.A.F. de Sade’s Justin: Misfortunes of Virtue {1791}, and Juliette {1798} depict scenes of eros noir, bacchanalia, and sexual vampirism.  King Virkram and the Vampire: Tales of Hindu Devilry by Sir Richard F. Burton {1870} states in the preface that the reanimation of dead bodies as ghouls and vampires “is an old and thoroughly Hindu repertory.”  Burton informs us the term baital refers to Sanskrit Vetāla-pancha-Vinshati, a vampire that animates the dead.

Decadent artists such as Charles P. Baudelaire {Les fleurs du mal}, Arthur Rimbaud {Une Saison en Enfer}, Comte de Lautréamont {Les Chants de Maldoror}, Edvard Munch {Vampire}, included in their literature and paintings themes of the vampyr and the macabre.  The macabre transition between Romanticism and Modernism included themes of decadence and ghoulish depictions of those forgotten of death.

The figure of the vampyr evolved from dark folklore and superstitions.  All the elegant requiems, novenas, and prayers that solace Holy Souls of the dead are nothing but our fears to prevent those forgotten of death to return and partake of their macabre blood feasts.  Vampyri in the old country are more than sheltered shadows.  Past the breaches of a pale Christianity it is the derelict and forgotten whom seek to invoke the vampyri.  These anemic souls fall prey endlessly to the dark necromancy of vampyri.

John William Polidori {1795-1821} is credited by the gothic underworld and most literati as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction.  Polidori entered the Baron G.G. Byron’s service in 1816 as a personal physician and escort on trips throughout the old country.  After a reading of Tales from the Dead {Leipzig, 1813} a horror anthology, Lord Byron suggested his entourage each write a horror story.

The great Mary Shelley and Polidori himself later scribed their literary masterpieces, Frankenstein and The Vampyr.  The Vampyr first published in the April 1819 issue of New Monthly Magazine.  Polidori based his main vampyric protagonist on Lord Byron, jokingly naming the beast “Lord Ruthven.”  The Vampyr was re-released under a second edition credited to Byron’s authorship, much to the dismay of both men.  Lord Byron published The Giaour in 1813.  The Giaour is a poem considered by the Literati as one of the first pieces of vampyric-themed fiction.  Giaour, is a Turkish word for “infidel” similar to the Arabic “nonbeliever,” kafir.  The poem is one of the first examples of Romantic Orientalism notable for its mention of vampires in the lines:
“But first, on earth as Vampire sent, Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent: Then ghastly haunt thy native place, And suck the blood of all thy race; There from thy daughter, sister, wife, At midnight drain the stream of life; Yet loathe the banquet which perforce Must feed thy livid living corpse: Thy victims ere they yet expire Shall know the demon for their sire, As cursing thee, thou cursing them, Thy flowers are wither’d on the stem.  But one that for thy crime must fall, The youngest, most beloved of all, Shall bless thee with a father’s name – That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!  Yet must thou end thy task, and mark Her cheek’s last tinge, her eye’s last spark, And the last glassy glance must view Which freezes o’er its lifeless blue; Then with unhallow’d hand shalt tear The tresses of her yellow hair, Of which in life a lock when shorn, Affection’s fondest pledge was worn, But now is borne away by thee, Memorial of thine agony !  Wet with thine own best blood shall drip Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip; Then stalking to thy sullen grave, Go – and with ghouls and Afrits rave; Till these in horror shrink away From spectre more accursed than they!”

A stage adoption of The Vampyr was produced in Paris 13 June 1820 at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint Martin.  A successful revival of the drama occurred in 1823 at the same locale, and again in 1851 at the Ambigu-Comique.  The stage play was reproduced successfully throughout the 1820s in Paris theatres ripe with Bohemianism and Romanticism.  Algernon Blackwood’s short tale The Transfer published in 1911 features a type of human psychic-vampire.

I use the term “psychic-vampire” sparingly since such a concept is utter drivel.  Carmilla a novella by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu {pub. 1872} is a young woman’s sordid tale of contact with a lesbian vampire.  I recommend the novel to any dilettante of gothic and antiquated literature, especially featuring lesbianism and vampirism in the same novel.  Carmilla immediately predates perhaps the masterpiece and most imitated and reproduced work of vampyric literature, Abraham Stoker’s Dracula.

Dracula is an epistolary novel published in 1897 by Abraham “Bram” Stoker, an initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  Stoker spent eight years researching vampyric folklore and anthologies for his novel.  The original title for Dracula was The Un-Dead, yet in his research, Stoker encountered the Hungarian word draçûl, which means “dragon.”  The story of Stoker’s Dracula bares historic connections to Vlad III Tepeş Draculae of Wallachia, a fine fellow said to have brutally murdered thousands of criminals, degenerates, political rivals, and invading Muslim Turks by his favorite method of impaling them on sharp shaft.  Vlad III contributed to the folklore built around him during his lifespan by bathing in, and allegedly drinking the blood of his victims.

Historically, the name “Dracula” is derived from a secret fraternal occult order of Christian knights called the Order of the Dragon, founded by King Sigismund of Hungary {elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1410} to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks.  Vlad II Dracul Tepeş, father of our protagonist Vlad III Tepeş, was admitted to the Order around 1431 due to his bravery in fighting the Muslim Turks.

From his initiation into the Order of the Dragon in 1431 onward, Vlad II wore the emblem of the Order that was an imperial dragon.  As sovereign of Wallachia Vlad II Tepeş‟ coinage bore the imperial dragon.  In archaic Roumanian and Hungarian, the suffix –ulae translates as the genitive “son of.”  Thus draculae refers to not only the son of the Tepeş lineage, but also a son invested with the Order of the Dragon, a Hungarian fraternal occult Order.  Could you tell, dear ones, this author is a proud Hungarian?  The heritage is in the blood.

Dracula inevitably was produced on stage at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1925, again in another version at the Little Theatre in 1927.  “Uncle” Béla Lugosi brought the novel to life in the 1927 Broadway adoption, later starring in Tod Browning’s 1931 Universal Pictures film, Dracula that spawned Béla’s career and notoriety along with the immortality of Dracula and vampyri legend.  Vampyri literature possesses vast tracts of sexual xenophobia on stage, film, and in novels.  The sexual xenophobia present in literary fascination with vampyri centers upon the threat of the monstrous Other, the Beast, who not only steals women but also converts them into Serpents of Lust themselves.  The sexuality of female victims in vampyric literature and film is released in the „wrong way,‟ by a foreigner, a Beast neither man nor spectre, a master of black magic who has achieved what the men fear they may be unable to accomplish.

Sexuality and Vampirism coalesce in literature, film, and on stage with vampyric themes.  Contemporary readers and novelists more often see the vampyr’s bestial primacy and sexual ambiguity as seductive.  Specters of antiquity in ancient Græco-Roman culture were dreaded by folk as blood-sucking ghosts or re-animated bodies of the dead.

Re-animated bodies in Greek and Roman lore were endowed with occult powers, thus to ancient folk vampirism was threaded to black magic.  The Laruæ were hideous and deformed hags, most likely plague-stricken women, or lepers.  Mormo and. Lamiæ were thought by ancient writers to be women possessed with the power to remove their eyes and suck up blood.  These would appear in the form of seductive courtesans, beguiling some damoiseau into their bestiality to drink of his bloody death.  Lamiæ were also called Striges in ancient Rome.  Corinthians knew the Ephialtæ, Hyphialtæ, Incubi, and Succubi as night-specters, ghosts of flesh neither dead nor living trapped in their nightmares.  Ancient writers believed that the plague and dementia caused the facade of these beasts.

Some people argue that vampire stories might have been influenced by a rare illness called porphyria.  The disease disrupts the production of heme.  People with extreme cases of this hereditary disease can be so sensitive to sunlight that they can get sunburn through heavy cloud cover, causing them to be nocturnal and avoid all light.  People with porphyria can also have red eyes and teeth, resulting from buildup of red heme intermediates {porphyrins}.  Certain forms of porphyria are also associated with neurological symptoms, which can create psychiatric disorders.  However, the hypotheses that porphyria sufferers “crave” the heme in human blood, or that the consumption of blood might ease the symptoms of porphyria, are based in ignorance.

The antediluvian Vampyr independent of cultural assimilation is one forgotten of death whom contains the shadowed secrets of the Holy Grail, the alchemical elixir, the End of Flesh.  Blood is the nectar and sustenance of life, it courses and spurts throughout veins, arteries, and skin.  Blood contains the genetic blueprints of the Holy Soul, it is the dark well of infernal angels.  The Vampyri are those forgotten of death whom feed from this nectar, be it by their blood feasts or use of blood in diablerie and sorcery.

Vampyri through blood feasts and diablerie breach the boundaries of immortality penetrating the darkest depths of the psyche.  The Vampyri survive beyond the grave and captivate the darkest human fantasies.  Contrary to the fetid convictions of many, such enshrouded Paths of “vampirism,” and “Vampyri” are not profitable.  Nightshaded Paths walked by vampyri are viewed as glamorous by the weak-willed and innocent, and, seductive by the corrupt of Will.

Fatalistic perceptions of ethics, life & death, and religion have no bearing in such Paths of iniquity.  To initiate into the nightmares of the Vampyric crossroads, the individual must shred asunder all psychic, and psychological strains and weaknesses conditioned since birth.  Essentially the individual must harrow the gates of Hades, and assail the Abyss of the psyche, overcoming the sensational and seductive glamour of Dark sorcery.  Light and dark are no more than nomenclature: words that describe how little we understand.  Vampyri is nothing more than raw, uninhibited fantasy and sexual fetish.  In Vampyric culture and sorcery, “Man” is a ghost, caught in the glamour and arousal of the nephesh.  Earth is at once, for such a precarious lot, Perdition and the Void.

Only those whom have descended and risen from the Midnight of the Soul, and drank the waters of death could ever touch the Rose of Iniquity.  Vampyri are souls who drank the poison of life.  Every Vampyri forgotten of death sleeps in a nightmare, a never-ending purgatory that is a catacomb of neither life nor death.  These specters of antiquity from the earliest recorded religions to the darkest wells of Humanity erotic fantasies roam a labyrinthe of nightmares.  Vampyri are the darkest projections of fear and erotic fetish, mocked since the dawn of religion by the all-seeing Endless Eye.  The infernal soul of the Vampyri is a shadow of humanity’s lost soul, reflecting the breach between nothingness and a void of forever.