As anyone who is researching anything knows, a good solid foundation will provide a decent springboard from which ideas will come. And so it is, as with every other vampire critical text that has ever existed, that I must make notes on the history of the vampire. The meaning of the vampire. Why it is like it is, and what has informed its development.
There is a very interesting book called Legends of Blood that details the folkloric origins of the vampire. Whilst reading, it occured to me that people were identified as a ‘vampire’ frequently due to a religious transgression. Burial rites in particular seem to have a lot to do with it.
Walking over graves, being buried wrongly, being the seventh son, etc.
A lot of it seems to be superstition vs englightenment. Interesting though that superstition still remains in culture today, although not quite at the same extreme as it was back then. Can this be linked to a change in religious belief? People, although they claim to still have faith, are much more lax about how they talk, what they watch, do, say, who they socialise with. There was a time when certain films and books caused an outcry. Blasphemy and ungodly films are so commonplace these days that they’ve almost become blase. We no longer believe in these ‘myths’ and ‘legends’ that form the basis of the vampire, yet the figure itself still grabs hold of our imagination rather powerfully.
When did vampires changed from myth to a kitsch marketable cultural figure?
To some, vampirism is ‘little more than a way to contemplate the inadequacies of human testimony’ – particularly regarding the ‘eyewitness accounts’ of vampires. We cannot suspend our disbelief in order to understand or even consider it. Yet, many will happily read the Bible and not consider the ‘inadequacies of human testimony’ despite the huge glaring errors in continuity and factuality. Why do we have faith in certain things and not others?