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History Of The Vampire

 

From the Asanbosom of southern Ghana to the Puychen of Chile to the Qing-dynasty Jiangxi of China, some versions of the vampire have existed across cultures and "through the oceans of time," as Dracula would say. However, much of what we identify as vampires today comes from movies and books, largely rooted in the ever-evolving mythology of Eastern Europe.

Early death was widespread in the Middle Ages, as disease and plague ravaged the European continent, and the vampire lore that arose from it was rooted in the misunderstanding of certain diseases. Symptoms range from common (such as tuberculosis, which can cause bleeding around the mouth) to rare (such as porphyria, which causes sensitivity to sunlight and gums that give the appearance of long, dentures) Those who are easily recognized in vampire mythology.

The Vampire (1895) by Edvard Munch.

But you didn't need a rare blood disorder to scare the general public, as people of the time often mistook the natural process of releasing air from the body during decomposition for the gruesome groans of the undead. Notably, a young woman named Mercy Brown died of tuberculosis in Rhode Island in 1892 and three months later showed no signs of decomposition upon proclamation, with locals horrified to the extent of removing and burning her heart and liver. , because it was believed to have been neutralized. Vampire. Most likely, his body's lack of decay was simply due to the freezing conditions of the crypt in which it was kept.

In addition to her pristine condition - and the reason they dug it up in the first place - Mercy Brown's neighbors suspected vampirism because several members of Brown's family had succumbed to tuberculosis. The germ theory is not yet well understood, they believed that a vampire in the middle of the family was feeding off their life force, a unifying feature in vampire history. Blood is the most common representation of this life force, which is why many methods of killing a vampire require the heart to be destroyed. In Slavic culture, people who died under strange or so-called "unnatural" circumstances (usually a little-understood illness or suicide) were sometimes buried with wooden sticks through their chests so that to prevent them from rising above the grave.

Anne Rice in 2006.

These myths were mainstreamed with the rise of Gothic literature in the 19th century, particularly when Irish author Bram Stoker wrote the 1987 horror classic Dracula, inspired by the real-life Transylvanian ruler Vlad the Impaler. Today vampires are as unique as the authors make them. As horror titan Anne Rice puts it, "There's something emotional and mystical about that figure ... and everyone who writes about [a vampire] is responding to a lot of legacies ... it The figure itself is a metaphor for the hunter in all of us, the outer in all of us.

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