in the vast genus of horrible thinges.
vampires belong to a distinct order.unlike other monsters and demons,they exist alone-utterly along in the twilight region between life and death.whereas the warewolf is a living human who has undergone change into a beast, &whereas the frankenstein type of monster is alive-albeit not in the usual sense- the vampire is not a ive at all.nor is it dead,as are ghosts &poltergeists.
it also differs from the zombi,adead body will not decay.unable to return to dust, and driven to maintain its peculiar existence, the vampire wanders the earth, seeking sustenance in human blood.
having studie the vampire in text and film,and folklore formany years,I am amazed at how little serious investigation has been done concerning the history of this creature.the only major researchers in this field have been two clerics:
augustin calmet(1672-1757)and montague summers(1880-1948)almost all contemporary works on vampirism crib from the writings of one or both of these men.I ,too,am indebted to thier works, although it has been my good fortune to supplement thier findings with a few vampiric case histories that i came upon while studing in transylvania.
this new selection of vampirana was put together so that in one volume the reader could find some of the best vampire tales and commentary from both history and literature,a few facts about the men who recorded or wrote them and the circumstances in which they did so,plus illustrations showing how artists working in various media have treated the vampire and related themes.such a book seems timely.today there is extraordinary intrest in the occult and the unnatural -including the undead.a general anthology of vampire literature appeared in 1963;and articles about my research on the historical dracula appeared in the newyork times as early as 1969,
possibly helping to spark the veritable dracula renaissance that has marked the early 1970s.for whatever reason,in 1972, after years of neglect,dracula was the subject of four new books.at th same time there appeared"a natural histories of vampires' also,both lippin-cott and addison-wesley began publishing monster tales for children during the 1970s.
none of these books,however,was composed with the same intentions as mine.as far as I know this is the first anthology in english to present such a diversity of vampirana.it is my hiope that it may help inspire a full-scale investigation into the lore and lure of the"walking dead'.
somes mines,of course,may question whether serios studyof the subject of vampires is worthwhile-whether it would in fact result in much ado about nothing more than a character from a nineteenth-century novel and films that it has inspired.however,long before 1897,when bram stoker publisher his thilling dracula, the notion of the vampire reaches back into primeval history.the term "vampire"itself is fairly new, having come into common usage during the eihteenth century, that so called age of reason.
linguistic authorities differ over the orgin of the word.for example:f.miklosich,an eminent scholar of slavic languages,claims that "vampire'derives from uber, the turkish word for witch. but undoubtedly the source of"vampire'is the hungarian word vampir.
several authors have recently put forth the thesis that vampires are products of christian civilization, overlooking the fact that in societies removed both in time and space from christianity some concept of the vampire appeared; a single example is pre-christian mexico.
in its basic form, the vampire concept contains one or more of the following elements:association with night, acapacity for change into another physical shape,and a desire for human blood.now for a brief look at the varied history of this creature called a"vampire"-a horror which evolved from primitive forms into the familiar transylvanian count in a black cape,and which is still evolving.
according to an ancient semitic myth,lilitu,orlilith,wasthe first woman on earth. in the talmud,the book of jewish civil and canonical law, lilith was in fact adam's first wife. her ulitimate role,however,was that of a night-roaming monster.in an(;note;the populary medieval amulet was used during childbirth to protect the mother and child against an attack by lilith)clevelandworld ,1939)argument withadam over who was better,lilith refused to concede adam's superiority.thus she disobeyed him and angrilyleft him,though three angels,sanvi,sansanvi,andsemangelaf,
tried to convince her to stay. because of her disobedience, lilith'schildren were killed.eve then came into the picture and boreadam children.extremely jealous,lilith tried to kill eve's children.
since all succeeding generations were considered to be eve's children, humans had to defend themselves against futher onslaughts by night-roaming lilith. small children especially were in danger from her, and one means of protection was the wearing of amulets,preferably ones bearing the names of the three angels who had tried to persuade lilith to stay with adam.
images of lilith-or lamia,lamme,and lamashto,as she was also called- were included in babylionian carvings.in assyria there were incantations to ward off her evil influence.it is also known that like old god proteus,lilith could assume many animal forms.
when we encounter lamia in greek mythology,she has had children by zeus.and now it is queem hera,wife of zeus,who succumbs to jealousy.she drives lamia mad and kills her children aswell.to avenge herself lamia goes about endeavoring to kill as many children as she can.she also drinks thier blood and eats thier flesh.once beatiful,she has become ugly.
in later mythology lamia is said to devour handsome young men as well as children. in the post-classical period lamia is mixed up with vampires,especially in the balkins.closely related lamia and vampires are the greek striges-ddemonic night birds which steal children from their cradles,eat their flesh,and drink their blood.
lilith was only one of the vampiric ancestors.accounts of creatures who drank human blood are also traceable to the ancient chaldeans,assyrains,and babylonians.and from ancient armenia derive tales of the mountain spirit 'Dashnavar"which sapped the blood from the footsoles of travelers until they died.
have you had an encounter with lamia/until next time.
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