Allure of the Vampire

(Vampyre, Vampir, Upiór, Upir', Upyr)

In the wake of Twilight and its ongoing mania topped with True Blood as well as the push to re-vamp (pun intended) Anne Rice's vampire chronicles and Johnny Depp cast as the popular vampire, Barnabas, in Dark Shadows, the blood-sucking franchise is moving forward full steam ahead. People seem to lurk in the shadows, like the famous fanged ones, waiting to take a bite out of whatever form of media produces the next vampire story. But the question remains- why do people flock to see these leeches in action? Maybe it's their animal chemistry or maybe they've glamoured us with their magic. But the fact remains- people would bare their necks to anything vampire.

Vampires have been in the media for centuries. The first documented use of the word vampire was in 1047 AD when a Russian church priest cited his name as "Upir' Likhyi " or "the wicked vampire". In European countries around 1718, official city documents recorded the local practice of digging up bodies and "killing the vampires." But looking even deeper into history, we find vampirism as far back as Greek and Roman times where they documented creatures that had a lot of vampiric qualities, oft times depicted on pottery. Yet they did not bare the name "vampire" back then. The only term they could identify with such a creature was demon or devil. In India, it was the vetala, an evil spirit that entered the bodies of corpses. In Egypt, it was the goddess Sekhmet who is notorious for drinking blood. In Hebrew lore, there is Lilitu, (or Lilith), known as the night demon (sometimes taking on the form of a scops-owl) portrayed as a seductress who feasted on the blood of people. Despite a history rich in vampire accounts, nothing was more sensationalized than the "18th-Century Vampire Controversy" in Europe where superstition capitalized over rational thought. Hysteria prompted vampire hunts, accusations, and terror. Though, this panic has seemingly changed over the years.

Presently, vampires still steal the spotlight (or moonlight) though are treated in a much different way. Unlike in centuries past where the vampire was to be exterminated and feared, they seem to captivate and titillate the human psyche of today. Why the change? Perhaps it is what the vampire has come to represent in today's media: forbidden temptations. And, as we learned from Eve, something that is forbidden is very alluring. The bad boy/girl image has always fascinated people. We are drawn to them because these "rebels without a cause" represent the high stakes (no pun intended) danger, chaos, and darkness that we yearn to acknowledge yet keep shackled deep inside us. In an ethical, upright society, displaying anything that goes against the structure's mores or represents vice is considered uncouth and immoral. Yet vampires live their lives free of human structure and unreservedly tap into their darker side. We all harbor this darkness, but do not dare touch it or encourage it. The vampire encompasses forbidden pleasure, unfettered living, control, immortality, desirability, and usually extensive wealth. These are all things that we yearn to possess. So when they are all embodied in one being, that one being is ultimately attractive.

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About Us

We have a diverse, combined writing experience. I am a middle school English teacher and an administrator and co-administrator for various writing groups. Trisha is a freelance writer, editor, and online educator whose fiction appears in FANTASY GAZETTEER. Together we co-authored "Party Crashers” for the EPPIE award winning anthology BAD ASS FAERIES 2: JUST PLAIN BAD.

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