Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monster Madness Day 4

Thanks to our lovely hosts Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors and Wicked Ways Productions

Everyday I'm featuring one of my favorite monsters and today is vampires. References to vampires (or entities like them) have been found in just about every culture in the world since the beginning of verbal traditions. Most of these early vampires weren’t vampires as we know them now- they were demons, zombie-like walking dead creatures, witches, and a variety of other things. The uniting factor for all of them was that they drank blood and this action allowed them to continue existing despite the absence of life.

Given the variances in stories and distinguishing characteristics between all these different groups of vampire-like creatures it’s no wonder that the idea of a vampire as we know it now didn’t exist. Back then, the folktales described drastically different creatures from area to area and none of them were identified by the term vampire. Still, the idea was planted long ago.

Fast forward several centuries and you start seeing reports of vampiric activity in eastern Europe. These stories are what lead to the modern-day idea of a vampire: a creature who looks rather human in appearance, rises at night to feed on blood, and is mischievous, charismatic and randy.

It was the late 17th century when reports of vampires first started popping up in small villages. The stories would go that someone in the village would die, somehow not stay dead, cause general havoc, and the villagers would have to take action. Staking and beheading as methods of killing started pretty early on and become the norm for trying to rid a village of its pesky vampire problem.

Soon after, the idea of vampires entered the world of fiction literature and there was a mad dash by writers of the time to expand on this genre. Starting in the early 18th centuries poems and books describing blood-drinking creatures of the night using the term vampire started being published. With the accompanying verbal tradition spreading the folklore the idea of the creature became common place.

So common place, in fact, that there was actually a bit of vampire hysteria much like witch hysteria had swept the continent earlier. It became a common occurrence for precautions to be taken during the burial right to prevent the rise of a vampire. These precautions varied from region to region but the thing they were trying to prevent seems to be similar.

There are a number of hypothesis to explain this. First, there is the idea of premature burial wherein a person in a comatose state was improperly declared dead and buried before escaping later on to scare the locals. There’s also the scientific process that occurs in decomposition: dead bodies bloat making them seem to grow in size and gain a sometimes ruddy complexion, the skin shrinks giving the appearance of hair and nails growing, and depending on the rate of decomposition a person might be exhumed several weeks after their death and look pretty well considering what people expected to see. Add in all the very healthy folklore traditions with stories of revenants, demons and the like and you could see the fertile ground for the stories to take hold.

Needless to say, by the time the 19th century rolled around the world was ripe and Bram Stoker took full advantage of that. Although Dracula is nowhere near the first publication on vampires it remains the most well known, even all these centuries later.

Now vampires are one of the most beloved monsters around.  We write about them, role-play them, dress up as them, draw them, make tv shows about them and come out with new movies about them more frequently than any other monster around.  Granted, with the focus on sex appeal over fear some of the modern-day incarnations can’t really be called monsters anymore.
Not Monstrous

But thankfully, there are plenty of those who hold to the traditional belief that vampires are meant to be scary and they will continue to entertain us for a long, long time to come.

And now, as always, I invite you to hop along and keep the monster lovin' goin'.
1. Annie Walls  16. GingerRead Review  31. Stuff! Also, Things.  
2. Magaly Guerrero  17. Carmen Jenner Author  32. Lexa Cain  
3. Stephen Tremp  18. Book Me!  33. Roland Yeomans  
4. Toni @ My Book Addiction  19. Design du Jour  34. Real Queen of Horror  
5. QueenCicada  20. Not This Time, Nayland Smith  35. Procrastonaut  
6. Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh  21. Shah Wharton  36. Ms Misantropia  
7. Something WicKED this way comes...  22. Tim Brannan, The Other Side  37. Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles  
8. Little Gothic Horrors  23. Holly's Horrorland  38. Dr. Theda  
9. Maynard Morrissey's HORROR MOVIE DIARY  24. Professor Z  39. Jenny's House of Horrors  
10. Kweeny Todd  25. The Beveled Edge  40. TF Walsh  
11. L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge  26. Candilynn Fite  41. It Came From The Man Cave!  
12. The Dark World of MJ Preston  27. Diane Riggins  42. Voodoo Ghoul  
13. Entertaining Interests  28. Lori Parker  43. The Moon is a Dead World  
14. Emily Unraveled  29. Coffintree Hill  44. KristenHead  
15. Unnatural Selections  30. Tasha's Thinkings  45. Memoirs Of A Scream Queen  


  1. Vampire legends are interesting. And I always thought accidentally being buried alive would be the worst thing that could happen to you.

  2. Vampires were my first horror love, thanks to my father letting me watch old Hammer Horrors with him when I was little.

    I laughed so hard at that Edward Cullen meme! "Face it, he's not a vampire, he's a fairy."

  3. One strange thing about the spread of vampire folklore is that they never really caught on in the UK, we tended to go for our ghosts over vamps or werewolves, although we do have some legends, we have nothing like as many as the rest of Europe.

    I'm personally a fan of sexy vampires, but I like mine with a little bit more menace than Edward, Gary Oldman as Dracula, Keiffer Sutherland as David. One of the best sexy vampires I ever watched was Michael Praed - I wish I could remember the movie, I'll have to IMDB it one of these days - anyway, he was playing this 'reformed' vampire apparently trying to help people as a doctor, but he has his own agenda and when he goes all intense and dangerous, that lovely long dark hair swirling around him, he's super 'interesting' :)

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles

  4. Vamps are a classic and always draw me to the cinema or into the bookstore! Cool post mate!
    Here's my day IV MMM at Design du Jour.

  5. Vampires are awesome, especially the monstrous kind (not the blood-sucking fairy type).

  6. Vampires are probably my favorite, because I have so many favorites in the vampire world.

    MMM on Kristen's blog, Day 4: 10 Monsters that Make Me Happy

  7. I knew, I knew, I knew Edward was a fairy! lol


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