Sex, Blood and Vampires

November 7, 2009 by  

true_blood_couple_mVampires seem to be, to borrow a phrase from the fashionistas, the new black right now. Unsurprising, really. They are hot, they don’t age, don’t need botox, and, judging from the raunchy HBO True Blood’s Bill Compton, Eric Northman and Pam, they look good in anything that’s black and leather.

The word vampire has almost become synonymous with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one of the best-selling books of all time. Stoker’s Dracula is said to owe something to Vlad III of Wallachia who lived in the 15th century and had a habit of impaling his victims on stakes. But Stoker’s conception of the vampire has shape-shifted and fragmented throughout the world in ways he would barely comprehend, and probably not even recognize.

Indeed, the vampire may seem to be a creature living on the margins of society, but we’ve always had a contradictory relationship with the vampire. Central to the stories humans tell each other, these creatures exist in folklore that stretch back through to ancient times. Almost every culture appears to have some sort of legend about vampires or hungry ghosts who feed on the energy of the living, in one way or another. Yet, very few of them bear any resemblance to Bela Lugosi descending the staircase, holding a flickering candle that improbably lights the cavernous great hall of his castle for the legendary cinematographer Karl Freund. And while some of these other folklores around the world are similar to the traditional Central European myths that have been incorporated into Gothic literature and cinematic lore, there are quite a few which depart from the traditional vampire lore.

The earliest account of these creatures of the night derives from Mesopotamia. Lamatsu was a serpent demon who reportedly stole children from their homes and devoured them. Another incarnation of Lamatsu appears later, in the guise of Lilith. In early Hebraic writings, Lilith took the form of a winged demon with the body of a woman with owl-like talons for feet. She was reported to be the first wife of Adam (before Eve was created). Lilith was formed of the same earth from which Adam was created, therefore, she considered herself his equal. That being the case, Lilith refused to be submissive. She was subsequently banished to the demon realm. Lilith’s offspring were damned to become demons with Lilith taking the title of “Mother of Demons.”

In China, a vampire is created when a recently deceased corpse is possessed by a demon, usually after suicide or a violent death without a proper burial. Unlike the vampires in the West, the Chiang Shih (also known as Jiang Shi) is said to be covered with white or green hair over its entire body. It is also said to have long claws, teeth and glowing red eyes. I think it’s safe to say that it is hardly an attractive specimen when compared to the highly decorative vampires of True Blood. Breathing the Chiang Shih’s breath can be lethal but apparently, it can be repelled by garlic, salt and barriers of rice, thunder or a bullet.

In the Philippines, we have the Aswang. Apparently, the Aswang appears as a beautiful woman but at night, it is compelled to seek victims. It attacks by using a long tubular tongue to drink their blood. After feeding, it appears pregnant. One of the most fearsome creatures of Malay folklore is the Pontianak, a vampire like entity, she (the Pontianak is always female) is characterized by ear-piercing shrieks, long flowing hair and a penchant for the blood of children.

In Japan, we have the Gaki. Similar to the vampires in the West, it drinks the blood of corpses and appears pale-skinned, cold with hollow features. The can also shape-shift, transforming into animals or impersonating living people. Some of the oldest can stalk their prey invisibly. In Scotland, we have the BaoBahan Sith that usually disguises itself as a beautiful maiden who preys on young men, lured the victims to their deaths through song and dance. In folklore, it is said that this vampire always dresses in green to hide their cloven feet.

imageThe Dearg-Due is a dreaded creature of Ireland whose name means blood sucker. An ancient vampire who dates back to Celtic times, it is still feared. The only way to curb its vampiric activities is to pile stones on the grave of any who might be suspected of housing such a beast. On the other hand, the Upier, a Polish vampire, is said to sleep in blood, rise at Midday and go to sleep at Midnight. It is also said to have a barbed tongue with which it consumes large amounts of blood. The Asanbosam, West African vampires, are unlike their European cousins, preferring to live in trees rather than coffins.  They take human form but instead of feet, they have iron teeth and hooks.

Let’s face it: unfortunately, the vampires of folklore pale in comparison when compared to True Blood’s Vampire Bill, with his Southern charm or even the Viking vampire, Eric Northman, who is really interesting. In Eric Northman, we have a powerful, dangerous, yet captivating 1000-year-old, leather-wearing, club owning vampire. Compare to these other loathsome creatures of folklore, what’s not to like about these particular vampire?

Source: Skyscanner

Photo credits: HBO Inc

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  • JANE

    SINCE WE ALL HAVE TO DIE, I ONLY HOPE THAT “THE REAPER” LOOKS LIKE BILL COMPTON. WHAT A WAY TO GO !

  • antonio

    Sex,Blood and Vampires What More could We Want!! Nuff’ Said!!
    🙂 🙂

  • Lizzie

    The Writer of this article got it wrong. Bill is also REALLY interesting. Maybe this person should get to know Bill so as to get the info right!

    • Nia

      You are absolutely right Lizzie! Its a shame that some people cannot see whats in front of their eyes.
      A dispassionate superficial bad boy has got nothing on the good man who is not afraid to reveal his darkest fears yet at the same time profess his love and fight for it. That is a man that is worth watching and gets my attention!

      • LIBBY

        Thanks Nia, for agreeing with me. Like minds think alike! That ‘really” really got me!!

    • TruEricFan

      I agree, and I am all about Eric!

  • Nia

    Vampires are definitely the rage and have been for quite a while. I think they will be here among us for some time to come. Who in their right mind would want anything else when we have such handsome, dangerous, sexy immortals to adore.
    The dark, sexy southern gentleman Bill Compton is invited into my home anytime. No rescending of an invitaion here!

  • Geez, sorry…I thought I re-did it?? The “Their” was wrong…anyways …now we have the same comment!!! Duh!!!!

  • See, those other vampires..Gross!! Seriously…It’s the hot sexy ones we like!! Not the Gross, red eyes..cloven feet..claws..sleeping in blood, kinda vampires!! Not even!! Just the True Blood vampires…That’s all we want…that’s what I want anyway’s!! Their, just a little gross, sometimes…and that’s O.K., I’m good with that…..

  • See, those other vampires..Gross!! Seriously…It’s the hot sexy ones we like!! Not the Gross, red eyes..cloven feet..claws..sleeping in blood, kinda vampires!! Not even!! Just the True Blood vampires…That’s all we want…that’s what I want anyway’s!! There just a little gross, sometimes…which is ok….I’m good with that…