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The Truth About Awakening vs. Turning

vampire mythology & folklore

By Caitlin McCollPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
The Truth About Awakening vs. Turning
Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

[Author's Note: At University (in the early 2000's), I took a Sociology class on the myth and symbolism of Witchcraft, and as part of the class, I ended up writing a paper on the mythology and folklore of vampires, which then led me into a paid gig writing vampire articles for a while. So I've decided to share these articles of vampire myth and folklore here ~ C]


This is a very controversial topic. In vampire circles that is. First I want to make sure that people recognize the difference between 'turning' and 'awakening' in vampire vocabulary.

'Awakening' is when a person who is already a vampire (but their nature is still latent or 'hidden' (also known as ardentha) begins to realize who (or what) s/he is when one's vampirism begins to manifest itself. This process may be a long one in order for the person to fully come to terms with the mental and physical changes that occur.

'Turning is simply the term used to describe making an 'ordinary' (non-vampire) person into a vampire. It is also referred to as 'The Embrace'.

Many people do not believe that people can be 'turned' into vampires, and the people who do believe may just be too immersed in the world of RPG and films. Most people believe that vampires are born, and then they 'awaken' to this fact usually during adolescence. These people believe that no vampire can simply go up to anyone and turn them into a vampire, but believe that vampiric tendencies must already exist within the person, and these must simply be brought out (awakened).

Some believe 'only mortals with human blood' (why would mortals not have human blood?!) can be 'turned'. Most likely, this is believed by people who participate in RPG and take the media (TV and film) to be too much like reality. These people also believe that the main factor in 'the turning' is that the body must die.

Obviously, that is highly unlikely (impossible you could say). Some of these people say that the person must be drained of all their blood (but then wouldn't they die?) and then a massive exchange of blood between the vampire and the person they are 'turning' would take place.

Apparently, only 'weak' vampires can attempt to turn people (why this is, I do not know). Because of this, there is not much of the vampire's 'energy', let's say, to pass on, and the vampirism that is passed on is diluted, causing a 'half-breed' type person. This would be an ordinary vampire who has little or none of the 'benefits' that born vampires claim to have. The people who are turned, perhaps, would only have slightly enhanced senses and would suffer light sensitivity, and of course, the 'hunger' for blood.

A few vampires claim to have been turned by consuming large (perhaps a cupful) amounts of blood. However, this may just be an addiction to blood itself in much the same way as many people become addicted to dairy. There is more to being a vampire than just drinking blood! Additionally, some vampires claim to have been turned into a 'psi-vamp' after being drained of almost all their energy by another psi-vamp. I am not sure if this is true.

There are, of course, historical (folklore) descriptions of ways people can be 'turned'.

  1. Being bitten by a vampire or drinking the blood of a vampire is the most common way (but as I said before, there is more to a vampire than just drinking blood).
  2. Not having been buried properly
  3. Your dead body reflected into a mirror
  4. If a cat or other animal jumps over your dead body before being buried (in Romania this is cured by putting a piece of iron into the corpse's hand).
  5. If you have red hair, you'll turn into a vampire after death (according to Egyptian and Greek Mythology).
  6. If you are a wizard or witch (there are lots of modern-day living vampires who practice witchcraft... so that's kind of a conundrum)
  7. If you are the seventh child of a seventh child and lastly,
  8. Victims of unavenged murder are also likely to become or 'turn' into vampires.

In any case, there is no proof one way or another to support claims of 'turning'. 99.9% of people would say it is impossible and just a myth. However, there are still many who wish to become a vampire who have full and clear knowledge of what that entails.

Many born living vampires have difficulty understanding why an 'ordinary' person would ask to be 'turned' into what they are, as the vampiric lifestyle is far from easy and glamourous (this includes possible ostracism from friends and family, physical pain from cravings, light sensitivity and therefore headaches, and other symptoms).

Whether the 'turning' can be done or not is irrelevant. What is important is that people need to be happy with themselves. Becoming anything else will not solve your problems or bring happiness or make you loved. Only you can bring yourself happiness and it won't come about by trying to change who you are into something or someone different.


Check out more of my vampire lore articles below!

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Caitlin McColl

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