[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 lead 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
Note: this is not a Religious article but about the mythology and folklore surrounding the use of a religious symbol with regards to vampire lore.]
In today's film and television-obsessed culture, nearly every layperson on the street knows of the myth that crucifixes (and other religious items, such as holy water) ward off and repel the demon we know as 'vampire'.
To begin with, I will clarify what I am talking about, to be rid of any confusion. I am sure many people believe that a cross and a crucifix are one and the same, just that crucifix is a fancier word. But they are, indeed, different. A crucifix, on the one hand, has the likeness of Jesus Christ on it, whereas a cross, on the other hand, is just a cross. The power of a crucifix to ward off a vampire (or other supernatural beings for that matter), comes from the Christian religion and faith in Jesus' ability to rid evil. God is good, and vampires are evil, therefore, these obviously hold things that signify God, such as crucifixes, should be able to stand in place of God (or Jesus) and banish vampires, which are the opposite of what God stands for.
However, the crucifix will only have the power to repel vampires if you believe it will actually do so. The same applies to vampires. Because vampires are psychic in nature (all vampires have some psychic ability, some more than others that have learned to use theirs skillfully), if a vampire believes one thing to be true (for example that a crucifix will repel it) then the psychic nature can manifest itself, subtly or overtly. This strong belief will act as a psychological barrier that could affect the vampire. It is almost the same thing that happens when you are in a bad attitude and, for example, are playing a sport, and keep thinking that you will definitely lose. Because your brain is focused on that, you will do things, subconsciously, that will indeed make you lose.
In some legends, it is mentioned that silver crucifixes, specifically, are used. This has its correlations with the 'silver bullet' used to destroy werewolves in folklore.
This idea of vampire's fearing crucifixes is due, once again, to Bram Stoker's well-known novel 'Dracula'. Stoker took bits and pieces from vampire lore throughout Europe, and then embellished these stories with his own added details, and put together the creature that is now known today as the vampire. Unlike Stoker's literary vampires, crucifixes did not repel vampires in Eastern European traditional folklore. Dracula is where the idea originated and it has not spread like wildfire throughout the world and is entrenched in most people's minds of what the vampire is, which is corroborated by most modern films and books.
Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles' is an exception, as Christian symbols such as crucifixes don't affect her vampires. 'Real Vampires', as mentioned before throughout, belong to all different religions (or no religion as the case may be). There are Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic and even Satanist vampires. Every denomination you can think of, Real Vampires - just like the rest of us - follow. Therefore, Christian religious items such as the crucifix have little use on a Muslim or Buddhist vampire. But who's to say that a Buddhist religion item would not have any effect?
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