The Truth About Real Vs. Fictional Vampires
vampire mythology & folklore
[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 ]
[Disclaimer: even though this article mentions religious items and ideas, this is not a religious article and more a discussion on folklore vs reality with regards to the vampire]
All of us, whether we are children, adolescents or adults, eventually stumble across the subject of vampires at some point in our lives. Once we do, there is rarely no turning back because these creatures of the night have an inexplicable hold on our imagination. I remember my first encounter with vampires - ‘The Count’ on Sesame Street, which then graduated to Count Chocula the breakfast cereal spokes-vampire. From then on vampires graduated from childhood subjects, to scary undead creatures in films, television shows and novels, and for the academic - vampire folklore. What follows is a comparison of the fictional vampires, so loved as pop culture icons, to ‘real’ vampires, that most don’t even believe exist, let alone share a street, neighbourhood or city with. I will look at the subject of real vampires explaining the differences (or similarities) juxtaposed with the fictional vampire we all know and love.
Below is a general list of fictional vampire characteristics that have become part of what we all know as the vampire.
1. Vampires are ‘undead’ (i.e. they are not alive). Some refer to them as ‘demons’
2. Vampires have fangs and drink people’s blood
3. Vampires sleep in coffins during the day
4. Sunlight, a stake through the heart, and fire and decapitation (in folklore) will kill them
5. Vampires have supernatural powers such as flight, extra strength, psychic abilities, and the ability to shape-shift
6. Vampires cannot enter houses unless invited
7. Crucifixes (different from crosses), garlic and holy water repel them.
8. Vampires cannot cross running water
9. Vampires are immortal
10. Vampires are Satan worshippers/ In league with the ‘Devil’
11. Vampires have no reflection in mirrors and no breath nor soul
12. Vampires become vampires by being ‘turned’ by another vampire.
13. Vampires are only active during the night
14. Vampires are glamorous, cool and sexy.
Now onto real vampires.
First of all, you may be asking, what is a real vampire? A real vampire is a person born with an extraordinary capacity to absorb, channel, transform, and manipulate "pranic energy" or life force.
Now to compare the points of the fictional vampire above and I will respond with numbered points coinciding with the points above.
- ‘Real’ Vampires are not undead. They are as human as everyone else and are not ‘demons’
- Some real vampires have fangs made to cap their canine teeth, but none have real fangs. Real vampires do not necessarily drink blood - in fact; most of them do not.
- Blood drinking and vampires have been linked so closely in our culture that it seems the one defining characteristic for a vampire. The reason vampires drink blood is that fresh blood is the highest source of pranic energy (or ‘life force/life energy’ of which real vampires' body has an imbalance and therefore they have to gain this pranic energy through blood or other means. Real vampires do not drain their ‘victims’ of all blood as fictional vampires do. Most vampires consume no more than tiny amounts of blood at a time which is usually obtained through slight cuts or punctures made by lancets or razor blades on willing human “donors”, though the amount and frequency of blood-drinking may vary between individuals. Many blood vampires insist that "donors" undergo testing for blood-borne diseases, including HIV and hepatitis, for obvious safety reasons.
- To expand on this, there are basically two types of vampire: the first is blood drinking, the second is a ‘psi’ or ‘psy’ vampire. Psy/psi vampires, in order to enhance their natural state of being, ‘feed’ on people’s energy forces (another type of ‘prana’ or life force which is a specific type of energy produced by living things and the biosphere as a whole). Psi vampires feed either on individuals, large groups of people or sometimes nature itself, as things in nature (such as trees) are alive and therefore have their own special energy. Other types of "energy" that are identified, and differentiated from "pranic energy", include sexual, psychic, emotional, magickal, negative, astral, and atmospheric energy (for example, thunderstorms). Other than the vampires’ need for pranic energy in whatever form, they have normal nutritional requirements, although some report unusual food cravings, allergies or aversions, which is not unusual with ordinary people.
- Most real vampires sleep in regular beds just like everyone else. Of course, there will be the people who claim or pretend to be ‘vampires’ in the fictional sense, that take to sleeping in coffins in order to be eccentric but that is not the norm. Personally, if given the choice, I’d take a nice big double or king-size bed to a small cramped coffin any day.
- Sunlight – real vampires often have a photosensitivity to sunlight, which means they may burn more easily than other people, but real vampires can spend time in the sun- they do NOT burn up and die like fictional ones, they just have to wear higher SPF sunscreen than some. As for a stake through the heart, fire and decapitation-these methods are bound to kill any human, vampires alike. They are prone to illness and injury just like anyone else – though they may have a tendency to heal more quickly.
- Real vampires cannot fly. No one can, without the power of some kind of jet propulsion! Nor can they shapeshift. Real vampires are not invincible and do not have any supernatural abilities – except perhaps heightened psychic abilities (or empathic abilities- the ability to sense emotions and feelings in others) such as clairvoyance or astral projection-if these are to be called supernatural. Some report enhanced strength, stamina, immunity to diseases etc, but these things certainly do not exceed the limits of the ordinary human body and mind.
- Real vampires, like anyone else who is a visitor to another person’s house, out of the sake of courtesy, do not enter without being invited. This is only common sense. Of course, they could enter any dwelling without being invited, though this is trespassing.
- Crucifixes do not repel real vampires. In fact, this Christian symbol would not have any effect on many vampires, as vampires are not only Christians but belong to every religion in the world today- some are Buddhist, Wiccan, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, and many other world religions. Some even claim to be Satanists, but this could be said of other people who are not vampires as well. Garlic does not have any effect on real vampires, in fact, like regular people most vampires love garlic in their food. The only repulsion they’re likely to recoil at are people with ‘garlic breath’! Holy water as well does not burn or harm the real vampire as it does the fictional one.
- Real vampires can cross running water, as long as they can swim, or the water is not very deep. Water has no effect on vampires, except in the situation of the psi-vampire where it may have a slight draining effect on their energy reserves, but nothing so that they cannot function.
- Real vampires are not immortal. Human Living Vampires are human beings that are born, grow up, age, and fully expect to die at the end of a conventional lifespan. Some people, vampires or not, who believe in reincarnation, believe that they can theoretically be immortal – their souls if nothing else. In reincarnation, a person’s soul is reborn into another person in another life, and therefore, this person’s soul can live thousands of years going through the process of rebirth. Though, immortality in the fictional vampire sense is not possible. However, due to the advances of science, everyone, not just vampires are living longer life spans than they were even 20 or 30 years ago.
- As said above, most vampires are not Satan worshippers. Except those who choose to follow that as their religion, but that is just personal choice.
- Real vampires, as stated throughout this article, are human, and as such can see their reflection in mirrors (with the exception of trick mirrors say at carnivals). And as we all know, being human means that we also have breath and a soul, therefore, real vampires being human, have these as well.
- Real vampires are born vampires – no one can be ‘turned’. Real vampirism is a genetic condition that is passed down through bloodlines, though not everyone who has the ‘vampire gene’ so to speak, will become a vampire.
- A lot of people, not just vampires, are more ‘night owls’ than others. Physically, vampires are usually "night people" on a biochemical level. Their body cycles are different and have such things as temperature peaks, menstrual onset, and the production of sleep hormones in the brain occurring at the opposite time of day from most people. Vampires have difficulty adjusting to daytime schedules and frequently work nights, though a lot still work during the day like most people have to. Real vampires have excellent night vision, but so, according to the myth, do people who eat a lot of carrots. Their vitality ranges widely, and they can be vigorous and active one day, depressed and languorous the next.
- Last but not least, real vampires are nothing like how the glamorous, cool and sexy fictional vampire is portrayed. As we have covered, they are not immortal (one of the big attractions to fictional vampires) and they do not have any cool powers such as flight and shapeshifting. Most real vampires insist that being a real vampire brings no special privileges but simply makes the everyday existence of relationships, jobs, and home life that much more challenging. Most have difficulty understanding why a normal person would want to become what they are and have to deal with the symptoms of needing blood such as digestion problems, obesity, photosensitivity to sunlight, nausea and weakness. The fact that most real vampires (like other marginal groups) have to go about life hiding who they actually are, except for places such as online, this alone can make life a lonely and isolating journey.
So, do you still believe vampires to be the black-cloaked demons that hover outside your house at night in hopes of a midnight snack? Or can you now sympathize with the day-to-day lifestyle of the real vampire, who, for all you know, could be your next-door neighbour, the old man up the street or the girl you see walking to school every day.
Hopefully, you have come away with a better understanding of what it is like for a real vampire to live in today’s society, and perhaps even reconsider what you previously believed about vampires and other so-called ‘supernatural’ beings. If anything, you’ll now have a better understanding of what is meant when people talk about ‘real vampires’, and maybe you can give your two cents.
Check out more of my vampire lore with this below!