[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.]
There is no evidence – scientific, medical or otherwise, that points 100% to the existence of ‘real’ vampires - just as there is not 100 percent proof for the existence of God but people still believe in ‘Him’, so why not the existence of living breathing vampires? Unlike tangible evidence for God, there are, however, a couple of real medical conditions that result in vampiric appearance or behaviour (though real vampires may be loathe to entertain the idea that they are what they are due to a disease). The reason real vampires are not widely accepted is simply due to lack of information about the different viruses that cause ‘medical vampirism’.
Most people may know, due to knowledge of fictional vampires, many of the vampires’ characteristics are considered to be more highly evolved than ‘ordinary’ people. These include increased strength and speed, enhanced mental and/or psychic abilities and the ability to digest human (and animal) blood more easily than the mainstream population. The reason for these differences is that human DNA is changed by this ‘vampire’ virus that is transmitted through infection. However, just like HIV does not always turn into AIDS, not everyone who is infected with this virus develop vampire characteristics.
The name of this ‘vampire disease’ is porphyria, which is a rare metabolic disorder caused by imbalances in the production of heme, a iron-containing pigment in the blood. Porphyria is hereditary, so this may account for concentrations in certain areas of vampire cases in folklore throughout history. Porphyria is actually a collective name for seven rare diseases that were first identified in the nineteenth century.
People with more severe forms of porphyria are highly sensitive to sunlight, one of the major characteristics associated with vampires. Though there is no evidence of this, one possible treatment for porphyria in the past might have been to drink blood, to correct the heme imbalance in the body. A further identifying characteristic that gives sufferers the association with vampires is that the gums recede and increase the amount shown of the canine teeth, giving a ‘fanged’ appearance. It is also interesting to note that certain chemicals, such as those found in garlic can make porphyria symptoms worse by activating heme destroying enzymes in our bodies, and this can be fatal to porphyria victims. Another medical condition, anemia, at extreme levels causes victim's skin to appear very pale as a result of the hemoglobin deficiency in the blood, yet another characteristic associated with vampires.
However, rare disorders like porphyria are only possible explanations for the existence of these creatures of the night.
There are a number of other, emotional and personality traits that are associated with the real vampire, but are also found in ordinary human behavior. Real vampires do not have only a couple of these specific traits, but a majority, and they are distinguished from ‘regular’ people by relating to energy in a specific way which makes them stand out vividly to anyone who comes in contact with them. Most people probably know someone who is a vampire, without consciously knowing it, only sensing something unique about them. Physically, vampires are usually ‘night owls’, and they have body cycles such as temperature peaks, menstruation, and the production of sleep hormones in the brain occurring at the opposite time of day from most people, as well as difficulty adjusting to daytime schedules and frequently work nights.
As stated earlier, they are highly sensitive to sunlight, becoming sunburnt easily, and they have excellent night vision. Their energy levels can fluctuate immensely going from energetic one day, to lethargic the next.
Real vampires frequently have digestive problems as well as many issues with food that are based in their constant quest for pranic energy. Contrary to the romantic image of the vampire as thin, many real vampires are troubled by obesity because their constant quest for energy (which food obviously is the main energy source of people). They also have a digestive system that is sluggish in processing solid food, and for these reasons they can sometimes troubled by other substance addictions. However, since their systems are tuned to pranic energy more than to processing physical substance, they may have a higher tolerance to drugs and alcohol than ordinary people.
Emotionally vampires are unpredictable, moody, temperamental and overwhelming. The major distinguishing characteristic of real vampires, as opposed to ordinary people who share those qualities, is the vampire's extreme intensity. Vampires are often described as attention seeking, clingy and needy, draining/exhausting and egotistical etcetera by people who know them.
Like blood-drinking vampires, psychic vampires also feel the need to "feed" on the energy they require to function properly on a regular basis, and many report physical feelings of discomfort if they are not able to obtain a sufficient source of this energy. Symptoms of this type of deprivation include extreme fatigue, depression, mood swings, an increased susceptibility to illnesses, uncontrollable ‘feeding’ of random targets as they are unable, or to weak to focus properly on one target, insomnia, anxiety and negative reactions from others close to the psychic vampire. If they do not feed, these vampires claim they will become weak as if they had not eaten.
Symptoms that one is a psychic vampire include similar fluctuations such as: mood swings, dizziness, fluctuating energy levels, headaches, and a intense feeling of draining energy or emotions from others. The method psychic vampires use typically is to drain life-force energy from people or other living objects through meditation and concentration.
Of all vampires, unconscious psychic vampires (those not aware of what they are) tend to be most noticeable to ordinary people, who see them as insecure yet demanding, and basically 'all over the map' with their emotions. These types of vampires are most likely to have a disruptive effect on themselves and the network of friends and family members around them, due to their extreme emotional fluctuations, until they come to some kind of understanding of what they are.
Many real vampires revel in traditional vampire myth and folklore, at the same time trying to debunk this fictional representation of who and what they are in their writings. Real vampires often use viral and scientific explanations for their behaviour and lifestyle, as it is a popular way of trying to come to terms with what they are.
If you have taken anything away from reading this, it should be that the virtues of patience and knowledge, as well as awareness, and control are what real vampires must learn in order to harness their abilities and deal with their unique lifestyle. At the same time, it is these same lessons that ordinary people must take on board when dealing with real vampires.