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    Vampire Folklore

    Although the characters of Lord Ruthven and Varney made a lasting impact on the vampire genre, another surpassed them in impact and popularity.  That character, Carmilla, was created by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.  Le Fanu was born in Dublin, Ireland and was raised at the Royal Hiberian Military School.  His father happened to be the chaplain there (Melton 357).  At the young age of fourteen, Le Fanu tapped into his writing talent with an Irish poem, and his literary career began (358). When Le Fanu embarked on his literary career, his first works focused on aspects of the Irish character.  Most of these works were considered mediocre due to his…

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    Vampire Folklore

    After Polidori’s version of the vampire, it became apparent that an audience for such work existed.  James Malcolm Rymer decided to enter as an author of this genre for just that reason.  Rymer was born in Scotland in the year 1804, and prior to his career as an author, he pursued various means of employment.  He had been a civil engineer, a surveyor, and a mechanical draftsman.  He pierced the writing scene when he dropped all of these jobs to write for the Queen’s Magazine (Melton 529).  He wrote an article in which he heaped ridicule and disgust upon an avenue of the era called “penny dreadfuls.”  “Penny dreadfuls” were…

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    Vampire Folklore

    Most people are very much acquainted with Bram Stoker’s Dracula but are unaware of other important literary vampires that preceded him.  These literary vampires include Lord Ruthven, Varney, and Carmilla.  In this series, these vampires and their respective authors will be introduced and show how these lesser known characters greatly impacted both Bram Stoker and other authors such as Anne Rice. Dr. John Polidori was originally hired as a medical advisor to the infamous Lord Byron.  Polidori was to be his travelling companion as well.  However, his greater mission was to chronicle Byron’s journeys because he was commissioned to do so from Byron’s publisher.  One would figure such an arrangement…

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    Vampire Folklore

    The Real Castle Dracula “A vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky.” -Jonathan Harker as he approaches Castle Dracula for the first time (Stoker Chapter 1) Bram Stoker’s Dracula has always brought about inspiration, curiosity, and enchantment to those who have decided to be enthralled by the tale.  In the novel, both the Count and his home are described in such detail that one would think that both are real.  While it has been shown that the infamous Vlad the Impaler is the Count, arguments still exist about the exact whereabouts of…

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    Vampire Folklore

    With mainstream media placing the vampire subculture in the spotlight, society has begun to wonder who or what causes an individual to choose such a lifestyle.  Society also ponders and searches for reasonable yet scientific explanations that would cause an individual to exhibit vampiric-like traits.  One of these scientific explanations comes from the medical field, and that explanation is called porphyria. The word porphyria comes from the Greek word porphyros, meaning reddish-purple (Melton 486).  A reference to reddish-purple or purple color is made because people who suffer from the rare disease typically have darker urine.  This urine may appear even darker after exposure to light.  The purple color is caused…

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    Vampire Folklore

    Besides physically destroying or mutilating a vampire corpse, other remedies exist to assist with the process.  These remedies include the exploitation of holy relics and devices.  The most commonly used of these is the cross.  The cross is one of the oldest amulets against evil, and contrary to what most people understand, the cross predates Christianity by many centuries.  For example, the cross has been used to associate sun deities, to symbolize the heavens, and to represent divine protection (Guiley 88).  When employed by the Christian faith, the cross represents Jesus as he was executed on the original Good Friday.  One will notice how Roman Catholics regularly use a cross…

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    Vampire Folklore

    Arise From the Past!:  I Found A Vampire, Now What? When one stumbled upon what was thought to be a vampire or living corpse, the first idea that must have run through his or her mind was quite simple.  What was one to do with such a find?  Although many people cannot agree on the correct way to dispose of a vampire, they can all agree that any technique used has to work indefinitely.  Such methods include a stake through the heart, decapitation, burning, the usage of holy items, garlic, and exposure to sunlight. One of the most common methods for disposing of a vampire is a stake through the…

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    Arise From the Past: How Cannibalism, Sacrifice, and Burial Affected Vampire Folklore

    Belief in vampires or some form of the dark bloodsucking creature existed long before written record.  These creatures formed in each culture and each era as a result of religion and lack of scientific education.  Additionally, many practices of long ago fascinate us today because of the gory and vampiric nature involved.  Such practices include cannibalism, sacrifice, and how the dead were buried before modern advances.  Hence, one can safely gather that vampirism or vampires are a direct result of culture and scientific misunderstanding. Vampires are immortal creatures who feed off the blood of the living, and blood is the key factor in all origins of vampire folklore.  Some argue…

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    Vampires: A Small Introduction to Those Outside the Glamour of Hollywood

    Blood dripping fangs, dark cloaks, and perhaps a deep soothing voice, are attributes most would associate with the word vampire.  The word vampire can be traced back as far as ancient Sumer with their version of the word akhkharu, and although the word may have originated there, many existing arguments exist as to who was the original vampire (NRG).  Some would argue Cain from the Bible.  Some would suggest Lilith, who has her roots in the Judaic tradition as well as Sumerian.  Nevertheless, all vampire stories were originally created to explain away problems with childbirth and the death of loved ones (Melton 446).   Then, one may wonder, how did the…