Currently viewing the tag: "vampires"

Porphyria has been suggested as an explanation for the origin of vampire and werewolf legends, based upon certain perceived similarities between the condition and the folklore.

In January 1964, L. Illis’s 1963 paper, “On Porphyria and the Aetiology of Werwolves,” was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. Later, Nancy Garden argued for a connection between porphyria and the vampire belief in her 1973 book, Vampires. In 1985, biochemist David Dolphin’s paper for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Porphyria, Vampires, and Werewolves: The Aetiology of European Metamorphosis Legends,” gained widespread media coverage, popularizing the idea.

The theory has been rejected by a few folklorists and researchers as not accurately describing the characteristics of the original werewolf and vampire legends or the disease, and as potentially stigmatizing sufferers of porphyria.

A 1995 article from the Postgraduate Medical Journal (via NIH) explains:
As it was believed that the folkloric vampire could move about freely in daylight hours, as opposed to the 20th century variant, congenital erythropoietic porphyria cannot readily explain the folkloric vampire but may be an explanation of the vampire as we know it in the 20th century. In addition, the folkloric vampire, when unearthed, was always described as looking quite healthy (“as they were in life”), while due to disfiguring aspects of the disease, sufferers would not have passed the exhumation test. Individuals with congenital erythropoietic porphyria do not crave blood. The enzyme (hematin) necessary to alleviate symptoms is not absorbed intact on oral ingestion, and drinking blood would have no beneficial effect on the sufferer. Finally, and most important, the fact that vampire reports were literally rampant in the 18th century, and that congenital erythropoietic porphyria is an extremely rare manifestation of a rare disease, makes it an unlikely explanation of the folkloric vampire. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone with a medical condition who is shunned because the condition is misunderstood.

Journaling Prompt: What medical condition are you afraid of? How does that cause you to act around people with the condition?

Art Prompt: Vampires

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of medical investigation.

Photo Credit: Edvard Munch – Vampire (1895) on Wikimedia

Justice on the ALbert V Bryan Courthouse in Alexandria VA sends mixed messages. “Justice Delayed Justice Denied” vs. Tortoise and Hare.

I slumped back in my chair, willing my mind to think faster. No human had ever set foot inside Vampire Court. This could be the break I needed in my career to join the big league—the kind of case any lawyer with an ounce of ambition would kill for. Oh. My. God. My mouth went suddenly dry. –The Vampire Code by E.C. Adams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a legal proceeding involving your protagonist and his/her favorite mythical creature.

Journaling Prompt: How would your life change if your favorite mythical creature were real?

Art Prompt: Vampire Court

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a fantastical tall tale of an encounter with a creature you thought was mythical.

Photo Credit: Dan4th Nicholas on Flickr

wednesday vampire

The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.

Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse’s mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld. It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription “Jesus Christ conquers” were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire.

Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendons at the knees or placing poppy seeds, millet, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the Indian subcontinent, as well as in South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings.

In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the hybrid child of the karkanxholl (a werewolf-like creature with an iron mail shirt) or the lugat (a water-dwelling ghost or monster). The dhampir sprung of a karkanxholl has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about vampires.

Journaling Prompt: Do you enjoy reading about vampires or watching vampire movies? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Vampire

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origins of the vampire legend.

Photo Credit: Samet Kilic on Flickr

Let Them Sleep Who Do Not Know

In Roumania St. Andrew’s Eve [Nov. 30] is a creepy time, for on it vampires are supposed to rise from their graves, and with coffins on their heads walk about the houses in which they once lived. Before nightfall every woman takes some garlic and anoints with it the door locks and window casements; this will keep away the vampires. At the cross-roads there is a great fight of these loathsome beings until the first cock crows; and not only the dead take part in this, but also some living men who are vampires from their birth. Sometimes it is only the souls of these living vampires that join in the fight; the soul comes out through the mouth in the form of a bluish flame, takes the shape of an animal, and runs to the crossway. If the body meanwhile is moved from its place the person dies, for the soul cannot find its way back. –Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set on St. Andrew’s Eve in Romania.

Journaling Prompt: Do you or someone in your family have a superstitious ritual? Write about it.

Art Prompt: St. Andrew’s Eve

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about some of the old world superstitions that are being popularized on TV and in movies today.

Photo Credit: Annadriel on Flickr

Abandoned house

“On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back. -Richard Matheson, I am Legend

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene inspired by the First Line of the Week.

Journaling Prompt: What is your biggest nightmare?

Art Prompt: End of the World

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origins of the myths of the undead.

Photo Credit: joelf on Flickr