Welcome Joel! He is a fellow Erotica writer, and I've asked him to give us his view on vampires. He has studied mythology from all over the world, and I assure you, nothing really is quite as it seems...
The Truth about Vampires
When we think about Vampires we automatically think of charismatic, neck biting, seductive vampires who live in grand Gothic Mansions, who are pale and gaunt, although may have diamond like skin. Most of the modern Vampire mythology is however wrong, propagated largely by the famous novel by Bram Stoker.
The original view of vampires was vastly different than that of today's views. Vampires where merely people who rose from their graves at night to feed upon the blood of people and livestock in an effort to cling to life. Tales of the dead craving after blood can be found in almost every culture around the world, and interestingly there are many similarities between the stories, even between cultures that supposedly had no contact.
The tales of vampirism date back to ancient times, and can be found in early Babylonian demonology as Lilu (later adopted into Jewish mythology as Lilitu), and some say, arguably, that an even earlier reference to vampirism, may be found with the Akhkharu of Sumerian mythology. It was at a time believed that “vampires” were spirits or demons that possessed the corpses of the deceased and carried out their quest for blood in the dark of night. However after the advent of Christianity, the mythology began to evolve. Suddenly people who committed suicide, sorcerers, witches, even criminals were susceptible to becoming vampires after death.
Vampire lore varied from culture to culture, however there were some consistencies with the mythologies. For example, contrary to popular belief, vampires are neither gaunt nor pale, their victims became so however, the vampires themselves looked fit and healthy and no different to any other person. (this was once how grave diggers identified vampires, especially amongst children, after three years they would exhume the remains and see if the corpse still looked healthy, if it was, it got a stake to the heart). That is one thing that modern mythology has not changed much, and that is how to kill a vampire. Either a decapitation, stake through the heart, or burning the body completely was said to work.
One thing about vampires that has been left out by modern mythology that can be found in all vampire lore globally, is the fact that vampires actually seemed to have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, one way to stop a vampire, or escape rather, was to leave a broom of bag of rice in it's path, it would have to stop and count the bristles or grains. Other common ways to fend of vampires, excluding crucifixes, holy water and garlic (which only came about with christianity) is sunlight, an aloe-vera plant, or sacred plants such as the Hawthorn plant or wild rose. Another commonality between vampire lore is the fact that vampires fed upon blood, either through the neck, or through the stomach, they also sometimes ate the flesh, something that modern mythology seems to have forgotten.
It is easy to see the evolution of vampire mythology from demon-like spirits possessing corpses and feeding upon flesh and blood, to seductive, charming, erotic, immortal beings. But the truth about vampires is much more dark than the current Hollywood fantasy, and the question of whether or not vampires actually exist can not be answered until we actually know what it is that we are looking for, obviously the evidence left behind by a Gothic vampire would be much different to the evidence left behind by a more ancient type of vampire.
To find out more about Joel, check out his website. Free Short Stories, Erotic Reviews, and more