One scary character you’re destined to see in the shadows on Halloween
night is a vampire. Our western culture has some deeply rooted connections
to the ghastly bloodsucker. We find tales of vampires all over the world
and throughout time. With her Vampire Chronicles, contemporary author Ann
Rice has most recently revived an undying interest in vampires. This
series of dark novels explore the seductive, secretive world of
vampirism and her books Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the
Damned spawned the popular movies of the same name.
Before Rice, it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula that bridged the legend into
modern culture. Vlad the Impaler has been identified as the historical
Dracula. He became the ruler of Wallachia, (present-day Romania) just
south of the Carpathian Mountains in 1456. Twenty years earlier, Vlad’s
father had been a member of the Order of the Dragon, a Christian
brotherhood dedicated to fighting the Turks. The name Dracula literally
means “son of Dracul” or “son of the dragon.” Dracula’s serial, brutal
methods of killing and displaying his enemies' corpses earned him the
name the Impaler.
The idea of drinking another’s blood goes back to early religious
practices. Human sacrifice and cannibalism remain highly taboo subjects,
but indeed these rituals are embedded firmly in pre-Christian doctrine.
The consumption of the body was a ceremonial act to ensure continued unity
with the deceased. Blue bloods are said to have become so by drinking the
blood of martyrs, thereby ensuring them a direct link with god. The rites
of the Sacrificial King seem ghoulish to us now, but to our early
ancestors, this was a way to directly communicate with deity. The one to
be sacrificed was happy to serve to his people as a direct messenger to
Some contend that the story of Jesus borrowed from this Sacrificial
King concept as Jesus was considered a martyr for his people, was made to
wear a false crown of thorns, and placed above his head was a sign that
bore the letters INRI. These are the Hebrew letters Yod Nun Rish Yod,
which stand for Jesus, King of the Jews. The act of devouring the martyr
was ritualized at the Last Supper with the taking of the Eucharist.
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat
the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in
yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal
life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true
food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My
blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I
live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live
because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not
as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live
forever." – John 7:53-58.
Continue to Part V -
Origins | Witches |
About The Author
Wendy Brinker is an artist and writer in Columbia, SC.