Holy Cow!! Ops. I mean "Holy holes in the neck".
Bloody thick, don't you think?
Author John Polidori's 1819 publication of
The Vampyre should have enjoyed the credit
for creating the modern day vampire sagas, but
instead it seems this folklore and fascination
with eternal life is held by Bram Stoker.
In 1897, Stoker penned the eerie Gothic tale
of DRACULA, which grabbed the everlasting
recognition for tales of sharp, canine-toothed
Let's try to etymologize (trace the history
of) the word "VAMPIRE". Research relates that
such mythological beings were known by different
names prior to Polidori's novel. Many superstitions
of vampire legends were prevalent throughout
Western Europe prior to Polidori's novel.
There are two theories pertaining to the origin
of the word "VAMPIRE": one, from the French
"Vampyre" and the other from the German
"Vampir". Then, (it's believed) sometime
after the turn of the 18th Century the words:
"Upic", "Wappierz" and "Upyr"
appear in the Slavic languages. It's also believed
that the word may have been borrowed from a
Turkic word "Ubyr", meaning witch.
It seems that Slavic and Russian mythology
is laced with vampire legends. In folklore cultures
vampirism has existed for millennia. As far
back as the 7th Century BC, Mesopotamians' evil
god was called "Pazuzu". Hebrew, ancient
Greek and Roman cultures were also enthralled
with legends of the undead.
The Russian word "Upir" is claimed to
have been used by a priest who transcribed the
Book of Psalms sometime around 1047 AD for Russian
Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novogorod. The
priest, in the colophon, signed his name UPIR
LIKHYI, which translates or means "wicked
In DRACULA, Bram Stoker's 1897 novel,
he used Vlad Tepez lll (Draculea), Prince of
Wallachia, who ruled there from 1431 to 1476,
as his vampire character. Vlad was better known
throughout his reign as "The Impaler" throughout
Heck, there have been some horrifying bloodsuckers,
both male and female, back to the early Fourteenth
Gilles de Ray (Rais) (1404-1440) was a French
noble and a soldier at the side of Joan of Arc.
Gilles served as a commander of a small group
of archers under the leadership of Joan of Arc's
bodyguard, Jean d'Aulon.
In 1427, after his military service, Gilles
began promoting theatrical performances and
lost his fortune, which he gained through marriage
and the death of his wife, Catherine de Thouars
of Brittany. During the time of his marriage,
it's reported that he was befriended by the
legendary wife-murderer, Bluebeard.
Gilles' venture into the theatrical business
proved to be disastrous and he lost his inherited
fortune. Destitute, he became involved with
an occult leader named Francesco Prelati who
clamed Gilles could restore his fortune by sacrificing
children to a demon god called "Barron".
It's estimated that Gilles raped, torture,
mutilated and drained the blood from between
80 and 200 young boys and a few young girls.
Most were blond and had blue eyes. His passion
was to masturbate, so as to ejaculate over his
dying victims. The dead children were then beheaded,
and the heads put in a line to be judged which
was the most fair, so the blood of the fairest
could be offered to the demon god.
Eventually, Gilles and his cohorts were accused
of their horrible crimes, and hung in October
Countess Elizabeth Bathory ( 1560-1614) was
also known as the "Bloody Countess". Some consider
her the most bloodthirsty serial killer in history.
The Countess Bathory had a connection to Vlad
Tepez (Draculea), Prince of Wallachia, dating
to the mid 15th Century through her cousin,
Stephen Bathory of Transylvania. Stephen lived
on Vlad Tepez's land in the Castle Fagaras.
Elizabeth's ghoulish ways began early on in
life with the fascination of Black Magic, which
she was shown by a servant. It's said that she
was very beautiful, became excessively vain
and her narcissism drove her to the depths of
To retain eternal youth and her beauty (raven,
long hair with a milky complexion, amber, cat-like
eyes and voluptuous figure), she had her servant,
Thorko, lure pleasant maidens into her castle.
They would be taken to an underground chamber
and subjected to many atrocities, which included:
setting their pubic hair on fire, pressing red
hot coins on their breasts, scalding them while
they were naked, cutting fingers off with scissors
and forcing them into an iron maiden with spikes.
As Elizabeth aged, her beauty began to wane
and a sorceress convinced her that the answer
to eternal youth and beauty was to bathe in
the pure, rich blood of beautiful young virgins.
For over a decade, her slaves under Thorko captured
an estimated 650 young maidens from surrounding
towns to be mutilated, slashed and drained of
She became so notorious that her cousin, the
Prime Minister of Hungary, stormed her castle
and, upon finding the underground horror chamber,
had her tried for being criminally insane. In
1610, the "Countess of Blood" was walled-up
in her bedroom chamber at Castle Csejthe with
only a small hole to pass food through. Four
years later, she was found dead facedown on
the floor, killed by the hand of one of her
Tales of the immortal and undead are deeply
locked into even our modern culture. Yet, deep
down we know it's only a bloody saga from an
ancient text, but still we lust over the thought
of everlasting youth.
Whatever lurks in the abyss of darkness beyond
life fascinates those who are afraid of dying.
Today, movies, TV shows and vampire books dominate
the inner desires of people wanting to live
So, to give those a "bloody fix" after
reading this column about the immortal milk
white skinned, red eyed ones: The
Vampire Library web site.