"Ah, but hear me through. He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell. He cannot go where he lists; he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature's laws. He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be someone of the household who bids him come. His power ceases at the coming of the day. It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic and things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix. The branch of the wild rose on his coffin keeps him that he may not move from it; a sacred bullet fired into the coffin will kill him so that he be true dead; and as for the stake through him, or the cut-off head that giveth rest, we have seen it with our eyes."
Dr Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula by Bram Stoker
==Trends in Beliefs==
Trends in beliefs about vampires have swung between rationalism, superstition and admixtures of the two many times. At some point in the Middle Ages the Church in its wisdom recognised the existence of vampires, recasting them from characters in pagan folklore into creatures of the Devil. The belief in transubstantiation was already in place, that is, that in partaking of the bread and wine of the mass one was literally consuming the body and blood of Christ. To people who held this belief, there was little difficulty in believing also in its Satanic mirror image; the drinking of blood by vampires. This also helped promote the idea that vampires couldn't be effectively dealt with without the help of the Church.
Bubonic Plague, now known to have been spread by fleas and rats, swept though Europe in the 1300s killing as much as a third of the population. Many desperate people looking for an explanation clung to the belief it was spread by vampires. A well known method of locating the graves of vampires was to place a naked virgin on a horse and parade it through a graveyard. Any graves the horse refused to walk over were considered to be those of vampires. The body would be immediately exhumed and mutilated to "kill" the vampire and stop the Black Death from devastating the region any further. In some areas a cluster of deaths might still be suspected to be the work of vampires to this day.
In the Balkans, especially among the Roma, there is a belief that almost any object or creature out in the moonlight has the potential to undergo a vampiric transformation. A constant vigilance must be maintained-- Beware Vampire Watermelons.
And dire Vampire Chickens
==Eighteenth Century Vampire Panics==
A major vampire scare shook Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century. It was precipitated by an outbreak of vampire attacks in Eastern Prussia in 1721 and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1725-1734. The most infamous cases were those of Arnold Paole and Peter Plogojowitz. Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who had been attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After his death people began dying and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbors. The Plogojowitz tale was that he had died at 62 but returned to ask his son for food a few times after his death. When the son refused, he was found dead the next day. Not content to stop there, Plogojowitz again returned to attack some neighbors who died from loss of blood. During the 1700s even some government officials had taken up hunting and staking. The vampire panics did goad Western scholars to take a serious look at the subject of vampires.
These two incidents were extremely well documented. The cases and the bodies were examined by government officials. Reports were written and books were published afterwards of the Paole case and distributed around Europe. The controversy raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by an epidemic of, mainly rural vampire attacks. People were digging up bodies all over the place. Some scholars said vampires didn't exist - they attributed reports to premature burial, or to rabies which causes thirst.
However, Dom Augustine Calmet, a well respected French theologian and scholar, put together a carefully thought out treatise in 1746 which said vampires did exist. This had considerable influence on other scholars at the time. Eventually, Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate. He said vampires didn't exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies, quelling the vampire epidemics.
A direct relationship can be traced between these much publicised reports and England's current vampire myths. It was actually an English translation of a German report on the Arnold Paole vampire staking in Serbia that first brought the word vampire into the English language in 1732. Bram Stoker later consolidated many of these myths and folklore beliefs with the publication of Dracula in 1897. Thus the mold was set for the archetypical vampire we know to this day.
==But Your Honor I Thought He Was My Dead Husband==
Once upon a time vampires would be utilised in aid of all sorts of scams. By far the most common fraud was alleged vampire involvement in unsanctioned or unlawful love affairs. The common belief was that vampires were sexually insatiable and would return from the grave to have sexual relations with their spouses, other family members and anyone else they could find. Another widely held--and helpful--belief was that one should not resist the advances of a vampire. Women engaged in illicit affairs who became pregnant passed off their children as the offspring of "vampire husbands". People would usually be too frightened to ask questions.
One documented case occurred during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. A farmer draped himself in a white shirt. He made the rounds of the villages for sexual liaisons with young women, introducing himself as a vampire. Unfortunately for him, you can't petrify all of the people all of the time. One night in the village of Zagradje, peasants chased him with guns and dogs and nearly killed him, bringing his career as a vampire to an abrupt end.
==Fiendish Diarrhea Plot in Lastovo==
In the early 18th century on the (now Croatian) island of Lastovo a severe epidemic of diarrhea swept the population, severe enough that it caused death in some instances. It was a no brainer that vampires must be responsible. Further exacerbating the intestinal misery of the living was the knowledge that anyone who died at the hands of vampires would then become one of them.
The only way to stop a plague was to find the vampires responsible - by digging up the right bodies - and taking remedial measures, such as staking, cutting up and burning the corpses. The villagers went on a rampage of digging up graves. This had to be done with all possible secrecy at night since grave desecration had been officially banned by the Church.
Grave after grave was opened. Most of the corpses were found to be skeletons or in wretched states of decay, thus considered not habitable by the devil nor have been transformed into vampires. These graves were reclosed with pleas for forgiveness shouted to God and to the dead. Corpses judged to be in a vampire condition were mutilated, dismembered and chopped up with stakes, pruning knives, stilettos and axes. "Positive" identification was made of vampire corpses by the peculiar sounds they made as they were staked and cut (really air rushing out), as well as by dog and donkey noises heard at night.
All this frantic activity couldn't go unnoticed indefinitely. Some 17 vampire hunters were arrested and convicted of grave desecration after long and gruesome testimony. All 17 were ordered to wear a stone about their necks, visit three churches, hear holy mass and call out for Godís mercy and forgiveness for their crimes on threat of excommunication if they failed to obey their sentences. Some were required to do this up to four consecutive years and one to beg the forgiveness of the people. The report didn't mention what became of the diarrhea epidemic but presumably it ran its course.
==More Recently in Malawi==
A rumor that Malawi's government is colluding with vampires to collect human blood for international aid agencies in exchange for food has led to a rash of vigilante violence.
President Bakili Muluzi accused unidentified opposition politicians on Sunday of spreading the vampire stories to try to undermine his government. Spreading paranoia has set off several attacks on suspected vampires. Last week a man accused of helping vampires was stoned to death, and three Roman Catholic priests were beaten by villagers who suspected them of vampirism. Both attacks happened in Thyolo District, in the south.
At a news conference on Sunday, Mr. Muluzi called the vampire stories malicious. "No government can go about sucking blood of its own people" he said. The rumors have increased political tensions in the country, where protests have already broken out over Mr. Muluzi's efforts to change the Constitution to stay in office for another five years after his second (and final) five-year term ends in 2004.
According to the United Nations World Food Program, more than three million people need emergency food aid in Malawi. Stories of vampires sucking people's blood have been circulating in Mulanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu and Blantyre for three weeks. A number of people, mainly women and children, have said they were attacked.
==Anunnaki Secretly Rule Us==
According to David Icke, believed by some to be the reigning conspiracy theorist in the West, a race of extra-terrestrial vampires called Anunnaki have been ruling the earth in different guises throughout history. David Icke has been subject to much ridicule but has nonetheless become an industry, publishing numerous books, producing video and audiotapes, embarking on a worldwide lecture circuit, and creating a website that allegedly attracts 10,000 visitors a day. (In other words an amazing number of people buy into this) Through genetic engineering, the evil reptilians have manipulated human evolution to become a slave race. "The Anunnaki created bloodlines to rule humanity on their behalf," he writes, "and these are the families still
in control of the world to this day". Forming a Black Brotherhood or secret society network, the Anunnaki
have effectively "hijacked the planet". See also The Anunnaki, the Vampire and the Structure of Dissent.
Vampirsm is the recurring theme in discourse on the Annunaki. In respect to blood drinking, Icke is very clear. The Anunnaki drink blood, which they need to do in order to exist in this dimension and hold a human form. Here lies another parallel between the Anunnaki and the figure of the vampire - the power to shape-shift (from reptilian to human form for the Anunnaki, and usually from vampire form to that of bat or even mist for the traditional vampire). But the Anunnaki also feed off fear, aggression, and other negative emotions. Thus, while blood is needed as a vital life force, the Anunnaki are also addicted to "adrenalchrome", a hormone released in the human body during periods of extreme terror. Icke claims that the origin of the vampire stories are the blood drinking and energy sucking rituals of the Anunnaki.
David Icke maintains President Bush is numbered among the reptiles : Another Shapeshifter In the Whitehouse
Partial List of Sources: Dracula - Bram Stoker
Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters - Rosemary Guiley 2004
Vampires and the Age of Ignorance-http://www.parascope.com
Malawi: The New York Times December 24, 2002
David Icke : www.davidicke.com