Count Dracula, Lestat de Lioncourt, Edward Cullen - three well-known vampires who belong solely to the romanticized ideal the modern world has created for vampires. As lovely a picture as those images paint for the species, it isn’t quite the picture that was supposed to be imagined. Sarah S. of Fort Collins comments that she likes vampires because, “Dracula is hot.” People weren’t intended to swoon at the news that there was a vampire in the area. A woman wasn’t supposed to hope and dream for a male vampire to choose her for his next victim.
On the contrary, vampires were supposed to instill terror and fear. They didn’t fall in love; they caused death, and quite a painful one at that. But modern media has changed the image America has of what used to be a very dreaded race of creatures. Let’s go back in time to when terrified whispers of superstitious peasants spread the legend of the vampire as opposed to the modern lustful whispers of hot-blooded women.
There are various explanations for why the legend of vampires may have started. One reason historians toyed with was premature burial - the person was still alive when they were buried. Seemingly dead upon burial for whatever medical reason that wouldn’t have been known in a time when medical knowledge was minimal, the person would then awake in their coffin in the ground. Odd noises would be heard by people above ground, scaring them from the site and making them whisper of the undead. The coffin would be dug up and there would be claw marks on the inside from the now-very-deceased person’s attempt at escape.
Another reason considered was that after death the body bloats with gases, causing the blood to push against the skin. This could possibly cause the body to have a ruddy complexion and look as if the person had just fed. At times the blood collects around the nostrils and the mouth, making it look as if the person had been drinking blood and made a mess.
Does that sound very romantic?
Both of these hypotheses were rejected but they certainly did cause a lot of conjecture. The undisputed cause of the vampire legend is as yet unknown but perhaps someday someone will finally figure out how the legends of this evil race came to fruition.