It is late in the evening, a shadow falls across the window of a young woman asleep in her room. The moon, now hidden by the clouds as they move across the night sky, sheds little light upon the figure crawling across the walls of the old mansion. The creature is in search of an innocent heart. In search of the blood that pumps through that heart. And Innocent blood is the sweetest.
Vampires are a myth, of course. Or are they? Since time began being recorded, there are legends of vampires. Most rational people do not believe the legends, consider them products of superstition. But I, unlike most, believe in them. Oh, I do not believe in supernatural creatures who turn into bats or smoke and flee from daylight, religious symbols and garlic. No, not them. These are monster details, conjured up by active imaginations to flesh out the myths and add to the terror while providing some hope of protection from this evil.
My hypothesis (you know the difference between hypothesis and theory, don't you?) is that vampires, werewolves, bogeymen, etc. were conjured up to explain the disappearance of young children in every culture that ever existed. It is the mythological embodiment of the pedophile. Consider the level of sophistication of early cultures, consider the limits on their ability to understand complex abberant behavior, consider the limited ability of their investigative forces, consider the limited knowledge to combat superstition. When you put these together, you see a strong possibility for allowing supernatural explanation. And you can see the strong possibility that these were what we would now call serial killings.
Serial killers would be a better explanation for random disappearances than these supernatural creatures but they did not exist in any culture's conscious until relatively recently. Take a small village, remote and surrounded by wilderness. Superstitions abound anyway. Now add the disappearance of children or young women over a short period. Perhaps the bodies of one or two are found later in the forest nearby, ravaged by a wild animal. The children had been sleeping in the safety of their huts and found to be missing in the morning. A superstitious people would think something had lured them away, stolen them. They would have no media to tell them about some human predator snatching children. Imaginations would run wild. Amid the grief and dismay, a shaman might take the opportunity to increase his or her power within the village by inventing (or adopting another village's) legend of an evil supernatural creature of the night.
I have had this discussion with others. Most listen politely, some point to Vlad the Impaler as being the model for vampires. But that isn't true, he was only the model used by Bram Stoker for his novel Dracula. The vampire legends and myths go back thousands of years before his novel. Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, China all had legends that are associated with vampirism. Werewolves were mostly a European legend but similarities with shapeshifter legends abound in other cultures.
It is easier for human beings, operating in a vacuum of knowledge, to create supernatural explanations for what may have been acts we now recognize as criminal behavior.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago