The history of vampires

In the first part of the article, we have talked about Polish vampires: what about those who “live” in other parts of the world? Get ready for another dose of adrenaline, because our world is not safe anymore!

If you want to find out where vampires come from, you should go back to the ancient times, because the first evidence of their existence is in… the Bible! Thousands of years ago, men that lived on the current Palestinian territory were being attacked by the mythical Lilith – the cursed daughter of Adam’s first wife. Her “relative” Ekimmus was born in Assyria, in the Semitic country in the ancient Mesopotamia. They both drank human blood, could possess their victims, and could be defeated only with a wooden weapon. Other vampires from the Hebrew mythology were called Estrie, and they could transform into any form, including human. From the Semitic legends, the Slavs borrowed the belief that improperly buried corpses could become vampires.

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In the Islamic culture, people were whispering for centuries about Alghouls – monsters that were attacking wanderers in the wilderness, robbing and devouring them. They were also often appearing at the cemeteries. Described most often as women or animals, they would be probably simply called “grave robbers” in the other cultures. According to the Arabic mythology, they arose from rebellious angels who fell in flames from the sky. Some of them fell into the water and turned into crocodiles, while those that fell on the land became Ghouls.

Vampires actively participated in the development of Christianity. Greek Callicantzaros were wandering through the world during the Christmas season, and the most vulnerable to vampiric abilities were children born between December 24th and January 6th. Although it is hard to believe, in Greece there was a great social reluctance to those people. Besides Callicantzaros, there existed Empuses and Lamias, dangerous female witches that have been burned at the stakes. They were probably only the equivalent of the soldiers, attacking villages in the middle of the night. They could be killed with any weapon.

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The European Incubuses looked like very attractive men, coming in the night they were forcing women to the sexual intercourse. Their female version were Succubuses. Despite vampires appeared only in dreams, those people who had had “debauched dreams” were considered as possessed by the devil in medieval Europe. Former Europeans also knew the Navias – the souls of the dead, that came to our world in the form of birds, butterflies or insects, and as they were sucking blood they could spread illnesses. Is it possible that they caused the heaviest disease in Europe – the Plague?

In the Balkans reigned Dhampir, called in Bulgarian – Vampirdzhija, which could be born from a  vampire-human relationship. According to the legend, if a Gypsy man, who after the death of his wife still desires her, spends a night with her dead body, their child will become a Dhampir. These beings particularly liked to kill their close relatives, which was probably a good explanation for why the Gypsy families took revenge so often. That is why many locals have been claiming that they were vampires and simply did not control themselves. The last “official” attack of a Dhampir was recorded in Yugoslavia in 1959.

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