Getting Pulled Into Vampire Legends

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Vampire A girlfriend from grade school, who I’m still in touch with, was “into vampires,” and read every vampire book she could get her hands on while I read mystery novels and any book which had a complicated plot needing “solving.” Vampires never interested me and I never even watched a vampire movie or knew one piece of vampire trivia, until recently that is.

If you love writing and grew up in a family where writing wasn’t savored or done, you can’t help but be thrilled when you learn that a relative later in life published a book. When my cousin told me his book was on its way, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, promising to devour every word of his newly published pup. Then the box arrived. Was I reading this correctly? Vampires? What on earth?

Dead or a Lie is not just a vampire novel — it’s a mystery, full of intrigue, passion, love and a bunch of misfits who eventually find not just their freedom but peace and serenity at the end of a long tunnel. The main character Lee is a mere mortal, but one with “special blood,” which leads her to a mission of ‘freeing’ unbound vampires, those caught between a mortal living world and the vampire unliving one.

She is known as the Sacrosanct, the “one” whose blood can bring the Unbound back to the world of the living. The power of the Sacrosanct’s blood can bring the Unbound back from centuries living in a world of darkness, and into the light and human life.

Sacrosanctity was originally a right of tribunes in Ancient Rome to not be harmed physically. Lee’s protector in the novel is none other than the dashing Luke Regens, who by day is a doctor at the hospital where she works the night shift, and by night, is an Unbound vampire whose mission is to ensure the safety of Lee, the Sacrosanct, so she an free them all.

If this weren’t a complicated enough mission on its own, it becomes even more complex when he falls in love with her and she with him. This is where the novel moves from vampire-esque intrique and mystery to romance and passion, questioning our instincts, our choices and the lines between black and white.

If you don’t have a history with vampires, you don’t know of their hunger for human blood and emotion-less soul despite their often suave appearance. I loved the fact that a vampire, albeit an Unbound one, was given a conscious, not unlike the one Brad Pitt’s Louis in Interview with a Vampire had throughout his 250+ years.

In the midst of and after finishing the book, I couldn’t help but dive into four movies and a little background. Rules and legends differed depending on where I looked and there were countless variations of the implications of garlic, sunlight, silver swords, holy water, crosses and fire.

The vampire legend dates back to the earliest times of human civilization to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and other peoples of the ancient Orient.

The original vampire was not like the sophisticated, suave European aristocrat that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise play in the latest modern movie nor the sexy doctor Luke that stole Lee’s heart in Dead or a Lie.

The vampire, at its origins, was a monster, not an Oscar Wilde look alike on a good day.

The bloodsucking Akhkharu is mentioned in the Sumerian mythology and later vampire-like spirits called the Lilu in Babylonian demonology.

In northern India, there was BrahmarākŞhasa, a vampire-like creature with a head encircled by intestines and a skull from which it drank blood.

The other thing that I discovered was that Transylvania was only one place of many where the legends, myths and stories reigned.

Vampires are global, with myths coming out of cultures all around the world. From Africa to Korea to Russia and France, humans have paid tribute to vampires for centuries.

The Slavic people have contributed more to vampire culture however, and stories can be found in and around Slovakia such as Silesia, Pomerania, Bavaria, Bohemia, Serbia, Roma, Albania, Macadonia and Poland. Yet vampire folklore also existed in China, India, Greece, Russia, France and England.

Others argue that these beliefs have been introduced by the many gypsies who migrated from northern India where certain bloodthirsty deities (such as Kali) are worshipped.

vampire antics
Over the years, it seems as if vampires have gotten less “scary” as Hollywood producers and authors began to create human-conscious vampires who didn’t get fully “taken” by the bite and as such, are living in no-man’s land as misfits not truly belonging to either world.

I wonder if this has something to do with the onslought of American independent culture and as more of it pervails, more misfits emerge and overcome unbearable odds, i.e., Oprah’s life is a great example.

People want to inherently see the good in things and so why not in a vampire? If we are the ones creating the new stories, why not add some romance and soul to vampire characters….? Just as Ann Rice did with her Interview with a Vampire script, Jason Barret with Dead or a Lie, Bram Stoker with Dracula and Charlaine Harris with Dead Until Dark.

I also learn in my vampire research and discovery that in Homer’s Odyssey, the shades that Odysseus meets on his journey to the underworld are lured to the blood of freshly sacrificed rams, a fact that Odysseus uses to his advantage to summon the shade of Tiresias.

The strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood is also referenced in ancient Roman tales. It’s remarkable how many cultures have adopted various versions of vampire legends. Who knows how many people actually believe in them? Who knows how many have had encounters with vampires in graveyards or in their dreams?

Even if you have never had a fantasy of being swept off your feet by a Tom Cruise-like vampire or kissed passionately by the mysterious Doctor Luke Regens, aren’t you a tad big curious?

If you haven’t gotten on the vampire bandwagon yet, dive in and get reading and of course, watching. What are you waiting for?

Other Resources:

Vampire Romance Novels

Best Vampire Books

History, Myths and Legends (Monstrous Vampires)

Slavic Beliefs

Renee Blodgett
Founder
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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