Most of the tales lead to someone who was a demon and never human, had sold their soul to the devil (witch, sorceror), or had done heinous things, (Christian- unshriven or unbaptized. ) Many say that vampires can attack humans and humans can thwart them. Some ways more gruesome than others.
Here is a list and sources. If you know more, please do share them!
….. the story of the first vampire:
a series of blessings and curses transformed this young man into history’s first vampire. Legend traces him to the city of Florence (Firenze), where he creates the first Vampire Clan.
Vlad the Impaler from modern day Romania. A particularly vicious warrior. Base of Bram Stoker’s novel – Dracula
In terms of cultural anthropology, vampires reflect a couple of things. It is supposed that the idea of blood-thirsty undead came about when bodies were unearthed showing scratches on the inside of the coffin (from the occasional case of premature burial), long nails and hair (because both continue to grow after death), fang-like teeth (because dessicated gums pull away from the teeth), and blood around the mouth (leaking from gums as they recede).
believed that vampires were the animate corpses of people who were evil in their lives. They might be those who died with unpardonable sins that prevented them from being acceptable to heaven, but who were baptized, so safe from hell. Other cultures have similar traditions, but they differ in their particulars, especially in the form of the vampire itself. From the semitic Lilith to the Roman lemia, the vampire is nearly always associated with the feminine (possibly because of menstruation), but is always a vengeful spirit creature that is obsessive and compulsive.
Original Romanian belief dictates that the males of the species can father children with human women, whose babies would consequently be born as moroi, live vampires, in comparison to so-called strigoi, dead vampires.
Greek beliefs of why vampirism takes hold of someone run the gamut from committing a serious crime or being excommunicated from the Orthodox Church to more random reasons, such as having the bad luck of a cat jumping across your grave.
In Australia, Get caught by a Yara-ma-yha-who too many times and say hello to life as a tree-dwelling vampire yourself.
In Germany, one is created by suicide or a fatal accident.
In China, they were originally ‘brought to life’ by necromancing priests as a cheap way of transporting Chinese who had died far from home back to their towns of birth. Instead of carrying them, they simply enchanted the bodies to hop their way home at night.
Slavic traditions say they are revenants — human corpses that are said to return from the grave to harm the living. Or supernatural, possibly demonic, entities that did not take human form.
Greeks also believed in empusai, the malicious daughters of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.
In Chinese folklore, corpses could sometimes rise from the grave and walk again. These k’uei were created when a person’s p’o (lower spirit) did not pass onto the afterlife at death, usually because of bad deeds during life.
The most notable demon vampires were the Russian upir and the Greek vrykolakas. In these traditions, sinners, unbaptized babies and other people outside the Christian faith were more likely to be reanimated after death. Those who practiced witchcraft were particularly susceptible because they had already given their soul to the devil in life.
The vampires in Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania (now Romania) were commonly called strigoi. Strigoi were almost exclusively human spirits who had returned from the dead.
Strigoi viu were cursed living people who were doomed to become strigoi mort when they died. Babies born with abnormalities, such as a tail-like protrusion or a bit of fetal membrane tissue attached to the head (called a caul), were usually considered strigoi viu.
porphyria. Porphyria is a rare disease characterized by irregularities in production of heme, an iron-rich pigment in blood. People with the more severe forms of porphyria are highly sensitive to sunlight, experience severe abdominal pain and may suffer from acute delirium.
catalepsy, a peculiar physical condition associated with epilepsy, schizophrenia and other disorders that affect the central nervous system. During a cataleptic episode, a person essentially freezes up: The muscles become rigid, so that the body is very stiff, and the heart rate and respiration slow down. Someone suffering from acute catalepsy could very well be mistaken for a corpse.
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