Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

A short history of the Vampire, as a figure of legend and religious mysticism, from one of my favorite geographers.

      The modern vampire is a product of myths evolved through both space and time. There is no one single origin for bloodsucking beasts but one can see a progression from ancient Mesopotamia, to Judaism, to Eastern Christianity, to Protestantism, to the secular today. Each stage offered its own perspective on vampires for its own reasons.

One note: Catholicgauze notes that there’s a passage in Isaiah that speaks of Lilith (as the early Jewish mystical origin of the vampire), but is translated as “night creature.”  This isn’t a mistranslation necessarily, as the Mesopotamian figure of what would be known as Lilith was associated with owls in some cases, and storm and night demons in others.  And so the Jewish there might be a reference to something other than the Lilith character associated with the Jewish legend that there was an evil 1st wife of Adam.

This is further supported by the fact that the context of the Isaiah passage is that of multiple creatures finding a nice place of refuge in Edom once God has taken care of the sinful people there.

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