Tonight is the season finale of True Blood. I am a definite fan of the show and an even bigger fan of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series upon which the show is based. As much as I adore the series it doesn’t touch much upon some of the folkloric perspectives on vamps. Early vamps were revenants, more like a zombie or the Nosferatu figure than the fabulous Eric. Vamps didn’t become aristocratic, wealthy bloodsuckers until John Polidori wrote ‘The Vampyre’ in 1816. His vamp, de Ruthven, was based upon his former employer, Lord Byron, who actually came up with the skeleton plot during a ghost story contest with his friend, romantic poet Shelley. The early vamps were much wierder than our modern ones. Early vamps were typically outsiders. An outsider in life becomes one in death. So, it was thought that loose women, those thrown out of the Church, highwaymen, thieves and murderers would become vamps after death. There was one belief that a person who dared to be born on Christmas would go full vamp. There were also ideas that some spoiled fruit like watermelons or pomegranites could become evil. Even animals might go vamp post life. So, as odd as the lovely immortals on True Blood may seem, they are downright normal compared to a blood hungry pig or rampaging tomato running around! I look forward to the finale!
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Folklore and Mythology