Important Works of Vampire Folklore

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Important Works of Vampire Folklore

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lamech on Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:52 pm

Important Works of Vampire Folklore




Bram Stoker's Dracula was published in 1897 and is perhaps the greatest vampire fiction ever written. It was certainly the most popular vampire novel before the release of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series in 2005, which portrays vampires and werewolves in a much more modern fashion. But there are other lesser known writings, some more rare than others, which paved the way for these classics. Here are some archaic renderings of vampire folklore for your entertainment.
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"Mortals fear what they do not understand. And they hate what they fear..."

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Lamech
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Re: Important Works of Vampire Folklore

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lamech on Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:24 pm

Abbot of Burton


Abbot Geoffrey from the Benedictine monastery of Burton was probably one of the earliest English chroniclers to make mention of the undead. One of Abbot Geoffrey's accounts mentions an incident which took place c. 1090 A.D. involving two runaway peasants who died suddenly of mysterious causes and were buried. But the same day on which they were lowered into their graves, villagers reported seeing the two peasants wandering around the village. Soon death followed as other villagers started getting sick and dying. Abbot Geoffrey goes on to say:

"... the very same day in which they were interred they appeared at evening, while the sun was still up, carrying on their shoulders the wooden coffins in which they had been buried. The whole following night they walked through the paths and fields of the village, now in the shape of men carrying wooden coffins on their shoulders, now in the likeness of bears or dogs or other animals. They spoke to the other peasants, banging on the walls of their houses and shouting "Move quickly, move! Get going! Come!"

Abbot Geoffrey wrote that so many of the villagers complained about being pestered by these two revenants that eventually their bodies were exhumed. The villagers dug up the corpses, cut off their heads, removed their hearts and then burned the hearts on a pyre. Shortly after this exhumation, the sickness ended and the pestilence was gone. Nobody saw the two undead peasants again after this. Whether the aforementioned account is true or not is still up for debate. But one thing is certain. The writings of the Abbot of Burton were not intended for fiction or entertainment. Something happened in that village which truly terrified the local populace. So much in fact that they saw fit to dig up the two corpses and dispose of them once and for all. And this wasn't the last time vampires would strike...
Last edited by Lamech on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Important Works of Vampire Folklore

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lamech on Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:01 pm

Walter Map


Walter Map lived from around 1140-1210 A.D. during the 12th century. Walter Map was a Welsh chronicler who studied at the University of Paris, around 1160 when Gerard la Pucelle was teaching there. He encountered Thomas Becket before 1162. As a courtier of King Henry II of England, he was sent on missions to Louis VII of France and to Pope Alexander III, probably attending the Third Lateran Council in 1179 and encountering a delegation of Waldensians. On this journey he stayed with Henry I of Champagne, who was then about to undertake his last journey to the East. (The aforementioned dates and events were taken from Wikipedia which sources Antonia Gransden's Historical Writing in England as a reference, while the following story is my own writing).

Walter Map wrote many stories. One tale in particular relates to an encounter he had with those who believed in vampires. Walter wrote down the case of a man from Herefordshire, England who was known to be a rather wicked individual in life. After his death, villagers reported seeing that same man wandering the streets of Hereford at night, yelling out the names of all those who would fall sick and die within three days. Bishop Gilbert Foliot responded that the deceased should be exhumed in a very specific manner. His exact words were: "Dig up the body and cut off the head with a spade, sprinkle it with holy water and re-inter it". It's suggested that the villagers did exactly that, at which point the hauntings ceased and the plague went away. Today we are left to wonder what really happened in Hereford in the late 1100's, but Walter Map was kind enough to preserve this story along with other tales of revenants or vampires in his famous work De Nugis Curialium which is available for readers today.

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Re: Important Works of Vampire Folklore

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lamech on Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:22 pm

William of Newbury


William Parvus, better known as William of Newburgh, was a 12th century Augustinian cannon regular and an English historian who lived from 1136-1198 according to most records. William of Newburgh wrote many statements on the undead, and his works are regarded as some of the most informative and extensive records of the vampire phenomena to date. Some of the earliest known stories about vampires and vampire hunters can be found in his most famous work of non-fiction, Historia Rerum Anglicarum or the History of English Affairs during the Middle Ages.

It may be important to note here that the word "Vampire" didn't enter the English language until 1734 (for more on that subject, read my article on the Writing forum titled Derivation of the English Word: "Vampire" as I go into more detail about the origins of the word). William of Newburgh and his contemporaries didn't have a word for vampires during the 12th century. So they refered to them as "revenants," from the Latin reveniens meaning "returning" or the French revenir meaning "to come back." That is because it was believed with utmost certainty that the corpses of those who had died were in some cases being animated back from the dead. Thus the vampire epic was born.

William writes on one of his journals in 1191 A.D.:

"It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction of the living, and again return to the tomb, which of its own accord spontaneously opened to receive them, did not frequent examples, occurring in our own times, suffice to establish this fact, to the truth of which there is abundant testimony."

William of Newburgh didn't stop there. He is known to have written several different accounts of these revenants as they appeared in different English villages. William wrote these cases according to his own words, "... as a warning to posterity." These were not fairytales or children's stories, but writings based on professional testimony and eyewitness accounts by doctors, lawyers, professors and officials of good standing within the court and church. William wrote that the occurrences of the undead rising from their graves were so many that, "... were I to write down all the instances of this kind which I have ascertained to have befallen in our times, the undertaking would be beyond measure laborious and troublesome." It's no doubt that people during the 12th century held a very strong and frightening belief in vampires.

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