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THE ORIGINS OF THE VAMPIRE
THROUGHOUT the whole vast shadowy world of ghosts and demons there is no figure so terrible, no figure so dreaded and abhorred, yet dight with such fearful fascination, as the vampire, who is himself neither ghost nor demon, but yet who partakes the dark natures and possesses the mysterious and terrible qualities of both. Around the vampire have clustered the most sombre superstitions, for he is a thing which belongs to no world at all; he is not a demon, for the devils have a purely spiritual nature, they are beings without any body, angels, as is said in S. Matthew xxv. 41, “the devil and his angels.” And although S. Gregory writes of the word Angel, “nomen est officii, non naturae,”–the designation is that of an office not of a nature, it is clear that all angels were in the beginning created good in order to act as the divine messengers (ἄγγελοι), and that afterwards the fallen angels lapsed from their original state. The authoritative teaching of the Fourth Lateran Council under Innocent III in 1215, dogmatically lays down: “Diabolus enim et alii daemones a Deo quidem natura creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali.” And it is also said, Job iv. 18: “Ecce qui seruiunt ei, non sunt stabiles, et in Angelis suis reperit prauitatem.” (Behold they that serve him are not steadfast, and in his angels he found wickedness.)
John Heinrich Zopfius in his Dissertatio de Uampiris Seruiensibus, Halle, 1733, says: “Vampires issue forth from their graves in the night, attack people sleeping quietly in their beds, suck out all their blood from their bodies and destroy them. They beset men, women and children alike, sparing neither age nor sex. Those who are under the fatal malignity of their influence complain of suffocation and a total deficiency of spirits, after which they soon expire. Some who, when at the point of death, have been asked if they can tell what is causing their decease, reply that such and such persons, lately dead, have arisen from the tomb to torment and torture them.” Scoffern in his Stray Leaves of Science and Folk Lore writes: “The best definition I can give of a vampire is a living, mischievous and murderous dead body. A living dead body! The words are idle, contradictory, incomprehensible, but so are Vampires.” Horst, Schriften und Hypothesen über die Vampyren, (Zauberbibliothek, III) defines a Vampire as “a dead body which continues to live in the grave; which it leaves, however, by night, for the purpose of sucking the blood of the living, whereby it is nourished and preserved in good condition, instead of becoming decomposed like other dead bodies.”
A demon has no body, although for purposes of his own he may energize, assume, or seem to assume a body, but it is not his real and proper body. So the vampire is not strictly a demon, although his foul lust and horrid propensities be truly demoniacal and of hell.
Neither may the vampire be called a ghost or phantom, strictly speaking, for an apparition is intangible, as the Latin poet tells us:
Par leuibus uentis uolucrique simillima somno.
And upon that first Easter night when Jesus stood in the midst of His disciples and they were troubled and frightened, supposing they had seen a spirit, He said: “Uidete manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum: palpate, et uidete: quia spiritus carnem, et ossa non habet, sicut ne uidetis habere.” (See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bone, as you see me to have.)
There are, it is true, upon record some few instances when persons have been able to grasp, or have been grasped by and felt the touch of, a ghost, but these phenomena must be admitted as exceptions altogether, if indeed, they are not to be explained in some other way, as for example, owing to the information of a body by some spirit or familiar under very rare and abnormal conditions.
In the case of the very extraordinary and horrible hauntings of the old Darlington and Stockton Station, Mr. James Durham, the night-watchman, when one winter evening in the porter’s cellar was surprised by the entry of a stranger followed by a large black retriever. This visitor without uttering a word dealt him a blow and he had the impression of a violent concussion. Naturally he struck back with his fist which seemed however to pass through the figure and his knuckles were grazed against the wall beyond. None the less the man uttered an unearthly squeak at which the dog gripped Mr. Durham in the calf of the leg causing considerable pain. In a moment the stranger had called off the retriever by a curious click of the tongue, and both man and animal hurried into the coal-house whence there was no outlet. A moment later upon examination neither was to be seen. It was afterwards discovered that many years before an official who was invariably accompanied by a large black dog had committed suicide upon the premises, if not in the very cellar, where at least his dead body had been laid. The full account with the formal attestation dated 9th December, 1890, may be read in W. T. Stead’s Real Ghost Stories, reprint, Grant Richards, 1897, Chapter XI, pp. 210-214.
Major C. G. MacGregor of Donaghadee, County Down, Ireland, gives an account of a house in the north of Scotland which was haunted by an old lady, who resided there for very many years and died shortly after the beginning of the nineteenth century. Several persons who slept in the room were sensibly pushed and even smartly slapped upon the face. He himself on feeling a blow upon the left shoulder in the middle of the night turned quickly and reaching out grasped a human hand, warm, soft, and plump. Holding it tight he felt the wrist and arm which appeared clothed in a sleeve and lace cuff. At the elbow all trace ceased, and in his astonishment he released the hand. When a light was struck nobody could be seen in the room.
In a case which occurred at a cottage in Girvan, South Ayrshire, a young woman lost her brother, a fisher, owing to the swamping of his boat in a storm, When the body was recovered it was found that the right hand was missing. This occasioned the poor girl extraordinary sorrow, but some few nights later when she was undressing, preparatory to bed, she suddenly uttered a piercing shriek which immediately brought the other inmates of the house to her room. She declared that she had felt a violent blow dealt with an open hand upon her shoulder. The place was examined, and distinctly marked in livid bruises there was seen the impression of a man’s right hand.
Andrew Lang in his Dreams and Ghosts (new edition, 1897), relates the story of “The Ghost that Bit,” which might seem to have been a vampire, but which actually cannot be so classed since vampires have a body and their craving for blood is to obtain sustenance for their body. The narrative is originally to be found in Notes and Queries, 3rd September 1864, and the correspondent asserts that he took it “almost verbatim from the lips of the lady” concerned, a person of tried veracity. Emma S—— was asleep one morning in her room at a large house near Cannock Chase. It was a fine August day in 1840, but although she had bidden her maid call her at an early hour she was surprised to hear a sharp knocking upon her door about 3.30. In spite of her answer the taps continued, and suddenly the curtains of her bed were slightly drawn, when to her amaze she saw the face of an aunt by marriage looking through upon her. Half unconsciously she threw out her hand, and immediately one of her thumbs was sensibly premed by the teeth of the apparition. Forthwith she arose, dressed, and went downstairs, where not a creature was stirring. Her father upon coming down rallied her a little upon being about at cockcrow and inquired the cause. When she informed him he determined that later in the day he would pay a visit to his sister-in-law who dwelt at no great distance. This he did, only to discover that she had unexpectedly died at about 3.30 that morning. She had not been in any way ailing, and the shock was fearfully sudden. On one of the thumbs of the corpse was found a mark as if it had been bitten in the last agony.
The disturbances at the Lamb hostelry, Lawford’s Gate, Bristol, which aroused something more than local interest in the years 1761-62, were not improbably due to witchcraft and caused by the persecutions of a woman who trafficked in occultism of the lowest order, although on the other hand they may have been poltergeist manifestations. The two little girls, Molly and Debby Giles, who were the subjects of these phenomena, were often severely bitten and pinched. The impressions of eighteen or twenty teeth were seen upon their arms, the marks being clammy with saliva and warm spittle, “and the children were roaring out for the pain of the pinches and bites.” On one occasion whilst an observer was talking to Dobby Giles she cried out that she was bitten in the neck when there suddenly appeared “the mark of teeth, about eighteen, and wet with spittle.” That the child should have nipped herself was wholly impossible, and nobody was near her save Mr. Henry Durbin who recorded these events, and whose account was first printed in 1800, the year after his death, since he did not wish his notes to be given to the public during his lifetime. On 2nd January, 1762, Mr. Durbin notes: “Dobby cried the hand was about her sister’s throat, and I saw the flesh at the side of her throat pushed in, whitish as if done with fingers, though I saw none. Her face grew red and blackish presently, as if she was strangled, but without any convulsion or contraction of the muscles.” Thursday, 7th January, 1762, we have: “Dobby was bitten most and with deeper impressions than Molly. The impression of the teeth on their arms formed an oval, which measured two inches in length.” All this certainly looks as if sorcery were at work. It may be remembered that in Salem during the epidemic of witchcraft the afflicted persons were tormented “by Biting, Pinching, Strangling, etc.” When Goodwife Corey was on trial, “it was observed several times, that if she did but bite her under lip in time of examination, the Persons afflicted were bitten on their arms and Wrists, and produced the Marks before the Magistrates, Minister, and others.”
In The Proceedings of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, Vol. I., 1927, will be found an account of the phenomena connected with Eleonore Zügun, a young Rumanian peasant girl, who in the autumn of 1926, when only thirteen years old was brought to London by the Countess Wassilko-Serecki, in order that the manifestations might be investigated at “The National Laboratory of Psychical Research,” Queensberry Place, South Kensington. The child was said to be persecuted by some invisible force or agent, which she knew as Dracu, Anglice the Devil. There were many extraordinary happenings and she was continually being scratched and bitten by this unseen intelligence. It must suffice to give but two or three instances of the very many “biting phenomena.” On the afternoon of Monday, 4th October, 1926, Captain Neil Gow an investigator in his report, notes: “3.20. Eleonore cried out. Showed marks on back of left hand like teeth-marks which afterwards developed into deep weals. . . . 4.12. Eleonore was just raising a cup of tea to her lips, but suddenly gave a cry and put the cup down hastily: there was a mark on her right hand similar to that caused by a bite. Both rows of teeth were indicated.” Of the same incident, Mr. Clapham Palmer, an investigator who was also present writes: “Eleonore was in the act of raising the cup to her lips when she suddenly gave a little cry of pain, put down her cup and rolled up her sleeve. On her forearm I then saw what appeared to be the marks of teeth indented deeply in the flesh, as if she or someone had fiercely bitten her arm. The marks turned from red to white and finally took the form of white raised weals. They gradually faded but were still noticeable after an hour or so.” Such bitings not infrequently occurred, and photographs have been taken of the marks.
It were an interesting question to discuss the cause of these indentations and no doubt it is sufficiently remarkable, but however that may be such inquiry were impertinent here, for it is clearly not vampirism, nor indeed cognate thereto. The object of the Vampire is to suck blood, and in these cases if blood was ever drawn it was more in the nature of a scratch or slight dental puncture, there was no effusion. Again the agent who inflicted these bites was not sufficiently material to be visible, at any rate he was able to remain unseen. The true vampire is corporeal.
The vampire has a body, and it is his own body. He is neither dead nor alive; but living in death. He is an abnormality; the androgyne in the phantom world; a pariah among the fiends.
Even the Pagan poet taught his hearers and his readers that death was a sweet guerdon of repose, a blessed oblivion after the toil and struggle of life. There are few things more beautiful and there are few things more sad than the songs of our modern Pagans who console their aching hearts with the wistful vision of eternal sleep. Although perhaps they themselves know it not, their delicate but despairing melancholy is an heritage from the weary yet tuneful singers of the last days of Hellas, souls for whom there was no dawn of hope in the sky. But we have a certain knowledge and a fairer surety for “now Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.” Yet Gray, half Greek, seems to promise to his rustics and his hinds as their richest reward after life of swink and toil dear forgetfulness and eternal sleep. Swinburne was glad:
That no life lives for ever
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
. . . . .
Only the eternal sleep
In an eternal night.
Emily Brontë lusted for mere oblivion:
Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
And never care how rain may steep,
Or snow may cover me!
Flecker in utter despair wails out:
I know dead men are deaf, and cannot hear
The singing of a thousand nightingales . . .
I know dead men are blind and cannot see
The friend that shuts in horror their big eyes,
And they are witless–
Even more beautifully than the poets have sung, a weaver of exquisite prose has written: “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time.” Poor sorry souls! How arid, how empty are such aspirations when we think of the ardent glowing phrase of the Little Flower: “Je veux passer mon ciel à faire du bien sur la terre!” And “Even in the bosom of the Beatific Vision the Angels watch over us. No, I shall never be able to take any rest until the end of the world. But when the Angel shall have said ‘Time is no more,’ then I shall rest, then I shall be able to rejoice, since the number of the elect will be complete.”
So we see that even for those who take the most pagan, the most despairing, the most erroneous views, the ideal is oblivion and rest. How fearful a destiny then is that of the vampire, who has no rest in the grave, but whose doom it is to come forth and prey upon the living. In the first place it may briefly be inquired how the belief in vampirism originated, and here it is not impertinent to remark that the careful investigations in connexion with psychic phenomena which have been so fruitful of recent years, and even modern scientific discovery, have proved the essential truth of many an ancient record and old superstition, which were until yesterday dismissed by the level-headed as the wildest sensationalism of melodramatic romance. The origins of a belief in vampirism, although, of course, very shadowy, unformed and unrelated, may probably be said to go back to the earliest times when primitive man observed the mysterious relations between soul and body. The division of an individual into these two parts must have been suggested to man by his observation, however crude and rough, of the phenomenon of unconsciousness, as exhibited in sleep and more particularly in death. He cannot but have speculated concerning that something, the loss of which withdraws man for ever from the living and waking world. He was bound to ask himself if there was any continuance in any circumstances at present veiled from, and unknown to, him of that life and that personality which had obviously passed elsewhere. The question was an eternal one, and it was, moreover, a personal one which concerned him most intimately, since it related to an experience he could not expect to escape. It was clear to him before long that the process called death was merely a passage to another world, and naturally enough he pictured that world as being very like the one he knew, only man would there enjoy extended powers over the forces with which he waged such ceaseless war for the mastery during his period on earth. It might be that the world was not so very far away, and it was not to be supposed that persons who had passed over would lose their interest in and affection for those who for a little while had been left behind. Relations must not be forgotten just because they did not happen to be visibly present, any more than to-day we forget one of the family who has gone on a voyage for a week or a month or a year. Naturally those whose age and position during their lifetime had entitled them to deference and respect must be treated with the same consideration, nay, with even more ample honours since their authority had become mysteriously greater and they would be more active to punish any disrespect or neglect. Hence as a family venerated the father of the house both in life and after death, which was the germ of ancestral worship, so the tribe would venerate the great men, the chieftains and the heroes, whose exploits had won so much not only for their own particular houses, but for the whole clan. The Shilluk, a tribe who dwell upon the western bank of the White Nile, and who are governed by a single king, still maintain the worship of Nyakang, the hero who founded the dynasty and settled this people in their present territory. Nyakang is conceived as having been a man, although he did not actually die but vanished from sight. Yet he is not altogether divine, for the great god of the Shilluk, the creator of mankind and the world, Juok, is without form, invisible and omnipresent. He is far greater than and far above Nyakang, and he reigns in those highest heavens where neither the prayers of man can reach his ears, nor can he smell the sweet savour of sacrifice.
Not only Nyakang, but each of the Shilluk kings after death is worshipped, and the grave of the monarch becomes a sanctuary, so that throughout the villages there are many shrines tended by certain old men and old women, where a ritual which is practically identical in each separate place is elaborately conducted. Indeed, the principal element in the religion of the Shilluk may be said to be the veneration of their dead kings.
Other African tribes also worship their dead kings. The Baganda, whose country Uganda lies at the actual source of the Nile, think of their dead kings as being equal to the gods, and the temples of the deceased monarchs are built and maintained with the utmost care. Formerly when a king died hundreds of men were killed so that their spirits might attend upon the spirit of their master, and what is very significant as showing that these people believe the king and his ghostly followers could return in forms sufficiently corporeal to perform the very material function of eating is that on certain solemn days at earliest dawn the sacred tomtom is beaten at the temple gates and crowds of worshippers bring baskets of food for the dead king and his followers lest being hungry he should become angered and punish the whole tribe.
In Kiziba, which lies on the western side of the Lake Victoria Nyanza, the religion of the natives consists of the worship of their dead kings, although there is a supreme god Rugada, who created the world, man and beasts, but even their hierarchs know little about him and he receives no sacrifice, the business of the priests being to act as intermediaries between the people and the dead monarchs.
So the Bantu tribes of Northern Rhodesia acknowledge a supreme deity, Leza, whose power is manifested in the storm, in the torrential rain clouds, in the roar of thunder and the flash of lightning, but to whom there is no direct access by prayer or by sacrifice. The gods, then, whom these tribes worship are sharply divided into two classes, the spirits of departed chiefs, who are publicly venerated by the whole tribe, and the spirits of relations who are privately honoured by a family, whose head performs the sacerdotal functions upon these occasions. “Among the Awemba there is no special shrine for these purely family spirits, who are worshipped inside the hut, and to whom family sacrifices of a sheep, a goat, or a fowl is made, the spirit receiving the blood spilt upon the ground, while all the members of the family partake of the flesh together. For a religious Wemba man the cult of the spirit of his nearest relations (of his grandparents, or of his deceased father, mother, elder brother or maternal uncle) is considered quite sufficient. Out of these spirit relatives a man will worship one whom he considers as a special familiar, for various reasons. For instance, the diviner may have told him that his last illness was caused because he had not respected the spirit of his uncle; accordingly he will be careful in the future to adopt his uncle as his tutelary spirit. As a mark of such respect he may devote a cow or a goat to one of the spirits of his ancestors.” This custom is very significant, and two points should be especially noted. The first is that the deceased, or the spirit of the deceased, is not merely propitiated by, but partakes of, blood, which is spilt for his benefit. Secondly, the deceased, if not duly honoured, can cause illness, and therefore is capable of exercising a certain vengeful or malevolent power. The essential conception that underlies these customs is not so very far removed from the tradition of a vampire who craves to suck blood and causes sickness through his malignancy.
Very similar ideas prevail among the Herero, a Bantu tribe of German South-West Africa, who believe that Ndjambi Karunga, the great good god who dwells in heaven above is far too remote to be accessible, wherefore he neither receives nor requires worship and offerings. “It is their ancestors (Ovakuru) whom they must fear; it is they who are angry and can bring danger and misfortune on a man . . . it is in order to win and keep their favour, to avert their displeasure and wrath, in short to propitiate them, that the Herero bring their many offerings; they do so not out of gratitude, but out of fear, not out of love, but out of terror.” The Rev. G. Viehe, a missionary among the tribe writes: “The religious customs and ceremonies of the Ovaherero are all rooted in the presumption that the deceased continue to live, and that they have a great influence on earth, and exercise power over the life and death of man.”
The religion of the Ovambo, another Bantu tribe of German South-West Africa, runs on practically the same lines. The supreme being, Kalunga, the creator, desires neither adoration nor fear. The whole religion is the worship, or rather the propitiation, of the spirits of the dead. Every man at death leaves behind him a phantom form which continues a certain kind of life (not very clearly defined) upon earth, and this spirit has power over the living. Especially may it cause various kinds of sickness. The spirits of private persons can only exert their influence over the members of their own families; the souls of chiefs and great warriors have a much wider scope, they can influence the whole clan for weal or woe; they can even to some extent control the powers of nature and ensure a bountiful corn-crop by their careful provision of rain, since under their kindly direction there shall be neither too little nor too great an abundance. Moreover, they can ward off disease, but if on the other hand they be offended they can visit the tribe with pestilence and famine. It may be particularly noted that among the Ovambo the phantoms of dead magicians are dreaded and feared in no ordinary manner. The only way to prevent the increase of these dangerous spirit folk is by depriving the body of its limbs, a precaution which must be taken immediately after death. So it is customary to sever the arms and legs from the trunk and to cut the tongue out of the mouth, in order that the spirit may have no power either of movement or of speech, since the mutilation of the corpse has rendered a ghost, who would assuredly be both powerful and truculent, inoperative and incapable. It will later be seen that the mutilation, the cutting off of the head, and especially the driving of a stake through the body with other dismemberments, were resorted to as the most effective means, short of complete cremation, of dealing with a vampire, whilst according to Theosophists only those become vampires who have during their lifetime been adepts in black magic, and Miss Jessie Adelaide Middleton says that the people who become vampires are witches, wizards and suicides.
Canon Callaway has recorded some very interesting details of Amatongo or Ancestor Worship among the Zulus. A native account runs as follows: “The black people do not worship all Amatongo indifferently, that is, all the dead of their tribes. Speaking generally, the head of each house is worshipped by the children of that house; for they do not know the ancients who are dead, nor their laud-giving names, nor their names. But their father whom they knew is the head by whom they begin and end in their prayer, for they know him best, and his love for his children; they remember his kindness to them whilst he was living, they compare his treatment of them whilst he was living, support themselves by it and say, ‘He will still treat us in the same way now he is dead. We do not know why he should regard others besides us; he will regard us only.’ So it is then although they worship the many Amatongo of their tribe, making a great fence around them for their protection; yet their father is far before all others when they worship the Amatongo. Their father is a great treasure to them even when he is dead.” It would appear that among the Zulus the spirits of those who are recently deceased, especially the fathers and mothers of families, are most generally venerated and revered. As is natural, the spirits of the remoter dead are forgotten, for time passes and their memory perishes when those who knew them and sang their praises follow them into the world beyond. As we have remarked, in nearly every case we find recognized the existence of a supreme being, who is certainly a high spiritual power that had never been a man, and the homage paid to whom (in those very rare instances where such worship is conceived of as desirable or even possible) differs entirely from the cult of the dead, be they family ancestors or some line of ancient kings. There are, of course, many other gods in the African pantheon, and although the natives will not allow that these were ever men, and indeed sharply differentiate in ritual practice their worship from the cult of the spirits and phantoms, yet in nearly all cases it is to be suspected, and in many cases it is certain, that these gods were heroes of old whose legend instead of becoming faint with years and dying away grew more and more splendid until the monarch or the warrior passed into pure deity. A similar process holds forth in heathen religions the wide world over. and with regard to the Baganda polytheism the Rev. J. Roscoe remarks “The principal gods appear to have been at one time human beings, noted for their skill and bravery, who were afterwards deified by the people and invested with supernatural powers.”
It is said that the Caffres believe that men of evil life after death may return during the night in corporeal form and attack the living, often wounding and killing them. It seems that these revenants are much attracted by blood which enables them more easily to effect their purpose, and even a few red drops will help to vitalize their bodies. So a Caffre has the greatest horror of blood, and will never allow even a spot fallen from a bleeding nose or a cut to lie uncovered, but should it stain the ground it must be instantly hidden with earth, and if it splotch upon their bodies they must purify themselves from the pollution with elaborate lustral ceremonies. Throughout the whole of West Africa indeed the natives are careful to stamp out any blood of theirs which happens to have fallen to the ground, and if a cloth or a piece of wood should be marked thereby these articles are most carefully burned. They openly admit that the reason for this is lest a drop of blood might come into the hands of a magician who would make evil use of it, or else it might be caught up by a bad spirit and would then enable him to form a tangible body. The same fear of sorcery prevails in New Guinea, where the natives if they have been wounded will most carefully collect the bandages and destroy them by burning or casting them far into the sea, a circumstance which has not infrequently been recorded by missionaries and travellers.
There are, indeed, few if any peoples who have not realized the mysterious significance attached to blood, and examples of this belief are to be found in the history of every clime. It is expressed by the Chinese writers on medicine; it was held by the Arabs, and it is prominent among the traditions of the Romans. Even with regard to animals the soul or life of the animal was in the blood, or rather actually was the blood. So we have the divine command, Leviticus xvii. 10-14: “Homo quilibet de domo Israel, et de aduenis qui peregrinantur inter eos, si comederit sanguinem, obfirmabo faciem meam contra animam illius, et dispertam eam de populo suo. Quia anima carnis in sanguine est: et ego dedi illum uobis, ut super altare in eo expietis pro animabus uestris, et sanguis pro animae piaculo sit. Idcirco dixi filiis Israel: Omnis anima ex uobis non comedet sanguinem, nec ex aduenis, qui peregrinantur apud uos. Homo quicumque ex filiis Israel, et de aduenis, qui peregrinantur apud uos, si uenatione atque aucupio ceperit feram uel auem, quibus esci licitum est, fundat sanguinem eius, et operiat illum terra. Anima enim omnis carnis in sanguine est: unde dixi filiis Israel: Sanguinem uniuersae carnis non comedetis, quia anima carnis in sanguine est: et quicumque comederit illum, interibit.” (If any man whosoever of the house of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among them, eat blood I will set my face against his soul, and will cut him off from among his people: Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation for the soul. Therefore I have said to the children of Israel: No soul of you, nor of the strangers that sojourn among you, shall eat blood. Any man whatsoever of the children of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among you, if by hunting or by fowling, he take a wild beast or a bird, which is lawful to eat, let him pour out its blood, and cover it with earth. For the life of all flesh is in the blood: therefore I said to the children of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and whosoever eateth it, shall be cut off.) The Hebrew word which is translated “life” in this passage and particularly in the phrase “Because the life of the flesh is in the blood,” also signifies “Soul,” and the Revised Version has a marginal note: “Heb. soul.” Since then the very essence of life, and even more, the spirit or the soul in some mysterious way lies in the blood we have a complete explanation why the vampire should seek to vitalize and rejuvenate his own dead body by draining the blood from the veins of his victims.
It will be remembered that in a famous necromantic passage in the Odyssey, when Ulysses calls up the ghosts from the underworld, in order that they may recov