Sires, Siress’, Mentors and Self

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past.”
~ John F. Kennedy ~

Written, Edited and Presented by

Tim

I’ve been “awakened” for 40 years, since I was 16.
For 40 years I’ve known my true nature, a nature that sits, now, comfortably alongside my humanity. The two facets complement each other. Neither one is above the other, they are equal parts of the one. It’s a balance that can take time to develop or it can come about naturally from, virtually, the point of awakening.

I awakened late in 1978. I had, for wont of a better term, a “Siress” although that was not a term we knew, or used, back then. We were, my contemporaries and I, Goths at the time and we formed ourselves into a group to be able to support and defend each other from the world around us. It was a world that didn’t understand our thoughts, our outlook and our appearance but we didn’t care. We didn’t become Vampires because of our Goth affiliation and lifestyle, just as we didn’t become Goth because it was “something to do”. It was, always, our expression of our individuality.

As Nietzsche said,

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

Monica
img. source: elle.com

I have always “owned” myself, I have owned my actions, owned my thoughts and I have always accepted the consequences of having and exercising those freedoms – that’s the way it works, it’s not karma or any other thing it’s simply “ownership” of yourself.

In 2000 I came to the online world of the modern living Vampire, the VC. Tentative steps in several arenas showed me, quickly, that politeness, good manners and so forth were relatively useless in the place and so I came to a place called Darkness of Fear and came under the tutelage of a femvamp named, quite simply, “Mistress”. She was a strong, outspoken and commanding leader and an unforgiving adversary. I quickly became a “champion” of sorts and found myself afforded the title of “flame-master”. Quite simply put, if Mistress wanted someone flamed I went in like some kind of one man SEAL team and burned them, metaphorically speaking. Quite honestly, though not proudly, I could often reduce people to simply shutting down and not coming back online for a day or two – or more. Cool eh? Actually NO. I had no “individuality”, someone else was making the call, I ran with the ball.

I left DoF and wandered around for a while just dropping in and out of group after group until I came into contact with another “femvamp” by the name of Lady Jozet Justincano Delandrake. She taught me an entirely new way of looking at the modern, online, vampire community and she taught me the value of the patterns of individual thought and consistency of outlook and perception. She was more philosophical in her ways and exuded such an aura of inner calm that it was nigh on impossible not to be impressed by her demeanour. I adopted her “outlook” to a large measure and found myself beginning to think about helping others to understand and perceive in the same way… not that I couldn’t still rip holes in someone – metaphorically speaking – online when needed.

Following on from my learning with Lady Delandrake I found my way to the domain of my third great mentor, and long time friend, Lady CG of Smoke and Mirrors (Now Darkened Mirror) In Smoke and Mirrors, back in the day, the value was accepting who and what you were and coming to terms with/ being at ease with that existence. No criticisms, no angst, no anger simply rational thinking, research, reading and open and free sharing of information. I served Lady CG for a time as both a Moderator and a Forum Moderator at Smoke and Mirrors and this lit the spark in me that made me want to carve out a niche of my own in the modern Vampire culture.

img. source: Lady CG’s Smoke and Mirrors

That chance came in 2010 when a good “online” friend and his wife, in Texas, contacted Lady M and I, in Australia, and asked us to take over the management of Real Vampire News, the forerunner of Real Vampire Life. That has been my primary involvement since then.

I have been a member of many groups, I have been an admin of a number… the problem with that is that you are serving someone else’s cause and agenda. It’s fine until the agenda changes and the objective, once clear and unambiguous, becomes a shade or two darker or more extreme.

“Within you is a fountain of wisdom. And you sell yourself short every time you allow some authority to define your limitations and cage your potential. Even if that authority lives in your head.”

― Vironika Tugaleva

Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in
“Interview with the Vampire”
Geffen Pictures, 1994.

Many people have a ‘Sire’ or ‘Siress’, no, not someone who bites their neck, gives them the “dark kiss”, “embraces” them or any of that other guff – it is a person whom at one end of the spectrum may have been the person responsible for ‘awakening’ them to their ‘true nature’ as a modern Vampire while, at the other end of the spectrum, is a manipulative, controlling and self-serving person who likes to have “childer” around them to be suitably adoring and worshipping.

I once got extremely angry and dropped a MAJOR flame on someone who had the temerity to sit in an open forum and claim that all modern living Vampires were, “My children”… boy, you should have seen what I fired back and that was against one of the most influential, important (supposedly) and senior “Elders” of the VC at the time. You’d better believed that got me the “rogue” tag.

It’s that type of superior thinking, and attitude, that I have been resisting, and helping others to overcome, since around 2010.

People in the Culture these days, in the main, are very anti-control but they are very “pro-free choice”. As I mentioned already, a great number of people, some of them very good and wonderful friends of mine have a “Sire” or “Siress”, it gives them that sense of belonging to something, somewhere, something stronger. It gives them a sense of comfort and well-being and that is precious, it suits them.

As I also mentioned before, there are those whom proclaim themselves to be the Sire/Siress of others… self-serving proclamations are hollow, empty and the sole purpose is to make themselves feel better and bigger, more in control… unfortunately this comes with a sense of entitlement and a relative disregard for individuality.

 

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”

― Shannon L. Alder

 

Nobody is ever alone except by their free choice. Nobody is ever alone within the modern Vampire culture. There are, literally, tens of thousands of people the world over whom know what it is to be as any one of us is, that’s tens of thousands of people who can provide insight, support and advice. Yes there are people within the culture that you wouldn’t want advice from if you were drowning in a lake of hellfire but that also is a decision that each must, and should, make for themselves. Fortunately, a great deal of the time, you can see what people write about, what they say and the way they conduct themselves through the magic of social media – true you can ask yourself, “I wonder if they’re really like that in real life?” but the problem there is that you’ll never know unless you physically meet and spend time with them so all you are left with is the ability to make a judgement based on what you see before you.

“Hmmmm…”
img. source: worldartsme

A good tip at this point would be, “Don’t just listen to other people. Think about what you’re hearing or reading.” Perhaps, unfortunately, the only way you are going to find out peoples true colours is to “hang” with them awhile. It’s a bitch of a way to learn but it will help develop your skills of intuitive thinking.

Whether you choose to pledge to a ‘Sire/Siress’ or a ‘Mentor’ the focus should be on learning. The whole purpose for hanging out with a senior person is so that you can learn, question, discuss and develop into the culture and into your own personal path within the culture. A Sire/Siress who teaches nothing, who promises direction and attendance and then never shows… who promises to either “reveal all” or, “help you realise your true potential” then does no such thing is worse than useless… they are a disgrace to the culture and a failure.

Mentors who do no mentoring, who do not pass on relevant information and education about the culture, who promise the earth and then deliver nothing, metaphorically but a handful of dirt are the same – a disgrace and a failure.

Indeed, if they choose to call themselves “Elder” and/or ‘Sire/Siress/Mentor’ this makes it doubly bad.

 

Are you getting what you need?

If you are a “newcomer” (I hate that term ‘newbie’…) or a relative newcomer to, firstly your own true nature and/or secondly, the modern living Vampire culture you need to be careful of whom you listen to, of whose teachings you choose to listen to. Ask yourself these questions, “Am I getting good, clear and well explained answers?”, “Are my questions/concerns/uncertainties being addressed well and openly?”, “Do I feel morally comfortable and at ease with the explanations and processes being told to me?”

If you answer any one of these in the negative then it is time, in your own best interests, for a re-think.

Membership v. Independent/Ronin

In the modern living Vampire culture there are thousands of souls whom are not affiliated with any House, Order or other organisation… that’s fine, more than fine. Some choose to call themselves Ronin which is an old term and refers to a Samurai without a house to serve or master to serve, it is an archaic term and it actually annoys some people in the culture. Others choose to call themselves “Solitaries”, a term more-or-less borrowed from the pagan and Wiccan traditions. Others will simply call themselves “Independents” to demonstrate they are not affiliated with any group, House or Order.

Main point here is that it doesn’t matter what you call yourself, again, that’s exercising free choice so none of it can possibly be wrong.

If you join a web group, say a Facebook group for Vampires, it doesn’t mean you are no longer independent because, in the main again, such groups are not “Houses” or “Orders”. In joining a web group you are not “pledging” to anyone or any one thing. These groups are for information, entertainment and just hangin’ out. There will probably be a set of “Regulations” but they are, more-or-less, common sense. Individuality and free thinking are probably more at home in this type of group setting.

If you join a recognised, established and active “House” you will know it from the nature of the introductions, from invitations you may have received or from people that have already told you about it. In joining such a body you will almost certainly be required to “achieve” certain things to advance in the structure, you should expect to find a set of “Rules” that you will be expected to abide by and up-hold. In general you will probably find that a “House” membership is calmer, more orderly and less chaotic than an outside “web group” but may well cater less to individuality.

Think…!!!
img. source: Tiny Buddha

One final thing, if I may, freedom of choice presupposes that rational thinking precedes the choice. If you don’t think a matter through, in an intelligent and rational manner then how will you be able to make a rational choice?

“The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason.”
– Mary Wollstonecraft

Copyright T 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Come join the revels

Vintage metal sign – zazzle.com

Presided over, called, written and edited by

T.

img. source: Web Design Library

As we all know there’s the “dayside” and the “nightside” – the majority of us are smart enough to keep the two separated. Why?

Because the “dayside”, like it has been here this week, is generally “Hell Week”… work, bills, mortgages, sundry expenses, school, studies, bosses, break-downs, break-ins and all manner of “breaks” shatter normality and make us think, “Just What the living Fuck do I do with this shit now???”

Then there’s the “nightside” – calm, quiet, soothing, undemanding and generally uncomplicated… well, as much as we care to make it anyway… is it any wonder we prefer the latter? Really?

BAH-fucking-Humbug…!!!

 

“Saturnus”
Polidoro da Caravaggio
Circa 16th cent.

“Saturday is the day of the week between Friday and Sunday. The Romans named Saturday Sāturni diēs (“Saturn’s Day”) no later than the 2nd century for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day, according to Vettius Valens.[citation needed] The day’s name was introduced into West Germanic languages and is recorded in the Low German languages such as Middle Low German sater(s)dach, Middle Dutch saterdag (Modern Dutch zaterdag) and Old English Sætern(es)dæġ and Sæterdæġ.[1] The day was also referred to as “Sæternes dæġe” in an Old English translation of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People.[2] In Old English, Saturday was also known as sunnanæfen (“sun” + “eve” cf. dialectal German Sonnabend).[3]

Saturday is the Sabbath day of the Bible (Exodus 20:8; Luke 23:54-24:1) but also a day in which many people do leisure activities.”

See also: 

Sat·ur·na·li·a (satərˈnālyə/) noun

The ancient Roman festival of Saturn in December, which was a period of general merrymaking and was the predecessor of Christmas.

An occasion of wild revelry.

noun: saturnalia; plural noun: saturnalias

 

So, off to a “wild revel” with one of Australia’s iconic concert and party tracks… NO, it’s not that stupid “vegemite sandwich” song…!!! FUCK THAT…

…and yes, I agree, “No way, Get Fucked, Fuck off…!”

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahhahaha… throw that on at yer next party…!!!

Okies, where are we now? Let’s visit the research office and check on with our illustrious, and beautiful, GM and Chief of Research Lady M.

What have we this week…
Oh, yeah, one of our best friends… this is gonna be a cracker…

Come in Salem, Maaaaaaaassssssss…

YES… the delightful Dnash will be in Salem, Mass.

Something to get your teeth into Massachusetts…

*shuffle, shuffle, flip, shuff…*

Img. Source. – ‘Heart Painting’ by Janos Kerekes

A new studio for those of you in NOLA, a wonderful new artistic outlet… take a look at  the link and see the magic that is…

The Black Tulip Studio

Yessssssssss… I suppose there ARE worse things… 

Speaking of magic… here’s another one that came across our radar this week…

Necrosarium….

In their own words…
“NECROSARIUM is an independently owned Gothic and Lolita indies brand, based in the USA. NECROSARIUM’s design is focused primarily on roses. The brand has been alive since 2011 and has already been sold out of Tokyo and featured on Japanese Visual Kei artists as well as many models and makeup artists.”

img. source: Necrosarium

https://www.facebook.com/Necrosarium

http://www.necrosarium-official.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Necrosarium/

http://necrosarium.deviantart.com/


The wild hunt: Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

“The Wild Hunt is a folklore motif (ATU E501) that historically occurs in European folklore. Wild Hunts typically involve a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit. The hunters may be either elves or fairies or the dead, and the leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Woden (or other reflections of the same god, such as Alemannic Wuodan in Wuotis Heer (“Wuodan’s Army”) of Central Switzerland, Swabia etc.), but may variously be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female.

Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, or at best the death of the one who witnessed it. People encountering the Hunt might also be abducted to the underworld or the fairy kingdom. In some instances, it was also believed that people’s spirits could be pulled away during their sleep to join the cavalcade.

The concept was developed based on comparative mythology by Jacob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie (1835) as a folkloristic survival of Germanic pagan tradition, but comparable folk myths are found throughout Northern, Western and Central Europe. Grimm popularised the term Wilde Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) for the phenomenon.”

img. source: istock

The Weekly Biatch…

 Yeaaas…

It’s been a couple of weeks hasn’t it so it’s time to put the “Biatch mask” on again… “Buckle up Spanky, here it comes…!!!

The conglomerate that is known, colloquially, as the “GVC” has had a long and illustrious history of uninformed, unformulated, un-supported and un-supportable comments slapped down on social media platforms but it does seem that we now have something bigger than the good ol’ opiod epidemic going on…

Inane, ignorant, baseless, stupid written comments dropped at popular watering holes around the place seem to be reaching an all time high and we SERIOUSLY need to start reviewing the I.Q. – and the E.Q’s – of some of the people we are actually putting up with in the name of “Everyone’s entitled to an opinion”.

Along with that, “Everyone’s entitled to…” et al, we really must realise that THERE IS NO FUCKING CURE FOR STUPID.

*eyerolls*, *facepalms* etc, etc. – WTF is that? Is that your way of saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have two braincells to rub together to spark an original or informed idea, much less the E.Q. of a dead frog…!!!”

Then we have the, “I’m so fucking informed and brilliant I’m going to trash everything somebody else writes, OH, wait, unless I find out it’s actually based on the work of somebody I like” brigade – ODIN’s FUCKING BEARD… were you born a complete shithead or do you have to practice in front of a mirror???

Well, listen up “Ignorant Division” – KEEP IT IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR, KEEP IT OFF THE KEYBOARD and MOST OF ALL – KEEP IT TO YOURSELF DICKHEAD…!!!

‘Nuff Said

Whew… I feel so much better now… (yeah, I had to say it…!) What do you say King Maven?

 

img. source: iDownloadBlog

 

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Copyright T & RVL, 2018 (except where otherwise noted)

 

  1. Hoad, TF (ed), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (1993), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283098-8, p. 418a.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.), entry “Saturday, n. and adv., A. n.
  3. Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.), entry “Sunnight n, (and adv.)”, with the note “also in the dative with adverbial force”Further refs:

Further refs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/

 

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Crossroads 2018 – This is rumour control

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past.”
~ John F. Kennedy ~

Written and presented by
Tim

Foreword

Picking up on things, as we do, we came across this little anecdote yesterday;

“One thing that gets on my nerves is anyone claiming to be a direct descendant of Dracula.” 
And,

“Elizabeth Bathory is a distant cousin of Vlad separated by almost a century. So for those of you that keep claiming this as a vampiric claim, please stop the fucking shit. You’re full of shit, don’t know your history and are nothing more than a role-player with severe mental disorders. Seek help and get the hell our of our community.”

Andrews ( Brian Glover,
April 2, 1934 – July 24, 1997) in “Alien 3”
Twentieth Century Fox (presents)
Brandywine Productions, 1992.

In order that this “confusion” is dealt with as succinctly as possible we are going to invite you, the “seeker”, to accompany us on a little journey through a particular period of time in the development of history and which leads to the first “credible” account of vampiric activity. This is a story that has been detailed many times before but it seems that, once again, the “evidence”, such as it is, needs be revisited so that we might keep our feet firmly on the ground, and not sparkle in sunlight et al.

In search of the first Vampyre

As has been pointed out, over and over again, the image of the Vampire exists in the folklore and myths of pretty much every single country and race in the world. It’s a tangled and murky ocean that we plunge into if we try to make sense of the myriad creatures that comprise the “Vampire” archetype and it may seem as though it becomes the proverbial ‘needle in the haystack’ when we begin to look for the “First” Vampyre – NOT SO.

In his book “The First Vampire” (pub. Sept. 30, 2014) author John Davies reportedly “provides an alarmingly plausible explanation of why and how the first human was transformed into a vampire, against a backdrop of factual Eastern European history.”

It needs be pointed out that the publication is a fiction novel in the Gothic fiction genre.

The cover bears the image of one Vlad III, a medieval ruler of a Romanian region known as Wallachia (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Țepeș and Vlad Drăculea) He was a warlord, a voivode (prince) and he led many battles in a seemingly unending campaign against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire during his reigns.

Vlad Tepes

There are a myriad tales that go with this person. Tales that reached as far as Germany and Italy in the day and spoke of brutal punishments exacted upon enemies. Punishments that included his reported favourite of impaling his enemies. There are scattered claims that he dined on the internal organs of his enemies, claims that he dipped his bread in their blood – not an uncommon practice in many parts of the world where livestock blood has been used in cooking for tens of thousands of years.

The one thing that he was never described as, even in his lifetime when suspicion of such things was never far from consciousness, a Vampyre.

The legends about Vlad found renewed life at the hands of a gentleman adventurer and sometime scholar from Budapest by the name of Arminius van Buren who was a known contemporary of, and known to be in communication with, Bram Stoker during the writing of the famous novel “Dracula”. Needless to say there are many whom believe that the lead character in Stoker’s novel was none other than Vlad the Impaler. While it is highly likely that the tales of Vlad formed much of the background for Stoker’s work there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that this was the case, or that Vlad ever engaged in Vampiric activity.

So, again, here we stand at a crossroads, clutching our carefully compiled notes and we’re no closer to an answer than we were before, nor can we be. The thing about folklore, legends, myths and the like is that it is pretty much impossible to separate what may have been a germ of fact that gave birth to the “legend” from the “retelling and embellishing” that occurred in order to keep audiences interested.

This, in a time when many histories were passed on orally, was the stock in trade of a small caste, as was the access to writing and the compilation of records of observation. Chinese Whispers you might say…

Where do we begin?

The first, confirmable and observable reference to a “Vampiric” being dates back to around 3200 BC in Cuneiform writings from Sumeria. Lilith appears as one of a group of Sumerian vampire/cannibal demons that included Lillu, Ardat Lili and Irdu Lili.

The Burney relief

This then is, arguably, the first “Vampire”, the first four actually but there is a problem. In those days no one had the frames of reference to explain certain things that happened. There was rudimentary medicine of a natural form, rudimentary science that was confined to what could be seen with the naked eye – this left a lot of things totally inexplicable and so the people of the time, to give their world some semblance of order, created mythological beings that were held to be responsible for things, or blamed when things went wrong. We still do that today when you think about it, six thousand people die in an earthquake and you’ll hear that it was “God’s will”, of course, if you talk to a seismologist he/she will tell you exactly why six thousand people perished.

We must, unfortunately, dispense with “mythological” sources for the “First Vampire” since we have absolutely no proof of an actual physical existence.

In the year 1047AD we read of the first mention of a word derivative for Vampyre, that is “Upir”.

Upir is the name given to vampires in Russian language/Slavic languages. Pronunciation of the name differs from country to country and it has variations such as Opir, Opur, Upyr and Upier.”

The most vivid stories regarding these creatures belong to Ukrainian and Belarusian cultures although their existence was a very common belief in countries such as Poland, Romania, Russia and the former Czechoslovakia.

Unlike the normal vampires in the folktales, upirs could walk in the daylight and did not burn.

“The Book of Prophecy”, written in “proto-Russian” (derived from older Slavonic roots) in 1047 AD for Vladimir Jaroslav, Prince of Novgorod mentioned a priest and gave this priest the title of “Upir Lichy”, which literally translated means wicked vampire or extortionate vampire. Since there was no recorded mention of this individual engaging in what we might call, “Vampiric activity” we are left only to assume that the term “Upir”, or Vampire, was employed in the sense of the priest being an extortionist that preyed on those whom had wealth or the like. Still no sign of the “First Vampire” as we are considering the term to be used. Bear in mind, one of the common definitions of “Vampire” is, “A person who preys ruthlessly upon others; extortionist.” (Ref. Dictionary.com)

In 1136AD William of Newburgh was born in England. William was a chronicler throughout his life and his greatest work was his, Historia Rerum Anglicarum, also known as The Chronicles, and was completed near the end of his life. Chapters 32 to 34 relate to a number of stories of contemporary revenants, which William had collected during his adult years. Accounts such as that of Alnwick and Melrose Abbey have been repeatedly cited as evidence of a vampyre lore existing in the British Isles in ancient times. William passed away, at Newburgh somewhere between 1198 and 1208AD.

In 1190AD Walter Map’s De Nagis Curialium included accounts of vampire-like beings in England.

Bear in mind, if you will, this is some 241 years before Vlad the Impaler was born.

IF Vlad were the “First Vampire” where did the reports that William and Walter compiled originate?

Ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet (a.k.a. Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, The Blood Countess, Alžbeta Bátoriová, 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was another historical figure that has long been associated with Vampirism. During her trial the testimony of more than 300 witnesses, and survivors, bore testament to her brutality as well as physical evidence, and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls, found at the time of her arrest. It is important to note that tales such as her bathing in the blood of virgins were created years after her death and are generally regarded as unreliable at best. A Franciscan scholar whom was despatched to observe her trial recorded that there was no direct evidence given in regards to her consuming the blood of her victims. Her story quickly became part of national folklore in her home country.

Copy of the original portrait of Erzsébet Báthory ca.1585
(disappeared in the 1990s).

So, in considering what was recorded, reported and observed, that fairly well takes care of two of history’s front runners for the title of “Vampire”. Where to from here?

 

Wrongfully accused?

Gelnhausen, Germany.
Photo: Viktor Baronov

Clara Geisslerin was a 69-year-old widow in the town of Gelnhausen, Germany. In 1597AD she was accused of witchcraft amongst other charges which included grave-robbing, murder, and consorting with demons. Under torture (by thumbscrews and the rack), she confessed to sexual relations with demons in the form of animals and to drinking the blood of sixty children that she had killed. She also named twenty other women who she said were guilty.

However, Geisslerin recanted her confession when the torture was stopped. Local authorities, fearing for her soul, resumed the torture a second time. Geisslerin again confessed, adding that she had conceived many children with the demons and had killed them all. She recanted once more as soon as she was taken off the rack, and told her accusers that God would be their judge. The other twenty suspects had been questioned and implicated Geisslerin by then, so the old woman was tortured a third time. A confession was once again elicited but Geisslerin could not recant this time because she died under the pressure. The judges in the case attributed her death to the devil, who, they said, did not want Geisslerin to disclose any further details.

 

The first “reported” Vampire case

 

(Img. source: diply.com)

In the year 1656 an Istrian (modern day Croatia) peasant, by the name of Jure Grando Alilović (a.k.a. Giure Grando, Jure Grando b.1579 – d.1656) died and was buried in the village of Kringa. In 1672 his body was disinterred and decapitated as a vampire. It was recounted that the village priest, Giorgio, who had presided at Grando’s funeral some sixteen years earlier was told that at night somebody would knock on the doors around the village, and on whichever door the knock came, someone from that house would die within the next few days.

Also, reportedly, “Grando also appeared to his terrified widow in her bedroom, who described the corpse as looking as though he was smiling and gasping for breath, and would then sexually assault her.”

Eventually, after once chasing the revenant and trying to pierce its chest with a Hawthorn stick to no avail, a party of nine people went to the graveyard, carrying a cross, lamps and, again, a hawthorn stick. They dug up the coffin, and, allegedly, found a perfectly preserved corpse with a smile on its face. They tried to pierce its heart again, but the stick could not penetrate its flesh. After some exorcism prayers one of them, a villager by the name of Stipan Milašić, took a saw and sawed the corpse’s head off. As soon as the saw tore his skin, the vampire reportedly screamed and blood started to flow until soon the whole grave was full of blood.

Fanciful exaggeration? A folk tale embellished over time? For the first time we have access to details of not one but nine observers of an action against a Vampire… were the reporters of this incident clergymen? Was the tale purposely made disproportionate in order to hold people to the fear of the Christian Devil? What did the nine people at that grave actually see? Remember, in those days it was pretty much the province of the clergy to record, in writing, such incidents… were they clerics AND spin-doctors?

However you care to interpret this event it stands, irrevocably, as the first fully “reported” incident, with multiple witnesses, of Vampire activity and therefore it must hold some credence. It would not be such a stretch, I think, in light of the records of Grando’s life and times, to cite this as the first credible tale of the existence of the creature we know as the classical Vampyre.

Perhaps, knowing the location of Grando’s burial, some further investigation could be made but I would think that any physical evidence would have long ago returned to the dust of mother earth.

The next case of credible reporting of so called “Vampiric activity” would not come along until 1727.

In conclusion:

A lot of folks will make a lot of claims about who was the first Vampire but here we are looking at historical, recorded facts and that’s the key. We can all dream up all the “what if’s” we like but making the colanders hold water is the big problem.

Doubtless a lot of people would prefer the mystery of a 15th century Transylvanian nobleman or the dark seductiveness of an errant Hungarian noblewoman over the image of an Istrian peasant but then again, who ever said Vampires were meant to be glamorous?

Copyright T & RVL 2018 (unless otherwise noted)

Refs:

The Ultimate Vampire Timeline Rev: 14

mythologian.net

http://mentalfloss.com/article/29089/historic-vampires

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/

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