How Vampires are Created

Vampires are created in several ways, depending on what you mean by a vampire.

Vampires are created by writing a story about them. There is no such thing as a vampire. Those few unfortunates who suffer from porphyria or other congenital or mental defects that mimic vampirism are to be pitied, but they are not vampires. Creating this kind of fictional vampire is pretty easy. As long as the character is undead and drinks blood, he’s a vampire. He can be melodramatic and kitschy like Legosi, or banal and silly like the whole Twilight series. In any case, give him goth clothing, a brooding personality and cool fangs.

In terms of cultural anthropology, vampires reflect a couple of things. It is supposed that the idea of blood-thirsty undead came about when bodies were unearthed showing scratches on the inside of the coffin (from the occasional case of premature burial), long nails and hair (because both continue to grow after death), fang-like teeth (because dessicated gums pull away from the teeth), and blood around the mouth (leaking from gums as they recede).

Eastern Europeans believed that vampires were the animate corpses of people who were evil in their lives. They might be those who died with unpardonable sins that prevented them from being acceptable to heaven, but who were baptized, so safe from hell. Other cultures have similar traditions, but they differ in their particulars, especially in the form of the vampire itself. From the semitic Lilith to the Roman lemia, the vampire is nearly always associated with the feminine (possibly because of menstruation), but is always a vengeful spirit creature that is obsessive and compulsive.

Hollywood movies have muddled the whole thing completely. The earliest films suggest that vampires are made whenever someone is bitten. Dracula, with Legosi, suggests that it requires repeated draining over a period of time. In the most current literature, the process is confused with the whole nervousness about sharing bodily fluids. Now, many novels require that the vampire-to-be not only be bitten, but also consume the vampire’s blood himself. Often, Hollywood requires that the fledgling vampire commit a kill on its own before its translation is complete. In any case, all the attempts to come up with a reasonable theory behind what is superstition and cultural atavisms is really just mental solitaire.

Okay, there are some people who are legitimate vampires. They are the psychic vampires. They are those people who suck the energy out of you and return nothing. They are so constantly demanding and needy that they drain those around them of vital enthusiasm. They can make you ill, they can cause clinical depression in others, they can destroy careers, lives, relationships. And they can do it all with a smile on their lips and the constant excuse that “I don’t want to be a bother, but. . .”

This kind of vampire, this psychic vampire, is born in a process which begins with an unrestrained ego-centric attitude. Not exactly selfishness, this attitude believes that one is always right, one is beset on all sides by people that are not supportive, one is being assertive when one asks others to do something that they obviously find inconvenient, one is being helpful when one offers unwanted advice, unneeded assistance and hurtful comments disguised as constructive criticism. It doesn’t take very long at all for this attitude to become so unhealthy that one becomes a psychic vampire as these traits become toxic.

In any case, if you want to create a vampire, your best bet is to sit at a word processor with a pitcher of margaritas and some spooky music in the background.