The Bloodsucking Corpse of English Tradition.
by Daniel J. Wood
“A deadly thing,” they say, “has fastened on him;
“He has taken to his bed and will never get up again.” —Psalm 41:8,
Book of Common Prayer
Of all the monsters that haunted our traditional folklore, none has so fascinated the modern mind as the vampire. Man, demon, or some combination of both, the vampire stepped to center stage in our popular culture with the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, and his influence shows no sign of waning at the beginning of the 21st century. But as the image of the fictional vampire lives on, we gradually lose sight of the traditional vampire, the vampire of folklore and history, a creature more ancient and more terrible than a thousand Wallachian princes. This monster did not keep a polite distance before the kill like some aristocratic stranger; instead, he was a friend, a neighbor—even the husband who once shared your bed. He was a corpse who returned from the grave to kill. Read the rest of this entry »