Blood Sucking Fiends Part 1: The Terror Is Born

When Irish author Bram Stoker penned his classic novel of horror, Dracula, the world was a much different place. Sex was a taboo topic that was kept hush hush and never spoken about in polite conversation. It could very well have been this repressive approach to a very human act that made the novel such a success. Upon reading the book, you can’t help but notice that between its covers it was an orgy of forbidden love, death and the spread of disease. Three things the average Victorian found not only repulsive but titillating.

It’s commonly believed by readers and historians, Stoker’s inspiration for his undead antagonist came from a singular source, Vlad Tsepes. Vlad was a 15th century Wallachian prince who was considered to be a champion of European Christendom by some; while others regarded him as a genocidal madman with a love for cruelty and torture. 

While Vlad may have truly been a bloodthirsty tyrant, his blood lust was only in a metaphorical sense. Vlad never imbibed in a human’s most precious of bodily fluids, blood. So, where did Stoker get the idea that a vampire needed blood to carry on its cursed immortal existence? Believe it or not, every culture around the world has its legends and folklore of horrific beings that feed off humans as demonstrated in the early days of civilization.

Anthropologists and folklorists believe our western Judeo-christian idea of demons and bloodthirsty fiends had their origins in the middle east. The ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Sumeria and Babylon was where the nightmare more than likely began.

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These early civilizations had an extraordinarily complex pantheon of both divine beings and terrifying demons. And it’s from these demons that we can find the first mention of bloodsucking fiends that haunted the night. The first being the Lilitu and their mother Lilith, the undisputed queen of the damned.

According to the scant few records that have survived into modern times, Lilith resided in the caves of the deepest, darkest regions of the desert. Records and bas reliefs depict her as being half human, half monstrous and all pure seduction. She has also been depicted covered in the blood of the innocents, her favorite source of sustenance. Parents were desperate to protect their sleeping children from this terror that came at night by hanging blessed amulets over their beds. This ancient practice was more than likely the origin of a vampire’s extreme aversion to crucifixes and holy relics. Lilith carried her bloodlust into a different culture.

When the ancient Hebrews ended their captivity in Babylon, they borrowed the demon lore of the region. They took Lilith and made her the first helper or Adam. According to the Talmud, Lilith refused to take a submissive position and was banished from paradise. As she wandered the outlands she mated with the fallen angel, Samael and gave birth to hordes of demons. She carried on her thirst for blood and fed on children.

Lilith and her demonic horde weren’t the only bloodsucking fiends to populate the nightmares of the fertile crescent. The Lamashtu indulged themselves in the blood of mothers and children. They were also bringers of evil and destruction and we’re known to wipe out entire villages with disease.

A third bloodthirsty fiend found in Mesopotamian mythology was Utukku. Utukku was a curse on a home that violently disturbed a family’s tranquility. While Utukku didn’t drink human blood, it did get its power from draining the life force from its victim until they perished from exhaustion.

These legendary beings are the first known accounts of vampiric creatures that fed upon humans for power and longevity. These nightmarish entities survived the test of time and spread to other cultures around the world. They have always been among us, hiding in the shadows. Waiting for the time to strike and gorge itself on the blood of humans until their life runs out; leaving behind a limp lifeless body. 

There will be more articles on bloodsucking fiends on Paranormal Study in the very near future.

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About Rick Hale 26 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, Spookyisles.com and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at YouTube.com.
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