“So, after painstakingly long soul-searching (at least five minutes) and after grappling with the possible fate of your immortal soul (who cares if you’re not going to die, anyway), you’ve decided to become a vampire.
But before beginning that dark and shadowed journey into a life of eternal damnation, every vampire is required to read THE VAMPIRE HANDBOOK, a short step-by-step guide to becoming a vampire and then adjusting to the bloodsucking lifestyle.”
So begins the hilarious new guide to the Afterlife, The Vampire Handbook, by PJ Jones
But maybe you don’t want to become a vampire. Maybe you want to become a zombie. Or a were-something-or-other. Not to worry! Such information as you may need is included in The Vampire Handbook. (Also available in the UK.)
But I digress. Today is Mythos Monday. The day for all things mythological. (As though vampires, zombies and were-things don’t fit the bill to a “t”.)
In fact, let’s talk about Vampires.
And no, I’m not talking about those sparkly sissy-boys.
I’m talking about the real deal: blood sucking denizens of the dark. Evil monsters who’ll rip you to shreds and feast on your flesh.
Yeah. That’s what I’m talking ’bout.
Where did those things come from any way?
The answer is, “Who knows?” Tales of vampire-like creatures have existed for millennia.
Take the ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. She of the lion’s head. Her name means “Powerful One” and she is one of the oldest known Egyptian dieties. Also called “The Destroyer”, “Lady of Terror”, and “Lady of Life”.
According to myth, the god Ra became angry because mankind was not preserving Ma’at (balance). He sent his daughter Sekhmet on a rampage as punishment for the sins of man. The fields ran with human blood. At the sight of the carnage Ra repented and ordered Sekmet to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra poured 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood red) in her path. She gorged on the “blood” and became so drunk she slept for three days. When she awoke, her blood lust had dissipated, and humanity was saved.
Ancient Arabia had it’s ghouls. And ghoul quite literally means “devil” since the ancients had no word for “vampire” other than “devil” or “demon”. Ghouls would assume the shape of an animal or woman and lure travelers into the desert in order to feast on their flesh. Nom. Nom.
See, no sparkling pretty-boys here!
It wasn’t until John Polidori’s novella The Vampyre (pub. 1819) that vampires suddenly emerged as charasmatic and suave. Gee, thanks, John.
Still, thanks to John, we’ve got such thrilling tales as Interview With A Vampire, True Blood, and Lost Boys.
None of which sparkle, by the way.