The Children of the Night: Vampires

The Children of the Night: Vampires

Grace Huang, Journalist, Editor

When you were a child, were you ever afraid of monsters at night? Werewolves, maybe even ghosts that moaned in the corridors. Zombies, other creatures of the night that could slip out of the shadows and drag a person, screaming, into the darkness and out of sight. There are plenty of things that go bump in the night, but perhaps the most frightening are the most notorious and blatantly infamous of them all: vampires. 

Vampires are modernly known as bloodsucking creatures, pale in complexion. They use fangs to pierce a victim’s skin and feed on human blood. Popularly, they are said to be undead, like corpses risen from the grave. In some stories, a human can be turned into a vampire when they fall prey to one, or through the swapping of blood. Once turned, vampires become immortal unless staked through the heart or head.

The origin of the vampire remains relatively unclear. Legends arisen from many different areas, races, clans, tribes, and nationalities give almost no evidence of when exactly the first traces of vampiric origins birthed, but they spread like wildfire across nations. In the beginning, vampires were believed to be purple and often bloated from the abundance of blood in their bodies. Sightings of these creatures popped up all over Europe, and soon, the belief in vampires became so prevalent that even whispering the name was enough to induce mass hysteria. 

What resulted was a period that consisted of several witch-trial-like practices. Humans that were believed to be one of the undead were hunted down and sometimes even charged with public execution. Corpses were buried with different holy or religious signs to prevent being exposed to demonical or vampiric forces. Many extreme measures were taken to ensure the scarcity of vampires. In myth, popular ways to kill or repel vampires include using ash or hawthorn, and staking vampires through the head or heart.

In 1897, the book Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, was published. It marked a pivotal point for the legacy of vampires. Although the hysteria and fear had calmed, the influence of vampires hadn’t ceased. However, after the book was written, the light in which people viewed vampires shifted. Since then, various documents, stories, and books have been written, the center idea revolving around vampires. Some popular vampires of fiction include the Cullens (Twilight), Dracula (Dracula), Simon Lewis (The Mortal Instruments), and Niklaus Mikaelson (The Vampire Diaries).

Now, these creatures are a long-established modern symbolization of horror and darkness. In some cultures, they are literally called “Children of the Night.” Rich with history and centuries of development by some of the most famous writers in history, vampires will no doubt continue to terrify the children of many other generations to come.