Vampires today really suck. Typically that would be expected, but I’m not talking about blood.

The modern crawl toward the destruction of anything new, interesting, or vibrant continues around us. There was a point when vampires were pretty fucking cool. Unfortunately, that point began and ended with Bram Stoker. Before that, they were nothing but terrifying horrors that lurked in Eastern Europe. After, they were twisted into any number of preposterous scenarios by people looking for a template monster to use so they wouldn’t have to be truly creative. If you enjoy Twilight, that’s fine, you’re entitled, but I will not debate whether those vampires are cooler than Dracula. There is no debate to be had.

Modern Vampires have their cultural origins mostly in Eastern Europe but the concept of vampirism has existed for thousands of years in countries across the globe. Various blood sucking demons, monsters, and walking corpses have been seen in vastly different cultures with seemingly no connection to one another. Vampires could be created in any number of ways according to ancient peoples; whether a corpse was jumped over by an animal (China), the individual was a heathen who rebelled against the Church (Europe), or the body had a wound that was not boiled in hot water before burying, there were plenty of ways to become a vampire. Creation aside, there were also a great many descriptions of Vampires, even just in Eastern Europe. At one point, Werewolves and Vampires were nearly indistinguishable from one another. Eventually the two became distinct monsters (as if Eastern Europe needed more things to be afraid of) and took on imaginary lives and descriptions of their own. Much like monsters seen today, there was just no real consistency in reports from witnesses.

Whatever the origins may be, Vampires are still significant to modern humans. As part of a shared cultural history, they have something to say about the meaning of life and death, the nature of fear, and the experience of immortality. Like most myths from our past, Vampires have entered into our consciousness and become an archetype for us to use in understanding the world around us. It’s actually an interesting thing, to see that absorption of the cultural consciousness happening around us. You don’t have to ask people if they know what a vampire is. Even if they have never read Dracula or have never seen a vampire movie, it’s highly likely that they do. That’s pretty startling and interesting when you think about it.

But this is how monsters work. They become part of our experience as human beings and reflect the darkness and fear that we feel as a species. When the monsters are no longer relevant, they are left out of fiction and enter the subconscious of our cultures. They become shadows of thoughts projected on the walls of our minds but even those shadows impact us in ways that aren’t often immediately apparent.

Because, as I hope these posts have shown before, the experiences of the past help to form the people of today. People of the present are deeply impacted by the people and ideas of the past and that is not about to change any time soon.