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The Evolution of the Vampire

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sno5053
Words 2737
Pages 11
Today’s modern day vampire is considered one of the most notorious and iconic figures all over the world. With the steady stream of vampire novels, films, and television shows being produced, it is fair to say that the vampire has become the dark horse of literature, every enthusiasts dream. Yet this wasn’t always the case, because vampires were once considered the stuff of nightmares. Every culture has stories of these once terrifying ‘bloodsucking demons’ that, according to literary historian Brian Frost, “may go back to prehistoric times”. However, many of the myths surrounding such creatures emerged mainly during the 18th century particularly arising in Eastern Europe in areas such as Serbia, Roma, and Slovakia. The major paradigm shift from the early 19th century to the early 21st century is a complete change in attitude and definition of a vampire from a terrifying creature of the night to a romantic and beautiful almost-human, resulting from a change in religious and societal beliefs.
These myths sparked a mass hysteria throughout most the 18th century, with frequent reported sightings of alleged vampires. Most famous of which was the case of Serbian peasant Arnold Paole who is believed to be the first man accused of being a vampire (Marx). It was supposed he had killed 17 people from his village during the night, later returning to his coffin. Government officials who ordered his coffin to be opened believed at the time the body (which looked perfectly fine apart from the slight trickling of blood out the mouth) was the body of a resurrected vampire. Such stories appeared continuously, building on the already growing fear in Europe. As the stories of such vampire attacks spread Eastern Europe soon become engulfed in the vampire pandemic., which later became known as the ‘18th Century Vampire Controversy’. Many of the alleged attacks built on the...

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