Vampires are folkloric malevolent night-time creatures that survive by feeding on the blood of human beings.
We have read about them. We have seen movies with stories about them, The Twilight Saga, for instance. We have even wondered about their existence. Nonetheless, many people remain fascinated by vampires.
Even in today’s world, the concept of vampirism remains an area of research in psychiatry.
Now, here’s one popular question many have been asking.
Why vampires can’t cross running water
Vampires were said to be magical creatures with supernatural powers. Religious elements tend to weaken them. Vampires avoided crucifixes, holy water, and spiritual symbols.
Vampires were also said to avoid running water. The reason may not be far-fetched. A few theories abound in vampire mythology about this curious limitation.
One theory holds that running water had religious significance for vampires. Regardless of their perceived mythical powers, vampires were considered unclean and diseased.
As a result, vampires avoid holy grounds. Running water was considered clean for vampires. Consecrated places were seen as vampires to be unsafe.
Another theory holds that clean running water was corrosive to vampires.
The Traits Of Vampires
Vampires are primarily known for drinking human blood. They have sharp fangs with which they use in attacking their victims to get blood. They usually attack the neck of their victims to achieve this.
Victims of vampire attacks consequently become vampires. The transformation appears to be immediate and absolute.
Vampires can be immortal, as they do not age. A two-hundred-year-old vampire can look like a 40-year-old human being.
Sometimes they are referred to as the undead because they are not living humans. They are not dead either. They have a heightened sense of sound and smell. A little human movement is enough to arouse attention.
Vampires are more powerful than humans due to unlimited physical strength. Their energy seems to be boundless.
Vampires do not need to sleep. This trait is illustrated in the Twilight series in the early 2000s by Stephanie Myers.
Vampires can transform into various forms. They can morph into other animals as werewolves can morph into foxes or other canine creatures. They can also turn into mist.
This trait enabled them to elude people and invade homes. Some people even believed that this helped them come out of graves and enter houses.
Vampires are capable of long flights. Because of their seemingly boundless energy, vampires can swiftly change locations either individually or in groups.
Vampires had swift healing abilities.
Origin Of The Vampire Legend
Long ago, in medieval times, people believed that vampires existed. There was a period of mass hysteria in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
There was palpable fear about the safety of children, the most vulnerable in society. Many factors were responsible for this.
During the Middle Ages, Europe was the epicenter of an epidemic popularly known as the Black Death or the plague. About 25 million people reportedly died from the pandemic.
The plague was just an infectious disease that was caused by a bacterial infection. Victims of the disease often had bleeding lesions on their mouths. People considered this a trait of vampirism in those days.
Vampiric superstition was rife in those days of the pandemic. As it spread to other parts of Europe, so did the superstition spread.
In the 18th century in Eastern Europe, the belief in vampires held a lot of sway. This belief was due to ignorance about physical deformities and the process of cadaver decomposition.
Corpses were unearthed and burnt at stake to prevent them from coming back to life. Communities hunted for vampires at night. Although there were never any recorded cases of vampire attacks, the legend was strong in those days.
Babies who were born with teeth were also considered vampiric. Apart from birth conditions, even some birthdays were associated with vampire tendencies.
For instance, babies who were born on Christmas days tend to become potential vampires.
Vampires In Popular Culture
The first mention of the word “Vampyre” in modern fiction occurs in John Polidori’s work, an English writer. His work, “The Vampyre,” received huge acclaim.
Another popular modern book that promoted the vampire legend was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897. The movie Dracula is an adaptation of Stoker’s book.
Books and movies have been made ever since on the subject of vampires. Films such as The Twilight Saga, Fright Night, and Queen of the Damned are known for their vampiric themes.
Regardless of that, science has, in modern times, relegated vampirism to mythology. Vampiric traits are associated with several clinical disorders in psychiatry.
Vampires In Modern-Day
Regardless of scientific advancement, some people still believe vampires exist. There are also individuals in the world today who claim to be vampires.
However, they do not have all the traits of their folkloric counterparts.
Atlanta Vampire Alliance claims that there are at least about 5,000 real-life vampires in existence today. According to their report, these people consume human and animal blood for energy.
This report sounds quite scary. However, the good thing is that modern vampires source their blood from only consenting humans. They do not also create new vampires by biting humans.
Modern-day vampires do not have superpowers, are not affected by sunlight, running water, or religious symbols. They have no fangs, too, although the desire to bite is very potent.
Some, however, maintain part of the culture of folkloric vampires. They drink blood, prefer to move at night, and dress in long cloaks and hoods.
The craving for human blood is a clinical condition. It is called haematomania or clinical vampirism. In psychiatric literature, clinical vampirism is called Reynolds syndrome.
Since 1892, over 50,000 people have been reported with addiction to human blood, according to a science article by Richard Bergh and John Kelley published in 2010.
The fear of garlic is another vampiric trait that is still in existence today. It is a clinical condition known as alliumphobia. People with this condition freak out once they come close to the plant.
The keen desire for biting is another vampiric trait that still manifests in some people today. This trait occurs in people with rabies. Clinically, it is called hydrophobia.
Rabies can also increase sensitivity to sunlight in diseased persons, a marked trait of folkloric vampires. This disease takes a foothold by attacking the nervous system, generating several responses associated with vampirism.
Despite superhuman attributes, vampires have limitations. Vampires avoid exposure to direct sunlight. That’s the reason why they are said to roam at night when the sun must have receded.
They are vulnerable to fire. People burnt corpses that they suspected to be vampires during medieval times.
Driving a stake through the heart of a vampire is also enough to cause fatal damage. They can remain immortal as long as they can avoid a stake attack.
Vampires are wary of religious grounds such as churches. They are very uncomfortable around items with religious significance like the crucifix and holy water.
Vampires also have a strong aversion to garlic and garlic odor. The mere sight of the plant or even smell generates apprehension among vampires.
To ward off vampires in those days, people planted garlic around their homes. Some other people chose to walk around with the plant in the event of an ambush.
Another limitation of vampires includes allergy to silver. Aversion to silver is usually prominent with werewolves and witches. However, some opinions hold that silver also repels vampires.
Vampires were also said to be unable to cross lines of salt. Salt is associated with the preservation and prevention of decay or disease. And it could corrode vampiric powers. As a result, vampires avoided salt.
Vampires could also cross a thicket of rose. They could not eat or drink regular food as blood was their only source of energy.
Apart from blood, vampires were also said to have a strong affinity for earth and dirt. They usually slept on bare floors or in coffins, or the thing that brought them closer to the ground.
Vampires cannot enter a residence without invitation. Some theories posit that vampires only require a single invitation. No further invitation is needed. They can access the said residence as much as they like after then.
Vampires are also said to be unable to cross running water.
Vampires are creatures in folklore who roam at night and feed on the blood of humans. They have a heightened sense of smell.
Vampires have superhuman strength.
Vampire superstition thrived in the middle ages due to ignorance of the body decomposition process.
Scientific knowledge has provided explanations for these controversies. Fear of vampires is now a thing of the past.
Vampires are allergic to some physical elements with cleansing abilities. Vampires may have magical powers. However, they are associated with infection and disease. So, they are allergic to these elements. Such elements with cleansing and purifying power include sunlight, fire, garlic, and running water. That is why they cannot cross running water.
Modern-day vampires exist. They have a keen desire for blood. Some traits observed in modern-day vampires are associated with clinical conditions such as rabies and haematomania. The concept of vampirism continues to be a subject of fascination and even academic research.