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February 23 2009

For the vampire buffs, here's an origin story. The New Scientist website has a short story on the forensic facts behind the vampirism myth -- featuring, of course, our favourite Slayer for context.

I thought this was common knowledge.
I've never heard of it before.

Doesn't seem too plausible as an origin story, though. How do you from seeing a corpse "groan" or have blood around its mouth and thinkiing, "Oh, this corpse must actually be an undead person who gets up and runs around, trying to suck people's blood?"
Hmmm...it's a nice "just so" story--but I don't see how you'd ever prove it to be correct (or incorrect).
How do you from seeing a corpse "groan" or have blood around its mouth and thinkiing, "Oh, this corpse must actually be an undead person who gets up and runs around, trying to suck people's blood?"

Well, when it jumps up and starts drinking your blood, of course!
Same way people look at the world and go "Where did all these things come from? Hey, I make things sometimes. An all-powerful me-like being must have made all this for me!"
General lack of knowledge would lead people to make up all sorts of strange explanations for things back in the day. People have always been afraid to admit that they don't know everything.
Oh, I was expecting that to be about porphyria:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyria#Vampires_and_werewolves
I thought that was common knowledge too.

General lack of knowledge would lead people to make up all sorts of strange explanations for things back in the day.

Exactly. Myths about vampires have been around in one form or another for longer than we'll ever know, I'm sure.
Indeed I heard the myths about vampires first started when the demons left our dimension.
I thought it was when the DVD sales for Demons got a movie made about them. Oh, that's a myth? Oh...
Heh, zeitgeist.

I love how the people at New Scientist reference Whedonia once in a while. Especially as it's probably my favorite popular science magazine. It's the kind of magazine I'd love to write for (if English had been my first language, that is).
What "reference" to Buffy ? All I saw was a photobloodygraph.
Yeah, I was wondering why this was linked at first. Thought I might have missed the Buffy mention. But hey, I got to read a gruesome story about a Romanian family cutting out a dead relative's heart, burning it down to ash and then drinking it with Schnapps. So bonus.
Romanian family cutting out a dead relative's heart, burning it down to ash and then drinking it with Schnapps.

"On tonight's Iron Chef Bucharest a very special challenge..."
Anthony Head actually hosted a show about the origins behind vampires, werewolves ect and pretty much gave this exact theory. He was being all “Gilesy” :)
vampmogs Are you referring to BBC Discovery's "True Horrors"?

Tony has some horror stories to tell about filming that series, like when the crew was kidnapped when they were doing the bit on zombies. Plus having to view actual dead bodies...yeah.

Wish I could see that series - I've got a screencap I downloaded that has him sitting at a table, on which lies a copy of a vampire book that I have. "Encyclopedia of the Undead." Awesome!
I always love conjecture on how certain ideas originated. One concept about Santa Clause that I've theorized for a year or so now was tackled recently (and coincidentally) by a buddy of mine:

http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/ASH/HS1

Read the first story, "How Brightsword Saved Christmas." I know I mentioned Santa Claus, but it relates to this thread, and is a quick read.
Teeth appear to elongate as well apparently, for the same reason mentioned in the article (skin/gums shrink).

Seems plausible enough but as snot monster says, tough to prove. Most likely to be a messy combination of things I reckon including these, the abovementioned Porphyria, the way the recently bereaved sometimes "see" their dead relatives walking around, especially soon after death (i.e. there seems to be a greater propensity to mis-recognise them, probably because they're at the forefront of our minds), general fear of what's beyond death and the importance of blood to us all (especially in the past when it was seen as directly affecting temperament through "humours"). And as we're told by big Drac himself - OK, with a little 'help' from The Bible ;) - "The blood is the life !".

[ edited by Saje on 2009-02-24 15:20 ]

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