House Kheperu


Vampire Origins

Written by: Michelle Belanger

Between the years of 1992 and 1998, I made a project of contacting different groups and individuals within the vampire subculture and learning their take on the origin of vampirism. A collection of vampire origin stories -- creation myths unique to our subculture -- was the result.","Curiosity is a fundamental part of human nature. When confronted with anything we do not fully understand, we want to ask “What is it?” Once we have defined the most basic qualities of the thing in question, our next question is always “Why is it?” Most of us have managed to answer the “what” of vampirism for ourselves. It is a much more difficult task to define the “why.”

As mentioned in previous writings, vampirism may be a natural part of our world. If certain individuals produce more vital energy than they themselves need, it follows then that there are others who must not produce enough. The vampires are the Yin to the producers' Yang. This makes perfect sense in a universe which seems ultimately to be a union of opposites.

But are we vampires “just because?” Is it purely an accident of birth, genetics, or physiology? Just as we humans are driven to ask the “why” of things, so are we driven to seek out a deeper meaning than “just because”. Why does the universe exist? “Just because” does not fulfill our psychological need for something deeper. And so we develop the belief that the universe exists because God put it there.

God (big “G” or little “g”, however you prefer) may or may not exist. I won't attempt to dispute that either way. What exists without a doubt is our human need for God to exist and to have put the universe here, with us in it. God (or Goddess) makes the universe more personally meaningful. Whether s/he exists or not, God answers our psychological need for his/her existence. That is the nature and purpose of myth -- it answers the whys and wherefores of issues too big for anything but symbolic meaning.

Myths and Vampires
Some folks in the vampire subculture don't like to make a big deal about their vampirism. To them, being a vampire is just another quality about themselves, no more remarkable or profound than their hair or eye color. Others in the subculture find a deeper spiritual significance in their vampirism, and many of these seek to answer not just the how of vampirism but the whys. They need vampirism to be more than “just because.” Some groups that take a spiritual approach to vampirism develop their own mythos of the vampire, up to and including a myth-like origin story.

Between the years of 1992 and 1998, I made a project of contacting different groups and individuals and learning their take on the origin of vampirism. I approached this research from the perspective of an anthropologist, meaning that I did not seek to prove or disprove the beliefs of the people I was dealing with. Each story that was related to me was valuable for the significance it held to the people who believed in it.

Five years or so ago, I'd published a collection of these vampire origin stories on the original Kheprian website. Because I didn't think there was an interest in them, I eventually took them down. Condensed versions of the origin myths appear as entries in the Vampyre Almanac's Lexicon, and these seem to have sparked renewed interest in the whys and wherefores of vampiric origins.

The material that was gathered from emails, letters, and face-to-face interviews was retold in a story format that strove to capture the feel of myth-making while at the same time remaining true to the details related to me by all those I interviewed. Over the years, I've added a few more tales to the bunch, and expect to have even more as time goes on.

The origin stories represent a wide variety of groups and beliefs, and I do not specifically endorse any of them simply because I've chosen to collect and retell them. To me all of the stories, even my own Kheprian origin story, occupy the realm of myth. This means the stories are not meant to be taken as literal truths but as meaningful symbols. They are the stories that we as a community have developed to make vampirism more than “just because.” They strive to make something mysterious knowable and approachable within a specific frame of reference. In the context of myth-making, that's all a good myth is really supposed to do.