Saturday, October 31, 2009

Philia Friday: Vampirism

In pop culture media some vampires are handsome young things who're deeply remorseful for what they are - Edward from Twilight, Louis from The Vampire Chronicles - while others are (at least slightly more physically) grotesque creatures who revel in the monsters they are - Count Orlok from Nosferatu, Severen from Near Dark.   Whether to tell a story of love and passion or one of horror the idea of the vampire is romanticized.  There seems to be two kinds of real life blood-drinkers; one kind is relatively harmless to the everyday person because they, too, romanticize vampirism and consider it simply a sexual preference or fetish.  The other kind, however, are those that are serial killers with a desire to drink their victims blood and very much a danger to those who come in contact with them.

Sanguineous Is Sexy

There are some for whom vampirism is a consensual, sexualized, act that simply feeds (so to speak) their own personal preferences.  Some decide to embrace the part complete with fangs - bought or created through filing down already existent teeth - and coming part of online or in-person vampire communities.  But even for those who don't chose to make vampirism a major part of their lifestyle if they practice the act of drinking blood and derive sexual pleasure from it they'd be considered real-life "vampires".

Blood Drive

In serial killers vampirism is something far more is a sadistic act upon a victim and/or the uncontrolable drive to drink the blood of whoever (or whatever) they can get their hands on.  One such killer with this drive was Italian lust-killer, Eusebius Pieydagnelle, would smell blood from butcher shops and it would arouse him so much that it compelled him to go out and kill six women in 1878.  Another, Italian madman, Vincenz Verzeni, tore apart two young woman in 1871, chewing on their flesh and drinking their blood in a frenzy of vampiric desire.

Peter Kurten, "The Vampire of Dusseldorf", started early in his depravity, including vampirism.  As a youth he would decapitate swans and drink the blood that would spurt out from their necks as he would sexual violate the rest of the body.  As he grew into murderous adulthood he frequently drank the blood of his victims - over two dozen men, women, and children.

Fritz Haarmann, "The Vampire of Hanover", started with escaping institutionalization in the late 1800s.  For a while after he remained a vagrant before he learned to butcher meat and was able to start his own business with the skill, thus getting the money to afford a place to live.  While it's likely he started killing then, the home allowing him the privacy he needed with his victims, his murders really picked up when he gained himself a lover in, Hans Grans also called Graf in some places, an attractive male prostitute.  (There is some debate as to how much of an accomplice Grans was but, at the very least, he seemed aware of what his lover was doing and enjoyed the clothing and money taken from the victims.)  Luring them to the couple's home Haarmann would first feed his victims then, still sleepy from the large meal, he would grab the young men and bite right through his young male victims throats while sodomizing them.   In fact, Haarmann was known to chew until the head was practically severed from the body in some cases and, as he tasted their blood, he achieved orgasm.  He would then take the possessions of victims to sell on the black market or retain them for himself or Grans, then cut the flesh from their bodies, eat some of it, and sell the rest on the open market as butchered meat.  The rest he dumped into the canal.  When cops checked his house (with where the bodies were found and his past history he was a rather clear suspect) and found clothing from "missing" young men and boys and blood all over the walls Haarmann was arrested...he confessed shortly after.

Men, however, are not the only vampiric killers.  Elizabeth Bathory is the most obvious example, a countess from modern day Slovakia (Hungry in her time) who killed anywhere from 50-600+ victims and reportedly bathed in their blood in an effort to stay young.  There was also Magdalena Solis, "High Priestess of Blood", in 1963 Yerba Buena, Mexico, who convinced the villagers that she was a goddess and created a vampiric sex cult based around her.  As a way to pay tribute to her blood rituals were orchestrated in which she drank the blood of those murdered at her behest...when the human sacrifices were discovered outside the village, police came in and rounded up the cult.


Author's Note:  Yes, this is a day late but how perfect is it to have this posted on Halloween, right?  Happy Halloween all, and stay safe!!

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