Throughout recorded history and probably back beyond that, the idea of the
psychic vampire has haunted mankind’s dreams. Strange mystical, mythical
creatures who lurked in the darker recesses of the human mind, these beings were
thought to sap the energy of living mortals, reducing them, unless stopped, to
shadows of their former selves. People who, for no apparent reason, became
continuously tired, listless and lethargic were often thought to have been
visited by vampires or evil spirits. The medieval Christian Church, always eager to give shape and form to such
things as a means of keeping their congregations in line, called them incubi and
sucubi, male and female forms of the evil demons (medieval psychic vampires) to
which they added a sexual context. Anyone having dreams of a sexual nature were
said to have been visited by either an incubus or a sucubus who planted the
sinful ideas in the minds of weak mortals as a means of ensnaring them.
The psychic vampire is, of course, a very close relation to the more
widespread and “popular” blood vampire that appears in literature, film and
popular drama, the epitome of which is Count Dracula. The principle remains the
same from physical blood-lusting vampire to psychic energy-grabbing vampires in
that the Count drains the life force through the actual physical blood whereas
the psychic vampire is more subtle, draining the life force by destroying the
“will” of its victim. In many ways, the typical vampire scenario such as Count
Dracula, casts the vampire in the role of ultimate incubus. It is a creature of
the night (darkness), evil in “human” form. Its victims are invariably young,
attractive women, although it is not averse to the odd male now and again should
the need arise or should there be no other available source. Like its cousin,
the Psychic Vampire, (who is not so fussy as to the gender of its victims)
Dracula and his ilk are after your immortal soul...
Romanian MPs have become embroiled in a row over the ownership of Bran Castle - the 14th-Century building famous for its links to the Count Dracula story. It was returned to New York architect Dominic Habsburg, a descendant of the country's former rulers, last year after 60 years under state control.Some MPs say that process was illegal and want to stop the castle being sold. Mr Habsburg has threatened legal action, saying it would be a "dreadfulinjustice" to strip him of ownership.The infamous Prince Vlad "the impaler", the real-life inspiration for Dracula, is reputed to have spent a night at Castle Bran.
This connection has been a boon to the tourist industry in Romania, and MPs are keen to hold on to a prized asset.
Earlier this year, Mr
Habsburg said he would be willing to sell it back to the Romanian
authorities for $78m (£40m) - but ministers said the price was too high.
During a parliamentary
debate this week, opposition MP Dumitru Ioan Puchianu said the return
of the castle had been illegal because of procedural errors.
He said Mr Habsburg, whose family was thrown out of the castle after World WarII, should not be allowed to sell it.
In response, Mr Habsburg
issued a letter through his lawyers threatening to sue for damages of
some $200m if the MPs stripped him of his right to sell the castle.
"I live once more with the
feeling of dread in which I once lived, as a child, when my family and
I were forced out of our home and thrown out into the streets in
mid-winter," the letter said.
The castle rises
dramatically from the forests in the foothills of the Carpathian
mountains, 170km (105 miles) north of the capital Bucharest.
About 450,000 tourists are said to visit each year.
Anthony North: Highgate Cemetery in north London is a spooky place at the best of times, and rumours of ghosts occupying its Victorian crypts and tombs have existed since its consecration in 1839. And the fact that Karl Marx, father of communism, is buried there only adds to its mystique. However, when a phantom figure was seen in the cemetery in 1967, followed by the discovery of animals sucked of blood in nearly Waterloo Park, rumours began of a vampire.The situation was not helped when a local paper dubbed the phantom the Highgate Vampire in 1970. And on Friday, 13 March of that year, a mass vampire hunt was organised. Hundreds of vampire hunters invaded the cemetery, armed with stakes,garlic and crosses.
No vampire was caught, but much vandalism took place and a female corpse was exhumed. In 1974, a further, smaller hunt organised by famed vampire hunter David Farrant, led to claims that a vampire had been caught and destroyed. But rumours of sightings and dead animals continued well into the 1980s.Dog Priest: Many sceptics blame Farrant for the hysteria that led to the mania indulged at Highgate. And a similar character existed in the 12th century in the form of William of Newburgh. Chronicling many cases of ‘vampires’, one story was that of a chaplain of low repute who attended a high-ranking lady.Earning the nickname, Dog Priest, he ignored his vows and spent his time hunting. When he died, he was buried in Melrose Abbey, but several nights later he rose and stalked the building.When monks repulsed him, he appeared in the bedroom of the woman he had served.Terrified, she called the monks to save her. After many more appearances, including one in which he was attacked by a battle-axe, monks forced him back to the grave. Digging up the corpse, the monks burned it.Vampire of Croglin: Such vampire tales are actually quite rare in Britain. But one exception occurred in 1875 when Australian Amelia Cranswell and her two brothers were leasing Croglin Low Hall in Cumbria. One night she looked out the window to see a tall, spindly figure approaching.Soon it was scratching at the window, and once inside, bit her violently about the neck. Hearing her screams, her brothers chased it off. Leaving the hall for a while, in March the following year, the identical incident occurred, and herbrothers follo...
Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess, is one of the most famous of all historical vampires. She is perhaps less well-known only than the infamous Vlad Dracula, known also as Tepes (the Impaler) and he - although noted for his savage and very public methods of execution - was no vampire, but has merely been cited as the inspiration for Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula.In fact, the historical Dracula is usually best known as a devout, if savage, Christian warrior and noted for his successful enforcement of the law within the Voevodate of Wallachia.Elizabeth Bathory on the other hand is renowned as a torturer, an eater of flesh and a bather in blood, and has been cited by prominent vampirologist RaymondMcNally in his book Dracula was a Woman (which is currently out of print) as a closer model for Bram Stoker's creation than Tepes.
like Stoker's Dracula, was a Hungarian of noble blood, whereas Tepes
was Romanian; the Voevod, or Prince, of Wallachia when said title was
not in the hands of his brother.
Also, although his deeds were bloody,
Tepes is never reported to have drunk the blood of his victims, while
Elizabeth Bathory is reputed (admittedly with only anecdotal evidence)
to have not only drunk but bathed in the blood of young virgin girls.
The truth of whether she was a model for the Count will remain known
only to Stoker, but certainly in the years since Dracula was published,
the Blood Countess has exercised a powerful fascination on many writers
The Birth and Childhood ofElizabeth Bathory
Erzsebet Bathory, known
more commonly in the Western world by the anglicised name Elizabeth,
was born in 1560, the daughter of Baron George Bathory and Baroness
Anna Bathory. George and Anna were both Bathorys by birth; he a member
of the Ecsed branch of the family and of the Somlyo. Such inbreeding
was not uncommon in the aristocracy of 16th Century Eastern Europe, as
the purity of the noble line was seen as paramount.
The Bathory were one of the
most powerful Protestant families in Hungary, and numbered warlords,
politicians and clerics among its members. Elizabeth's ancestor Stephan
Bathory had fought alongside Vlad Dracula in one of his many successful
attempts to reclaim the Wallachian throne, and his namesake,
Elizabeth's cousin, became Prince of Transylvania in 1571, and was
later elected King of Poland. Other members of the family......