How Wolf Spirits Turned Into Vampires

How Wolf Spirits Turned Into Vampires

From spirit to undead, Eastern folklore melded with Greek beliefs to create Dracula.
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When we think vampire, we think Count Dracula, and we have Bram Stoker to thank for that. During the vampire mania of Europe in the 17th and 18th century, folklore became grossly exaggerated and the vampire of the Victorian era was born. However, if you want to look at one of the first mentions of traditional vampirism, you have to go to Greece.

th to 17th centuries. Refugee folklore melded with local beliefs to create new monsters. Enter the Greek vrykolaka.

The very term vrykolaka is derived from the Romanian viraculac which roughly translates as ghoul, ghost, or demon. In fact, most Eastern European countries have a very similar name: in Serbian vukodlak, in Polish wilkołak, and Lithuanian vilkolakis. The Turkish word uber meaning witch is also similar.

It was an evil spirit or entity of supernatural origins which could possess a human form, but most often took the form of a wolf or dog. Think werewolf. This is where vampirism and werewolves intersect. They were correlated with the eclipse, a demon hound devouring the sun for an eternal night.

The Greek vrykolaka had roots in these stories. At its start, it was supernatural. Inhuman. A demon or specter, malevolent ghoul. But it wasn’t flesh. It appeared in the daylight. It didn’t drink blood. It harmed humans, yes, but by suffocating them. It was believed a vrykolaka would sit on a victim, smothering them or crushing the breath from their chest. No blood.

Then something changed. This Slavic/Romanian demon became human, the dead has risen. A revenant. That’s because the Greeks blended the viracolac with their own beliefs. And there were three. One: Blood contained power, a life force if you will. Two: a body could be brought back to life. Resurrected. And finally, three: supernatural beings drank human blood.

You can see the common vein of thinking here; a demon could possess a body, drink the life-force of the living, and become flesh. Look at the Greek tragedy, the Iliad. “Odysseus fills a pit with sheep's blood to feed the shade of the seer Tiresias. Once the ghost has drunk the blood, he is able to speak.” Blood gave the supernatural power. This was common knowledge to the Greeks, same as we believe vaccines cause autism.

So, how is a Greek vampire born? The most common way is an improper burial. But one could “turn” into a vrykolaka after death through suicide, a violent death, or a sinful life. A person is murdered. A family buries a relative quickly after dying of disease, not waiting for the priest and risking its spread. An alcoholic dies, he returns thirsty for more ale… and the blood of his neighbors.

These bloodthirsty revenants became a real crisis for the Greek peoples. The Isle of Santorini became a hub for exorcists and vampire slayers. The profession was as common as scribes and healers. It was believed a vrykolaka couldn’t swim across the sea. So, to protect the mainland, bodies believed to have turned were sent by boat to the Isle.

This blending of supernatural lore with Greek beliefs birthed the vampire. The malignant revenant of someone once dead began as a demon who wanted to steal the sun and smother people. And the superstition of the vrykolaka persists today. “The vrykolakas is said to knock on the doors of homes, and if the residents do not answer right away, the creature will pass on to the next residency.” A Greek will answer only if you persist with a second knock.

Cover Image Credit: Graham Ridgewell

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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We Need To Start Taking Sexual Assault Against Men More Seriously

If you wouldn't say it to a woman, why would it be okay to say it to a man?

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Meet Becky. Becky is an attractive, 17-year-old woman looking to find an agent to help her Hollywood career. She finds an excellent, popular agent who invites her to his house for an interview. They have drinks and chat, getting along wonderfully all the while.

But things change quickly. The agent keeps giving her alcohol despite her young age until she is undoubtedly drunk. Suddenly, he climbs on top of her and begins to fondle her. She's torn; she can't insult him without ruining her career, but this isn't what she wants. She's able to push him off without aggravating him, but she knew she couldn't report the issue without angering him and his colleagues. She waits 11 years to report the incident, only to learn that she wasn't his only victim.

It's always a horrifying story. A woman was pinned down and groped without consent by an adult man who had no excuse not to know any better. You're undoubtedly disgusted by the agent's actions, but would you feel the same if Becky wasn't a woman?

If it changes your opinion at all, you're a hypocrite.

Becky doesn't exist, but this is a true story according to Blaise Godbe Lipman, an American actor, screen director, and screenwriter. He along with several other young men, such as Lucas Ozarowski, claim that child talent agent Tyler Grasham made "unwanted advances" towards them and came out with their stories as the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017.

Lucas Ozarowski's Facebook Post Lucas Ozarowski's Facebook post accusing Tyler Grasham of sexual assault

This isn't just a small group of men though. A 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that approximately 16% of men in America had been sexually assaulted, but that percentage ballooned to 43% in 2018 after the MeToo movement brought greater awareness to what sexual assault entailed. 1in6, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault against men, thinks that these numbers are still inaccurate. According to 1in6, men are less likely to disclose sexual assault status and "[o]nly 16% of men with documented histories of sexual abuse (by social service agencies, which means it was very serious) considered themselves to have been sexually abused, compared to 64% of women with documented histories in the same study." Because of these differences, the incidence of sexual assault against men may be significantly higher than we've come to expect.

But we have a problem as a society: we don't take sexual assault against men as seriously as we take sexual assault against women.

Take Terry Crews' case, for example. The former NFL player and actor in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" was groped in 2016, but he only revealed this information to the public in 2017 as he joined the #MeToo movement. His case was more widely publicized than that of Lipman's and Ozarowski's and some people were... less than empathetic.

King T'Tywala's tweet King T'Tywala's tweet regarding Terry Crews

Unfortunately, this is one of the kinder tweets he received. I will not show the following tweets due to the language used, but the people throwing insults about Crews' masculinity ranged anywhere from the relatively unknown to larger names such as 50 cent. Rather than attacking his claims, many people felt the need to take a jab at Crews' masculinity and capability as a person—just like they've done with other men in his position.

Despite the widely held belief that men need to be strong, calm rocks with good control of their emotions, they aren't inherently stronger than women when coping with the aftermath; a man can feel guilty, anxious, hopeless, and even suicidal after the fact. Men can go into crisis, men can feel inferior, and men can fear for their lives every night when they're safely tucked away in bed.

Just like women.

Sexual assault simply doesn't make the victim any "less of a man." It isn't funny. It doesn't make him weak. The only difference is that people are more likely to look down on him and less likely to support him than if he was a woman. We need to address this and start moving forward as a society so that men start receiving the compassion and support that women do after a horrific event like this. By discarding our ingrained beliefs about what a man SHOULD react like, we can respond properly to what that man DOES react like and give him the help he deserves.

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