It appears that not even the wonderful National Geographic isn't immune to the pull of the Twilight franchise. They recently interviewed a vampire folklorist on whether or not hybrids like Renesmee in Breaking Dawn exist in historical accounts. University of Arizona professor George Gutsche, who lectures on both vampires and werewolves, answered NG’s questions perfectly, explaining that there are vampire/human offspring in folklore, but that they are nothing like Renesmee.
Is there any record in folklore of vampires mating with humans?
Much of the folklore about human-vampire offspring originates from the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Dhampir, glog, svetocher, vampirdzhiya and vampirovic all refer to descendants of human and vampire parents.
Do human-vampire offspring have special powers or weaknesses?
Yes. In the relatively limited folklore records we have about them, they have special powers—usually the ability to detect otherwise unnoticeable (or shape-shifted) vampires and to destroy them. In folklore, vampires don’t shape-shift into bats. More often, they disguise themselves as pumpkins.
Also, hybrids don’t thirst for blood or possess the immortality of the “undead”. Although vampires safely expose themselves to daylight in folklore (Dracula walks the streets of London during the day in Bram Stoker’s novel), they are still associated with night and darkness. Hybrids, however, have no more affinity for darkness than ordinary humans.
Do the offspring have a closer bond with humans or with vampires?
They are closer to humans in folklore, since [the offspring], too, are alive—not reanimated corpses. Vampires tend to dislike them, and humans tend to view them (and their special powers) positively, because they can destroy vampires. Without the magical powers of hybrid offspring, humans have no way to detect these concealed vampires until it’s too late.
The offspring, who are usually male, are given a special status within the community. Some folklore also references female offspring, so evidence of [the child’s gender in Breaking Dawn] does exist.
Read the full interview HERE.
So what have we learned? That there are folktales on vampire/human children, but none of them are like what is found in Breaking Dawn. For more info on dhampirs check out this post HERE.