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Vampires and Mirrors

Over at our sister site we’ve been discussing the connection between werewolves and silver. There is a tradition going back at least a couple of centuries that silver possessed special metaphysical and healing properties and that this metal could be used to combat werewolves. There are folk stories from the 1800s that mention silver bullets. As the folklore between werewolves and vampires sometimes overlaps, it isn’t surprising that we sometimes find in the mythos of the vampire a susceptibility to silver. But why is this? What is the origin? Doubtless the effects of silver on werewolves and vampires stems from an original source in antiquity.

One trope that is familiar to everyone today involves vampires not casting reflections in mirrors. This particular plot device seems to be of recent origin—more on the subject in a later post—but it is a curious fact that silver has traditionally been used to fashion mirrors. Might this have something to do with why vampires supposedly cast no reflections in mirrors? Not because the vampire does not possess a soul, as is commonly depicted, but because silver is a “holy” metal and thus won’t reflect anything unholy, like vampires? Is the silver backing of the mirror the key?

TheCheezman • July 8, 2018

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  1. Terry Washington July 8, 2018 - 11:05 pm Reply

    This belief that vampires(and other supernatural beings) cast no reflection in mirrors(or possess no shadows) sems to have started with Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”- significantly NEITHER Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 novella “Carmilla” or Anne Rice’s more modern Vampire Chronicles make any reference to it- in fact, in her sequel to “Interview With The Vampire”, “The Vampire Lestat”, Lestat after becoming a vampire by being “turned ” by Magnus, is nonetheless initially surprised to discover that he can STILL see his reflection in a mirror!
    Logically this claim defies the laws of physics as well as common sense- I can see a chair’s
    reflection in a mirror, despite the fact that the chair is neither a living being or possesses a soul(or the lack of one)!

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