Vikram and the V-A-M-P-I-R-E

As much as I love Atlas Obscura, we may have to fight.

This article makes much hash out of the differences between the Indian (the country) version of the vampire, the Vetala, and the standardized vampire that we know today.  Yes, there are differences. Every culture has its own version of the vampire myth. The writer of the article seems to take umbrage that the creature in VIKRAM AND THE VAMPIRE is even referred to as a “vampire” at all, and takes to task the man who brought that old Indian tale to the West, Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton—who just happens to be a personal idol of mine. Don’t make me open a can, Atlas Obscura writer!

Bram Stoker was friends with Burton, was enamored with him, read VIKRAM AND THE VAMPIRE, and may well have based certain characteristics of Count Dracula on the creature in that earlier story. Captain Burton was also an inspiration, perhaps *the* inspiration, for the physical description of the vampire. Burton’s fingerprints, then, are all over DRACULA, albeit indirectly. So what’s the problem? From the linked article: “Scholars have rightly criticized Vitram [an alternate spelling of ‘Vikram’] and the Vampire for these shortcomings. In The Ocean of Story, C.H. Tawney’s translation of the Katha Sarit Sagara, N. M. Penzer, a British independent scholar and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, calls Vitram and the Vampire ‘not a translation, but an adaptation, and a very free adaptation, too…What Burton has really done is to use a portion of the Vetāla tales as a peg on which to hang elaborate ‘improvements’ entirely of his own invention.’” Okay. So what? Burton never claimed that it was anything *but* an adaptation! He never claimed it was meant to be an exact translation! I don’t care that this Penzer guy has been dead for well over a century. He can go f*ck himself.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.

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