What if Vampires were real?

In the style of another online magazine, Cracked, I invite you to consider the implications of vampires if they actually existed!

Wait!  You may say.  What kind of vampire are we talking about here?  A valid point!  For purposes of this discussion we shall use the most classic image of the vampire from our popular culture — a corpse re-animated by night with fangs, mesmeric eyes, shape-shifting and the ability to remain eternally young by drinking fresh human blood.  Further, we’ll presume undeath is very much as portrayed in Hammer horror films, in shows like Dark Shadows and indeed the overwhelming number of Dracula adaptations over the past ninety-plus years.

Keeping that in mind, consider:

Nothing is more addictive than a vampire bite.  Cocaine and heroin are aspirin by comparison.  Nicotine might as well be chocolate milk.  Again and again we see the reaction of a vampire’s bite is devastating in the extreme.  The individual loses every trace of free will, becoming the slave (sexual and otherwise) of another entity.  Victims often loathe their new state, but cannot give it up.  Quite apart from the genuine physical damage caused by blood loss, these wretched people find themselves able to commit any crime for the parasite that now feeds upon them.  They will kill to protect the monster.  Kill anyone.  Family, friend, stranger — it doesn’t matter.   They will also lure loved ones into the vampire’s clutches to share the same degrading fate.  More, this effect is all-but-instantaneous.  Within seconds after having fangs rend into your flesh, you become the equivalent of Renfield or Gollum.  If you’re unfortunate enough to be physically attractive, then you’ll experience another whole level of being used.  Consider all the devastation wrought by drug addiction decade after decade.  Human lives wasted.  Relationships destroyed.  Violent crimes committed, often revealing a degree of ruthless horror worthy of Clive Barker.  Now double it, because each victim in turn becomes another source of addiction.  Finally, lets examine one more type of horror.  Vampires are predators.  Humans their prey.  Which members of the herd do predators so often prefer as being the most defenseless?  Children.

Vampires are immortal serial killers.  Jack the Ripper slaughtered five prostitutes, nearly slicing their heads off and disemboweling them.   Peter Kurten was a rapist, pedophile, necrophile, arsonist and was into bestiality.  John Wayne Gacy liked to torture and rape young men before killing them.  Andrei Chikatillo nearly always went after boys and girls under the age of seventeen.  Albert Fish killed little girls and ate them.  No one knows who killed the Black Dahlia, who was cut in half and had a smile cut into her face.  But that killer as well as all the others mentioned above are at least dead.  They trouble our world no more.  Unless of course they were vampires.   You know, unaging and impervious to almost any harm.  Maybe not all vampires would begin as sociopathic sadists, but the lifestyle certainly encourages it.  Worse, you only need a few to spread horror across the decades and centuries.    Right now the number of serial killers at large at any one time remains relatively stable.  But with vampires factored in, their population would slowly, steadily rise.  Forever.

Plus, being a vampire would really suck (pardon the pun).  Hunting your own kind all the time, having to deal with other vampires in the same territory, having to keep secret the fact you even exist, not daring stay too long or make any real friends lest they begin to notice those odd details (like how you never eat and avoid sunlight as if it were fatal).  Lets say you do make a friend.  A good friend, someone who can handle the fact of what you are.  Now you have a few options.  Watch them wither and die.  Turn them into a vampire like yourself, increasing your own competition for a limited food supply.  Keep in mind vampires are hideously outnumbered and must remain so or they starve.  Yet mankind now has the technology to wipe them out (napalm anyone?).  So in effect you’re a member of a secret society with extremely rigid rules that can kill you if you violate them (leave no evidence, for example, and certainly leave famous people alone) and are almost certainly totally alone while the world keeps changing in ways you don’t understand.  Me, I’m still adjusting the existence of twitter!  Imagine someone who finds the idea of steam power hard to wrap his head around!  Is this not a recipe for gradual insanity?

There would indeed be slayers.  Odds are, they’d be nothing at all like Buffy (although I love that show) and a lot more like Blade or maybe the leads in John Carpenter’s Vampires.  Tough, no-nonsense vigilante killers who’ve studied and come prepared.  Remember it isn’t as if vampires are actually immortal — only that it is hard to kill them.  Or at least tricky.  If you know exactly how, though…

Wood through the heart.  Cut off the head.  Fire.  Direct sunlight.  Most nosferatu need their native soil, are repelled by crosses or garlic or something, maybe take damage from silver.  Like any niche profession, slayers would develop experts and if working in teams might easily wipe out any undead that come in their radar.  While this is bad news for the vampires, it is in some ways worse for the rest of us.  Because in effect these are professional killers, a group not known for being fussy about collateral damage.  Let’s face it, the most effective way to kill a vampire is to burn own its lair in broad daylight — burn it to ashes.  If you happen to live in the same apartment building, too bad.  Or if the neighborhood turns into a fiery inferno, so much the better!  The vampire almost certainly is a goner.  Too bad if you burn to death in the process.  Given the supernatural abilities of vampires, these slayers would pretty much have to shoot first and ask questions later.  Maybe not all, but enough to instantly kill a lot of folks who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or who seem suspicious (like being photosensitive and/or fairly gothic in lifestyle).  More, such slayers will probably figure vampire victims are too big a risk to let live.  Better to put them down.  Like rabid dogs.  In other words, murder them.  Then burn and/or mutilate the bodies just to be sure.

Gives one the creeps does it not?  Mind you, that’s probably why so many assume story with vampires in it belongs under Horror.  Even they they clearly don’t, like Twilight or Bunnicula.

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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  4. But what if they were like the vampires from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward? Which is a third type of vampire and one I would prefer to existed. You maybe familiar with the series but for those of you that aren’t I’ll explain.
    In this series the vampires are simply a different species. There isn’t a treat of turning into a vampire or becoming addicted to vampire venom if bitten. You’re either born a vampire if your parents before you were vampires. Instead of feeding on humans they must feed on their own kind and of the opposite sex. Males feed from females and females must feed from males which sometimes makes the feeding situation more intimate. Also there isn’t the deadly issue of killing someone to feed. You drink as much as you need for the moment but hardly enough to drain an entire body. The need to feed can be weekly for some and monthly for others depending on the vampire activities.  Injury can cause a need to feed more often. Blood is not the only thing that keeps them going.  They eat and do other bodily function like as a human would including sleep. So no creepy, “I will watch you while you sleep” senecio.   This type of vampire can feed from humans but they would prefer their own kind mainly because human blood isn’t strong enough to sustain them.
    They have children, though the female only becomes fertal every five years. The female pregnancies can last for a year to eighteen months. A child born a vampire will not need to feed, that is drink blood, until their transition. Transition is the event is which a vampire young becomes a full vampire, usually around age 25 or so. The event is quite tramatic and some have been known not to survive. The ones that do survive receive a set of the fangs, a need to feed and a deadly allergy to the sun as a parting gift. All this is relative to the fact that members of this race can live for an estimation of up 1000 or so years depending on the circumstances.  They can be hurt or killed the same as humans but by having superior healing abilities it makes them a bit more durable but not indestructible. They are however a slave to the sunlight. The sun will incenerate them but not their sub-species. This vampire comes is three different sizes (regular) civilian, (large) soldier and (x to xxl) Brotherhood.  Another little interesting tidbit about the males of this species, they have the strange ability to have multiple orgasms. But, I guess it isn’t so strange when you think about it. All that extra blood has to be put to good use. 
    I mentioned there is a sub-species of this vampire race, which I believe to be almost a link between human and vampire. They only have a life expectancy of about 500 or so years.  Unlike their counterpart they have the ability to walk out in the sun and are no larger than a normal sized human. Neither of the vampire species are subceptible to human viral or blood diseases.
    One last thing, the draw back. If this type of vampire did indeed exist then that would mean their enemy would too. Their enemies are called lessers. Lessers are humans, male only, that are created by a being called the Omega. He basically drains their blood, hince killing them, then reanimating the corps by filling the veins with a black oily like substance. They no longer have the need to eat, sleep or any other human function including no sex. Well they no longer have blood flowing through their veins so no erection. They can only be killed my stabing them in the chest. Their main purpose is just to kill vampires because the Omega is evil.
    All in all I think having a species of vampires such as this existing would be wonderful. I would hate to see such things as lessers existing but if that means that this type of vampire really exist I’d deal with it. Taking the good with the bad is a simple price to pay. 

    1. I’m unfamiliar with the series, although it sounds cool! But allow me to point out that I was using vampires of the type generally imagined — reanimated dead people, turned into vampires by infection, with powers of mesmerism and shape-shifting, who shun daylight which burns them, and whose bite enslaves the will. Choose another type of vampire and the results change!

      1. the world keeps changing in ways you don’t understand.
        Or, even worse, in ways you totally understand.
        Imagine being an auto mechanic who started out fixing Model T’s and now you’re working on cars that have more computing power on board each car than the entire planet had, four decades after you started working on those Model T’s.

        Such would be the learning curve for “immortality”, or even just living for a few centuries.

  5. That gets to an issue with a lot of urban fantasy franchises – whether there are vamps or not – namely they posit that there are beings, often with complex secret societies and grand conspiracies, that would definitely have profound sociological and historical impacts yet the world they inhabit seems very much like our own. And that tends to be the case whether ‘normal’ people are aware of these beings or not. So a common trope is to weave these beings into major historical events (plagues, wars, etc.), even personages in some cases, as a revelation of the true “secret history” of the world.

    Movies like Priest and Perfect Creature, in contrast, build worlds very different from our own whose development has been fundamentally altered by the existence of vampires. And while Priest has non-traditional vamps, it’s on to something in that a society that developed with a vampire threat would likely be militarist and quite possibly theocratic. But changing the ‘rules’ to make vamps less malign, less powerful, or less infectious would also affect the development of such societies, leaving open the possibilities of accommodation or even assimilation.

    The are only two logical ways to have a world in which vamps (or sorcerers, fairies, whatever) exist in a world that closely resembles our own: 1) make them extremely rare and much slower propagating if at all (whether via sexual reproduction or infection), 2) have them be dormant for a long time and only now making their presence known in a big way (like the various I Am Legend-inspired zombie and vampire franchises, or Reign of Fire in the case of dragons). Then again, in fantasy we need not be constrained by logic or plausibility. But interesting to think about nevertheless.

    1. The are only two logical ways to have a world in which vamps exist in a world that closely resembles our own
      The third: Living, breathing, 98.6°F body-temp Vampires that can go out in sunlight, eat normal food and who do not transmit vampirism by biting (which negates Costas Efthimiou’s famous “Mathematical Impossibility Theory“.

      If vampires like this can fully retract their fangs and change their eye color back to their normal human shade at will, they could hide from normal humanity very easily.

      I even have my vampires aging, albeit at the Biblical “Antediluvian Patriarch” rate. Noah is said to have died at 950 years of age. Such a person living among normal humans could be mistaken for “immortal”, simply because normal people wouldn’t live long enough to see this person age very much. “Immortality” is one of many folklores that lends itself to alternative explanations

    2. Like Priest, Trinity Blood is another example of a world sociopolitically transformed by the existence of vampires. (The Breed is dystopian, but that aspect is apparently not related to vampires.) And Daybreakers imagines a world in which the vampires win. I’d like to see more alternate history and future history treatments. Perhaps since we can expect to see many more future dystopia films with the spectacular success of The Hunger Games, there’s room for dystopias that involve vampires and the like.

  6. If vampires existed, I think they would be among the most powerful and richest of all. For they would have the wisdom of centuries and have built the relationships and environment to ensure their survival. They would find more discrete ways of feeding, they may even have labs searching for ways to make their own food.

    In the universe we live in, with its many dimensions, undiscovered zillion planets, and worm holes to other universes, anything is certainly possible.

  7. vampire hunters should not be more devstating than vampires. There are several reasons for that, one is that any vampire would vacate the area if someone put the house a vampire live on fire. An other reason is that killing non-vampire is a vaste of time and the goal would be eficciancy.

  8. What if the vampires were like the vampires in “The Saga of Darren Shan”? Then, you’d have to worry about vampires stabbing you with their fingernails, knocking you out while they feed on you, and having them tell you that most of the vampire myths we hear about in media are the root of the vampaneze and are crap. Then, several hours later, you will wake up, oblivious that you have been fed upon. Fortunately, his vampires won’t kill you when they feed on you unlike the vampaneze.

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