Vampires Or Gods?

by William Meyers

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Introduction to VAMPIRES OR GODS?

     "Mind you do not slip, for the road behind and
     ahead is wet with blood. Man-robbers are now
     more numerous than gold-robbers. If they are
     intent of robbing people of reason and
     awareness, what then will they make of him who
     is unaware of himself?"
                                   -- Jalal Al-din Rumi

The Reality of Immortality

     The vampire is immortal. The vampire defies death.
The vampire can give the gift, or curse, of immortality
to other men and women. That is the essence of the
vampire "myth."
     Some religious adherents insist that their God
lives, today, in human form, but immortal. Many past
religions insisted that their God lived and claimed
immortality for him. Only a few religious systems,
notably Judaism, Islam, and some forms of Buddhism,
worship an abstract God that has no divine, immortal,
human counterpart on earth.
     The materialistic, naturalistic (and sometimes
atheistic) world-view that developed in Europe in this
millennium rejected all these claims. Most scholars went
so far as to deny that immortal religious figures like
Hercules, Romulus, Osiris and Jesus Christ ever had a
real existence. They claimed that these figures were
mythological creations of the human imagination. In
particular, since the Christians had already convinced
most people that Greek, Roman, and other gods were
mythological, scholars wrote many a book trying to
convince people that Jesus Christ either never existed
or, if he did exist, did not rise from the dead.
     But scientists today are beginning to make
immortality imaginable even for those of us born mortal.
A recent Scientific American article surveying publicly
known research [Why Do We Age? by Ricki L. Rusting,
December, 1992, p. 130] offers a variety of experimental
ways of extending life well into a second century. Most
important, research verifies that there is a strong
genetic component to longevity: each species of life has
a basic life-span, within which is some degree of
     Perhaps the ancient Gods, including those discussed
in this book, were merely exceptionally endowed men and
women. Perhaps they lived to be 120 in an age when living
to be 40 was unusual. Or perhaps they lived far longer;
some may be alive today, two millennia or more after
their births.
     Later chapters will focus on the historical record.
What I say here must remain, at present, speculation: a
consideration of possibilities. This book will focus on
those men and women claiming to have been humans who
somehow triumphed over death. I cannot claim to say much
about vampires in general: perhaps only a few have tried,
or been successful, at setting themselves up as gods. If
there were more immortals, perhaps they found life to be
better posing as businessmen, or as bums, rather than
posing as gods or sages. But to look for vampires in the
historical record, they must be in it; and religious
cults of sufficient size tend to show up in the history

The Resurrection of the Dead

     Consider one definition of a vampire: "a corpse that
becomes reanimated" [Webster's New World Dictionary]. In
most of the cases of beings claiming to be Gods presented
in this book, Godhood came only after death. Therefore it
is often assumed that immortality was in the spirit, not
in the flesh. Those who deny that vampires exist claim
that "the spirit" was memories of the living, perhaps in
dreams or a result of temporary schizophrenia. When
Krishna, Orpheus, or the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to
someone in our present time, the skeptics again call it
a hallucination or dream.
     Many people, however, maintain that the spirit is
something separable from the body. They might argue that
since a voice can be sent by radio waves, and a
computer's intelligence stored on a magnetic tape,
perhaps some medium exists that supports human
consciousness, apart from the brain. In that case,
presumably, longevity or immortality would rest on the
nature of the medium and the coherence of the mind and
     But against this whole theory is the plain claim
that the corpses of the ancient gods were, in fact,
reanimated. Skeptics claim that, since reanimation is
impossible, either they were not really, totally dead, or
those with a stake in the nascent religion hid the dead
body and lied about it. Certainly in ancient times, as in
the present day, some people came so close to death that
those who observed them genuinely believed they had
perished. And certainly men lie, especially when their
egos or livelihoods are at risk.
     In the world of plants and animals, however,
reanimation is a much more common feat. Many animals can
regenerate a lost limb or tail as easily as humans can
heal a flesh wound. Most children have observed a
mosquito or fly that, having been swatted and left for
dead, has resurrected itself. Perhaps some humans have
that ability.
     Then there is the possibility that we are not
dealing, in the case of vampire-gods, with humans at all.
Perhaps they are a distinct species, related to man as
man is related to gorillas. Or the gods were a result of
a mating between immortal beings and ordinary humans, as
is claimed in the stories of Dionysus, Hercules, Jesus
Christ and others. Perhaps the rash of women claiming to
have been abducted by UFO's in the past two decades will
find that their children are immortal or have unusual
     One informant who claims to know real "vampires,"
humans who do not age or age only slowly, says that while
they are not sure what causes their condition, a common
theory is that it is simply a rare and recessive gene or
set of genes. This could explain why most immortals
chronicled in this book were the result of some sort of
sexual liaison that today is considered incest. The most
common circumstances were men mating with their female
descendants, and sisters mating with their brothers, both
of which would tend to make a recessive gene manifest
(and in fact usually results not in immortality, but in
degeneration). The incestuous relations of the Greek gods
are well known, as was the habit of the Egyptian pharaohs
of marrying their sisters, perhaps modeling themselves on

                     Holy Grail or
               Night of the Living Dead?

     The title of this book is: Vampires or Gods? For the
ordinary person, this is the crucial question. One
definition of Gods that fits our subjects is "various
beings conceived as supernatural, immortal, and having
special powers over the lives and affairs of people"
[ibid]. However, with the rise of monotheism each
religious cult claimed its particular God was the Supreme
and only Deity. A Roman or Greek had several Gods to
choose from, and might, in good judgement, at one point
serve Mars and at another Venus. Modern worshippers
usually put all their eggs in one basket.
     To believe that rising from the dead is sufficient
to be credentialed as the Supreme Being is to put
yourself at grave risk. You may not be worshipping a God,
but a vampire. The vampire, to preserve its own
immortality, is likely to be more interested in your soul
or life energy than in mere blood. Or, if vampires have
no special spiritual qualities, they may be interested in
servants for their worldly empires.

                    Blood and Wine

     Because of the fame of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula,
many people are aware of the (perhaps mythological)
particular case of a man who rose from the dead: Vlad
III, Prince of Wallachia (not Transylvania, though he
spent part of his childhood there), also known as
Dracula, the son of Dracul (from the Romanian word for
Dragon). The idea that vampires drink blood is closely
associated with Dracula, whose resurrection from the dead
was correctly seen by the Wallachian and Transylvanian
peasants (who had been pagans) as directly prefigured by
Jesus Christ's meal of blood and human flesh just before
his crucifixion.
     Dracul and Dracula introduced Catholicism to
Wallachia; the Order of the Dragon promised eternal life
to those nobles who would forcibly convert their subjects
to Catholicism. Dracula did not claim to be a God. Very
likely only a few immortals find that convenient. Instead
he went on to be a powerful figure in the Catholic
Church, largely responsible for its successful
Inquisition in Spain and the conquest of the New World.
Rumors abound that to this day he lives in the Vatican
and acts as an adviser to the Popes.
     However, drinking blood does not appear to be a
recipe for immortality. Many people have tried drinking
human or animal blood and found that it has no effect
upon the aging process. Most of the Immortals examined in
this book have no reputation for drinking blood, though
a few do. Many, however, (Mithras and Krishna, for
example) are warrior Gods who encourage men to spill
their blood in battle. And others such as Dionysus and
Jesus were closely associated with drinking wine.
     Others derived their resurrection from the powers of
their wife or mother. Before the Roman/Greek era female
gods were perhaps commoner than male gods, but little
written material remains from that epoch. Cybele is one
woman who was believed to have achieved immortality after
starting as a human; this was attributed to her baptism
in the blood of a bull.

                  Fangs, Bats & Etc.

     I should say a word about fangs. Movie vampires
always have them. None of the vampires discussed in this
book, not even Prince Dracula, were depicted with fangs
before or after death. The most natural source of this
idea is, of course, the need to break the skin to drink
blood; for which the fangs of various carnivorous animals
doubtless served as models. But the mythical aspect is
better served by the association of many vampire-gods,
especially Dionysus, with fanged snakes.
     Bats are now associated with vampires, and not just
through Dracula. There are the infamous vampire bats of
South America that bite cattle and then lick up the blood
with their tongues. But they are not immortal. Very
likely the fact that bats spread rabies, which seems to
cause a demonic frenzy in humans, contributed to this
myth. Many of the vampire-gods were associated with
animals, but none with bats. Jesus Christ could appear as
a dove (though more often he was called the Lamb of God)
and Quetzalcoatl was also represented as a bird/snake.
     Even the lowly mosquitoes and biting flies probably
contributed to current vampire-lore. But the purpose of
this book is not to attempt to dispel every accreted
article of myth, but to clarify the central truths about
the vampire-gods.
     I would not claim that all immortals are inherently
evil. There is much evidence that some immortals dislike
the exploitation of mortal humans by their unscrupulous
brethren. Claims abound of the many ways some immortals
have helped humans. But this may be the ancient,
vampire's equivalent of modern corporate advertising
campaigns. Hypocrisy has always had a field day in the
religious domain. Vampires may care no more for humans
than many humans care for animals.
     I have put forward many ideas in this short
introduction. I believe it is important for people to
examine the evidence for themselves, and form their own
conclusions. In fact, this entire book can only introduce
the topic. Many of our immortals have had volumes written
about them, and many men and women claiming to be gods
have been ignored herein because of a poverty of
information about them. Hopefully those who want to
pursue the subject further will find the list of sources
at the end of each chapter helpful, as well as the
general references at the end of this book.

          "Paranoia is knowing what is really going on."
                              -- William S. Burroughs


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