Friday, 12 April 2013

The Soul has its Abode in the Blood

Dear Bishop Manchester, I have recently seen the"Bram Stoker's Dracula" movie on TV again and it has lead me to the following question: In your writings, as I understand them, you describe the vampire as an undead corpse 're-animated' by Satan and as a demonic entity without a soul. Bram Stoker however described Dracula turning into a vampire in his lifetime (eg without dying beforehand) and also suggests that the Count retains his former personality (searches for his lost love etc), albeit in a more 'evil' form. This leads me to the question if there are different kinds of vampires and if it is possible for someone to be 'changed' into a vampire without dying before and if there are also vampires that retain at least parts of their former individual personality (and maybe of their soul)? Thanks for replying. Best regards.  Patrick.

Dracula (1897) was thoroughly researched using works of non-fiction about folklore and vampirism, and Bram Stoker visited Highgate Cemetery on innumerable occasions where he took tea in the afternoon. He would have been aware of tales of the hobbs, ghosts and demons that abounded. Not surprisingly, perhaps, he fortuitously set the Westenra Tomb in the Western Cemetery at Highgate  the very section that was later identified as having a vampire contagion. The truth is invariably stranger than fiction, as Stoker undoubtedly knew, but his work is ultimately a novel, ie fiction, albeit one of the most read books in the world.

To answer your question, the intended victim of a real vampire might fall under its malignant influence, but it would not be possible for someone to "change" into one while still alive. Enjoyable though Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula (1992) might be as a cinematic experience, it is not a faithful retelling of Stoker's novel and, even if it had been, Bram Stoker's original Dracula is not a faithful account of real vampirism. That notwithstanding, there are elements in both film and book, mostly the latter, which ring true.

The soul of an afflicted person who assumes death following the predations of a demonic entity is an interesting one which I discuss in my concise vampirological guide, a copy of which I believe you already possess. I describe the undead as a fundamentally malevolent and parasitic force which manifests in corporeal form; a bloodsucking androgyne with foul appetites, and the most abhorrent and feared of all that dwells in the malign supernatural underworld.

To attribute human desires and personalities onto such a creature is a mistake, but it has been debated for centuries by clergy and demonologists as to what exactly has happened to the soul of an undead person.

The undead state is not, nor can it be, true death. Equally, it is not true life. It is a twilight condition between life and death from which there is only one release. Through exorcism the tormented soul is released to find the peace of death and the demonic aspect is cast out to a nether region. I hasten to add, that the demonic polluter cannot be destroyed, only sent back from whence it came. The host corpse will then return to its natural state, all superntaural effect having been removed, and appear as it should in death.

Not everyone will agree with me. Some subscribe to the view that vampiric spectres merely masquerade as the deceased and that the soul of the victim is not involved. This is an easier option for demonologists to adopt a perhaps and a more comfortable one theologically to explain, but I speak from personal experience and while the predatory wraith might very well assume different metamorphoses, it has the power to manifest as a corporeal form that is as tangible as you and I. William of Malmesbury in  the twelth century tells of evil men returning to walk the world after they had "died" and been interred. He credited this ability to the Devil who caused the corpse's reanimantion and vitality beyond the grave. The significance of blood cannot be underestimated for the soul has its abode in the blood as long as life lasts. In Leviticus 17: 14, the soul is identified with the blood, as it is in Genesis 9: 4; Deuteronomy 12: 23.

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