I've done some meagre research of my own, and suprisingly, the earliest reference of Vampirisim that I've found comes from the bible, and the story of Cain. I saw it on the internet a while back as well...
Hang on, I'll dig it out.
Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain, a tiller of the ground, and Abel, a shepherd. Both brought offerings to God, Cain brought the fruits of the ground, and Abel, brought one of his flock as an offering. God approved of Abel’s offering, but not that of Cain’s. Cain became very angry at this. As he and Abel where in the field on day, Cain rose up and struck his brother repeatedly until he was dead. God asked Cain “Where is your brother?” and Cain answered “Am I my brother's keeper?”. God then asked Cain what he had done, that his brothers blood cried to him from the earth. For his punishment in slaying his brother, Cain was cursed, the ground would not produce anything for him any longer, a fugitive and vagabond he would be.
Cain told God his punishment was more than he could bear, to always be hidden from the face of God and driven out from the face of the earth. Cain also told God his concern of being killed, but God set a mark upon Cain that if any should harm him, they would suffer punishment sevenfold. Cain then left into the land of Nod.
In myth, it is said that the curse that God had set upon Cain was to be cast into a world of darkness with a continuous craving for blood, and this curse has been passed from generation to generation, all the way up to the vampires of today. It is said that when Cain went into the world of darkness, that he became acquainted with Lilith, the first wife of Adam. She had given some of her blood to Cain, which awakened him to his ability. After wandering for years in the wild, he returned to being amongst the mortals where he built a city called Enoch. There, Cain created the second generation of vampires by turning three mortals, they in turn created a third generation of vampires in vast numbers, and Cain finally forbade the creation of vampires from thence on.
After some time, the city Cain had built was destroyed by a flood. Cain ended up abandoning the city and leaving all the generations of vampires behind to do what ever they wanted, but before he left, he reminded them of his command to not create any more vampires. The vampires completely rebelled against Cain’s command and made a 4th generation of vampires, who rose up against the elder vampires.
The problem is that we have very little in the way of documented evidence for Lilith - in the bible at any rate. We do, however, know she was a Goddess.
This site ( http://www.gotojassminesitenow.com/godd ... llith.html
) has this as the story of Lillith:
LEGEND OF LILLITH - "My name thou knowest not, and yet shall know, And know too late. But, know thou this indeed: Joy is my sister. Sister I, to Death." It is said that Lillith was the twin sister of Adam and dwelt with him in the Garden at Paradise. Adam was king of Eden and Lillith wished to be co-ruler with him, but the Lord of Light permitted it not. Lillith was beautiful and wise. She wearied of her brother, Adam, who was less wise than she. Lillith refused to bear children from Adam. The Lord of Light was angered and turned Lillith out of Paradise. Samuel, an angel of the Lord of Light and a son of god, fell in love with Lillith. To Samuel, Lillith bore three half-god, half-human children, all called the nephilim. Their wisdom, power and beauty was so great that the children of Darkness were afraid of them and called them monstrous names to defile them. Lillith would not be defiled. From her beloved Samuel she learned the wisdom of the Lord of Light and became the first witch. She lived as a daughter of the night mother, calling the people to dance and be joyous by the light of the moon. Her symbol was the night owl, and those who followed her called her Arionrhod. The children of Darkness trembled and barred their doors at night seeking to protect themselves lest Lillith take them and teach them the ways of the wise ones, the witches of old.
Litllith is an archetype for the woman who refuses to be dominated by man. She was created the stories say when Adam was created from dust just as Adam was, she claimed to be his equal. When Adam wanted to lie with her she wanted to know why she must be on the bottom. This shows she was in full control of her sexuality. She is a largely misunderstood archetype who has been called Poetress of Darkness, Imp of Impetuosity, and Occasional Serpent of Seduction. . She is deeply committed to her personal freedom and keeps her moral strength alive. She was kicked out of Eden and then Adam was given another wife. In some tales she is the snake of the garden who tempted Eve. Some stories say she is a demon,others a fallen angel. . She has a mysterious power that is permanent, direct, and instinctual. To be cast out for not obeying your husband is enough to make you a snake or a demon in the history of the Jewish people.
So we have two conflicting stories about 'Lillith' or Arianhrod - one that she was the first Vampire, one a Goddess and the first witch.
It was when I was learning Anglo Saxon when it came to me that if spellings can change and new words can come in, what if I was appraching it from the wrong angle? I then took to reseaarching the orgins of the WORD 'Vampire'.
The term vampir was used in Russia and in other Slavic lands such as Poland and Serbia. The word vampir may possibly be derived from the Magyar (Hungarian) language, although some say that vampir is related to the Russian word peets which means "to drink."
Vrykolakas was the Greek term for vampire. The Greek vampire may have been a person who was excommunicated from the Orthodox Church prior to death.
Ekimmu was a vampire spirit of ancient Babylonia which rose from the dead when hungry, especially if foolish humans forgot to leave food sacrifices near his grave. When hungry he returned to earth for human blood.
Murony was a vampire from Wallachia which was a shapeshifter as well as a bloodsucker. It could change its form into that of a dog, a cat, an insect or another creature. In Wallachian lore, a person who died unexpectedly was highly suspect of becoming a vampire. Sudden death was assumed to be the work of a vampire. Sometimes a long spike or nail was punched into the skull of a dead body to prevent it from returning from the grave. The Murony may also be seen as a werewolf, a living human who became a dog or wolf at night and hunted other animals especially cattle.
Lithuanian vampires apparently got drunk on blood, not being content to simply have a sip or two of the bright, red liquid. In Lithuanian the word wempti meant "to drink."
The English word "vampire" (also spelled "vampyre") was first seen in the early 1700s. Its exact origin is unknown. It may have its roots in the Turkish word uber, a term meaning "witch." This word in turn underwent a metamorphosis to Slavic tones to sound like "upior" or "upyr," eventually resulting in the words "vampyre," "vampir" and then "vampire."
In Sanskrit the monster was a Baital. There were other terms for this monster, from the Spanish vampiro and Latin vampyrus, to the unquestionably German-sounding Blutsaeuger (literally, "Bloodsucker") and my favorite, the elegant French version: Le Vampire.
"Nosferatu" is another Eastern European term for vampire, or at least it is believed to be. "Nosferatu" is one of the more curious words for the vampire. The Western world became acquainted with this term first with the Irish writer Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula. Later, in 1922, the word appeared again with the first film ever made about the evil Transylvanian count, called, of course, "Nosferatu." (There were earlier silent films made about vampires, but they no longer exist for viewing purposes.)
The word "nosferatu," however, might not actually be a Slavic word. In fact, it might not be a real word at all. David J. Skal, a modern researcher of vampires, believes that the word "nosferatu" was a mistake or alteration of the Romanian word nesuferit, which comes from ancient Latin and means "not to suffer," or could imply "insufferable" or "intolerable" -- all words descriptive of a vampire's offensive personality. It is argued that Bram Stoker first discovered the word "nosferatu" while doing research for his book Dracula. He apparently read an 1885 writing called Transylvanian Superstitions by Emily de Laszowska Gerard, wherein she used the term "nosferatu" in place of "nesuferit." It is also possible that "nosferatu" could have been a slang term or variant for "nesuferit."
Whatever the case, today "nosferatu" means vampire largely because of director F.W. Murnau's 1922 German film which bears the name.
Still another interpretation of the word "nosferatu," from author Manuela Dunn-Mascetti, implies the word could be related to the Romanian term meaning "unclean one" -- necuratul. The people of Transylvania (which, by the way, is a real place in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania) have long held a belief in the so-called nosferatu (or vampire) -- a term which has demonic connotations as well.
There we see that Vampires have ben around for a long time in different cultures, masquerading under different names. Still on the search, I came across a very interesting article relating to the Black Death:
(from the same site as the above quote: http://www.parascope.com/en/articles/vampires04.htm
Throughout history the legend of the vampire has been used to "explain" other natural phenomena that primitive people who lacked scientific knowledge could not otherwise explain. Possibly the most astonishing belief which people associated vampires with was the Black Death during the Middle Ages in Europe.
The Black Death, as we now know, was actually Bubonic plague spread by fleas and rats. The plague (which came from the East, not unlike the vampire) may have killed as much as a third of the population of Europe in the 1300s. Some people of the day, however, associated the multitude of deaths with vampires. Somehow they believed that the deaths were the workings of these monsters; perhaps the vampires spread plague, they may have thought. In some cases people believed a deceased relative returned as a vampire and killed a victim (who actually died of the plague). Alternately, it was believed a dead enemy could return and kill someone turning the victim into a vampire as well. Many graves were dug up and the bodies of suspected vampires mutilated to "kill" the vampire.
That's just a selection of the very interesting article, which goes on to talk about how Vampiric graves were 'located', some of the (very bizzare) methods used to stop the spread of Vampirisim. From the same document later on....
The Church in Europe during the Middle Ages came to recognize the existence of vampires and changed it from a pagan folk myth into a creature of the Devil. The vampire, though clearly a thing of evil and a pagan myth, had its believability reinforced by preexisting Christian doctrines such as life after death, the resurrection of the body, and "transubstantiation." This was a concept based on the Last Supper and the dogma of Pope Innocent the III in 1215 A.D., that the "bread and wine" and its equivalent during Christian Communion literally transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of Christ. People who adhered to this belief, and who consumed the blood of Christ, would have little difficulty in believing the corrupted corollary to this -- the drinking of blood by evil demons, namely, vampires.
The Church during the Middle Ages gave credence to the belief in vampires, concluded that it alone had the power to stop vampirism, and then reinforced this position two centuries later in 1489 with its landmark book, Malleus Maleficarum........Two centuries after this, evidence that the Church still clung to a belief in vampires was found in the writing of the noted theologian Leo Allatius. As a Church scholar he studied the vrykolakas, the Greeks' concept of the vampire. In his 1645 work called On the Current Opinions of Certain Greeks, he concluded that vampires were often the result of excommunication. Proof of their vampirism is that the body does not decay, indicating that it cannot leave this earthly plane. A swollen body was also evidence of possible vampirism. As some bodies might not decay rapidly due to the type of chemicals in the soil or the cold air temperature, and since bodily swelling was the result of naturally produced gasses in a corpse, many a dead man was wrongly presumed to be a vampire. Oddly enough, incorruptibility --the failure of the dead body to decay -- was also a sign of holiness, even evidence of saintliness. The difference was that a vampire did not totally decay but did become grotesque in form with discoloration and bloating, while a holy body remained almost perfectly intact as if still alive. Also, vampires smelled bad during the lack of decay, whereas sanctified bodies did not.......Proof of the Church's power over vampires (and hence the power of the crucifix or holy cross to scare off vampires -- although more modern vampires appear to be less susceptible to this) dates all the way back, at least, to Medieval England. A writer named William of Newburgh discussed the case of a man who died in the 12th century A.D. Supposedly he rose from the dead to torment his wife. After causing much consternation with the local villagers and clergy, the bishop of the region pardoned the corpse in writing for all his past sins. The grave was opened and the actual written pardon was placed over the body of the "vampire." The people were surprised -- or maybe not -- to see the body was still in good condition without signs of decay, sure proof of vampirism. But fortunately for everyone, once the pardon was placed in the grave, the vampire visited no more. Note that this method of dispelling the vampire with an official Church document was remarkably more civil and legalistic than the ordinary way peasants would dispense with a vampire found in the grave -- by burning the corpse, ripping out its heart, chopping off its head, or giving it the old wooden stake through the heart.
Sorry this turned into a long post, but Vampires have always intrigued me.
"ǽr notian ond æfteryld céosan ǽghwæðer, gehwilc gesælan of árweorðung gān begeondan gelǽran and gelust."
("Till use and old age accept them, and all chance of valour has gone beyone recall or desire...")