Please welcome Liz Strange to VampChix today! Liz is the author of MY LOVE ETERNAL, part of The Dark Kiss series.
I have often been asked, “Where did your fascination with vampires come from?” Now an easy answer would be that I first became intrigued with the blood-sucking nightwalkers when I read Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot at about eleven years old. Truth be told, I think the answer is more complex than that. From the get-go I have always enjoyed fiction with a darker tone, whether it be fantasy, mystery/forensic novels or straight-up horror, but I have also had a life-long fascination with mythology, history and anthropology.
Of the many hours I have passed reading and watching shows/documentaries, it always intrigued me that so many cultures share a belief in vampire-like creature, whether it be a spiritual or corporeal entity, a being that subsists by a parasitic relationship with human kind, hungry for our blood, sexual energy, even our souls. Here are a few that stand out for me:
The Ekimmu of the ancient Sumer civilization, like many vampires of folklore, was believed to have been created when someone died a violent death or was not buried properly. They were described as demonic in nature, severely rotting corpses, phantom-like entities that roamed the earth, unable to rest, in search of victims.
The Asanbosam (or Asasabonsam) from Ghana have hooks for feet and come in three types (male, female and child). They have iron teeth and dangle their feet down from trees onto victims. They are also thought to suck blood from the thumbs of sleeping people.
The Strix was a night demon from Ancient Rome which attacked infants. This Strix developed into the Stegra - a women who flies about in bird form and attacks infants: chronicled in the Saxon Capitulary of Charlemagne in 781.
In Scotland the Baobban sith were usually described as young maidens in long green dresses (which hide their cloven holves). They are afraid or repelled by horses and cause massive wounds on the necks and shoulders of men they dance with.
Yet my favourite myth, and one I have incorporated into the back-story of my Dark Kiss Trilogy, comes from ancient Egypt. Here we find the mighty Sekhmet, a powerful goddess with the head of a lion, always hungry for vengeance and blood.
The good god, the lord of action, Neb-Ma'at-Ra [Amenhotep III], Beloved of Sekhmet, the Mistress of Dread, who gives life eternally. The son of the God Ra of His own body, Amenhotep, ruler of Waset (Thebes), Beloved of Sekhmet, the Mistress of Dread, Who gives life eternally."
-- Inscription on a statue of Sekhmet
She was closely associated with Hathor(the goddess of joy, music, dance, sexual love, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. Sekhmet´s main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as "the destroyer" alongside her consort Ptah (the creator) and son Nefertum (the healer). Her name suits her function and means, translating as (one who is) powerful. She also was given titles such as the (One) Before Whom Evil Trembles, the Mistress of Dread, and the Lady of Slaughter. Sekhmet was also described as the Avenger of Wrongs, and the Scarlet Lady, a reference to blood, as in the one with bloodlust. She also was seen as a special goddess for women, ruling over menstruation.
Legend has it that Ra (the sun god) created her as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men for their wicked ways and disobedience to him. Sekhmet, in the form of a lioness, hurled herself upon the men who had rebelled against Ra. She attacked them with such fury that the sun god feared she might exterminate the entire human race and begged her to stop the carnage. She had no ears to hear it. So Ra spilled 7,000 jugs containing a magic potion composed of beer and pomegranate juice in her path. Sekhmet, mistaking the red liquid for human blood, lapped it up and become too drunk to continue the slaughter.I envision vampires as a combination of many attributes described in various legends: beauty, immortality and ruthlessness.
Happy reading everyone!
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