For today’s post, I have decided to take a look at Faery and vampire tales and how the two can overlap. Several types of faeries could be viewed as vampiric. Two good examples are the Leanan Sidhe and the Dearg Due, with the latter being the closest that Irish legend has to the traditional vampire.
Vampires in traditional folklore were simply the dead raised as waking corpses that need to feed on human blood in order to survive. Over the centuries the status of vampires has been much more fleshed out. Instead of merely walking corpses, they were re-animated in a way that allowed them to still blend in with humans. The idea of walking corpses would go on to be more associated with brain and flesh-eating zombies. In the nineteenth century, the vampire would go on to become a literary icon. They are the most human of the classic monsters and therefore are easily used to bring into light conversations about societal structures!
Faeries in older traditional folklore were often shown to be dark and scary. They are accused of stealing women and children while leaving changelings in their place. It is also a common occurrence in faery lore to have innocent humans accidentally find themselves in Faeryland and unable to get back home. In this way, the fae is seen as evil, even sometimes being said to be demonic! This is what happened when the Catholic Church attempted to integrate the Faery Faith into Christianity. Instead of being wild beings who were related to many Gods and Goddesses, especially in Celtic countries, they were instead fallen angels and demonic spirits intent on harming humans! We see this in the gradual demonization of specific Faery Goddesses over centuries. One of the most obvious examples of this gradual demonization comes in the way my favorite Goddess Morgan le Fay has been portrayed over the centuries! She began as a benevolent healer and Goddess of Avalon and eventually became the ultimate villain of the Arthuriad!
Now, how do these vampires and faeries relate to one another? Both were seen as malevolent creatures in the most common folklore that we have about them. The Dearg Due and the Leanan Sidhe are both faeries that have a vampiric tendency to feed on people in some way. This gives us a specific link between faeries and vampiric habits. In many ways, both faeries and vampires can be seen as complex figures that are oft-misunderstood but can be used as sociological examples to analyze human nature and beliefs! What more can we ask for than to have supernatural creatures that can help us understand innate truths within ourselves?
I hope that you have enjoyed this short post and learning some of my musings on vampires and faeries. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a vampire by Victoria Frances. I found the image on http://dreadfuldreary.blogspot.com/2011/06/art-of-victoria-frances.html.
- A New Dictionary of Fairies by Morgan Daimler
- The Vampire in Lore and Legend by Montague Summers