Vampires, werewolves and other mythical creatures of the night, could they just be metaphors for our two sided human nature with on the one hand reason dominating and the on the other, animal instincts?
Just look at vampires. What defines them?
1 – They come out only at night to satisfy their lust for blood
This is merely a parallel to our sexual instincts, indicating when humans are most likely to act upon their lusts, and when reason becomes less powerful. I don’t deny that people can and do have sexual fantasies during daytime, and act upon it. Yes, people have sex during daytime, and masturbate during daytime. But before that, you need to have been “turned” a first time (into a “vampire”). And that first “turning” is much more likely to occur and also much easier after the sun goes down. Haven’t you ever noticed how hanging around with mixed gender friends after dark is somehow different than during daytime? Especially if it is just you and one other person of whatever gender you generally prefer sexually? And I’m pretty sure that likewise the staring at Facebook pictures of attractive friends peaks at night time. Also, at night (e.g. in a club), it is so much easier to move from meeting a person to feeling sexually attracted and acting upon it, as opposed to during daytime.
It is the darkness in and by itself which is intoxicating, also without alcohol. Add some alcohol to the mix, and you’re even more easily succumbed to invite that vampire in, i.e. do something which you may regret later. Which brings us to the next point.
2 – Vampires need to be invited in
Despite the lust for blood that vampires have, there is still this layer of courtesy present. Take a one night stand. It is not forced onto someone. That would be more of a werewolf thing. In total parallel to the one night stand, the ‘traditional vampire’ tries to get to the point of being invited in by the victim through charm, and once inside it is much easier to get the victim to satisfy the vampire’s lust. If so desired by the “vampire” and if time allows, the victim can be “turned” completely into an equally blood lusting creature, creating a stronger connection between both.
If failing to “turn” the victim before sunrise, you get the dreaded morning after. The morning where the powers of the vampire have faded and the rational mind and a change of feelings kick in. Usually, there is a period of sleep between this and alcohol in the mix, but even those who are overwhelmed by lust without alcohol and who are awake until the sun rises, will notice how those rays of daylight drive away the intoxication of the night and bring back reason and critical thinking. The power of daylight may not take effect if the vampire turned the victim successfully at night. In that case, they may decide to spend daytime together further satisfying each others lust in their coffins in the catacombs, i.e. in their bed in the bedroom, spending the following day or at least following morning enjoying each other, often while keeping the daylight out.
3 – Neck biting
Does this still need explanation? It is just the animal thing that occurs during satisfaction of lusts, including humans, and I don’t mean blood lust. Just look at the Discovery Channel. Requires some skill though: the metaphorical vampire needs skill to go for the blood, the mating human needs skill to definitely not go for blood (unless it’s part of an sm fetish).
4 – Garlic
When made into a thick paste and applied to the skin, garlic can actually cause damage similar to a burn. Maybe because of this effect it got into vampire lore. Also, garlic may elicit a bad response in people with blood disease, who in some cases perhaps look as pale as a vampire and may occasionally have dried blood above their mouth (most likely from nosebleeds, but misinterpreted by superstitious people in the past as evidence for vampirism). The bad effect garlic may have on people with blood disease, is possible because garlic has anticoagulant properties promoting circulation. Other potential side effects of garlic that may manifest are burning sensations, vomiting, and nausea. So in a sense, garlic really works against vampires, or at least people who may be mistaken for one.
Although breath, body odor, and body fluids after ingestion of garlic definitely do not smell pleasant for most of us (except for the odd ones out with an unusual fetish perhaps), once digested, garlic does promote blood flow, including to the genitals and thus works as a natural aphrodisiac. It is rather ironic that an aphrodisiac is considered an effective weapon against a metaphorical creature which represents the sexual nature of human beings.
5 – ‘dehumanization’
Some vampire stories are about how the lust for blood becomes so big that it takes away the layer of humanity that remained from a time before being a vampire. In some stories, this overwhelming lust is most likely to happen when someone has only recently turned into a vampire. So drawing the parallel to humans, that would mean giving in to your lusts and putting your reason to the background is more likely to occur after you get a first taste of giving in to your lusts. In other vampire lores, ‘dehumanization’ is more likely to happen over the course of time, with the more time passing since a human has turned vampire, the more he becomes a vampire living to satisfy his blood lust, and the less which remains of his human persona. Again drawing a parallel, this would mean that giving in to sexual lusts just for the sake of sex repeatedly would lead to a gradual degradation of any moral values which hinder the objective of reaching the goal of sexual gratification. As for werewolves, gradual ‘dehumanization’ would mean each time they turn into a werewolf, they’d become more of an animal, and less of a human than the time before.
Talking of werewolves, these creatures have some parallel with vampires, but also some clear differences. Most obvious is that werewolves remain humans most nights, except for one night a month. Before any feminist readers anticipate that I will make the sexist claim that werewolves are a metaphor for women during PMS (premenstrual syndrome), let science calm you down. I remember reading some item about research indicating men equally having a cyclical change in hormone levels fluctuating over the time of the month. So, if werewolves would be a metaphor for PMS, they’d be a metaphor for the male version as well. But I’m not so sure if it’s a metaphor for PMS. It could be: superhuman strength, howling for no reason and other animalistic vocalizations of primal emotions, inspiring fear to those around you, and being overwhelmed by your animal side (your own emotions), totally transforming from the kind human being you normally are known to be, turning into a dreaded creature. Thinking of it this way, maybe I need to readjust my view. Maybe werewolves ARE after all a metaphor for PMS… Or just Old English for PMS. By the way, I’m a guy and I have my times when I turn into an animal too (call it PMS if you want, except that I don’t actually end up menstruating – duh), so again: I’m not being sexist here.
On the other hand, what made me think werewolves might not be a reference to PMS is that, if being a werewolf refers to satisfying sexual lusts as I’ve argued it does for vampires – and unlike vampires, this lust only occurs once a month – then it should occur during the part of the month in which our bodies drive us to sex on every level, not just mentally. From an evolutionary perspective, that would be ovulation time in women, and peak testosterone time of the month in men… Not PMS time. (Unless for those whose PMS already starts way early – during ovulation.)
Just my thoughts… 🙂