Hey there kids...do you... yes, you want to be a vampire? Well, reading this might change your mind!
Vampires of medieval lore were HUMANS with some very serious problems.
The true vampires of these legends had the following:
- Rabies makes one very vicious (the biting of the neck: animal instinct to kill)
- Rabies makes one very afraid of water (hence the "Holy Water" remedy)
- Rabies makes one isolate themselves from the general population (vampires living in forest and what not)
- Porphyria is a disorder that causes one's skin to be extremely flaky and pale, therefore giving easy sunburn (why vampires were "burned" by daylight and why they were "creatures of the night")
- Rabies causes one to be afraid, this is why the vampires had to be "invited in", once they were inside, the disease made them paranoid and on animal instinct...attack!
- Rabies is contracted via the bite (why a person who was "bitten by a vampire" became a vampire)
- Rabies accesses the adrenal glands during a rage, thus giving why vampires were unable to be killed via "normal" means
As time went on, more and more stuff was added to the "list" of vampiric qualities. Now, as for vampires and bats:
- Bats are known for their carriage of the Rabies disease
- Bats are active at night
- These people with Porphyria went out at night to not get sunburn
- If the had to walk through the forest, there would probably be bats around
- A bat carrying Rabies would bite this poor soul and thus give him Rabies
- Rabies does not act instantly, therefore caused the "gradual change" in the person
Garlic and vampires:
"Garlic" specifically does not repel Rabid animals. Now, how does it "repel" the undead vampire? Well, mosquito bites have long been associated with sucking blood and spreading disease. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for mosquito bites. Both vampires and mosquitoes suck the blood; therefore, it was easy for this to just transfer smoothly over to a vampiric remedy.
The Steak into the heart and vampires:
As previously states, Rabies will access the victims adrenal glands, causing them to gain greater strength and endurance; however, if the heart is stabbed through, no amount of adrenaline can keep the person alive. Chopping off the head of a "vampire" would work just as well, as well as dismembering it, or any other serious injuries.
The cross and the vampire:
More symbolic than an actuality. The Cross in Christianity and the Vampire have two things in common: everlasting life. Now, the Cross is the complete rejectance of self for eternal life. The Vampire is the opposite: total self-hood for eternal life. The Cross is supposed to overcome the Vampire symbolically because the act of selflessness overcome the act of selfishness. Now, chances are that unless "Divine Intervention" was offered to some "Believe" under attack from one of these Rabid, Porphyria humans, it would not work. This paves way to the idea that "Undying Faith" is needed to stop a Vampire with a Cross. The idea is that if it doesn't work (which it probably will NOT), you simply didn't have enough "Faith".
There are a multitude of other remedies, but that is all I shall explain. Each remedy is something that would either repel a normal human, is symbolic, or repels the disease/disorder that a "vampire" has.
The idea of vampires being immortal stems back to the fact that sometimes a human would be buried in the medieval days without the organs being removed. If a grave was dug up and the coffin open, "blood would be seen around the mouth" and "the hair and fingernails could be seen to have been growing". The answer to this is simple: bacteria that decompose cause the body to bloat, and thus blood to flow out of the mouth. It has been proven that for a certain period after death, the hair and fingernails continue to grow.
So kids...are you still sure you want to be a vampire? I sure do hope not!