Lilith - Mother of Vampires
 


Throughout the realm of shadows there resides, in many forms and numerous names, those creatures who lurk in darkness. A variety of mysterious creatures, similar to the Vampire, exist in the myths and legends of every culture around the world. While the names and attributes of the beings vary, their motivation is quite the same; they live to feed off of the living.

The earliest account of these creatures of the night derives from Mesopotamia. Lamatsu was a serpent demon who reportedly stole children from their homes and devoured them. Lamatsu was also responsible for infants who were found dead in their cradles. Another incarnation of Lamatsu appears later, in the guise of Lilith.

In early Hebraic writings, Lilith took the form of a winged demon with the body of a woman with owl-like talons for feet. She was reported to be the first wife of Adam (before Eve was created). Lilith was formed of the same earth from which Adam was created, therefore she considered herself his equal. That being the case, Lilith refused to be submissive. She was subsequently banished from God’s presence to the demon realm. Lilith’s offspring were damned to become demons with Lilith taking the title of “Mother of Demons.”

 


Lilith


Lamia

The "demonized" Lilith gave rise to other variations of her story. Her transformation from militant woman to demon mother provided her with many new attributes. Like Lamatsu, Lilith, would steal infants and small children from their beds to devour them. Another variation is her depiction as a Succubus. Lilith would seduce unwary men in order to steal their semen. The men would not survive this encounter. In later versions of this incarnation, Lilith reportedly drank the blood of her victims. She would use the semen to conceive her demon offspring. Her sanguinary talents eventually provided her with another title.

In more contemporary interpretations of Lilith's story, she is considered to be the earliest account of the Vampire. When Lilith was banished all of her children were destroyed by God. Lilith's answered this violent act by vowing to feed off of the children of Adam, namely, human beings.
Her title as, “Mother of Demons” has been exchanged for the title, “Mother of Vampires.” Her importance to Vampire myths and legends is, then, quite apparent. Without Lilith and her numerous incarnations there might very well be no Vampires.

 Lilith Links:

 Historical Lilith - http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topics/Lilith/index.html
Lilith Shrine – http://www.lilitu.com/lilith/
Lilith - http://www.crystalinks.com/vampires.html
Feminist Lilith - http://www.sacredspiral.com/Database/lilith/index.html
Lilith - http://www.shebitch.co.uk/TheLair/vampire/lillith.htm

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Pages created by David Kulik, Robyn Reed, Lora Bailey, and Stephanie Brooks for Vampires on Film ENG 331. December 27, 2004.