|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.”
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.
Historical Lilith -
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.