In our age of technical, medical and every other type of advancement imaginable, you may believe we could never have silly, superstitious beliefs like our ancestors did. But, maybe the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.
I actually began thinking about this back when Stephanie Myers' Twilight Series came out. As a writer, I wasn’t bothered in the least by the idea of a vampire baby. Hey, it’s fiction. However, some of my non-writer friends were appalled by the idea, one to the point of not finishing the series. So I decided to do a little research. Here are a few facts I found pertaining to vampire babies.
In the Middle Ages, the timing of a baby’s birth held negative as well as positive significance. Much the same as the details of the child’s lineage could have all kinds of mysterious meanings, such as, the seventh son of the seventh son might be considered to have supernatural powers.
Many of the old superstitions pertained to birth defects and abnormalities that would be considered normal today. During my years as a labor and delivery nurse, I came across one such superstition that's still around today.
I assisted in a delivery where the baby was born with what they called a veil. This is actually a membrane from the amniotic sac that separates the baby from the wall of the mother’s womb. It is completely normal, but when it fails to rupture during delivery the baby will emerge wrapped inside it. This hardly ever happens today because if it doesn’t rupture on its own the doctor will do it. Some still believe that a baby born under a veil will have special powers. For example: It’s believed if you touch the child it could bring good luck, heal the sick, or ward off evil. Twins born with a veil are said to have a guardian angel throughout life.
In the relatively small town where I live, word spread fast about the birth I’d witnessed. Several local clergymen and priests came to see the baby born under a veil. This proved to me that some of the superstitions of old still thrived in today's modern society.
The origins of the vampire legend go back centuries, to the dark ages of Transylvania, and the pagan beliefs of the Slavic people. Vampire folklore dominated the lives of peasants and priests during the Middle Ages.
As the vampire myth spread from the Balkans and took hold of the imaginations of Europe, so did the superstitions connecting a baby’s birth and vampirism. First and foremost were birth defects that would be considered normal today. If you had been born during medieval times with any of these minor abnormalities, people would’ve believed you were, or would eventually become, a vampire.
I’m certainly glad I wasn’t born in Romania. How did anyone ever live until adulthood?
Even if you weren’t afflicted by something unusual at birth, there were plenty of superstitions that carried over into an adult’s life.
If you think the living were a target for vampire superstitions, once a person died, it went into overdrive. Maybe I’ll save that for another post. And I’ve only scratched the surface for the living!
This has been a fun topic. But, I've always enjoyed talking about vampires and everything paranormal. For this writer, there's no other genre I'd be happy thinking about 24/7.
Please hit the 'Comments' button below, and share vampire mythology/superstitions that you’ve come across. Are any of them still alive today? And how do you feel about fictional, vampire babies?
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Until next time,