Mysterious Vampire Legend?
The vampire legend and many behaviors and experiences of schizophrenics seem to share many common traits. The traits that are most recognizable are "fears of being enclosed, periods of semistarvation or complete starvation, which can be associated with periodic gorging, reversal of the day-night cycle, and a preoccupation with or dread of mirrors" (Kayton 304). Though the term 'schizophrenia' or 'demence precoce' was only introduced in 1852 (Boyle 43), behaviors of people affected by this illness have been documented much earlier.
The concept of a dead person returning in his living physical form and feeding on the living is considered a vampire. The vampire is believed to also be capable of transmitting his vampirism to those he infect or bite. Kayton recognizes that though this belief has been found in early writings of the Babylonians, Semites, and Egyptians, the most famous vampire scare swept Europe in 1730. This vampire epidemic lasted approximately five years (305).
The legend consistency continues with adolescent and young adult schizophrenia. It is presented to us that young suicide victims were most likely believed to become vampires and attack members of their families (Kayton 304-05). Suicide was not an uncommon event among schizophrenic patients (Boyle 255). Suicide patients are a very important part of this equation because according to the legend in England suicides were buried with a stake pierced in or near the heart. This was to ensure that that the ghost of the person would not come back and haunt the living, to prevent the suicide victim from becoming a vampire (Kayton 305). In Dracula, Lucy was killed after she had already started to haunt the living. She was killed after with a stake driven through her heart as a "duty to others" and to the dead, so that she may truly be "passed away", as "God's true dead" (266, 277-279).
Some documented cases of... [continues]
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