Why I’m Glad I’m Not Folk and Myth

2 June, 2008

I have not written in forever. Hopefully this will get fixed soon. Seeing that I’m out of school. However, I’m also working 80 hours this week. So we’ll see. In any case, here’s an entry.

One of the majors that my school offers, and the first that I seriously considered (although not anymore) is Folklore and Mythology. This is pretty cool on its own, and also because as far as I know, it’s the only university that offers it. However, despite the fact that it would be a pretty awesome major, I think their world-view and mine would really conflict. This is from the introduction to a book on vampires I got out of the library:

“Not only is the vampire a creature which in the past was considered a genuine phenomenon, it is also a universal presence. The implication of the development of this myth in different parts of the globe, in so many unconnected cultures, and its ancient origins, is the fears that it arouses are deep-rooted in the human psyche.”

The emphasis is mine. So the fat that vampires show up everywhere and everywhen is because it’s a deep-seated fear? That’s what F&M people think I guess.

But I’d like to apply a little bit of an Occam’s Razor here (I think I’m using that correctly…)… Isn’t the easiest answer not that it’s a fear, but that something resembling a vampire actually exists? That’s what I’d like to think, and I think it’s simpler than analysing the collective fears of the world…


(The quotation is from “Legends of Blood: The Vampire in History and Myth” by Wayne Bartlett and Flavia Idriceanu.)

(Also, I’ve flipped through a bunch of these books, and every single one published in the past 10 years mentions either Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Van Helsing, or both. Mostly both.



  1. I am here on your blog because I got your email through HRGSP today and clicked through (PS: could you send me a link to the review of Patience? I am curious what it said about the trombone!).

    And I redeploy your Occam’s Razor right back at you: which is more likely, that the vampire myth developed in many different cultures because actually, in all these different cultures, undead bloodsuckers (or something like them) literally exist and have existed for centuries without anyone ever successfully objectively documenting this fact, or that the vampire myth is based on something in the human mind that most cultures have in common?

    But then I am definitely not F&M either. :)

  2. Just kidding, I found the review. I am apparently too dumb to use email. Please disregard. :)

    This comment will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

  3. yeah I have to side with Rachel on this one.
    I’m curious … your problem with F&M (sounds like a discount clothing brand) lies in their tendency to ‘explain away’ the paranormal with traditional psych/science/literary symbolism type reasoning. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a major that doesn’t. History of Science, I’m sure, would take the same stance on vampires. The department you’re looking for is either cryptobiology, parapsychology or Hellboy. I don’t think Harvard offers those, but they should. By the way – did you check out that new show the Middleman? It’s the same plot as Men in Black and Hellboy, but with that sort of dry, ‘indie-brand’ comedy a la Juno or something. The pilot was meh but maybe I’ll give it a a try. I’m sure vampires will surface eventually.

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