Vampires, Werewolves, and other nasties

Vampire-like creatures appear in the mythology of most peoples from ancient times to the present. The ancient Assyrian Ekiminu, half-vampire and half-ghost, haunted the living. The popularity of vampire works by contemporary writers such as Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire, made into a movie a few years back) as well as television shows like Forever Knight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel demonstrate how powerful this ancient mythic image remains even in our technologically sophisticated society.

Sorcerer The shapeshifter derives from prehistoric times. One of the most famous Paleolithic carvings, known as "The Sorcerer," comes from the cave of Trois Frères near Ariège in the French Pyrénées. The body is that of some large animal. The hind legs are human below the knees. The tail is wolf-like. The front legs or arms terminate in human-like hands. The birdlike face is surmounted with deer antlers. Perhaps the image is meant to represent a shaman in flux between the human and animal states.

A favorite target for shape-shifters to assume is that of the wolf. The werewolf has been the subject of numerous films and literary works in this century. A recent example is the movie Wolf starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. Another is the character of Oz in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Last modified by pib on October 15, 2001.