3.14 – ALIENS & THE UNDEAD (10.26.11)

VAMPIRES [15d]

Oaxaca, Mexico. Situated on a low mountain range rising above the central plain, lie the ancient ruins of Monte Albán. Here, around 100 BC, researchers believe the Zapotec Indians worshipped a bloodthirsty Mayan god with the body of a man and the head of a bat. They called him Camazotz.

“The iconography is rather striking, the image of a half man half bat A man with the head of a bat and a wing like cloak spread out with crosses and bones in the lining.”

David Skal (Author, V is for Vampire)

“The Zapotec people in the Oaxaca area of Mexico believed that winged creatures, bat- like creatures come in the night. They will attack, they will drink blood and disappear without ever being noticed.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

“This is simply a sort of anthropomorphic bat, which was worshiped by the sacrifice of libations of blood. So, what they did was they cut themselves and poured it into a bowl and offered it to the god.”

Bob Curran, Ph.D. (Researcher / Folklore Expert)

“Blood was a very important substance to the Mayan. That is what gave humans life, blood and breath was what the essence of life was. That is where this k’uhul, this divine essence resided in blood and in breath. When you would die, you entered into the underworld, it was called Xibalba Then if you defeated the lords of the death, you would then ascend into the heavens and become one of the revered ancestors.”

Andrew Wyatt, Ph.D. (Archaeologist, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago)

“The blood is the thing that reconnects, the world where we live in with the world of the dead.”

Richard Rader, Ph.D.
(Lecturer, UCLA Dept of Classics/UCSB Dept of Classics),
(Author, Theology and Existentialism in Aeschylus)

“Some of the earliest archaeological evidence shows that blood rituals were present as far back as we can search.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

Legends and myths of supernatural beings with traits similar to vampires are a part of nearly every ancient culture. In Hindu folklore, for example, the vetala was known as an evil spirit that took demonic possession of corpses. The Indian goddess Kali was also intimately linked with blood sacrifices.

“Kali becomes the destroyer, and she is portrayed as a hag-like woman with a whole number of arms…each carrying a sword. She is the goddess of death and destruction. Her eyes are red and she drips blood from her mouth.”

   – Bob Curran, Ph.D. (Researcher / Folklore Expert)

“She’s known to take infants from their crib and drink their blood.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

In North America, early Cherokees believed in a bloodthirsty creature that slaughtered humans, drank their blood and ate their livers known as the U’tlun’ta. This demon was said to possess eternal life while feeding on the living.

“The notion of the thing from the spirit world traveling through the various Indian nations was a great fear among not only the Cherokee but also the Sioux and Arapaho.”

Bob Curran, Ph.D. (Researcher / Folklore Expert)

But who, or what, are these mysterious creatures and where did they come from? Might they be, as Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe, extraterrestrial beings abandoned here on Earth? In the ancient Jewish Talmud, the Genesis story set in the Garden of Eden includes Adam and Eve, but also a woman called Lilith.

“In Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was created from the same earth as Adam, not from his rib as Eve was. But she proved to be very disobedient and uncontrollable and had to be banished.”

David Skal (Author, V is for Vampire)

According to the Talmud, when Lilith refused to obey Adam, God sent three angels to convince her to submit to his authority. But when Lilith refused for the final time, God condemned her to live on Earth for eternity.

“In a sense, Lilith was the first vampire to wander the Earth. She shared all of the characteristics of female vampires.”

David Skal (Author, V is for Vampire)

“Lilith had the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a snake and the wings of a bird, which is a terrifying creature.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

“In Jewish tradition, Lilith has been a kind of a night demon against whom incantations and prayers have to be offered, because she will come and snatch away an infant sleeping in its crib or at least snatch away its soul and cause it to die.”

Michael Coogan, Ph.D. (Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School)

But why are tales of bloodsucking creatures so prevalent throughout the ancient world? And what is it about blood – particularly human blood – that makes it such a vital ingredient in vampire mythology?

“Unlike the zombie, the vampire are soulful corpse They are corpse where the soul, sort of refused to leave the body. Very often this is because this person who died was just so bad and so evil that they were able to not go on to the other world or to Heaven or even to hell, as the case may be.”

  – Tok Thompson, Ph.D. (Prof. of Anthropology, USC)

“The vampire is not part of this world and is not totally part of the next world. It is halted in its progression. And that’s why most vampire legends and stories involve the releasing of the soul of the vampire so he can complete the journey to the other side.”

David Skal (Author, V is for Vampire)

Might blood and the unique chemistry of it, serve as a kind of cosmic fuel? One that connects the living to the dead? The human to the inhuman? The earthly to the other worldly?

“The Mayan culture had a fascinating ritual. The high king would slice himself in his male organ to intentionally bleed, and have a rather extensive bloodletting which, of course, would alter his brain chemistry. This would lead to an altered state and a vision which would indicate the future path for the nation.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

“Certainly on a death state or an altered state they had access to other worlds. So, there was a universal belief in contact with the stars and the stars came down and made us in the first place and one day we would go back there.”

– Andrew Collins (Author, Gateway to Atlantis),
(The Cygnus Mystery), (Beneath the Pyramids),
(Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods)

“Blood is the life force of humans and it was very important to extraterrestrials too. There is something very special about our blood so we have to think that if these blood sacrifices aren’t some distortions of what was originally just extraterrestrials showing us how important our blood was.”

David Childress (Author, Technology of the Gods)

Might bloodletting both the shedding and the drinking of it, have been, as some scholars suggest, a chance to commune with the gods and a bid to obtain godlike immortality? Or did early humans simply create myths and stories about undead vampires and zombies as a means of communicating their ancestral connection to extraterrestrial beings? And if these beings actually existed, might they not return?

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References:

[1] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: Season 3. [DVD Back Cover]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[2] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.1 – Aliens & the Old West. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: July 28, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[3] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.2 – Aliens & Monsters. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: August 4, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[4] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.3 – Aliens & Sacred Places. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: August 11, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[5]History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.4 – Aliens & Temples of Gold. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: August 18, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[6] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.5 – Aliens & Mysterious Rituals. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: August 25, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[7] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.6 – Aliens & Ancient Engineers. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: September 1, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[8] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.7 – Aliens, Plagues, & Epidemics. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: September 8, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[9] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.8 – Aliens & Lost Worlds. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: September 15, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[10] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.9 – Aliens & Deadly Weapons. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: September 22, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[11] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.10 – Aliens & Evil Places. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: September 28, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[12] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.11 – Aliens & the Founding Fathers. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 5, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[13] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.12 – Aliens & Deadly Cults. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 12, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[14] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.13 – Aliens & the Secret Code. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 19, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[15] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 26, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[15a] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Introduction]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[15b] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Mummies]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[15c] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Zombies]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[15d] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Vampires]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[15e] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Judgment Day]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[15f] Prometheus Entertainment. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.14 – Aliens & the Undead. [DVD Footage: Near Death]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[16] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.15 – Aliens, Gods, & Heroes. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 16, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

[17] History™. (2011). Ancient Aliens: 3.16 – Aliens & the Creation of Man. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 23, 2011, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-3.

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Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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