This short piece is about Vampire Research as opposed to Vampire Hunting. What then is Vampire Research ? I can not answer that question for you. So many people, so many different views. But at least I can give you my own opinion on what Vampire Research should be about. To me Vampire Research is the scientific investigation of the possible existence of vampires. It is about one question, really: Do vampires exist ?
It is easy to see that the answer to that question depends on our definition of a vampire. If, for example, we define the vampire as "someone who drinks blood", we will find that there are lots of vampires around these days. Has this phenomenon of blood-drinking persons been scientifically examined ? Not to my knowledge, if we overlook the psychiatric reports on a few extreme and criminal cases. Anything else that I have read on the subject so far, interesting as some of it may have been, was never more than "journalism" at best.
Now how about the original traditional vampire, the dead corpse that is said to leave its grave at night in order to feed upon the living ? It is here that our basic question becomes more interesting: Do these undead vampires exist ? Anyone who claims to do research into this sort of vampire should ask himself that question. If, after thoroughly investigating the subject, he should reach the conclusion that vampires do exist, then this is not sufficient. For we are still dealing with no more than an opinion or belief. Our investigator now has the seemingly impossible task to present us with scientific proof of the vampire's existence. Likewise, if he reaches the conclusion that they do not exist, he has to present us with proof of their non-existence.
In 1751, the Frenchman Dom Augustin Calmet wrote the following:
"If the return of vampires is real, then we must defend that fact and prove it. And if it is just an illusion, then it is in the interest of religion to disprove it for the benefit of those who do believe in its existence."
In the 18th Century, even though he was a cleric, Dom Calmet was already aware of the basic rule of Vampire Research. But then, Dom Calmet was too great a mind to let the dogmatic restraints of his religious believes stand in the way of Reason.
Now what about people who claim to be Vampire Hunters ? They do not need to ask themselves the question if vampires exist. For they do believe in vampires, and from their narrow point of view, that should be all the proof that we ever need. Vampire Hunters dogmatically rule out the possibility of the vampire's non-existence, and are consequently totally incapable of conducting any scientific Vampire Research. Their only goal is the vampire's annihilation. Therefore, they cannot possibly make any claim to be vampire researchers. Quite the opposite: with their destructive methods they stand in the way of true Vampire Research.
© 1994, 2005 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changes 15 March 2005
Author: Rob Brautigam
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