BY THE END OF THE DARK AGES, Vampires had all but become extinct in society. FamTrads of Eurasia simply went underground and were forgotten. This began an Underworld social network of cultural exchanges independent of humanity. The legends evolved into Victorian Vampyrism, where they were welcomed into a new fiction genre – Gothic Horror.
On the 16th of June 1816, at Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Lord Byron began reading to a small group of his intellectual friends from a book called Fantasmagoria. Attendance included John Polidori and Mary Shelley (who receives inspiration for her masterpiece Frankenstein on this same evening.)
The Vampyre by John Polidori appeared in the April edition of New Monthly Magazine, in 1819. Two decades later ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ start to appear, pulp fiction for the price of one penny. An example of this being Varney the Vampire -or- Feast of Blood (1845-1847) featuring the first Vampire to shape-shift into a bat. Even the origins of Sweeny Todd may be found among these original ‘Penny Dreadfuls.’
John Polidori’s Vampyre, inspired by an outline from Lord Byron, is the first male “Vamp” to demonstrate charisma, charm and the seductive use of sexual prowess. This classic novella initiates a shift in public attitude toward Vampires. Vampyric portrayals move away from demonic monsters depicted by the church. They evolve into a more traditional “aristocratic” elitist family-style that we generally associate with them today.
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