How Vampires Are Created
The most obvious answer to the question of how vampires are created is that they become a member of the undead by being bitten by another vampire. Right? While in the majority of cases that may hold true, a vampire's making is infinitely more complicated than that, with many varieties of transformation put into effect depending on the type of vampire and whether the demon is a beast of legend, mythology, literature, or film. Some outer space suckers, for example, vampirize a human's energy by mouth-to-mouth contact rather than biting. It must be noted that the term “vampire” wasn't typically used in folklore but was said to have first appeared in English references in the late 1600s. Renowned author Katherine Ramsland notes that an explanation of vampires as “reanimated corpses” appeared in 1810, in Travels of Three English Gentlemen from Venice to Hamburg, Being the Grand Tour of Germany in the Year 1734.
Throughout folklore there are many varied references to the ways in which an individual could become a vampire. In Chapter 2, we make mention of potential candidates for becoming the undead, including children born out of wedlock, those who lead sinful or criminal lives or commit suicide, women who allow vampires to gaze upon them, and even the seventh son of a seventh son. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on the culture and its superstitions and beliefs, vampires might also be those who are born with teeth or who, like witches, possess a third nipple. Individuals who are not baptized or who are born on holy days are also at risk, as are those who practice black magic or die violently.
No Drain, No Gain
If you happen to be the obsession of a typical drawing room bloodsucker, then chances are you're intended to become his bride or partner rather than his blue-plate special, in which case said vampire would technically become your maker, or parent. One thing that most vampires have to learn is how much blood to take from a victim. Taken in small doses, a victim can sustain a vampire's bite for quite some time before either dying or, should the vampire chose, enter the world of the undead. The act of consuming blood is for the vampire a matter of restraint, as the action generally triggers sexual arousal and a frenzy that if not carefully controlled usually kills the victim.
Depending on the type of vampire, bringing or crossing over a victim, that is to say making them a vampire, can trigger various actions. Some vampires gain the memories of their maker; others are left to discover their newfound powers and bloodlust for themselves. In Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Louis tells of his making by Lestat's hand in 1791, describing being “weak to paralysis,” complete panic, and the inability to speak. This was punctuated by the foreplay of the act: “… the movement of his lips raised the hair all over my body, sent a shock of sensation through my body that was not unlike the pleasure of passion.” Once initiated with Lestat's blood, Louis roamed free to see the intensity of the world for the first time with preternatural eyes.
Night of the Living Dead
As we've learned, the majority of vampires of folklore aren't the pristine, white-skinned, radiant preternaturals created by Anne Rice. As a collective, most are reconstituted corpses in various states of disarray and decay. All measure of humanity, from plague victims to nobles to ordinary farmers, have been exhumed and burnt to a crisp in order to expunge their alleged vampirism and keep them from feeding on the living. Which is to say that given the lack of understanding of decomposition, many of those poor souls were unjustly convicted of being in league with the undead. In the case of Arnod Paole and the Medvegia Vampires, some of his victims weren't even attacked by Paole. They'd fallen victim to the fact that they'd consumed cattle that Paole had allegedly vampirised (see Chapter 11).