22 June 2009

Vampires in the Sunlight: The sun is shining

With the exception of Meyer's Twilight Saga, most vampire novels feature creatures of the night that cannot emerge into the daylight for fear that they will burst into flames.

Anne Rice says this in The Vampire Armand:
The morning came down in its thunderous white-hot light, rolling over roofs and curdling the night in a thousand glassy walls and slowly unleashing its monstrous glory...My flesh was burnt black already, shiny, sealed to the sinews of my body, collapsed to the intricate tangle of muscles which encased my bones...I was on the way to my own death, and this seemingly endless torture was nothing, nothing. I could endure all things, even the burning in the eyes, the knowledge that they would soon melt or explode in this furnace of sunlight, and that all that I was would pass out of flesh.(p300-301)

Stephenie Meyer presents an alternative solution in Twilight:
[A vampire] in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. (p260)

In the Historia Rerum Anglicarum writen in 1196 by William of Newburgh, vampires prefer to hunt at night, assaulting their former loved ones in the evening and retreating in the daylight.
Nec facile discerni poterat uter illorum esset sol verus, nisi ex solito processu, alius vero palo elevatior quasi sequi videbatur; malorum forte quae subsecuta noscuntur praesagus.

Jonathan Mayberry explains (source):
The whole thing about sunlight effecting vampires was not in folklore and it wasn't in the book Dracula either. It was invented by a movie director named F.W. Murnau for the movie Nosferatu. They needed a way to kill the vampire at the end of the film so they figured it was a creature of darkness, why not kill it with sunlight. But that wasn't part of the folklore either.

Like many predators, vampires are often nocturnal. It is easier to catch prey when it is lethargic or disoriented by lack of light. However, this doesn't mean a vampire is allergic to sunlight...does it?



  1. It's somewhere in between. I, myself, have never seen a vampire sparkle the way this Edward fella seems to but I have been around with vampires who manage to take a walk in the midday sun. Their sensitive, of course, having the pale skin - they burn like a brit on an aussie beach. But burn up like in underworld and the like?? Not seen one of those yet...

  2. But vampires aren't, erm, real. And folklore is kind of intended to evolve with time -- if "burns in the sun" catches on enough that it becomes part of the overall myth, then it's part of the myth. And because we're dealing with fiction, here, it's not like anyone can "prove" anything one way or the other.

  3. Hello Anonymous, I wish you had the foresight to include your name in your post so that I could know to whom I am speaking. I usually send a note to the individuals that post comments to let them know that I have responded. That's alright, I understand why you prefer to not post your identity with your comment.

    To address your comment: Folkloric vampires have been mentioned in myths for thousands of years. These myths vary by region and time period. Folkloric vampires are strong, vicious, and evil.

    Fictional vampires are a more recent invention that adopt some of the traits of folkloric vampires, but are not entirely similar. Fictional vampires are allergic to many things, are weak and easily destroyed, are vulnerable to emotions, and develop an unexplainable affinity for humans.

    Finally, real vampires do exist. Real vampires are individuals that feed on the energy or drink the blood of humans. They exist in numbers that would surprise you.

    I never expected to address this issue on our blog since most individuals that visit our website are connected in some way with vampires; however, I am thankful that you have raised this question. Perhaps it needs further explanation and a blog post of its own.

    La revedere,