Article Selection by Dr. Fortin | Note by H.P.B.
[Note: the assumption made with this note, signed “Translator,” is that the original article by Dr. Fortin (titled “Living Vampires and Vampirism of the Grave in our Social Institutions”) was in French and that it was translated for The Theosophist by H.P.B.]
In 1868 there was at Paris in the rue Rochechuart, a woman, whose old age was a mystery. Every one who knew her, noticed, that she always had some young girl with her as “Demoiselle de compagnie,” [i.e. a “lady in waiting”] and that she changed those companions very often. Those girls were seen to enter into the old lady’s service in perfect health, but soon they showed signs of withering, which always affected their health and often caused their death. . . . public opinion began to speak, and the old lady was said to eat the girls to prolong her life. She was declared to be a veritable vampire. . . .
Shall we draw the conclusion from these two observances [referring to two examples of such “vampirism”] that the Vampirism is a law of nature? Man must learn to assist his evolution by science.
The subjects which can be affected by vampirism are of different classes. The lowest order (sorcerers and pythonesses), when they are left to themselves without guidance, may fall in a state of catalepsy, whose special character is its eminent resemblance to death. Buried in such a state of death-like trance, the phenomenon of “dédoublement” (or division of two sets of principles) results. The principles which constitute the animal soul (Kama Rupa)1 impart to the vampire two characteristics. He will go to where he is attracted and feast on the blood of his friends or his parents, to sustain the vital principle of his body, which is imprisoned in the grave. . . .
1. That which remains, after the separation of the higher principles from the lower ones by the process of dying is complete, consists of the fourth principle and lower parts of the fifth. This,––the animal soul—has still a more or less indistinct consciousness of its own, and its actions resemble those of a person walking in his sleep. It has also a remnant of will, in a more or less latent condition. But as the higher principles have left this, will is no more guided by any moral considerations and cannot exert itself in any other way than by following its attractions. Its lower passions, animal desires and material attractions, still remain, and in proportion as they have been more or less developed, nursed or fortified, during earth life, in the same proportion will they act more or less powerfully after the death of the physical body. Nothing likes to starve:—each body as well as each principle has a powerful attraction and craving for those elements which are necessary for its subsistence. The principles of lust, gluttony, envy, avarice, revenge, intemperance, etc., will rush blindly to the place to which they are attracted and where their craving can be temporarily gratified;––either directly as in the case of vampires by imbibing the emanations of fresh blood, or indirectly by establishing magnetic relations with sensitive persons (mediums), whose inclinations correspond with their own.
If there is still a magnetic relation existing between the vampire (elementary) and its buried physical body, it will return to the grave. If there is no such relation, it will follow other attractions.
It craves for a body, and if it cannot find a human body, it may be attracted to that of an animal. The gospel account of the swine into which Jesus drove the “evil spirits” may be a fable in its historical application, but it is a truth, not only a possibility, with reference to many such parallel cases.