Sleep, Vampire

Sleep, Vampire

(pop culture)

In the last chapter of Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing entered Castle Dracula to kill the three women residents who would later be referred to the vampire brides. When he found them, he saw they were in their “vampire sleep.” The term was unique to Dracula, though since that time it has been used by other writers. Without naming it, Bram Stoker described the state of sleep into which vampires fell in chapter 4, when Jonathan Harker discovered Dracula resting in one of the boxes of his native soil. He observed:

He was either dead or asleep, I could not say which—for the eyes were open and stoney, but without the glassiness of death—and the cheeks had the warmth of life through all their pallor, and the lips were as red as ever. But there was no sign of movement, no pulse, no breath, no beating of the heart. I bent over him and tried to find any sign of life, but in vain.

Dracula appeared to need periods of rest, which he took primarily during the day. At such times he gave himself to this deathlike sleep, becoming completely vulnerable. The second time that Harker found Dracula in this state, he grabbed a shovel and hit him in the head, making a deep gash above the vampire’s forehead. While vulnerable and appearing dead, Dracula had some degree of consciousness. As Harker was about to hit him with the shovel, he turned his head and looked at Harker, who, upon seeing Dracula react to his intent, dropped the shovel and fled.

The fact that the vampire may fall into a deep sleeplike state at the coming of dawn has been combined with its aversion to sunlight to create tension in some vampire novels and movies. Dracula could appear during the day, and some recent vampires have shown this ability (most notably those of Twilight), but many more recent vampires suffer from the sun and prefer to sleep during the day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Moonlight, Blood Ties, True Blood). Anne Rice‘s vampires could, for example, enter this deathlike sleep but still have the power to move their arms to protect themselves. The True Blood vampires can be up during the day, but must stay out of the sun.

Sources:

Ramsland, Katherine. The Vampire Companion. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. 507 pp.

Slovakia, see: Czech Republic and Slovakia, Vampires in the

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