Where do vampires come from?
A perfectly legitimate question, one might think, and one many have sought to answer. But most often, said answers focus upon chronology--what events led to the Undead walking among us? Here, we will examine another direction. What specific location might provide an answer? In what place did vampires arise?
That answer proves rather more important than it may at first seem.
Mystics and scholars of the paranormal knew this already, however. In places like Sunnydale, California and Twin Peaks, Washington, as well as a room in a mansion in Collinsport, Maine--plus many other such fissures between our reality and others can be found. Some lead to extremely similar places, populated very nearly by the people we know, but leading somewhat different lives (an entire division of the FBI has become devoted to one such alternate universe). Others lead to eerie realms, with some infused with light and love, while others seethe with pain and horror. The latter have been dubbed "hell dimensions" by those who study same, and they come in a wide variety indeed. There is even a second hand report of a cosmos composed entirely of shrimp.
One such hellish realm apparently has become--or perhaps always was to some extent--the domain of vampires. The heroic android known as Atomic Robo dubbed this place The Vampire Dimension. It seems a good name. Let us keep it. Careful examination of available evidence now allows for a scenario that more or less explains the nature and general history of this place.
Atomic Robo enters the Vampire Dimension, as recorded in the above comic book
It all goes back to what Gallifreyans called "The Dark Times," when our universe was young and the sun around which our planet orbits might not have even started burning yet. Many extremely predatory species arose in this ancient era, including the banished Carrionites and so-called Lonely Assassins. But perhaps most feared of all were the Great Vampires. They "came out of nowhere and swarmed...all over the universe." Vast batlike humanoids they were, capable of draining the life out of whole worlds. Among their powers were the ability to (at least sometimes) traverse universes. One such, at the end of their great war with the Time Lords, escaped into an alternate reality called E-Space. There, this creature was able to infect relatively normal human beings with vampirism.
But where did they come from? It seems clear they arose in a world or reality suited for such a race--the Vampire Dimension. Why did they leave? Perhaps their numbers grew too vast, or other forms of vampiric life competed against them rather too successfully. One real possibility remains that their reality faced invasion by supernatural vampires. As the mysterious creature called Lilith (the original, a she-demon or some such, often called the Mother of Vampires, sometimes known ironically enough as Eve) lost purchase on the reality we know, she and her blood-drinking offspring sought a new, better place, eventually locating the other-dimensional realm we now know as the Vampire Dimension. That universe they made their own. Accounts by those who've visited it indicate that it was once home to a species of humanity, virtually identical to us. Perhaps they were inter-dimensional travelers, either voluntarily or accidental colonists (like the Telmarines) in the Earth-like regions. Given that we're talking about something the size of a universe, they may not have even been noticed at first. They certainly had time to build castles and cities. One castle would apparently be the location to which a human mystic banished his son after he became a vampire (as chronicled in the motion picture Van Helsing). Interestingly, this last appeared to be in a frozen wasteland far from any human habitation. Why would anyone build a castle there?
Herein lies two clues about the nature of the Vampire Dimension. It apparently suffered some kind of ecological catastrophe, as confirmed by Atomic Robo. The castle where Vladislas Valerius was banished obviously hadn't always existed in an area where humans could not survive. One probable scenario is that the Earth-like world where humans dwelt, probably in happy ignorance, finally attracted the attention of the vampires. Quite likely, a version of what happened next may have become the basis for the motion picture Lifeforce, which depicted the start of a gigantic disaster for the human inhabitants there. Storytellers from other worlds (such as our own) picked up on the psychic trauma of events less than a breath away, then retold what they sensed of that history--the army of batlike beings led by a beautiful, seductive female, come from the depths of space to feed upon and infect their world. Other fictionalizations of such psychic projections--demonstrating the long defeat as vampires took over that world--may include I Am Legend and Stake Land, as well as the trilogy written by Guillermo del Toro as well as Chuck Hogan, called The Strain.
But this brings up another interesting point about the Vampire Dimension. Evidently, its timestream has very little relationship to our own. If one were to open some kind of scientific or mystic portal into that realm, where it emerged in that universe's timeline is random--or at least subject to rules we do not understand. When the ensouled Turokian vampire known as Angel was banished to this realm, and emerged from it only months later in terms of our history, evidently decades, if not centuries, had passed for him. Yet a corollary to this would apparently be that any portal so created does not "shift" in time while it exists. It remains fixed from a point in time and proceeds from that point so long as the portal remains open. One particularly vivid example of this is the Blood Mirror used by the Dracula-Edgar soul-clone to insure his family's transition into full vampires.
Such hints that the Vampire Dimension may well be the source of the mindless demons with which the soul is replaced in the Turokian bloodline, and perhaps all vampires (in many ways, undeath appears to be a physical disease whose major symptom is demonic possession). This might help explain the existence of Doomsday Cults among some factions of the Undead. One suspects that the Atlantean sorcerors such as Varnae and Qu'ra, who used the Darkhold to make a new army of vampires, utilized something like the Blood Mirror, or perhaps opened a hellmouth to the Vampire Dimension.
An UberVampire, a primordial predecessor of the Turokian vampire strain
Which brings up another aspect of the Vampire Dimension, probably the most disturbing one. Entering or exiting that realm involves a lot of effort, but people demonstrably have done it. But worse--the same thing seems to be happening from the other side! My research indicates that the Vampire Dimension seems on the verge of being "used up." Much of it seems now devoid of life, drained by the various and sundry vampires that dwell there. Entire worlds have died, been consumed, and left as husks. A few areas remain relatively comfortable, even pleasant. One such I believe was the home to Lady Rawhide (a.k.a., Anita Santiago), the 19th century adventuress who became the victim of Carmelita Rodriguez, a vampire sired by none other than Dracula-Prime. Sometime after the trauma of becoming a vampire, Lady Rawhide seems to have lost herself in the swirling instincts and drives of her new state. I believe she became one of the many ubiquitous Brides that Dracula (and his soul-clones) kept in various castles. Further, I believe she was pulled into the Vampire Dimension during an attempt by Dracula-Rominoff in 1897 to destroy a powerful amulet for good (as depicted in the motion picture The Monster Squad). The tellers of that tale called that realm "Limbo," but if I am right, Anita Santiago/Lady Rawhide then fell under the sway of Lilith, who convinced the girl that she was her daughter as part of an overall plot of Lilith's own. Anita even took a new name--Vampirella. Her memories of this place became blended in her mind with those of a past life--in a previous incarnation, she was a citizen of the planet Krypton (as was the individual later to become the soul-clone known as Dracula-Mordante). Along the way, it seems likely that Lilith imbued 'Vampirella' with some of her own mighty power, making her invulnerable to standard vampiric weaknesses such as sunlight and holy objects. Sometime around 1969, she returned to Earth with muddled memories.
Artist rendition of Vampirella's faux memories of her life on a "planet" called Draculon (actually the Vampire Dimension)
With this in mind, here follows a rough outline of what we can infer about the history of this parallel space/time continuum.
Like many alternate realities, what became to be known as the Vampire Dimension began much as our own. Certainly an Earth, or an Earth-like world, became home (one way or another) to human beings not noticeably different from ourselves. Almost certainly other species called this reality home also. But for some reason vampiric life took hold somewhere within this universe and went unchecked. In our history, the Time Lords defeated the Great Vampires. Not so, there. In time, the plague of vampires spread throughout that universe; world after world fell, devoured. In the equivalent of our XXth century, the vampires came to that Earth. Even as dread Cthulhu once troubled the sensitive as He stirred in the sunken city of R'lyeh, so the onslought on that other Earth was felt in some way by artists on this one.
How long it took for that version of our world to fall we may never know. Certainly less than a century, and possibly only decades or years.
And once this was accomplished, maybe the original invaders left, seeking new races and planets to fatten upon. What they left behind were remnants of cities, the equivalent of New York, Hong Kong, Moscow, and Jerusalem, left to rot while the Undead scrounged for victims, eventually turning upon each other. The ecology collapsed, or maybe without a high tech civilization generation global warming the next ice age came that much sooner. It hardly mattered. Eventually, that Earth no longer lived at all. Yet it wasn't dead. For vampires still roamed, still hunted one another for the blood in each others' veins. Who knows for how long...
But in that future (or what we might call the future, if we shared its timeline) hungry mindless ghosts of who knows how many different vampiric entities became the only inhabitants of the ruined Earth. And in our own time, the history native to our world and universe, the horrible arcane book known as the Darkhold was used to create a means for those demonic spirits to escape! A coven of sorcerers used that book to make a disease, a pathogen of some kind (although whether they understood that concept remains debatable), which turns a human being into the host of such a vampire ghost from that other world. Evidently, these ghosts truly are mindless. They have instincts and drives, enough to overwhelm a weak personality, but no mind as such. Victims of this terrible condition provide that, a mind which often goes insane. At least in human terms. But they aren't human any more.
Artist rendition of the Darkhold
Indeed, this makes the Blood Mirror of Dracula-Edgar an even more impressive artifact. Clearly it serves as a a portal, giving the gnawing vampire wraiths of the Vampire Dimension's future a chance to find form and identity again--from those who've gazed into the mirror, and are of the right bloodline. An impressive magical achievement! Clearly the Impaler did not waste his years of study at the Scholomance!