Legends, myths, folk tales - every nation has them, even the relatively new ones, nations that are less than a millennia old, less than half a millennia old.
Vampires have become the most common, varying stories that came across the vast oceans with the new settlers. Witches, werewolves, hob-goblins and trolls are there too, nestling in amongst the tales of hardship, loneliness, hunger and strife. It wasn’t enough that the settlers in a new land had new, natural hazards to overcome, they had to battle old ones from the old country too. The vampires, witches and werewolves travelled along with them in their minds, their hearts and their fears.
Stories of hardworking people trying to make a new life for themselves in the new, exciting, dangerous but ultimately rewarding land were peppered with tales of temptation, the devil handing out prosperity too easily for the price of a soul gave adequate warning against laziness, drove a spike of terror into the hearts of communities that wished their lives were just that little bit easier or that all their dreams could come true right now.
What? You thought that the idea of instant gratification was a new concept? Not even close.
Those tales were understandable. Fables of temptation and the ultimate turn around of a fallen sinner redeemed at last by the love and devotion of a family and a community who put their trust in hard work and men of God.
A community once divided by greed, brought back together by the clever defeat of the Prince of temptation, Old Hob, the Devil. The eternal struggle of good over evil.
What of other tales? What of the myths dragged with pilgrims and settlers from the old countries? What purpose do they serve? Why do men perpetuate those tales?
Blood sucking vampires, men turned to beasts of the field by the light of the full moon, goblins, witches, faeries, trolls, giants, dwarves? Why do these stories persist? If it isn’t for a useful and instructional moralistic tale, is it then because there may be a basis in fact?
Did those creatures once exist? Were they eradicated by vigilant humans or did the creatures just learn to hide their existence better? Learned to use man’s growing disbelief that he was lower down the food chain than he would like? Did they - do they - use his unwavering faith in the advances of science against him? The scientific fact that explained why a victim of tuberculosis when dug up, disinterred, exhumed, looked plump and healthier in death than they had at their last in life. The natural processes of decomposition forces blood from orifices such as the mouth where the blood vessels are closer to the skin’s surface to make it seem as though the corpse had somehow been reanimated to claim other victims and feed on their blood?
Then man’s inventive and macabre imagination, coupled with his desire to be scared, gave stories of werewolves, forever enslaved by the moon, forced by the monthly phenomena into murderous, frivolous killing sprees. Did those creatures really only exist in man’s warped imagination? His eternal fear that one day he could revert to the savagery of days long since gone, times when it really was kill or be killed, when man had only tooth and claw to rely on rather than his inventive nature and advanced weaponry. Before he even had the idea of propulsion, slings and rocks, bows and arrows, cannon.
Man has advanced up that food chain, killed everything he feared, done away with the animals that could kill him, drove them deep into the forest, the ever decreasing forest and jungle, to make absolutely certain that he can sleep easy in his bed. Man has no predator now, only other men.
Or did those ancient predators evolve? The predators of old, those that are human based or could pass for human with a little genetic manipulation, interbreeding with humans over the centuries to bring their features more in line with what was acceptable. Did the mythical, legendary and creatures of folk tales ever exist? No? Are you sure?
Just because vampires, werewolves, witches and goblins are told of in fairy stories, told to us as children doesn’t make them less real. If they existed once, they may still exist, they may just have become wise to man’s destructive nature, become better at camouflage and disguise.
Would a predator really show himself to his victim if the victim had the means to kill it? What sense does that make?
If a zebra had the means to slaughter the lion, would the lion ever allow the zebra to know of its existence? The answer to that of course, is no.
It suits the predators of man to allow the belief in his own ultimate supremacy. Vampires, vulnerable by day, would be winked out of existence. Werewolves susceptible to precious metal, gone in the blink of an eye. Disbelief is the weapon of choice for the mythical creatures and if vampires and werewolves exist, how many other creatures do too?