On Angel

Angel: An Identity Crisis

By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Like weather and water deities, vampires are found in folklore throughout the world. Almost all cultures, past and present, have a sun god (although there is a small company of sun goddesses), and almost all cultures, past and present, have vampires–improperly dead former mortals who subsist on the living, ninety percent of whom cannot cross running water, walk about in daylight or cast shadows/ reflections. Almost all cultures, past and present, also have were-crea-tures: living mortals who can or are compelled to take animal forms, or have periodic bouts of delusionally animalistic behavior–often, but not always, associated with the full moon, or, in Asia Minor, earthquakes or other disturbances in the ground. In most folklore throughout the world, vampires are distinguished by their solitary and solipsistic be-havior–packs of vampires are the folkloric exception, not the norm– which requires a self-awareness that includes vast self-knowledge and a comprehension of their acts, along with a singular lack of guilt or shame for their predation.

This distinction is one of the significant psychological differences between were-creatures and vampires, for were-creatures–and they are not all wolves by a long shot–seem to suffer a kind of psychotic break during their altered state. Actions are often only partially remembered by the human component of the creature and what is recalled is usually abhorred (with the notable exceptions of the Japanese were-fox geishas, who harken back to pre-Buddhistic animistic traditions, are mischievous but fairly benign and take delight in their vulpine state; Canadian Ojibwa were-loons, who give  …

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