Judas Iscariot, the Father of Vampires
“I (Judas Iscariot) have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood…and he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matthew 27:4-5
According to a Hebrew legend, Judas didn’t die that day. At least…not exactly. Cursed by either God or Satan (depending on the source), He instead became a creature of the night.
Most of this information comes from the Book of Alugah, written in 843 AD by a monk named Aed. A lot of modern vampire lore comes from this particular legend. For instance, Aed said Judas would have an aversion to anything having to do with Christ or Christians, such as silver which was used as payment for his betrayal. While the book doesn’t specify what this means, the modern vampire can often be hurt or killed with silver.
Side note – Vampires being unable to see their reflection dates back to when mirrors were backed with silver. As that’s no longer the case, there’s no reason a modern vampire wouldn’t be able to make sure his hair is perfectly slicked back.
Other aversions include crucifixes, holy water, even the wooden stakes used to kill them can trace back to this holy aversion since, in the older lore, the stakes were made out of the same wood as the cross Jesus was crucified on.
The Book of Alugah goes on to claim Judas was doomed to seek the dark places, crave water but never be able to drink it, and spend his years with the guilt of what he’d done and knowledge he would meet his end in an ever burning lake of fire.
His offspring would also be curse. I find this point interesting, because it never says he’s able to turn his victims into vampires. In fact, there’s a legend that Judas had red hair and all red haired vampires are his direct offspring. Seems like vampires might multiply in a more old-fashioned way and not through turning their victims. Unless Judas’s personal victims’ hair turned red, and those victims’ victims, and so on. As it’s all mythological anyway, there’s no reason it can’t be true.
As for darkness, everyone agrees vampires love it, but while some theories have vampires burning when exposed to daylight, others say they can survive it, but fear it.
We won’t talk about the sparkling vampires.
One final note. Some call Judas the father of vampires, but another Hebrew legend says Cain (the guy who murdered his brother and was cursed for it) was the first vampire. Cain is also said to have had red hair (soulless gingers anyone?). But Cain’s vampiric descendants were wiped out in Noah’s flood (another legend claims vampires can’t survive running water.) So, Judas can still be the father of all vampires since the AD time.
Fascinating stuff, eh? Are there any other myths you’d like to learn more about?