You may have heard the tales of Lilith, known in vampire lore as the first vampire, the first succubus, the first temptress – the birth of vampirism. “In the Book of Lillith (one of the apocryphal books of the Bible) she was Adam’s first wife but refused God’s word of male dominance and proved it by being on “top” during intercourse.
She was banished from the Garden of Eden and was taken in by Satan-el to be one of his many wives.”
Vampirism in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Isneg people, an Austronesian ethnic group native to the Apayao Province, tell a different tale about the birth of vampirism. Their folk tale, “The Danag Spirits”, talks about the Danag beings before they became known as an ancient vampiric species.
Originally the Danag coexisted with mankind and spent their days planting taro root and clearing fields for their human neighbors. However, one day a woman accidentally cut her finger causing blood to pour from the wound. Knowing the importance of keeping the injury clean, a Danag politely volunteered to suck the wound.
As it did so, it realized the taste of human blood was sweet and continued to suck until he had drained the human girl dry. Upon learning this secret, the Danag stopped their planting and instead hunted humans by night.
Variations of the Danag Tale
In Maximo D. Ramos’ book “The Creatures of Midnight” he documents a variation of the Danag legend in point form.
The Danag were gods of the Isnegs long ago.
They came down to earth and tilled pieces of the land.
They planted taro in their clearings.
They became friends with people on earth.
A man was making a bamboo fence one day.
A bamboo sliver ran under his fingernail.
He asked a danag to pull out the sliver.
The danag pulled it out by sucking it.
Some blood came out with the sliver as she did so.
She said that human blood tasted good.
She told her danag friends human blood was sweet.
They stopped planting taro and became vampires.
They lived by sucking human blood from then on.
What’s intriguing about the Philippine legend of the Danag, is that they were “gods” to the humans on Earth. Could this mean that they pre-date humans and are in fact older than Lilith? Could the birth of vampirism be, in fact, due to ancient Filipino gods?
Or were these ancient Filipino gods a spawn of Lilith? I suppose that depends in part on whether you believe in the story of Adam & Eve, or the Theory of Evolution – not to mention a healthy subscription to vampire-lore. It’s all hypothetical, but it certainly makes for an interesting discussion.