Borderland, July 1896
A CORRESPONDENT, signing himself "R. D'O.," to whom I submitted the foregoing paper, writes me as follows:
" The doctor, in his otherwise very able paper on this subject, makes one great and fundamental error, which to a great extent destroys the value of his communication. He treats of two essentially different classes of beings as being identical, and assumes that the undoubted visitations of elementaries to human beings are made by ' Vampires.' Now 'vampires' and elementaries have scarcely anything in common, either in their origin, their nature, or their temperament. They are two absolutely distinct species of spirits.
" But before I proceed to their differentiation, a few words as to these visitations. In the first place there is no doubt that they actually do take place: everyone who has investigated the subject knows instances where women of great intellectual powers, and having no tendency whatever to hysteria or illusions of any kind (being at the same time persons of undoubted veracity), claim that they have been-and are-visited in this manner.
" The immense mass of evidence, collected from many countries, by different scientific observers - medical men and others-cannot be set aside. Doubtless, if only one or two cases existed, we should explain them by the one word-' hysteria' ; but the accumulated mass of facts from so many different temperaments cannot be dealt with in this manner. We must accept the facts, though we may differ as to their cause. And as to this there are only three solutions possible :-1. That they are purely the product of a too vivid imagination, probably assisted by hysteria ; 2. That the visitants are, what they usually represent themselves to be, spirits of predeceased lovers ; 3. That they are other spirits, 'elementaries' or 'vampires,' masquerading as spirits of the dead.
" The answer to the first hypothesis is, that, as a rule, the recipients of these visits are, more frequently than not, people not distinguished for imaginative powers. And the slightest reflection will show that an enormous fund of creative imagination must exist to make a woman absolutely certain that her lover is present with her as tangible as in life.
" And not only do these manifestations take place, but, in many cases, long conversations are held, sometimes for hours together; questions are asked and answered, and replies (sometimes true, but usually false) obtained which could not have emanated from the brain of the querist, being sometimes accurate in-formation of circumstances which could by no possibility have been known to her. Further, these visitations are frequently made to men, when, of course, the visitor is of female form. Another fact, difficult to account for on the first hypothesis, is that these visits have been, paid to people who had never heard of such things, and who were Philistines of the Philistines regarding all, kinds of ' spirit' or psychic phenomena.
" Consequently, we will dismiss theory No. 1 as untenable, and consider No. 2. That is, that the visitants, warm, living, breathing, palpitating, are the spirits of the dead. And here I will quote one who, amidst an enormous farrago of nonsense, self-deception, and false fact, has somehow stumbled on a few truths-Anna Kingsford : 'There are no such things as "spirits of the dead," there are only " shades " of the dead.' And these shades are certainly unable to make themselves even audible, much more tangible, palpable, and warm-blooded. We know quite sufficient about them to know that.
" Then there only remains the third proposition, that they are other spirits, who, for their own purposes, assume the shape and verisimilitude of dead persons.
" Is Dr. Hartmann right then in considering them to be ' vampires' ? and, if not ' vampires,' what are they ? " The learned doctor has evidently thoroughly studied the subject of vampires, enjoying as he does facilities for research in the very country which (if we except the West Indies) has from time immemorial to the present been the scene of their most awful manifestations-Hungary.
"And it is quite true what Dr. H. says, that 'persons obsessed by a vampire are always sensually inclined people ; and usually given to secret vices.' influences ; nothing more is needed.
" Dr. H. recounts five cases within his personal know-ledge, which he attributes to the action of vampires. But, of these five, only the third and fifth in order were undoubtedly due to vampire action, and the first one is almost more than doubtful. The others were certainly not vampires. There is no reason for thinking that the old lady who undermined the health of her servants was under the power of a vampire : it being a well-known fact that many (in fact most) very old people who sleep with young and impressionable ones, gradually absorb the greater part of their vitality ; and all physicians in this country are very precise in forbidding it.
" The second case shows no trace of a vampire's presence, of its ' devouring' propensities, or of its horrible hate for the victim from whom it nightly drains the very life-blood. It is simply a case of an ' " elemental " (as the doctor says) making use of and being aided by the elementary of the suicide.' But, as before said, an ' elemental ' is not a vampire.
" The third case, of the millers boy, is a good in-stance of one mode of action of an undoubted vampire.
" In the fourth case the 'dual,' there is nothing to indicate a vampire. The idea that the ' dual ' drew all the woman's strength from her was most probably not the fact. The fifth case is doubtless a genuine one of vampirism by the living, as Dr. Hartmann asserts.
" Now then, having so far cleared the ground, what are vampires?
" They are not ' elementals ' but ' demons ' : there are no 'demon elementals.' Demons are differentiated from spirits in possessing souls, and this, while it intensifies their power of malignant hate towards man, renders them, in one sense, superior to sex passion. They have an infinite capacity of hatred and malignity, which they can only gratify at the expense of those who are sensuously inclined. But they have no power-as the elementals have in certain cases-to assume human form : they can give no pleasure, either mental or physical. All that they can do is to absorb, to waste, to madden, and destroy.
" Dr. Hartmann gives very correctly all the recognised symptoms of vampirism.
" The elementals, on the contrary, are in this connection perfectly harmless. So far from bearing any hatred or malice towards the recipients of their favours, they are actuated towards them by (at least so far as they are capable of feeling it) love. This is self-evident by their conduct."