This article was last modified on August 10, 2007.


On the Nature of Vampire Clothing

In movies portraying vampires, and presumably also in the novels, there is a curious thing that happens: a vampire can change his clothing, but when the clothing is on his person, it apparently becomes part of his being. A shirt would appear in a mirror, for example, but not once the vampire wears it. Yet, it doesn’t become absorbed into his being entirely, because once the shirt is removed it could again be seen in a mirror. Likewise, when he transforms into a bat, he will transform back into a man later and not be naked. How can this be?

The obvious answer is, of course, that vampires are fictional and mythical characters and such questions are silly because the vampire doesn’t have to use logic or the laws of physics. He can do as he pleases, flying or sometimes even appearing to go long distances in a matter of seconds. But a good writer, whether in books or movies, must make the reader or viewer believe the story, and therefore this topic remains an interesting one.

Likewise, there is the notion of food. If a vampire bites an apple in front of the mirror, once the bitten piece enters his mouth, the apple becomes invisible. We do not have to wait for the apple to be digested and incorporated into the vampire’s molecular structure — it just assumes the same properties upon entry to the mouth. An undigested apple piece in the throat, for example, would not appear in the mirror as going down an invisible esophagus.

Yet, I suspect like the clothing, the apple can later on be removed from the vampire or have its properties returned to normal. If a vampire defecates, I presume the feces is once again visible in the mirror, although the fecal matter inside of the vampire’s rectum would not have been visible as floating scatological particles. What would cause something to lose its properties and then later regain them?

This cannot be simply a matter of the vampire’s will. I do not think a vampire actively decides that such things as clothes or food would gain or lose their properties. For one thing, that would be a major strain or burden on the vampire’s mind. Try to imagine at every given moment what clothes you’re wearing and what food you’ve eaten — you simply cannot do it. Also, I suspect the will is not involved because I have not seen a vampire film in which the clothes were visible. If this were a matter of will, a vampire may very possibly choose to have some articles visible for the effect. We must admit that the appearance of floating clothing is a “cool” effect.

These are the mysteries that plague me. Things like this, and whether or not zombies can turn people through sexual contact… if zombie pathogens are blood-based, could a male zombie pass his zombiehood to a female through semen, much like a sexually transmitted disease can go through both blood and semen? But that’s a question for another article…

Also try another article under Miscellaneous
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

3 Responses to “On the Nature of Vampire Clothing”

  1. strivinglife Says:

    Regarding paragraph 4, see Stephen King’s Night Flier for reinforcement regarding this. His urine doesn’t become visible until it strikes the porcelain. This suggests to me that, at the point the substance is no longer ‘his’, it looks said properties.

    As far as foreign matter entering into the vampire, I would assume that the vampires body masks items within it, to some extent. If we assume that the vampires body some how reflects the light in such a way that it, and anything within it’s body (which is reflecting/absorbing light in whatever way) is also under said effect.

    As far as whether a vampire wills anything, there’s both a conscious and un- aspect to this. Of course, if the vampire can shapeshift at will …

    As far as the last paragraph, if that was the case, I think you’d find more zombie killers becoming themselves zombies. Perhaps air itself has some effect on the pathogen, weakening them? And, at what percent (of blood infection/infestation) does one become a zombie?

  2. strivinglife Says:

    And of course, thanks for tackling this issue.

  3. Casanova Says:

    I maintain that the vampire is an undead creature, therefore unable to ‘eat’ in the classic sense that mortals do. More than likely any food ingested would simply result in the vampire heaving ashes and masticated gibbets into a toilet bowl…and while eternity might be boring, it’s not *that* boring. Their internal organs, and subsequently the entire digestive system, are largely worthless and non functioning (with the exception of the heart) which is why bullets traditionally do little to no damage to them. Where bullets tear vital organs, vampires can laugh and advance unhindered.

    As for the whole clothes issue, I can only concede that the vampiric curse is mystical in nature, and many things about it cannot be measured by conventional science. Just as the curse extends to hide any clothing a vampire might be wearing when one looks at his non-existent reflection, so too does it extend to the clothing he wears at the time of shifting form.

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