Ekimmu - Ancient Sumerian Vampire Mythology

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Birth to Vampire Beliefs?

Predating back to nearly 4000 B.C.E., the Ekimmu is one of the first and oldest myths known to man. This entity was given life by the beliefs of the Ancient Assyrians and shared by the Babylonians as well, and later with the Inuit and Eskimo tribes. The Assyrians, are believed by some to have given birth to the vampire belief, others believe, that it was Egypt.

The Inuit and Eskimo Ekimmu

The Ekimmu was fearfully dreaded by the Mesopotamian empire and was described as a very angry and bitter spirit of a once living human being, who was unable to find peace. The Ekimmu's appearance was described by the Inuit and Eskimo tribes as "severely rotting corpses"and considered unusual in the fact that they maintained, the mind and personality they had in their mortal life. However, the Ancient Sumerians description of the Ekimmu is somewhat different than that of the Inuit and Eskimo tribes.

The Ancient Sumerian Ekimmu

The Sumerians described the Ekimmu as demonic, phantom-like entities that roamed the earth, unable to obtain solace, searching for victims. They were also referenced as "evil wind gusts" and according to Sumerian mythology, wind is often shown as a expression of psychic or apparitional power. (As in the example of the Babylonian God, Marduk.) The Ekimmu has also been referenced on rare occasions with the British Banshee who would be heard wailing and crying outside of a household, warning that there would be a forthcoming death to someone within that home.

The Ekimmu has never actually been labeled "vampire" because of their lack of blood consumption, but, because the Ekimmu’s characteristics are very similar to the "utukku"( a.k.a. Uruku) meaning "vampire which attacks man" derived from a cuniform inscription, and much more is known of the Ekimmu, it has respectfully earned it's place amongst the vampire myths.

Not All Vampires in Mythology Consumed Blood

One should also keep in mind that not all vampires sustain themselves through blood consumption alone, but can also feed from the life force of plants, animals, elements, and human beings by tapping into their aura. These vampires are known as psychic vampires. The Sumerians reference to the Ekimmu as being "evil wind gusts" and if you look into occult studies of the psychic vampire, you will find that breath and the transfer of psychic energy are intimately correspondent. With this reference, the Ekimmu very much indeed fits the description of a intentional psychic vampire.

Beliefs of How One Could Become An Ekimmu

Some of the reasons behind the hostility of the Ekimmu (translated meaning "that which was snatched away") were believed to be due to the following: a violent or premature death by being murdered, possibly in a battle, or dying at a very young age. Dying before love could be fulfilled, improper burial, or not being buried at all, dying in pregnancy, drowning, starvation, improper libations (a serving (of wine) poured out in honor of a deity.) or food offerings.

In Inuit legends, it is believed that the Ekimmu becomes existent when a individual makes a promise to take care of the grave of the deceased, and then fails to uphold that responsibility. The deceased then become this creature with full knowledge of why they have returned, making them very angry and bitter. But they are rarely concerned with avenging the person responsible for their return, instead they roam the earth attacking at random.

They try to put their past lives behind them, but there have been rare instances where an Ekimmu has attempted to get their family to join them in undeath. They are said to be found amongst the unfortunate homeless, living in steam tunnels, sewers and abandoned buildings in decayed inner cities. It is believed that the Ekimmu can not stand their atrocious existence which drives them into insanity, causing them to be the horrendous predators that they are, feeding on the terror of those who remind them of their former loved ones. According to the Ancient Sumerians, an Ekimmu would seize it’s victim and torment them until a priest or priestess could come and perform a ritual or exorcism to force the vampire off.

Author: © Raevyn (formerly Larae)
Republished On: August 5, 2012 (Originally published in 2003)

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References

  1. Melton, Gordon J. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Canton, MI. Visible Ink Press, 1999.
  2. Bunson, Matthew. The Vampire Encyclopedia. Gramercy, 2000.