Date of Award

Spring 2010

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Steve Phelan


The purpose of this work is to uncover the mystery of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the vampire myth. Presented first is a discussion of what a vampire is and its origins. The discussion moves to the vampire myth and the close relationship and similarities between the myth and Christianity, like the importance of blood as a life force. This work goes on to address how the late medieval Church exploited the vampire myth in order to impart a greater influence on society than any other non-Christian belief system. Also, it explores how the Church provided solace for the true believer and took it upon herself to defend the local population from vampires and other monstrous creatures such as witches and werewolves. Thus, the Church created a closed system whereby the institution actually fortified these myths in the minds of men while providing protection from them. Further, by giving credence to the vampire myth instead of negating it, the Church in its desperate need for expansion in the Balkans, actually helped create the historical vampire, Vlad III, or Dracula in the fifteenth century. Finally, the discussion moves to how the Church, by giving the vampire myth acceptance as an evil entity, inadvertently kept the myth alive in the Age of Reason and perhaps in the modern age as a form of entertainment.