The Lilith in Dracula, Carmilla, Christabel, Geraldine and The Hunger
For centuries Lilith, the Queen of the Night, has been blamed when a child or man dies without certain cause or when a woman refuses to be submissive to her husband. While the Legend of Lilith is not widely known today, it is not difficult to find information about the demoness. However, there are slight variations found from story to story. Here we will focus on the myth as found in Hebrew mythology, and we will particularly emphasize the similarities seen between Lilith and various vampires seen in literature today.
The Hebrew figure of Lilith was actually borrowed from Babylonian and Syrian myths. Lilitu was a Babylonian demon and a spirit of the night and of storms. Lamassu was a Sumerian goddess and the daughter of Anu, the god of Heaven. It is believed that Lilith is a combination of these two demons from earlier legends. However, for the purpose of our study, we will focus on the legend of Lilith found in Hebrew scriptures.
According to Hebrew scriptures, Lilith was Eve’s predecessor and therefore, the first wife of Adam. However, there are two variations on the Hebrew creation myth. The first states that God made man and woman out of the same material (earth or clay), at the same time, thus the two beings were equals in every way. The alternative version of this myth states that Adam was made of clay while Lilith was made of dirt and filth. However, regardless of her origin, the remainder of the myth proceeds much the same way.
Legends states when it was time for the two to have sexual intercourse, Adam insisted that Lilith take the more submissive position. This angered her and in frustration she called out the sacred and secret name of Yahweh. She was then granted wings and flew away. At Adam’s request, God sent three angels, named Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, in search of Lilith to return her to the Garden of Eden. They found her in the company of demons near the Red Sea, but she refused to return to Adam. She was punished by God to give birth to thousands of deformed offspring, called lilim, a hundred of which would die per day. Upset by her punishment, she throws herself into the Red Sea. The three angels take pity on her and give her power over all newborn children. She has power of life or death over male children for eight days after which they are circumcised and over female children for twenty days. She was also given power over children born out of wedlock for an undetermined about of time. However, Lilith promised to spare children who had an amulet with the likeness and/or names of the angels in their rooms.
Lilith is not mentioned by name in the Authorized Version of the Bible. In Isaiah 34:14, she is referenced only as a screech owl who rests among the wild beasts of the island. In the Revised Version, she is called the night-hag. She is also assumed...