Flesh and Blood

Eleonor Botoman
9 min readJan 4, 2023
From “Nosferasta: First Bite” (2021)

Author’s Note: This essay contains descriptions of racial and domestic violence.

“Modernity’s endless technoscientific entanglements of blood and race are the zenith of vampire culture. It’s a history of blood spilt in the name of bloodlines…Modernity is the Age of Vampires — as much as it’s an age of undead empires.” — Sabel Gavaldon, ‘Bad Blood: Or, the Impure Origins of Vampire Culture,’ Nosferasta: The Book

Known by many names over the centuries — adze, peuchen, vrykolakas, soucouyant, mandurugo, asanbosam, penanggalan, jiāngshī, strigoi — we recognize vampires by their sharp teeth and mouths red with blood. They tend to live forever. Sometimes they look you and I. Sometimes they can only hide parts of their monstrosity, inadvertently revealing their strangeness through long fingernails, hypnotic gazes, or skin fizzles and smokes in the sun. Sometimes they don’t look human at all.

Much to the chagrin of my Romanian ancestors, vampires have always been my favorite supernatural monster. Besides the fact that vampires usually appear as impeccably dressed creatures of the night, the vampire embodies destructive greed and power through its fanged anatomy. They are ever-hungry hunters both blessed and cursed by immortality. Long passages of time are etched into the way they speak, dress, the wealth they have, the way they see the world. They are perpetually displaced…