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Jack Thursby

I have often wondered what exactly the "baptism of blood" was supposed to do. Is it simply a means of controlling and corrupting Mina (thus sullying the "light of all lights")or is this how Stoker's vampires are made (as some modern vampire fiction would hold it e.g the works of Anne Rice)


Re how Stoker's vampires are made. I am pasting in below an excerpt from "Dracula: Sense & Nonsense" in which I examine this issue, including - briefly - the "baptism of blood."

One of the most crucial inconsistencies in Dracula is how victims become vampires. Does everyone bitten by a vampire become a vampire? Van Helsing’s declaration that “all that die from the preying of the Un-Dead become themselves Un-Dead” implies so, although it indicates that there is hope of saving them while they are still alive. Presumably, if the vampire who infected someone is destroyed while the victim is still alive, all will be well. This happens in Mina’s case, and we can assume that the child on the Heath, whom Lucy had fed on as the “bloofer lady,” was relatively unharmed. To further complicate the issue, Professor Van Helsing states that, had Arthur received Lucy’s kiss, he “would in time ... have become nosferatu” although when he said this, Lucy was just about to be staked. What are we to make of that?

To confuse matters further, the circumstances surrounding the “turning” of the three vampires in the Castle are not explained; but we can assume from Dracula’s comment to them, “I too can love; you yourselves can tell it from the past”, that they were once the recipients of his bite. What other people has he fed on in the centuries since he graduated from the Scholomance? Did any or all become vampires after death? If not, why not? If so, where are they? Maybe multiple feedings may be required for a conversion to take place. Lucy supplies Dracula with blood on numerous occasions, without becoming a vampire, although there are more and more signs that she is turning into one of the undead. Mina is seduced on three successive nights (giving rise, presumably, to the “three bite” theory that is popular in many books and movies).

Another question. Does the text make it clear that Dracula “infuses his own blood into her [Lucy’s] body” (Florescu and McNally 163)? While Mina is subjected to the “baptism of blood,” there is no indication such an exchange happened in Lucy’s case.


I think that we have to assume Van Helsing over-estimated the virulence of the vampire infection, or we are left with the awkward question of why an entire crew of vampires did not debark from the [i]Demeter[/i]. The "baptism", at any rate, makes it certain, not to mention subjects Mina to a painful and humiliating process of mutation before her friends and husband (and Dracula does mention punishment as a factor).

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