Thursday 6 July 2023

Are the werewolf and vampire myths based on memories of a war between Cro-Magnon Man and Neanderthals?


I just listened to a short talk on the origin of the werewolf and vampire myths. 

I don't think those myths were of great importance before Hollywood used them, by the way, but all myths are very interesting and appealing, to me at least. 

Even though fairy tales bored me to tears when I was three or four I love them now. Why, I don't know.

Were Neanderthals the original vampires?

Others think vampires are linked to the rare disease porphyria, which makes sufferers flee the sun. 

Perhaps porphyria is a Neanderthal legacy. 

Vampires are not important in Romanian culture, by the way. An Anglo-Irish pulp fiction writer copied the idea of a vampire story from another more gifted Anglo-Irishman, who had set his vampire story not in Transylvania but in Styria in Austria.

I have no idea if Robert Sepehr is a good authority but his theories about war between Cro-Magnon and cannibalistic Neanderthals who saw well in the dark are worth hearing, though his stuff smacks slightly of the stuff people like Erich von

Daniken wrote about visitors from outer space or Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln on the Rosicrucian secret, Jesus's marriage to St. Mary Magdalene. (My father was fascinated by both these - my supervisor Simon Keynes told me that Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln had no respect for truth.)

It's also interesting that Robert Sepehr thinks the evidence does not support the idea that mankind came from one group in Africa and that the widespread academic belief in this theory is based on political reasons.  

I know academics are usually in thrall to unexamined political ideas.

I always strongly suspected that the idea that there was not one Indo-European people at one time was based on dislike of the idea of Aryans for political reasons rather than science, but I never looked into the question. 

A girl who read Classics in my college told me, when I asked her about the origins of Indo-European, that it is a metaphor. I bet it's not.

I was very amused in 1985 to read John Hooper in his book The Spaniards saying the Basques are so ancient a race that some have suggested they are not homo sapiens at all but descended from the Neanderthals. 

That little known fact made people laugh at a dinner party in 1985 but got me accused of "19th century racism" by an apolitical friend on Facebook 13 years ago. 

Didn't Ambrose Bierce say 'goke' after attempts at humour? 

He also suggested using what he called a “snigger point” — \__/ — to convey jocularity or irony. But Ambrose Bierce was so leaden and unfunny. I feel sad just remembering The Devil's Dictionary.

As for the Neanderthal theory of the origins of the Basques, perhaps it is true. Judge for yourself here.


  1. 1) Sepehr isn't even a crank. He's a conspiracy theory who's fascinated by racial "purity". He literally wrote a book on Vril --"Aryan" racial spirituality -- and another on how the Jews caused the world wars and are now trying to subjugate Europe by flooding it with Africans. Unsurprisingly, he's also very intrigued by the Nazis, who may have gone a bit too far but had many excellent ideas!

    It's not surprising that you ran across him, since your circles of interest overlap. But for goodness' sake, could you do thirty seconds of googling before credulously saying "wow, this sounds interesting"?

    2) The "Basques as Neanderthals" theory was briefly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, because the youngest Neanderthal fossils then known happened to come from the Basque region of Spain. This turned out to be a complete coincidence.

    We've been able to test for Neanderthal DNA for 20 years now. The Basques are no more Neanderthal than any other European population. Again, thirty seconds of googling.

    3) If you want to get into detail, the Basque appear to be descended from the first wave of farmers who came out of Anatolia, probably arriving in Iberia around 5500 BC. That makes them very ancient, the oldest continuous indigenous group in mainland Europe -- but still firmly Homo Sapiens, and much, much younger than the Neanderthals.

    1. The Neanderthal vampire theory is interesting, by which I mean fun. I don't imagine for a second that it is likely to be true, but very interesting. What do the man's political ideas have to do with it? I did not for one moment imagine Basques were Neanderthals but the idea was mentioned in passing by John Hooper. I thought it a good joke and it is funny, isn't it?

  2. Oh, and: the "neanderbasque" site you're linking to is over 20 years old. For goodness' sake, you can tell that just by looking at it!

    The guy who used to run it was a crank on a bunch of topics; in particular, he was an expanding-Earth nut, which is literally just one step up from flat-Earthism. (In any event, he now appears to be dead - he was born in 1930, and hasn't posted anything new for many years.) And if you read closely, not only is he carefully cherry-picking facts to fit his theory, but he's citing facts that actually oppose it.

    Basques being the oldest surviving population in Europe is interesting enough! There's no need for wacky theories about them being part Neanderthal!

    It's like that line from Douglas Adams -- 'Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?'

    1. We all realise the importance of recycling and the latter part of my post is based on something I posted 11 years ago that was an attempt to be funny. (Goke.)

  3. Paul: You are so behind the times, being accused of 19th century today's standards, in my mind, you should at least to be accused of 20th century racism. You need to up your game. That being said, nice blog.

    1. You remind me of Paul Gottfried at the end of an interview saying, 'I'm worried I wasn't racist enough'.

  4. I was aware of this rhesus-neg theory and used it in my novel *Broken Fences* under the nom-de-plume Wulf Kurtoglu.

    1. I had no idea that I had been entertaining a novelist unawares. Golly.

  5. Oh I don’t know about leaden. Varsa-a vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. That seems very on point

  6. I came across this.