I LIke… Bats

Why do people hate bats?

  • Is it the flying rat idea?
  • Is it the belief that they carry more disease than any other creature?
  • Is it the vampire mythos?

Anyway you cut it most people that see or hear a bat will freak out.  They throw their hands over their head and run for the hills.  In fact, my wife has been known to run from a pool on a glorious summer evening when a local bat that we have named Harry flies in to dine on the bugs attracted to the lights around the pool.  I don’t get it, and to quote a Prince song from the Batman soundtrack:  I like… Bats.

Again, and this is almost universal, people around the world do not like bats.  European societies, Meso-America and Africa all have stories of the bat being associated with all things evil.  Due to the fact that they only come out and night and their creepy appearance, the bat has gotten a bad rap.  People see the bat bringing plague, bringing disease and of course due to the tie into the vampire mythos, bringing death with sharp pointy teeth.

From the beginning it seems that the bat and the vampire would be tied together.  The Vampire Bat of course is a real species and while they do not attack people necessarily they do drink blood as their main means of sustenance.  I am sure that the people of the village where the vampire bats hunt saw this large bat swoop down and drink the blood of its prey and they were freaked out. Now, we all now that vampire bats do not drink the blood of people but for the people that first encountered this bat they were frightened.  Is it any doubt that when Bram SToker was developing his notion of the penultimate vampire that he chose to tie it closely to the bat as well.  Again, the people of England knew what bats were.  They were afraid of them.  All of sudden their imaginations were sparked by the tale of a supernatural creature that drank the blood of the living and could change forms into that of a large bat.  You know with the publication of Dracula that people all over England were seeing vampire bats around every corner.

Let’s swap now to costuming and iconography.  The bat, while making its way into pop-culture on the chest of a costumed crimefighter is not huge in the costuming iconography of the Rennie.  Of course, if you are going for more steampunkery, then the bat can be your friend and should be embraced.  Get the bat on your clothing and on your jewelry.  You might even want to go one step further and embrace the dark – go Steampunk Vampire.  WHile I am not a fan of that cross-over at the Ren Faire (They take place during the day , people) for Halloween, why not.