By Invitation Only

Okay, so I’ve got this door mat that quite plainly says LEAVE. I got it because I thought it was oh-so-witty when I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond and have joked since that it’s part of my vampire protection plan, because if my mat said WELCOME it could potentially be misconstrued as an invitation. The mat itself can be seen at this post on someone else’s blog found via a Google search.

Well, a friend that doesn’t normally hang out had come over last weekend, and I was trying to explain the mat to this person, who seemed completely confused–possibly even thinking I was crazy for considering the vampire threat in Savannah to be so serious. So it got me thinking: if I’m wrong, I’m obviously erring on the side of caution, which there really isn’t anything wrong with. But how specific does an invitation have to be to for a vampire to be allowed entry? Google searches on this topic mostly bring up answers and examples from the Buffyverse, but not entirely. Here’s some of what I found:


Weird thoughts I have while driving, but I was thinking that if someone has a
mat at their front door that says welcome that just might possibly count as an
invitation to enter, right? 😉

So obviously, I’m not the first to think of this potential problem. Moving forward, from

Vampires also have a mystical aversion to entering any human dwelling place
which they have not been verbally invited. Once invited, they may enter the
place anytime thereafter.
“He may not enter anywhere at first, unless there
be some member of the household to bid him to come; though afterwards he can
come as he pleases.” – Professor Van Helsing in Mina Harker’s Journal, Chapter
XVIII of Dracula by Bram Stoker

So according to this, the mat would not qualify as a threat to the humans living within a home, should a thirsty vampire happen to be lurking outside. The part about if a member of the house “bid[s] him to come” bothers me, though, because in this case a written invitation can still be a threat, but at least it would need to be addressed to the individual vampire to begin with. All that one must be worried about here is not knowing that the person invited by letter/etc is a vampire, because as we finally come to the Buffyverse evidence, it has been established that the inviter does not need to know that the invitee is a member of the walking dead. Considering there are 12 years’ combined precedent in the Buffyverse (7 for BtVS and 5 for Angel) the lore here is a bit too expansive for this post, but a good summary can be found here. (That last link has a lot of other Buffyverse vamp lore, but I skipped down to the invitation-specific information for brevity.)

Regardless of whether my mat is helping to protect me or not, depending on which mythos you follow, I feel its better safe than sorry in the long run. When my neighbors come down with a slight case of dead and I’m still nice and alive, we’ll know who the smart one was as far as door mats are concerned.

2 thoughts on “By Invitation Only

  1. I'm with you! Better to err on the side of caution. Stories and Myths and such all had to start somewhere, right?

    That is incredibly clever by the way! I had never thought of a doormat as an invitation before, but you never know. I think as long as the vampire legitimately considers something an invitation, they would be able to enter.

    I could be wrong, but I always thought of that rule as a very strong psychological barrier as part of their species and customs. While it has evolved to the point where they are physically unable to enter without invitation, the word “invitation” is definitely up to interpretation.


  2. What I find interesting is how the “let the right ones in” idea started up just as the Industrial Revolution was taking off – and Dracula came into being.

    I may be off on the timing, but in the past, inviting strangers into the home was a sign of hospitality. Christian mythology has people “entertaining angels unaware” or the “done unto the least of these.” Sikhs and many middle eastern regions had the entertaining and helping of strangers as a central part of the culture.

    Then – along comes the 1800s, and that's on longer the “right” thing to do. Now, it's about fear of the stranger. These days, you would be considered insane if you picked someone up off the road or invited a stranger into your house for dinner – human or vampire.


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