In the Buffyverse, it has been stated by Buffy and others that vampires are not consciously related to their former, human selves.

The explanation given in the series is that human body dies during Siring, the human soul moves onto the afterlife, and a demon from an extra dimension 'moves' into the corpse, animating it into a vampire.

The demon gains the memories of the human, and thus, inherits at least some of their personality traits.

But the human soul (their consciousness for the purpose of this question) moves onto the afterlife regardless.

If we take Buffy's comments at face-value, there seems to be little motivation for a human to become a vampire. They are going to go the afterlife (good or bad) regardless. The only thing they're accomplishing is giving up their memories and meat sack to a demon. They get absolutely nothing out of the deal.

Are people usually mislead into becoming vampires then? Do they believe they will retain the same consciousness after being vampified?

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    It's not really clear what the relationship between the soul and consciousness is in the Buffyverse. It might be that the soul is more like a moral center with no separate consciousness of its own, so the vampire's consciousness is genuinely a continuation of the human consciousness in the same way that you might imagine your consciousness when you wake up is a continuation of the consciousness you had last night before going to sleep.
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 26, 2022 at 22:58
  • Absolutely. And I definitely considered that... but the arguments given in this question (which I see you made the same point on) convinced me that wasn't the case: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/114850/…. On the other hand, if that's confirmable, that would be a great answer.
    – Tronman
    Aug 26, 2022 at 23:03
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    It's been many years since I watched Buffy. But from what I recall it was debatable whether the vampire is actually the person. Yes, Buffy said "You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house" but she could have been wrong. The watchers didn't know everything. I recall once where Angel started to disagree "Well, actually..." before being silenced. (Same episode? I don't recall) And Spike vamped his own mother, and expected her to be the same person.
    – Pete
    Aug 27, 2022 at 1:38
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    The story of Spike strongly calls your first sentence here into question. Why would vampire Spike care at all about his mother if there's no relationship to the former human? Aug 27, 2022 at 8:31
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    @Pete - I did a search on a transcript site, Angel's "Well, actually" comment was in the ep "Doppelgangland" when they've captured the vampire version of Willow from the alternate reality, the human Willow says: "That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and... skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay." Buffy: "Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was." Angel: "Well, actually... That's a good point." Here Angel stopped himself from whatever he was going to say in order to spare Willow's feelings, with the implication that there is continuity in personality.
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 27, 2022 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


It appears that the few humans who have heard the downside of becoming a vampire don't fully believe it, or are in circumstances that they feel continued existence as a human is of such low value that they don't care.

After all, vampires are a secret in the Buffyverse -- the Watchers certainly know what happens when a vampire is sired, but they don't tell anyone but the Slayers, and the Slayers keep it secret, too. Vampires know - but they have no motivation to tell.

In the Angel episode most relevant to this question, Eternity the actress wants to maintain her career which is vital to her self image - but we don't see any sign that she knows about the downside, and neither Cordelia nor Angel (the two people who talk to her about the topic of being turned) are shown discussing downsides.

In Lie to Me (where your quote is from) we have the "low value" case.

Buffy: Well, I've got a news flash for you, braintrust: that's not how it works. You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it's not you.

Ford: It's better than nothing.

Buffy: And your life is nothing?

Ford: I look good, don't I? Well, let me tell you something: (angry) I've got maybe six months left, and by then what they bury won't even look like me. It'll be bald and shriveled and it'll smell bad. No, I'm not going out that way.


The believe something exists is to have an opinion that something is real and exists. To believe something happens is to have an opinion that something happens.

To know that something exists or happens is to have a belief that something exists or happens, when that belief is factually correct. The correctness of an opinion is what makes the difference between it being a belief and being knowledge.

People can say that they know something in the sens of being totally convinced it is correct,while being totally wrong about it and actually not knowning it.

I note that it is logical for the ideology of the watchers and the slayers to claim that a person's soul goes on to the afterlife when they die and become a vampire and that nothing remains of the human in a vampire body when they slay it.

Obviously such a belief would enable the slayers to slay vampires without feeling as much guilt as they would feel if they thought they were killing the human as well as the deomon.

I note that when Faith killed a human man, Buffy acted like Faith had crossed a Moral Event Horizon.


Even though Buffy and Faith had both killed many intelligent beings and persons before.

So Buffy seemed to have the ideology that only one species of intelligent beings, Homo sapiens, mattered or had the right to live, and it was okay to kill countless thousands of members of other species, such as demons.

If that was the ideology of the watchers and the slayers, naturally they would want to believe that they weren't killing a human inside the vampire body when they killed a vampire demon.

There was one episode where Willow met an alternate universe vampire Willow and later said that her vampire self seemed to be gay, and said that no doubt the vampire personality was totally different from the human personality.

And Angel said something like: "Not in my experien___" before shutting up. And Willow later did have a lesbian relationship.

And what about Angel's soul, if souls exist in the Buffyverse. Angel was a man who was shired and became a vampire. And one time he killed a beloved gypsy princess, and a Gypsy witch or wizard put a curse upon Angel, giving him a soul, and making Angle feel guilty for all the crimes he committed.

So if a Gypsy sorceress can create such apowerful spell, why didn't some Gypsy sorceress use a powerful spell to stop the Nazis when they slaughtered hundeeds of thousand sof Gypsies or Romani during WWII?


Later, Angel had sex with Buffy, triggering the senseless clause in the curse that he would lose his soul if he experienced enough happiness. Angel became the evil, souless Angelus again, inflicting horror and suffering upon many innocent persons, until that part of the curse was reversed by another human spell.

So when Angel's body died, his soul should have gone to Heaven or Hell according to the Christian religion and stayed there forever. So when the curse gave Angel a soul, was his original soul ripped from heaven or hell and returned to his body, even though he then experienced a lifestyle which was better than Hell but not as good as Heaven, and so was a different condiiton from what he deserved according to he judgement of God Almighty?

Or did the Gypsy curse on Angel make or find a second soul to give to Angel. And when the utterly senseless clause in the curse took Angel's original or second soul way, what happened to that Soul?

And then some of the scooby gang performed a magical spell that gave Angel a soul - it is unknown whether it was his original soul, or his second soul, or a third soul somehow created or acquired from somewhere.

So apparently mere mortal humans can perform spells powerful enough to change the fates of human souls. Apparently overpowering the rules of God Almighty, who is suppsed to omnipotent and powerful acording to Christian theology. And even a human magic user as sweet as Willow can turn evil - as Willow did a few seasons later - and should not be trusted with the awesome power to change the fate of human souls.

So some people might find the ability of mere human magic uses to change the fates of human souls in the buffyverse terrifying.

But do human souls even exist in real life or the Buffyverse?

Anyone who read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) knows that the creature turned evil because of his resentment at the way he was treated his creator, Victor Frankenstine. But in popular culture people often say the monster was evil because it had no soul. So those people seem to believe in all knowing and all powerful God who creates souls for every persons, but somehow made the obvious mistake of not giving the monster a soul.

Or maybe they are using "soul" as a metaphor for a conscience, a sense of right and wrong. I suspect that many people often use "soul" as a metaphor for a conscience.

And possibly the characters in the Buffyverse talk about human souls because they want to believe in human souls and life after death. Most of them should be familiar with Christianity, Jadaism, and Islam, and used to the concept of human souls and hope that souls are real. And seeing other "supernatural" things may make them more confident that souls exist. So they might believe that immortal souls already exist and there is need for them to find a way to create them.

But maybe the wish is the father to the belief, and maybe there is no evidence for the existence of souls in the Buffyverse.

I note that in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" Giles the Watcher said that the primordial Earth was a Hellish place instead of a Heavenly one in the beginning. So that makes it probabe that some parts of Christian theology - and possibly all of them - are incorrect.

And maybe the spells that kept giving Angel "souls" and taking them away actually gave and removed his conscience, and people simply used "soul" as a metaphor for "conscience" when talking about those spells.

Thus it is possible that in the Buffyverse there are no human souls and when a person's body dies, their personality, consciusness, and identity dies.

Except that when they are sired as a vampire, their persoanlity, identity, and consciousness remains in their body, along with that of the demon.

So maybe whenevr Buffy stakes a vampire, she is killing not only a demon, but whatever remains of the human the body belonged to.

In any case, it may be possible to say what characters in the Buffyverse believe about the fate someone who is vampirized. But it is impossible to say what those characters know about the fate of the vampirized, because someone can only know that which true, and it is impossible for viewers to know whether a Buffyverse character's beliefs are true in the Buffyverse.

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    "... the senseless clause in the curse ... " I think the point is that every curse must have a way to break it. That's pretty standard in fantasy, even if it wasn't spelled out.
    – Pete
    Aug 27, 2022 at 21:54
  • I'm not sure I understand your argument. A Romani sorceress who possibly wasn't even alive during the Holocaust was able to cast a spell to give a vampire a soul = somehow someone must have been able to cast a spell to stop the Holocaust? Willow was a Jewish witch who was also not alive during the Holocaust, and who has done things more impressive than give vampires souls. Why didn't she stop it?
    – Adamant
    Aug 28, 2022 at 2:29
  • But hey, maybe there were a bunch of witches who were Jewish and Romani and Jehovah's Witnesses and et cetera who did try to stop the Holocaust, but the Nazi witches were more powerful.
    – Adamant
    Aug 28, 2022 at 2:37
  • @Pete "Every curse must have a way to break it" might be a rule for making interesting t stories but isn't a ration rule for ficiton makers of curses to follow. If you want to curse someone, why create a loophole for them? And in fact the greatest curse in fantasy fiction had no loophole, so the makers of Buffy had that example they could have followed. Aug 28, 2022 at 17:02
  • "... why create a loophole ... ?" because the laws of curses require a loophole. You can't have a curse with no loophole. Every curse must have a way to break it.
    – Pete
    Aug 29, 2022 at 0:24

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