Vampire
Overview
Vampires are mythological
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 or folkloric
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead
Undead
Undead is a collective name for fictional, mythological, or legendary beings that are deceased and yet behave as if alive. Undead may be incorporeal, such as ghosts, or corporeal, such as vampires and zombies...

 or a living person. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures
Vampire folklore by region
Legends of vampires have existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demonic entities and blood-drinking spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires...

, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and strigoi
Strigoi
In Romanian mythology, strigoi are the troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave. Some strigoi can be living people with certain magical properties. Some of the properties of the strigoi include: the ability to transform into an animal, invisibility, and the propensity to drain the vitality...

 in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

.
Encyclopedia
Vampires are mythological
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

 or folkloric
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead
Undead
Undead is a collective name for fictional, mythological, or legendary beings that are deceased and yet behave as if alive. Undead may be incorporeal, such as ghosts, or corporeal, such as vampires and zombies...

 or a living person. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures
Vampire folklore by region
Legends of vampires have existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demonic entities and blood-drinking spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires...

, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and strigoi
Strigoi
In Romanian mythology, strigoi are the troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave. Some strigoi can be living people with certain magical properties. Some of the properties of the strigoi include: the ability to transform into an animal, invisibility, and the propensity to drain the vitality...

 in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.

While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was the success of John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre
The Vampyre
"The Vampyre" is a short story or novella written in 1819 by John William Polidori which is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction...

 that established the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampire; it is arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century, inspiring such works as Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood was a Victorian era serialized gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer . It first appeared in 1845–47 as a series of cheap pamphlets of the kind then known as "penny dreadfuls". The story was published in book form in 1847...

 and eventually Dracula
Dracula
Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

. The Vampire was itself based on Lord Byron's unfinished story "Fragment of a Novel
Fragment of a Novel
Fragment of a Novel is an unfinished 1819 vampire horror story written by Lord Byron. The story, also known as "A Fragment" and "The Burial: A Fragment", was one of the first in English to feature a vampire theme. The main character was Augustus Darvell. John William Polidori based his novella The...

", also known as "The Burial: A Fragment", published in 1819.

However, it is Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

's 1897 novel Dracula
Dracula
Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

 that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

". The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers
Susan Sellers
Susan Sellers is a British author, translator, editor and novelist. She is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of St Andrews, and co-General Editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of the writings of Virginia Woolf...

 places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy".

Etymology

The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 dates the first appearance of the word vampire in English from 1734, in a travelogue titled Travels of Three English Gentlemen published in the Harleian Miscellany
Harleian Miscellany
The Harleian Miscellany was a collection of material from the library of the Earl of Oxford collated and edited by Samuel Johnson between 1744 and 1753...

 in 1745. Vampires had already been discussed in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 literature. After Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 gained control of northern Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Oltenia
Oltenia
Oltenia is a historical province and geographical region of Romania, in western Wallachia. It is situated between the Danube, the Southern Carpathians and the Olt river ....

 with the Treaty of Passarowitz
Treaty of Passarowitz
The Treaty of Passarowitz or Treaty of Požarevac was the peace treaty signed in Požarevac , a town in Ottoman Empire , on 21 July 1718 between the Ottoman Empire on one side and the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria and the Republic of Venice on the other.During the years 1714-1718, the Ottomans had...

 in 1718, officials noted the local practice of exhuming bodies and "killing vampires". These reports, prepared between 1725 and 1732, received widespread publicity.

The English term was derived (possibly via French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 vampyre) from the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Vampir, in turn derived in the early 18th century from the Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 вампир/vampir, when Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole Arnold Paole Arnold Paole (Arnont Paule in the original documents; an early German rendition of a Serbian name or nickname, perhaps Арнаут Павле, Arnaut Pavle; died c...

, a purported vampire in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 was described during the time Serbia was incorporated into the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

.

The Serbian form has parallels in virtually all Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

: Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

  вампир (vampir), Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 vampir, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

 upír, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 wąpierz, and (perhaps East Slavic
East Slavic languages
The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

-influenced) upiór, Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 упир (upyr), Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 упырь (upyr'), Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

 упыр (upyr), from Old East Slavic упирь (upir'). (Note that many of these languages have also borrowed forms such as "vampir/wampir" subsequently from the West; these are distinct from the original local words for the creature.) The exact etymology is unclear. Among the proposed proto-Slavic
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

 forms are } and }. Another, less widespread theory, is that the Slavic languages have borrowed the word from a Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 term for "witch" (e.g., Tatar
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...

 ubyr).

The first recorded use of the Old Russian form Упирь (Upir') is commonly believed to be in a document dated 6555
Byzantine calendar
The Byzantine calendar, also "Creation Era of Constantinople," or "Era of the World" was the calendar used by the Eastern Orthodox Church from c. 691 to 1728 in the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was also the official calendar of the Byzantine Empire from 988 to 1453, and in Russia from c...

 (1047 AD). It is a colophon
Colophon (publishing)
In publishing, a colophon is either:* A brief description of publication or production notes relevant to the edition, in modern books usually located at the reverse of the title page, but can also sometimes be located at the end of the book, or...

 in a manuscript of the Book of Psalms written by a priest who transcribed the book from Glagolitic
Glagolitic alphabet
The Glagolitic alphabet , also known as Glagolitsa, is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. The name was not coined until many centuries after its creation, and comes from the Old Slavic glagolъ "utterance" . The verb glagoliti means "to speak"...

 into Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 for the Novgorodian Prince Volodymyr Yaroslavovych
Vladimir of Novgorod
Vladimir Yaroslavich reigned as prince of Novgorod from 1036 until his death. He was the eldest son of Yaroslav I the Wise of Kiev by Ingigerd, daughter of king Olof Skötkonung of Sweden....

. The priest writes that his name is "Upir' Likhyi " (Оупирь Лихыи), which means something like "Wicked Vampire" or "Foul Vampire". This apparently strange name has been cited as an example both of surviving paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 and of the use of nicknames as personal names. (It is also possible that, in this context, Upir is simply a transliteration of Norse name Öpir
Öpir
Öpir or Öper was a runemaster who flourished during the late 11th century and early 12th century in Uppland, Sweden...

.)

Another early use of the Old Russian word is in the anti-pagan treatise "Word of Saint Grigoriy", dated variously to the 11th–13th centuries, where pagan worship of upyri is reported.

Folk beliefs

The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

ns, Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

, Ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th-century southeastern Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing
Demonic possession
Demonic possession is held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying...

 a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire. Belief in such legends became so pervasive that in some areas it caused mass hysteria and even public execution
Public Execution
Public Execution is a Mouse and the Traps retrospective album that has been released in both LP and CD formats. The LP has an unusually large number of tracks , while the CD includes 4 bonus tracks and catalogues almost all of the released music by Mouse and the Traps and their associated bands: ...

s of people believed to be vampires.

Description and common attributes

It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends. Vampires were usually reported as bloated in appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in colour; these characteristics were often attributed to the recent drinking of blood. Indeed, blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its shroud or coffin and its left eye was often open. It would be clad in the linen shroud it was buried in, and its teeth, hair, and nails may have grown somewhat, though in general fangs were not a feature.

Creating vampires

The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 and Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 while they were alive.

Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythe
Scythe
A scythe is an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass, or reaping crops. It was largely replaced by horse-drawn and then tractor machinery, but is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia. The Grim Reaper is often depicted carrying or wielding a scythe...

s or sickle
Sickle
A sickle is a hand-held agricultural tool with a variously curved blade typically used for harvesting grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock . Sickles have also been used as weapons, either in their original form or in various derivations.The diversity of sickles that...

s, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 practice of placing an obolus in the corpse's mouth
Charon's obol
Charon's obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person before burial. According to Greek and Latin literary sources, the coin was a payment or bribe for the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead...

 to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld; it has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription "Jesus Christ conquers" were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire. Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendon
Tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s at the knees or placing poppy
Poppy
A poppy is one of a group of a flowering plants in the poppy family, many of which are grown in gardens for their colorful flowers. Poppies are sometimes used for symbolic reasons, such as in remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime....

 seeds, millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania
Arithmomania
Arithmomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sufferers from this disorder have a strong need to count their actions or objects in their surroundings....

. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n subcontinent, as well as in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings.
In Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

n folklore, the dhampir
Dhampir
A Dhampir in Balkan folklore is the child of a vampire father and a human mother. The term is sometimes spelled dhampyre, dhamphir, or dhampyr. Dhampir powers are similar to those of vampires, but without the usual weaknesses...

 is the son of the karkanxholl or the lugat. If the karkanxholl sleeps with his wife, and she is impregnated with a child, the offspring is called dhampir and has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname.

Identifying vampires

Many elaborate rituals were used to identify a vampire. One method of finding a vampire's grave involved leading a virgin boy through a graveyard or church grounds on a virgin stallion—the horse would supposedly baulk at the grave in question. Generally a black horse was required, though in Albania it should be white. Holes appearing in the earth over a grave were taken as a sign of vampirism.

Corpses thought to be vampires were generally described as having a healthier appearance than expected, plump and showing little or no signs of decomposition. In some cases, when suspected graves were opened, villagers even described the corpse as having fresh blood from a victim all over its face. Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours. Folkloric vampires could also make their presence felt by engaging in minor poltergeist
Poltergeist
A poltergeist is a paranormal phenomenon which consists of events alluding to the manifestation of an imperceptible entity. Such manifestation typically includes inanimate objects moving or being thrown about, sentient noises and, on some occasions, physical attacks on those witnessing the...

-like activity, such as hurling stones on roofs or moving household objects, and pressing
Mara (folklore)
A mare or nightmare is a spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams . The mare is attested as early as in the Norse Ynglinga saga from the 13th century, but the belief itself is likely to be considerably older...

 on people in their sleep.

Protection

Apotropaics

Apotropaics, items able to ward off revenants, are common in vampire folklore. Garlic
Garlic
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

 is a common example, a branch of wild rose
Rosa acicularis
Rosa acicularis, also known as the prickly wild rose, the prickly rose, the bristly rose and the Arctic rose, is a species of wild rose with a Holarctic distribution in northern regions of Asia, Europe, and North America....

 and hawthorn
Common Hawthorn
Crataegus monogyna, known as common hawthorn or single-seeded hawthorn, is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world where it is an invasive weed...

 plant are said to harm vampires, and in Europe, sprinkling mustard seeds on the roof of a house was said to keep them away. Other apotropaics include sacred items, for example a crucifix
Crucifix
A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

, rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

, or holy water
Holy water
Holy water is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and some other churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects; or as a means of repelling evil.The use for baptism and...

. Vampires are said to be unable to walk on consecrated ground, such as those of churches or temples, or cross running water. Although not traditionally regarded as an apotropaic, mirror
Mirror
A mirror is an object that reflects light or sound in a way that preserves much of its original quality prior to its contact with the mirror. Some mirrors also filter out some wavelengths, while preserving other wavelengths in the reflection...

s have been used to ward off vampires when placed, facing outwards, on a door (in some cultures, vampires do not have a reflection and sometimes do not cast a shadow, perhaps as a manifestation of the vampire's lack of a soul). This attribute, although not universal (the Greek vrykolakas/tympanios was capable of both reflection and shadow), was used by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

 in Dracula and has remained popular with subsequent authors and filmmakers. Some traditions also hold that a vampire cannot enter a house unless invited by the owner, although after the first invitation they can come and go as they please. Though folkloric vampires were believed to be more active at night, they were not generally considered vulnerable to sunlight.
Methods of destruction

Methods of destroying suspected vampires varied, with staking
Impalement
Impalement is the traumatic penetration of an organism by an elongated foreign object such as a stake, pole, or spear, and this usually implies complete perforation of the central mass of the impaled body...

 the most commonly cited method, particularly in southern Slavic cultures. Ash
Ash tree
Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

 was the preferred wood in Russia and the Baltic states, or hawthorn
Common Hawthorn
Crataegus monogyna, known as common hawthorn or single-seeded hawthorn, is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world where it is an invasive weed...

 in Serbia, with a record of oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. Potential vampires were most often staked through the heart, though the mouth was targeted in Russia and northern Germany and the stomach in north-eastern Serbia. Piercing the skin of the chest was a way of "deflating" the bloated vampire; this is similar to the act of burying sharp objects, such as sickles, in with the corpse, so that they may penetrate the skin if the body bloats sufficiently while transforming into a revenant. Decapitation
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

 was the preferred method in German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and western Slavic areas, with the head buried between the feet, behind the buttocks
Buttocks
The buttocks are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to...

 or away from the body. This act was seen as a way of hastening the departure of the soul, which in some cultures, was said to linger in the corpse. The vampire's head, body, or clothes could also be spiked and pinned to the earth to prevent rising. Gypsies drove steel or iron needles into a corpse's heart and placed bits of steel in the mouth, over the eyes, ears and between the fingers at the time of burial. They also placed hawthorn in the corpse's sock or drove a hawthorn stake through the legs. In a 16th-century burial near Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, a brick forced into the mouth of a female corpse has been interpreted as a vampire-slaying ritual by the archaeologists who discovered it in 2006. Further measures included pouring boiling water over the grave or complete incineration of the body. In the Balkans, a vampire could also be killed by being shot or drowned, by repeating the funeral service, by sprinkling holy water
Holy water
Holy water is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and some other churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects; or as a means of repelling evil.The use for baptism and...

 on the body, or by exorcism
Exorcism
Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

. In Romania, garlic could be placed in the mouth, and as recently as the 19th century, the precaution of shooting a bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

 through the coffin
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

 was taken. For resistant cases, the body was dismembered and the pieces burned, mixed with water, and administered to family members as a cure. In Saxon regions of Germany, a lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

 was placed in the mouth of suspected vampires.

Ancient beliefs

Tales of supernatural beings consuming the blood or flesh of the living have been found in nearly every culture around the world for many centuries. Today, we would associate these entities with vampires, but in ancient times, the term vampire did not exist; blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s or spirits who would eat flesh and drink blood; even the Devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

 was considered synonymous with the vampire. Almost every nation has associated blood drinking with some kind of revenant or demon, or in some cases a deity. In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, for example, tales of vetāla
Vetala
A vetala is a ghost-like being from Hindu mythology. The vetala are defined as spirits inhabiting corpses and charnel grounds...

s, ghoul-like beings that inhabit corpses, have been compiled in the Baitāl Pacīsī
Baital Pachisi
Baital Pachisi or Vetala Panchavimshati , is a collection of tales and legends within a frame story, from India. It was originally written in Sanskrit....

; a prominent story in the Kathāsaritsāgara
Kathāsaritsāgara
Kathasaritsagara is a famous 11th-century collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales as retold by a Saivite Brahmin named Somadeva....

 tells of King Vikramāditya
Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya was a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. The title "Vikramaditya" was later assumed by many other kings in Indian history, notably the Gupta King Chandragupta II and Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya .The name King Vikramaditya is a...

 and his nightly quests to capture an elusive one. Piśāca
Pishacha
Pishachas are flesh eating demons, according to Hindu mythology. Their origin is obscure, although some believe that they were created by Brahma. Another legend describes them as the sons of either Krodh or of Daksha’s daughter Pishach. They have been described to have a dark complexion with...

, the returned spirits of evil-doers or those who died insane, also bear vampiric attributes.
The Persians were one of the first civilizations to have tales of blood-drinking demons: creatures attempting to drink blood from men were depicted on excavated pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 shards. Ancient Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 and Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 had tales of the mythical Lilitu, synonymous with and giving rise to Lilith
Lilith
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, found earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts. However, Lowell K. Handy notes, "Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view...

 (Hebrew לילית) and her daughters the Lilu
Lilu (mythology)
-Akkadian, Sumerian, Babylonian:In the Sumerian king list the father of Gilgamesh is said to be a lilu.The wicked Utukku who slays man alive on the plain. The wicked Alû who covers like a garment....

 from Hebrew demonology. Lilitu was considered a demon and was often depicted as subsisting on the blood of babies. And Estries
Estries
Estries are female vampires of Hebrew mythology that were believed to prey on Hebrew citizens, particularly men. The name derives from the French strix, a term for a night owl. In some accounts they are considered identical with succubi: both were portrayed as beautiful, blood-thirsty female...

, female shape changing, blood drinking demons, were said to roam the night among the population, seeking victims. According to Sefer Hasidim, Estries
Estries
Estries are female vampires of Hebrew mythology that were believed to prey on Hebrew citizens, particularly men. The name derives from the French strix, a term for a night owl. In some accounts they are considered identical with succubi: both were portrayed as beautiful, blood-thirsty female...

 were creatures created in the twilight hours before God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 rested. And injured Estrie could be healed by eating bread and salt given her by her attacker.

Ancient Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and Roman mythology
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

 described the Empusa
Empusa
Empusa is a demigoddess of Greek mythology. In later incarnations she appeared as a species of monsters commanded by Hecate ....

e, the Lamia
Lamia (mythology)
In ancient Greek mythology, Lamia was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon. Aristophanes claimed her name derived from the Greek word for gullet , referring to her habit of devouring children....

, and the striges
Strix (mythology)
Strix was the Ancient Roman and Greek word for owl. In folklore it was considered a bird of ill omen that fed on human flesh and blood, a product of metamorphosis...

. Over time the first two terms became general words to describe witches and demons respectively. Empusa was the daughter of the goddess Hecate
Hecate
Hecate or Hekate is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod's Theogony...

 and was described as a demonic, bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

-footed creature. She feasted on blood by transforming into a young woman and seduced men as they slept before drinking their blood. The Lamia preyed on young children in their beds at night, sucking their blood, as did the gelloudes or Gello
Gello
In the myth and folklore of the Near East and Europe, Gello is one of the many names for a female demon or revenant who threatens the reproductive cycle by causing infertility, spontaneous abortion, and infant mortality.By the Byzantine era, the gello had become a type of demonic possession...

. Like the Lamia, the striges feasted on children, but also preyed on young men. They were described as having the bodies of crows or birds in general, and were later incorporated into Roman mythology as strix, a kind of nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood.

Medieval and later European folklore

Many of the myths surrounding vampires originated during the medieval period
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The 12th-century English historians and chroniclers Walter Map
Walter Map
Walter Map was a medieval writer of works written in Latin. Only one work is attributed to Map with any certainty: De Nugis Curialium.-Life:...

 and William of Newburgh
William of Newburgh
William of Newburgh or Newbury , also known as William Parvus, was a 12th-century English historian and Augustinian canon from Bridlington, Yorkshire.-Biography:...

 recorded accounts of revenants, though records in English legends of vampiric beings after this date are scant. The Old Norse draugr
Draugr
A draugr, draug or draugur , or draugen , also known as aptrgangr is an undead creature from Norse mythology...

 is another medieval example of an undead creature with similarities to vampires.

Vampires proper originate in folklore widely reported from Eastern Europe in the late 17th and 18th centuries. These tales formed the basis of the vampire legend that later entered Germany and England, where they were subsequently embellished and popularized. One of the earliest recordings of vampire activity came from the region of Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

 in modern Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, in 1672. Local reports cited the local vampire Giure Grando
Jure Grando
Jure Grando or Giure Grando was the first classical vampire to be mentioned in documented records. In his native Istria, which is in present day Croatia, he was referred to as a štrigon or štrigun, a local word for something resembling a vampire and a warlock.-Story:Jure Grando was a peasant who...

 of the village Khring near Tinjan
Tinjan
Tinjan is a village and municipality in Istria, Croatia. The population is 1,800 , 400 pf whom live in the eponymous village. It is 50 km north of Pula and 10 km southwest of Pazin, in the Draga valley. The Coat of Arms of Tinjan is azure on a base vert a tower argent behind walls of the...

 as the cause of panic among the villagers. A former peasant, Guire died in 1656; however, local villagers claimed he returned from the dead and began drinking blood from the people and sexually harassing his widow. The village leader ordered a stake to be driven through his heart, but when the method failed to kill him, he was subsequently beheaded with better results.

During the 18th century, there was a frenzy of vampire sightings in Eastern Europe, with frequent stakings and grave diggings to identify and kill the potential revenants; even government officials engaged in the hunting and staking of vampires. Despite being called the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, during which most folkloric legends were quelled, the belief in vampires increased dramatically, resulting in a mass hysteria throughout most of Europe. The panic began with an outbreak of alleged vampire attacks in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

 in 1721 and in the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 from 1725 to 1734, which spread to other localities. Two famous vampire cases, the first to be officially recorded, involved the corpses of Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz was a Serbian peasant who was believed to have become a vampire after his death and to have killed nine of his fellow villagers. The case was one of the earliest, most sensational and most well documented cases of vampire hysteria...

 and Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole Arnold Paole Arnold Paole (Arnont Paule in the original documents; an early German rendition of a Serbian name or nickname, perhaps Арнаут Павле, Arnaut Pavle; died c...

 from Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

. Plogojowitz was reported to have died at the age of 62, but allegedly returned after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the following day. Plogojowitz supposedly returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood. In the second case, Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who allegedly was attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After his death, people began to die in the surrounding area and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours. Another famous Serbian legend involving vampires concentrates around a certain Sava Savanović
Sava Savanovic
Sava Savanović is one of the most famous vampires in Serbian folklore.-Legend:Sava Savanović was said to have lived in an old watermill on the Rogačica river, at Zarožje village in the municipality of Bajina Bašta. It was said that he killed and drank the blood of the millers when they came to...

 living in a watermill and killing and drinking blood from millers. The character was later used in a story written by Serbian writer Milovan Glišić
Milovan Glišic
Milovan Glišić was a Serbian writer, dramatist, translator, and literary theorist. He is sometimes referred to as the Serbian Gogol.-Biography:...

 and in the Serbian 1973 horror film Leptirica
Leptirica
Leptirica is a 1973 former Yugoslav horror TV movie based on the story After Ninety Years written by Serbian writer Milovan Glišić...

 inspired by the story.

The two incidents were well-documented: government officials examined the bodies, wrote case reports, and published books throughout Europe. The hysteria, commonly referred to as the "18th-Century Vampire Controversy", raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural epidemics of so-claimed vampire attacks, undoubtedly caused by the higher amount of superstition that was present in village communities, with locals digging up bodies and in some cases, staking them. Although many scholars reported during this period that vampires did not exist, and attributed reports to premature burial or rabies
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic , most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms...

, superstitious
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

 belief increased. Dom Augustine Calmet, a well-respected French theologian and scholar, put together a comprehensive treatise in 1746, which was ambiguous concerning the existence of vampires. Calmet amassed reports of vampire incidents; numerous readers, including both a critical Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 and supportive demonologists, interpreted the treatise as claiming that vampires existed. In his Philosophical Dictionary
Dictionnaire philosophique
The Dictionnaire philosophique is an encyclopedic dictionary published by Voltaire in 1764. The alphabetically arranged articles often criticize the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions. The first edition, released in June of 1764, went by the name of Dictionnaire Philosphique Portatif. It...

, Voltaire wrote:
The controversy only ceased when Empress Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

 sent her personal physician, Gerard van Swieten
Gerard van Swieten
Gerard van Swieten was a Dutch-Austrian physician.Van Swieten was born in Leiden. He was a pupil of Hermann Boerhaave and became in 1745 the personal physician of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. In this position he implemented a transformation of the Austrian health service and medical...

, to investigate the claims of vampiric entities. He concluded that vampires did not exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies, sounding the end of the vampire epidemics. Despite this condemnation, the vampire lived on in artistic works and in local superstition.

Africa

Various regions of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 have folkloric tales of beings with vampiric abilities: in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 the Ashanti people tell of the iron-toothed and tree-dwelling asanbosam
Asanbosam
The Sasabonsam ) is a vampire-like folkloric being from West Africa. It belongs to the folklore of the Ashanti of southern Ghana, as well as Côte d'Ivoire and Togo...

, and the Ewe people
Ewe people
The Ewe are a people located in the southeast corner of Ghana, east of the Volta River, in an area now described as the Volta Region, in southern Togo and western Benin...

 of the adze
Adze (folklore)
The adze is a vampiric being in Ewe folklore. In the wild, the adze takes the form of a firefly, though it will transform into human shape upon capture. When in human form, the adze has the power to possess humans....

, which can take the form of a firefly
Firefly
Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, and commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey. Fireflies produce a "cold light", with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies...

 and hunts children. The eastern Cape region has the impundulu, which can take the form of a large taloned bird and can summon thunder and lightning, and the Betsileo
Betsileo
The Betsileo are a highland ethnic group of Madagascar, the third largest in terms of population, numbering around 1.5 million and making up about 12.1 percent of the population. Their name means "The Many Invincible Ones" which they chose for themselves after the failed invasion of Ramitraho...

 people of Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 tell of the ramanga, an outlaw or living vampire who drinks the blood and eats the nail clippings of nobles.

The Americas

The Loogaroo is an example of how a vampire belief can result from a combination of beliefs, here a mixture of French and African Vodu or voodoo. The term Loogaroo possibly comes from the French loup-garou (meaning "werewolf") and is common in the culture of Mauritius
Culture of Mauritius
The culture of Mauritius involves the blending of several cultures from Mauritius' history, as well as individual culture arising indigenously.- Mauritian public holidays and festivals :...

. However, the stories of the Loogaroo are widespread through the Caribbean Islands and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 in the United States. Similar female monsters are the Soucouyant
Soucouyant
The soucouyant or soucriant in Dominica, Trinidadian and Guadeloupean folklore , is a kind of witch vampire.-Legend:...

 of Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, and the Tunda
Tunda
The Tunda is a myth of the Colombian Pacific region, and particularly in the afro-American community, about a vampire-like monster woman that lures people into the forests and keeps them there...

 and Patasola
Patasola
The Patasola or "one foot" is one of many myths in South American folklore about female monsters from the jungle, appearing to male hunters or loggers in the middle of the wilderness when they think about women...

 of Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

n folklore, while the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 of southern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 have the bloodsucking snake known as the Peuchen
Peuchen
The Peuchen is a creature from the Mapuche mythology and Chilote mythology pertaining to southern Chile, a much feared shapeshifting creature which could instantly change into animal form.It has often been described as gigantic flying snake which produced strange whistling sounds, while its gaze...

. Aloe vera
Aloe vera
Aloe vera, pronounced , also known as the true aloe or medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe that is believed to have originated in the Sudan. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India, Nepal and other arid areas.The species is...

 hung backwards behind or near a door was thought to ward off vampiric beings in South American superstition. Aztec mythology described tales of the Cihuateteo
Cihuateteo
In Aztec mythology, the Cihuateteo were the spirits of human women who died in childbirth . Childbirth was considered a form of battle, and its victims were honored as fallen warriors...

, skeletal-faced spirits of those who died in childbirth who stole children and entered into sexual liaisons with the living, driving them mad.

During the late 18th and 19th centuries the belief in vampires was widespread in parts of New England, particularly in Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 and Eastern Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

. There are many documented cases of families disinterring loved ones and removing their hearts in the belief that the deceased was a vampire who was responsible for sickness and death in the family, although the term "vampire" was never actually used to describe the deceased. The deadly disease tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, or "consumption" as it was known at the time, was believed to be caused by nightly visitations on the part of a dead family member who had died of consumption themselves. The most famous, and most recently recorded, case of suspected vampirism is that of nineteen-year-old Mercy Brown
Mercy Brown vampire incident
The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation....

, who died in Exeter, Rhode Island
Exeter, Rhode Island
Exeter is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, United States. Exeter extends east from the Connecticut border to the town of North Kingstown. It is bordered to the north by West Greenwich and East Greenwich, and to the south by Hopkinton, Richmond and South Kingstown. Exeter's postal code...

 in 1892. Her father, assisted by the family physician, removed her from her tomb two months after her death, cut out her heart and burned it to ashes.

Asia

Rooted in older folklore, the modern belief in vampires spread throughout Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 with tales of ghoulish entities from the mainland, to vampiric beings from the islands of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 also developed other vampiric legends. The Bhūta
Bhuta
Bhūta is a Sanskrit word that has several meanings:* true, matter of fact, reality, existing, present, being or being like anything, consisting of, mixed or joined with...

 or Prét is the soul of a man who died an untimely death. It wanders around animating dead bodies at night, attacking the living much like a ghoul
Ghoul
A ghoul is a folkloric monster associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh, often classified as undead. The oldest surviving literature that mention ghouls is likely One Thousand and One Nights...

. In northern India, there is the BrahmarākŞhasa, a vampire-like creature with a head encircled by intestines and a skull from which it drank blood. The figure of the Vetāla
Vetala
A vetala is a ghost-like being from Hindu mythology. The vetala are defined as spirits inhabiting corpses and charnel grounds...

 who appears in South Asian legend and story may sometimes be rendered as "Vampire" (see the section on "Ancient Beliefs" above).

Although vampires have appeared in Japanese cinema since the late 1950s, the folklore behind it is western in origin. However, the Nukekubi
Nukekubi
are monsters found in Japanese folklore. By day, nukekubi appear to be normal human beings. By night, however, their heads detach at the neck smoothly from their bodies and fly about independently in search of human prey. These heads attack by screaming , then closing in and biting.While the head...

 is a being whose head and neck detach from its body to fly about seeking human prey at night.

Legends of female vampire-like beings who can detach parts of their upper body also occur in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Malaysia and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. There are two main vampire-like creatures in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

: the Tagalog
Tagalog people
The Tagalog people are an ethnic group in the Philippines. The name Tagalog comes from either the native term tagá-ilog, meaning 'people living along the river', or another native term, tagá-alog, meaning 'people living along the ford', a ford being a shallow part of a river or stream where people,...

 mandurugo ("blood-sucker") and the Visayan manananggal
Manananggal
The manananggal is a mythical creature of the Philippines. It resembles a Western vampire, in being an evil, man-eating monster or witch. The myth of the manananggal is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, especially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique...

 ("self-segmenter"). The mandurugo is a variety of the aswang
Aswang
An Aswang is a mythical creature in Philippine folklore. The aswang is an inherently evil vampire-like creature and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories, the details of which vary greatly...

 that takes the form of an attractive girl by day, and develops wings and a long, hollow, thread-like tongue by night. The tongue is used to suck up blood from a sleeping victim. The manananggal is described as being an older, beautiful woman capable of severing its upper torso in order to fly into the night with huge bat-like wings and prey on unsuspecting, sleeping pregnant women in their homes. They use an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

es from these pregnant women. They also prefer to eat entrails (specifically the heart
Heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

 and the liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

) and the phlegm of sick people.

The Malaysian Penanggalan may be either a beautiful old or young woman who obtained her beauty through the active use of black magic
Black magic
Black magic is the type of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers or is used with the intention to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences. As a term, "black magic" is normally used by those that do not approve of its...

 or other unnatural means, and is most commonly described in local folklore to be dark or demonic in nature. She is able to detach her fanged head which flies around in the night looking for blood, typically from pregnant women. Malaysians would hang jeruju (thistles) around the doors and windows of houses, hoping the Penanggalan would not enter for fear of catching its intestines on the thorns. The Leyak
Leyak
In the folklore of Bali, the Leyak is a mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails still attached. Leyak is said to fly trying to find a pregnant woman in order to suck her baby's blood or a newborn child...

 is a similar being from Balinese folklore
Balinese mythology
Balinese mythology is the traditional mythology of the people of the Indonesian island of Bali, before the majority adoption of Hinduism.Balinese mythology is mainly a kind of animism with some widely-known characters and deities...

. A Kuntilanak or Matianak in Indonesia, or Pontianak or Langsuir in Malaysia, is a woman who died during childbirth and became undead, seeking revenge and terrorizing villages. She appeared as an attractive woman with long black hair that covered a hole in the back of her neck, with which she sucked the blood of children. Filling the hole with her hair would drive her off. Corpses had their mouths filled with glass beads, eggs under each armpit, and needles in their palms to prevent them from becoming langsuir.

Jiang Shi , sometimes called "Chinese vampires" by Westerners, are reanimated corpses that hop around, killing living creatures to absorb life essence (
Qi
In traditional Chinese culture, qì is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts...

) from their victims. They are said to be created when a person's soul (魄
Hun and po
Hun and po are types of souls in Chinese philosophy and religion. Within this ancient soul dualism tradition, every living human has both a hun spiritual, ethereal, and yang soul that leaves the body after death and a po corporeal, substantive, and yin soul that remains with the corpse...

) fails to leave the deceased's body. However, some have disputed the comparison of jiang shi with vampires, as jiang shi are usually mindless creatures with no independent thought. One unusual feature of this monster is its greenish-white furry skin, perhaps derived from fungus
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 or mould
Mold
Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds are not considered to be microbes but microscopic fungi that grow as single cells called yeasts...

 growing on corpses.

Modern beliefs

In modern fiction, the vampire tends to be depicted as a suave, charismatic villain. Despite the general disbelief in vampiric entities, occasional sightings of vampires are reported. Indeed, vampire hunting societies still exist, although they are largely formed for social reasons. Allegations of vampire attacks swept through the Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n country of Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

 during late 2002 and early 2003, with mobs stoning one individual to death and attacking at least four others, including Governor Eric Chiwaya
Eric Chiwaya
Eric Chiwaya, a member of the United Democratic Front, is the urban governor for Blantyre, Malawi. On January 8, 2003, he was stoned by a mob which argued that the government was colluding with vampires. Chiwaya survived the attack and denied the allegations....

, based on the belief that the government was colluding with vampires.

In early 1970 local press spread rumours that a vampire haunted Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery is a cemetery located in north London, England. It is designated Grade I on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. It is divided into two parts, named the East and West cemetery....

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Amateur vampire hunters flocked in large numbers to the cemetery. Several books have been written about the case, notably by Sean Manchester, a local man who was among the first to suggest the existence of the "Highgate Vampire
Highgate Vampire
The Highgate Vampire was a media sensation surrounding reports of supposed supernatural activity at Highgate Cemetery in London.-A modern vampire story:...

" and who later claimed to have exorcised and destroyed a whole nest of vampires in the area. In January 2005, rumours circulated that an attacker had bitten a number of people in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, fuelling concerns about a vampire roaming the streets. However, local police stated that no such crime had been reported and that the case appears to be an urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

.

In 2006, a phys­ics pro­f­es­sor at the University of Central Florida
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan public research university located in Orlando, Florida, United States...

 wrote a paper arguing that it is mathematically impossible for vampires to exist, based on geometric progression
Geometric progression
In mathematics, a geometric progression, also known as a geometric sequence, is a sequence of numbers where each term after the first is found by multiplying the previous one by a fixed non-zero number called the common ratio. For example, the sequence 2, 6, 18, 54, ... is a geometric progression...

. According to the paper, if the first vampire had appeared on January 1, 1600, and it fed once a month (which is less often than what is depicted in films and folklore), and every victim turned into a vampire, then within two and a half years the entire human population of the time would have become vampires. The paper made no attempt to address the credibility of the assumption that every vampire victim would turn into a vampire.

In one of the more notable cases of vampiric entities in the modern age, the chupacabra
Chupacabra
The chupacabras is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico , Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities...

 ("goat-sucker") of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 is said to be a creature that feeds upon the flesh or drinks the blood of domesticated animals, leading some to consider it a kind of vampire. The "chupacabra hysteria" was frequently associated with deep economic and political crises, particularly during the mid-1990s.

In Europe, where much of the vampire folklore originates, the vampire is considered a fictitious being, although many communities have embraced the revenant for economic purposes. In some cases, especially in small localities, vampire superstition is still rampant and sightings or claims of vampire attacks occur frequently. In Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 during February 2004, several relatives of Toma Petre feared that he had become a vampire. They dug up his corpse, tore out his heart, burned it, and mixed the ashes with water in order to drink it.

Vampirism and the Vampire lifestyle
Vampire lifestyle
The vampire lifestyle or vampire subculture is an alternative lifestyle, based on the modern perception of vampires in popular fiction. The vampire subculture has stemmed largely from the goth subculture, but also incorporates some elements of the sadomasochism subculture...

 also represent a relevant part of modern day's occultist movements. The mythos of the vampire, his magickal qualities, allure, and predatory archetype express a strong symbolism that can be used in ritual, energy work, and magick, and can even be adopted as a spiritual system. The vampire has been part of the occult society in Europe for centuries and has spread into the American sub-culture as well for more than a decade, being strongly influenced by and mixed with the neo gothic
Goth subculture
The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify...

 aesthetics.

Collective noun

'Coven
Coven
A coven or covan is a name used to describe a gathering of witches or in some cases vampires. Due to the word's association with witches, a gathering of Wiccans, followers of the witchcraft-based neopagan religion of Wicca, is also described as a coven....

' has been used as a collective noun for vampires, possibly based on the Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

n usage. An alternative collective noun is a 'house' of vampires. David Malki, author of Wondermark
Wondermark
Wondermark is a webcomic created by David Malki which was syndicated to Flak Magazine and appeared in The Onion's print edition through 2008. It features 19th-century illustrations that have been recontextualized to create humorous juxtapositions. It takes the horizontal four-panel shape of a...

, suggests in Wondermark #566 the use of the collective noun 'basement', as in "A basement of vampires."

Origins of vampire beliefs

Commentators have offered many theories for the origins of vampire beliefs, trying to explain the superstition - and sometimes mass hysteria - caused by vampires. Everything ranging from premature burial
Premature burial
Premature burial, also known as live burial, burial alive, or vivisepulture, means to be buried while still alive. Animals or humans may be buried alive accidentally or intentionally...

 to the early ignorance of the body's decomposition
Decomposition
Decomposition is the process by which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death...

 cycle after death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 has been cited as the cause for the belief in vampires.

Slavic spiritualism

Although many cultures possess revenant superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

s comparable to the Eastern European vampire, the Slavic
Slavic mythology
Slavic mythology is the mythological aspect of the polytheistic religion that was practised by the Slavs before Christianisation.The religion possesses many common traits with other religions descended from the Proto-Indo-European religion....

 vampire is the revenant superstition that pervades popular culture's concept of vampire. The roots of vampire belief in Slavic culture are based to a large extent in the spiritual beliefs and practices of pre-Christianized Slavic peoples and their understanding of life after death. Despite a lack of pre-Christian Slavic writings
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

 describing the details of the "Old Religion", many pagan spiritual beliefs and rituals have been sustained by Slavic peoples even after their lands were Christianized. Examples of such beliefs and practices include ancestor worship, household spirits
Household deity
A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in pagan religions as well as in folklore across many parts of the world....

, and beliefs about the soul after death. The origins of vampire beliefs in Slavic regions can be traced to the complex structure of Slavic spiritualism.

Demons and spirits served important functions in pre-industrial Slavic societies and were considered to be very interactive in the lives and domains of humans. Some spirits were benevolent and could be helpful in human tasks, others were harmful and often destructive. Examples of such spirits are Domovoi
Domovoi
A domovoi or domovoy is a house spirit in Slavic folklore. The plural form in Russian can be transliterated domoviye or domovye ....

, Rusalka
Rusalka
In Slavic mythology, a rusalka was a female ghost, water nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demon that dwelled in a waterway....

, Vila, Kikimora
Kikimora
Kikimora is a legendary creature, a female house spirit in Slavic mythology, fin: Kikke Mörkö , sometimes said to be married to the Domovoi...

, Poludnitsa, and Vodyanoy. These spirits were also considered to be derived from ancestors or certain deceased humans. Such spirits could appear at will in various forms including that of different animals or human form. Some of these spirits could also participate in malevolent activity to harm humans, such as drowning humans, obstructing the harvest, or sucking the blood of livestock and sometimes humans. Hence, the Slavs were obliged to appease these spirits to prevent the spirits from their potential for erratic and destructive behaviour.

Common Slavic belief indicates a stark distinction between soul and body. The soul is not considered to be perishable. The Slavs believed that upon death the soul would go out of the body and wander about its neighbourhood and workplace for 40 days before moving on to an eternal afterlife. Because of this, it was considered necessary to leave a window or door open in the house for the soul to pass through at its leisure. During this time the soul was believed to have the capability of re-entering the corpse of the deceased. Much like the spirits mentioned earlier, the passing soul could either bless or wreak havoc on its family and neighbours during its 40 days of passing. Upon an individual's death, much stress was placed on proper burial rites to ensure the soul's purity and peace as it separated from the body. The death of an unbaptized child, a violent or an untimely death, or the death of a grievous sinner (such as a sorcerer or murderer) were all grounds for a soul to become unclean after death. A soul could also be made unclean if its body were not given a proper burial. Alternatively, a body not given a proper burial could be susceptible to possession by other unclean souls and spirits. Slavs feared unclean souls because of their potential for taking vengeance.

From these deeply implicated beliefs pertaining to death and the soul derives the invention of the Slavic concept of vampir. A vampire is the manifestation of an unclean spirit
Unclean spirit
In English translations of the Bible, unclean spirit is a common rendering of Greek pneuma akatharton , which in its single occurrence in the Septuagint translates Hebrew ....

 possessing a decomposing body. This undead creature is considered to be vengeful and jealous towards the living and needing the blood of the living to sustain its body's existence. Although this concept of vampire exists in slightly deviating forms throughout Slavic countries and some of their non-Slavic neighbours, it is possible to trace the development of vampire belief to Slavic spiritualism pre-existing Christianity in Slavic regions.

Decomposition

Paul Barber in his book Vampires, Burial and Death has described that belief in vampires resulted from people of pre-industrial societies
Pre-industrial society
Pre-industrial society refers to specific social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It is followed by the industrial society....

 attempting to explain the natural, but to them inexplicable, process of death and decomposition.

People sometimes suspected vampirism when a cadaver did not look as they thought a normal corpse should when disinterred. However, rates of decomposition vary depending on temperature and soil composition, and many of the signs are little known. This has led vampire hunters to mistakenly conclude that a dead body had not decomposed at all, or, ironically, to interpret signs of decomposition as signs of continued life. Corpses swell as gases from decomposition accumulate in the torso and the increased pressure forces blood to ooze from the nose and mouth. This causes the body to look "plump," "well-fed," and "ruddy"—changes that are all the more striking if the person was pale or thin in life. In the Arnold Paole case
Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole Arnold Paole Arnold Paole (Arnont Paule in the original documents; an early German rendition of a Serbian name or nickname, perhaps Арнаут Павле, Arnaut Pavle; died c...

, an old woman's exhumed corpse was judged by her neighbours to look more plump and healthy than she had ever looked in life. The exuding blood gave the impression that the corpse had recently been engaging in vampiric activity. Darkening of the skin is also caused by decomposition. The staking of a swollen, decomposing body could cause the body to bleed and force the accumulated gases to escape the body. This could produce a groan-like sound when the gases moved past the vocal cords, or a sound reminiscent of flatulence
Flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

 when they passed through the anus. The official reporting on the Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz was a Serbian peasant who was believed to have become a vampire after his death and to have killed nine of his fellow villagers. The case was one of the earliest, most sensational and most well documented cases of vampire hysteria...

 case speaks of "other wild signs which I pass by out of high respect".

After death, the skin and gums lose fluids and contract, exposing the roots of the hair, nails, and teeth, even teeth that were concealed in the jaw. This can produce the illusion that the hair, nails, and teeth have grown. At a certain stage, the nails fall off and the skin peels away, as reported in the Plogojowitz case—the dermis
Dermis
The dermis is a layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues, and is composed of two layers, the papillary and reticular dermis...

 and nail beds emerging underneath were interpreted as "new skin" and "new nails".

Premature burial

It has also been hypothesized that vampire legends were influenced by individuals being buried alive because of shortcomings in the medical knowledge of the time. In some cases in which people reported sounds emanating from a specific coffin, it was later dug up and fingernail marks were discovered on the inside from the victim trying to escape. In other cases the person would hit their heads, noses or faces and it would appear that they had been "feeding." A problem with this theory is the question of how people presumably buried alive managed to stay alive for any extended period without food, water or fresh air. An alternate explanation for noise is the bubbling of escaping gases from natural decomposition of bodies. Another likely cause of disordered tombs is grave robbing
Grave robbing
Grave robbery, grave robbing, or tomb raiding is the act of uncovering a tomb or crypt to steal artifacts or personal effects. Someone who engages in this act is a grave robber or tomb raider...

.

Contagion

Folkloric vampirism has been associated with clusters of deaths from unidentifiable or mysterious illnesses, usually within the same family or the same small community. The epidemic allusion is obvious in the classical cases of Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz
Peter Plogojowitz was a Serbian peasant who was believed to have become a vampire after his death and to have killed nine of his fellow villagers. The case was one of the earliest, most sensational and most well documented cases of vampire hysteria...

 and Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole Arnold Paole Arnold Paole (Arnont Paule in the original documents; an early German rendition of a Serbian name or nickname, perhaps Арнаут Павле, Arnaut Pavle; died c...

, and even more so in the case of Mercy Brown
Mercy Brown vampire incident
The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation....

 and in the vampire beliefs of New England generally, where a specific disease, tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, was associated with outbreaks of vampirism. As with the pneumonic form of bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

, it was associated with breakdown of lung tissue which would cause blood to appear at the lips.

Porphyria

In 1985 biochemist David Dolphin
David Dolphin
David H. Dolphin, OC, FRS, FRSC is a Canadian biochemist.He is an internationally recognized expert in porphyrin chemistry and biochemistry...

 proposed a link between the rare blood disorder porphyria
Porphyria
Porphyrias are a group of inherited or acquired disorders of certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway . They are broadly classified as acute porphyrias and cutaneous porphyrias, based on the site of the overproduction and accumulation of the porphyrins...

 and vampire folklore. Noting that the condition is treated by intravenous haem
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

, he suggested that the consumption of large amounts of blood may result in haem being transported somehow across the stomach wall and into the bloodstream. Thus vampires were merely sufferers of porphyria seeking to replace haem and alleviate their symptoms. The theory has been rebuffed medically as suggestions that porphyria sufferers crave the haem in human blood, or that the consumption of blood might ease the symptoms of porphyria, are based on a misunderstanding of the disease. Furthermore, Dolphin was noted to have confused fictional (bloodsucking) vampires with those of folklore, many of whom were not noted to drink blood. Similarly, a parallel is made between sensitivity to sunlight by sufferers, yet this was associated with fictional and not folkloric vampires. In any case, Dolphin did not go on to publish his work more widely. Despite being dismissed by experts, the link gained media attention and entered popular modern folklore.

Rabies

Rabies
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic , most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms...

 has been linked with vampire folklore. Dr Juan Gómez-Alonso, a neurologist at Xeral Hospital in Vigo
Vigo
Vigo is a city and municipality in north-west Spain, in Galicia, situated on the ria of the same name on the Atlantic Ocean.-Population:...

, Spain, examined this possibility in a report in Neurology. The susceptibility to garlic and light could be due to hypersensitivity, which is a symptom of rabies. The disease can also affect portions of the brain that could lead to disturbance of normal sleep patterns (thus becoming nocturnal) and hypersexuality
Hypersexuality
Hypersexuality is extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity. Hypersexuality is typically associated with lowered sexual inhibitions. Although hypersexuality can be caused by some medical conditions or medications, in most cases the cause is unknown...

. Legend once said a man was not rabid if he could look at his own reflection (an allusion to the legend that vampires have no reflection). Wolves and bats, which are often associated with vampires, can be carriers of rabies. The disease can also lead to a drive to bite others and to a bloody frothing at the mouth.

Psychodynamic understanding

In his 1931 treatise On the Nightmare, Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

 psychoanalyst
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 Ernest Jones
Ernest Jones
Alfred Ernest Jones was a British neurologist and psychoanalyst, and Sigmund Freud’s official biographer. Jones was the first English-speaking practitioner of psychoanalysis and became its leading exponent in the English-speaking world where, as President of both the British Psycho-Analytical...

 noted that vampires are symbolic of several unconscious drives and defence mechanism
Defence mechanism
In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defence mechanisms are unconscious psychological strategies brought into play by various entities to cope with reality and to maintain self-image. Healthy persons normally use different defences throughout life...

s. Emotions such as love, guilt, and hate fuel the idea of the return of the dead to the grave. Desiring a reunion with loved ones, mourners may project
Psychological projection
Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people...

 the idea that the recently dead must in return yearn the same. From this arises the belief that folkloric vampires and revenants visit relatives, particularly their spouses, first. In cases where there was unconscious guilt associated with the relationship, however, the wish for reunion may be subverted by anxiety. This may lead to repression
Psychological repression
Psychological repression, also psychic repression or simply repression, is the psychological attempt by an individual to repel one's own desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious...

, which Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 had linked with the development of morbid dread. Jones surmised in this case the original wish of a (sexual) reunion may be drastically changed: desire is replaced by fear; love is replaced by sadism, and the object or loved one is replaced by an unknown entity. The sexual aspect may or may not be present. Some modern critics have proposed a simpler theory: People identify with immortal vampires because, by so doing, they overcome, or at least temporarily escape from, their fear of dying.

The innate sexuality of bloodsucking can be seen in its intrinsic connection with cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

 and folkloric one with incubus
Incubus (demon)
An incubus is a demon in male form who, according to a number of mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have intercourse with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus...

-like behaviour. Many legends report various beings draining other fluids from victims, an unconscious association with semen
Semen
Semen is an organic fluid, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals and can fertilize female ova...

 being obvious. Finally Jones notes that when more normal aspects of sexuality are repressed, regressed forms may be expressed, in particular sadism; he felt that oral sadism is integral in vampiric behaviour.

Political interpretation

The reinvention of the vampire myth in the modern era is not without political overtones. The aristocratic Count Dracula, alone in his castle apart from a few demented retainers, appearing only at night to feed on his peasantry, is symbolic of the parasitic Ancien regime. Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog Stipetić , known as Werner Herzog, is a German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.He is often considered as one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner...

, in his Nosferatu the Vampyre, gives this political interpretation an extra ironic twist when protagonist Jonathon Harker, a middle-class solicitor, becomes the next vampire; in this way the capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 bourgeois becomes the next parasitic class.

Psychopathology

A number of murderers have performed seemingly vampiric rituals upon their victims. Serial killer
Serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

s Peter Kürten
Peter Kürten
Peter Kürten was a German serial killer dubbed The Vampire of Düsseldorf by the contemporary media. He committed a series of sex crimes, assaults and murders against adults and children, most notoriously from February to November 1929 in Düsseldorf.-Early life:Kürten was born into a...

 and Richard Trenton Chase were both called "vampires" in the tabloids after they were discovered drinking the blood of the people they murdered. Similarly, in 1932, an unsolved murder case in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 was nicknamed the "Vampire murder
Atlas Vampire
The Atlas Vampire is the nickname given to the unknown assailant who committed the unsolved "Vampire Murder" in Stockholm, Sweden in 1932....

", because of the circumstances of the victim’s death. The late 16th-century Hungarian countess and mass murderer Elizabeth Báthory
Elizabeth Báthory
Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. Although in modern times she has been labelled the most prolific serial killer in history, the number of murders has been debated...

 became particularly infamous in later centuries' works, which depicted her bathing in her victims' blood in order to retain beauty or youth.

Modern vampire subcultures

Vampire lifestyle
Vampire lifestyle
The vampire lifestyle or vampire subculture is an alternative lifestyle, based on the modern perception of vampires in popular fiction. The vampire subculture has stemmed largely from the goth subculture, but also incorporates some elements of the sadomasochism subculture...

 is a term for a contemporary subculture of people, largely within the Goth subculture
Goth subculture
The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify...

, who consume the blood of others as a pastime; drawing from the rich recent history of popular culture related to cult symbolism, horror film
Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

s, the fiction of Anne Rice
Anne Rice
Anne Rice is a best-selling Southern American author of metaphysical gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history...

, and the styles of Victorian England. Active vampirism within the vampire subculture includes both blood-related vampirism, commonly referred to as sanguine vampirism, and psychic vampirism
Psychic vampire
A psychic vampire is a person or being who claims to feed off the "life force" of other living creatures. Psychic vampires are represented in the occult beliefs of various cultures and in fiction...

, or supposed feeding from pranic
Prana
Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" .It is one of the five organs of vitality or sensation, viz. prana "breath", vac "speech", chakshus "sight", shrotra "hearing", and manas "thought" Prana is the Sanskrit word for "vital life" (from the root "to fill", cognate to Latin plenus...

 energy.

Vampire bats

Although many cultures have stories about them, vampire bat
Vampire bat
Vampire bats are bats whose food source is blood, a dietary trait called hematophagy. There are three bat species that feed solely on blood: the Common Vampire Bat , the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat , and the White-winged Vampire Bat .All three species are native to the Americas, ranging from Mexico to...

s have only recently become an integral part of the traditional vampire lore. Indeed, vampire bats were only integrated into vampire folklore when they were discovered on the South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n mainland in the 16th century. Although there are no vampire bats in Europe, bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

s and owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

s have long been associated with the supernatural and omens, although mainly because of their nocturnal habits, and in modern English heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 tradition, a bat means "Awareness of the powers of darkness and chaos".

The three species of actual vampire bat
Vampire bat
Vampire bats are bats whose food source is blood, a dietary trait called hematophagy. There are three bat species that feed solely on blood: the Common Vampire Bat , the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat , and the White-winged Vampire Bat .All three species are native to the Americas, ranging from Mexico to...

s are all endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 to Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, and there is no evidence to suggest that they had any Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 relatives within human memory. It is therefore impossible that the folkloric vampire represents a distorted presentation or memory of the vampire bat. The bats were named after the folkloric vampire rather than vice versa; the Oxford English Dictionary records their folkloric use in English from 1734 and the zoological not until 1774. Although the vampire bat's bite is usually not harmful to a person, the bat has been known to actively feed on humans and large prey such as cattle and often leave the trademark, two-prong bite mark on its victim's skin.

The literary Dracula
Count Dracula
Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula and archetypal vampire. Some aspects of his character have been inspired by the 15th century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler...

 transforms into a bat several times in the novel, and vampire bats themselves are mentioned twice in it. The 1927 stage production of Dracula followed the novel in having Dracula turn into a bat, as did the film
Dracula (1931 film)
Dracula is a 1931 vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as the title character. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the stage play of the same name by Hamilton Deane and John L...

, where Béla Lugosi
Béla Lugosi
Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó , commonly known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian actor of stage and screen. He was best known for having played Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version, as well as having starred in several of Ed Wood's low budget films in the last years of his...

 would transform into a bat. The bat transformation scene would again be used by Lon Chaney Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr. , born Creighton Tull Chaney, was an American character actor. He was best known for his roles in monster movies and as the son of famous silent film actor, Lon Chaney...

 in 1943's Son of Dracula
Son of Dracula (1943 film)
Son of Dracula is a 1943 American horror film directed by Robert Siodmak - his first film for Universal studios - with a screenplay based on an original story by his brother Curt. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. and his frequent co-star Evelyn Ankers. Notably it is the first film where a vampire...

.

In modern fiction

The vampire is now a fixture in popular fiction. Such fiction began with 18th-century poetry and continued with 19th-century short stories, the first and most influential of which was John Polidori
John Polidori
John William Polidori was an English writer and physician of Italian descent. He is known for his associations with the Romantic movement and credited by some as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction. His most successful work was the 1819 short story, The Vampyre, the first vampire...

's The Vampyre
The Vampyre
"The Vampyre" is a short story or novella written in 1819 by John William Polidori which is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction...

 (1819), featuring the vampire Lord Ruthven
Lord Ruthven (vampire)
Lord Ruthven is a fictional character. First appearing in print in 1816, he was one of the first vampires in English literature.-Origins:There is a genuine title of Lord Ruthven of Freeland which is a subsidiary title of the Earl of Carlisle in the United Kingdom...

. Lord Ruthven's exploits were further explored in a series of vampire plays in which he was the anti-hero. The vampire theme continued in penny dreadful
Penny Dreadful
A penny dreadful was a type of British fiction publication in the 19th century that usually featured lurid serial stories appearing in parts over a number of weeks, each part costing an penny...

 serial publications such as Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood was a Victorian era serialized gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer . It first appeared in 1845–47 as a series of cheap pamphlets of the kind then known as "penny dreadfuls". The story was published in book form in 1847...

 (1847) and culminated in the pre-eminent vampire novel of all time: Dracula
Dracula
Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

 by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

, published in 1897. Over time, some attributes now regarded as integral became incorporated into the vampire's profile: fangs and vulnerability to sunlight appeared over the course of the 19th century, with Varney the Vampire and Count Dracula
Count Dracula
Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula and archetypal vampire. Some aspects of his character have been inspired by the 15th century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler...

 both bearing protruding teeth, and Murnau's
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Friedrich Wilhelm "F. W." Murnau was one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era, and a prominent figure in the expressionist movement in German cinema during the 1920s...

 Nosferatu (1922) fearing daylight. The cloak appeared in stage productions of the 1920s, with a high collar introduced by playwright Hamilton Deane
Hamilton Deane
Hamilton Deane was an Irish actor, playwright and director. He played a key role in popularising Bram Stoker's Dracula as a stage play and, later, a film.-Life:Deane was born in Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin...

 to help Dracula 'vanish' on stage. Lord Ruthven and Varney were able to be healed by moonlight, although no account of this is known in traditional folklore. Implied though not often explicitly documented in folklore, immortality
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

 is one attribute which features heavily in vampire film and literature. Much is made of the price of eternal life, namely the incessant need for blood of former equals.

Literature

The vampire or revenant first appeared in poems such as The Vampire (1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder, Lenore
Lenore (ballad)
Lenore, sometimes translated as Leonora, Leonore or Ellenore, is a poem written by German author Gottfried August Bürger in 1773, and published in 1774 in the Göttinger Musenalmanach...

 (1773) by Gottfried August Bürger
Gottfried August Bürger
Gottfried August Bürger was a German poet. His ballads were very popular in Germany. His most noted ballad, Lenore, found an audience beyond readers of the German language in an English adaptation and a French translation.-Biography:He was born in Molmerswende , Principality of Halberstadt, where...

, Die Braut von Corinth (The Bride of Corinth (1797) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, Robert Southey
Robert Southey
Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843...

's Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), John Stagg's "The Vampyre" (1810), Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron...

's "The Spectral Horseman"
Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson
Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson was a collection of poetry published in November, 1810 by Percy Bysshe Shelley and his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg while they were students at Oxford University. The pamphlet was subtitled: "Being Poems found amongst the Papers of that Noted Female who...

 (1810) ("Nor a yelling vampire reeking with gore") and "Ballad" in St. Irvyne
St. Irvyne
St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, A Romance is a Gothic horror novel written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1810 and published by John Joseph Stockdale in 1811 in London anonymously as "by a Gentleman of the University of Oxford". The main character is Wolfstein, a solitary wanderer, who encounters...

 (1811) about a reanimated corpse, Sister Rosa, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

's unfinished Christabel and Lord Byron's The Giaour
The Giaour
"The Giaour" is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1813 and the first in the series of his Oriental romances. "The Giaour" proved to be a great success when published, consolidating Byron's reputation critically and commercially.-Background:...

. Byron was also credited with the first prose fiction piece concerned with vampires: The Vampyre
The Vampyre
"The Vampyre" is a short story or novella written in 1819 by John William Polidori which is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction...

 (1819). However this was in reality authored by Byron's personal physician, John Polidori
John Polidori
John William Polidori was an English writer and physician of Italian descent. He is known for his associations with the Romantic movement and credited by some as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction. His most successful work was the 1819 short story, The Vampyre, the first vampire...

, who adapted an enigmatic fragmentary tale of his illustrious patient, "Fragment of a Novel
Fragment of a Novel
Fragment of a Novel is an unfinished 1819 vampire horror story written by Lord Byron. The story, also known as "A Fragment" and "The Burial: A Fragment", was one of the first in English to feature a vampire theme. The main character was Augustus Darvell. John William Polidori based his novella The...

" (1819), also known as "The Burial: A Fragment". Byron's own dominating personality, mediated by his lover Lady Caroline Lamb
Lady Caroline Lamb
The Lady Caroline Lamb was a British aristocrat and novelist, best known for her affair with Lord Byron in 1812. Her husband was the 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the Prime Minister...

 in her unflattering roman-a-clef, Glenarvon (a Gothic fantasia based on Byron's wild life), was used as a model for Polidori's undead protagonist Lord Ruthven
Lord Ruthven (vampire)
Lord Ruthven is a fictional character. First appearing in print in 1816, he was one of the first vampires in English literature.-Origins:There is a genuine title of Lord Ruthven of Freeland which is a subsidiary title of the Earl of Carlisle in the United Kingdom...

. The Vampyre was highly successful and the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century.

Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire
Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood was a Victorian era serialized gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer . It first appeared in 1845–47 as a series of cheap pamphlets of the kind then known as "penny dreadfuls". The story was published in book form in 1847...

 was a landmark popular mid-Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer
James Malcolm Rymer
James Malcolm Rymer was a British nineteenth century writer of penny dreadfuls, and is the probable author of Varney the Vampire and co-author of The String of Pearls , in which the notorious villain Sweeney Todd makes his literary debut.Information about Rymer is sketchy...

 (alternatively attributed to Thomas Preskett Prest), which first appeared from 1845 to 1847 in a series of pamphlets generally referred to as penny dreadful
Penny Dreadful
A penny dreadful was a type of British fiction publication in the 19th century that usually featured lurid serial stories appearing in parts over a number of weeks, each part costing an penny...

s because of their inexpensive price and typically gruesome contents. The story was published in book form in 1847 and runs to 868 double-columned pages. It has a distinctly suspenseful style, using vivid imagery to describe the horrifying exploits of Varney. Another important addition to the genre was Sheridan Le Fanu
Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era....

's lesbian vampire
Lesbian vampire
Lesbian vampirism is a trope in 20th century exploitation film that has its roots in Joseph Sheridan le Fanu's novella Carmilla about the predatory love of a female vampire for a young woman :...

 story Carmilla
Carmilla
Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. First published in 1872, it tells the story of a young woman's susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla...

 (1871). Like Varney before her, the vampire Carmilla is portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light as the compulsion of her condition is highlighted.

No effort to depict vampires in popular fiction was as influential or as definitive as Bram Stoker's
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

 Dracula
Dracula
Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

 (1897). Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease of contagious demonic possession, with its undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord in Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 Europe where tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 were common. The vampiric traits described in Stoker's work merged with and dominated folkloric tradition, eventually evolving into the modern fictional vampire. Drawing on past works such as The Vampyre and "Carmilla", Stoker began to research his new book in the late 19th century, reading works such as The Land Beyond the Forest (1888) by Emily Gerard
Emily Gerard
Emily Gerard was a nineteenth century author best known for the influence her collections of Transylvanian folklore had on Bram Stoker's Dracula...

 and other books about Transylvania and vampires. In London, a colleague mentioned to him the story of Vlad Ţepeş
Vlad III the Impaler
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia , also known by his patronymic Dracula , and posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler , was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans...

, the "real-life Dracula," and Stoker immediately incorporated this story into his book. The first chapter of the book was omitted when it was published in 1897, but it was released in 1914 as Dracula's Guest.

One of the first "scientific" vampire novels was Richard Matheson's
Richard Matheson
Richard Burton Matheson is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I Am Legend, all of which have been...

 1954 I Am Legend which as been used as the basis for the films The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man
The Omega Man
The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It is based on the novel I Am Legend by American writer Richard Matheson...

 in 1971, and I Am Legend
I Am Legend (film)
I Am Legend is a 2007 post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's The Omega Man. Smith plays virologist Robert...

 in 2007.

The 21st century has brought more examples of vampire fiction, such as J.R. Ward
J.R. Ward
Jessica Rowley Pell Bird is an American novelist. Under her maiden name, Jessica Bird, she writes contemporary romance novels, and as J.R. Ward, she writes paranormal romance. She has received the Romance Writers of America RITA Award.-Biography:Born Jessica Rowley Pell Bird on 1969 in...

's Black Dagger Brotherhood
Black Dagger Brotherhood
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a paranormal romance series by author J. R. Ward. The series focuses on six vampire brothers and warriors who live together and defend their race against Lessers, de-souled humans who threaten their kind....

 series, and other highly popular vampire books which appeal to teenagers and young adults. Such vampiric paranormal romance
Paranormal romance
Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of the romance novel. A type of speculative fiction, paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror...

 novels and allied vampiric chick-lit and vampiric occult detective
Occult detective
Occult detective stories combine the tropes of the detective story with those of supernatural horror fiction. Unlike the traditional detective the occult detective is employed in cases involving ghosts, curses, and other supernatural elements...

 stories are a remarkably popular and ever-expanding contemporary publishing phenomenon. L.A. Banks'
Leslie Esdaile Banks
Leslie Esdaile Banks was an American writer. She wrote in various genres, including African American literature, romance, women's fiction, crime suspense, dark fantasy/horror and non-fiction...

 The Vampire Huntress Legend Series
The Vampire Huntress Legend Series
The Vampire Huntress Legend Series is a twelve book series written by Leslie Esdaile Banks under the pen name L.A. Banks. The series centers around a young twenty-something woman named Damali Richards who is a spoken word artist but is also The Neteru, a human who is born every thousand years to...

, Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell Kaye Hamilton is an American fantasy and romance writer. She is the author of two series of stories. Hamilton is known for her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake series, featuring a professional zombie raiser/supernatural consultant for the police as the protagonist in a world where...

's erotic Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, and Kim Harrison
Kim Harrison
Kim Harrison is a nom de plume of American author Dawn Cook. Under the name of Harrison, she is best known for her Rachel Morgan urban fantasy series set in an alternate history where a worldwide pandemic caused by genetically modified tomatoes led to the death of a large portion of the world's...

's The Hollows
Hollows (series)
The Hollows series is a series of mystery novels in an urban fantasy alternate history setting by Kim Harrison that take place primarily in the city of Cincinnati. The city itself is mostly separated in two parts: The main part of the town and the enclave on the opposite side of the Ohio River...

 series, portray the vampire in a variety of new perspectives, some of them unrelated to the original legends.

The latter part of the 20th century saw the rise of multi-volume vampire epics. The first of these was Gothic romance writer Marilyn Ross' Barnabas Collins
Barnabas Collins
Barnabas Collins is a fictional character, one of the feature characters in the ABC daytime serial Dark Shadows, which aired from 1966 to 1971. Originally played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid, Barnabas Collins is a 200-year-old vampire who is in search of fresh blood and his lost love, Josette...

 series (1966–71), loosely based on the contemporary American TV series Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis. The story bible, which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements...

. It also set the trend for seeing vampires as poetic tragic hero
Tragic hero
A tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.-Aristotle's tragic hero:Aristotle...

es rather than as the more traditional embodiment of evil. This formula was followed in novelist Anne Rice
Anne Rice
Anne Rice is a best-selling Southern American author of metaphysical gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history...

's highly popular and influential Vampire Chronicles (1976–2003). Vampires in the Twilight series (2005–2008) by Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie Meyer is an American author known for her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition and sold over 100 million copies globally, with translations into 37 different languages...

 ignore the effects of garlic and crosses, and are not harmed by sunlight (although it does reveal their supernatural nature). Richelle Mead further deviates from traditional vampires in her Vampire Academy series
Vampire Academy (series)
Vampire Academy is a best-selling series of six young-adult paranormal romance novels by American author Richelle Mead. It tells the story of Rose Hathaway, a seventeen-year-old Dhampir girl, who is training to be a bodyguard for her Moroi best friend, Vasilisa "Lissa" Dragomir. In the process of...

 (2007–present), basing the novels on Romanian lore with two races of vampires, one good and one evil, as well as half-vampires.

Film and television

Considered one of the preeminent figures of the classic horror film, the vampire has proven to be a rich subject for the film and gaming industries. Dracula is a major character
Dracula in popular culture
The character of Count Dracula from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, has remained popular over the years, and many films have used the Count as a villain, while others have named him in their titles, such as Dracula's Daughter, The Brides of Dracula, and Zoltan, Hound of Dracula...

 in more films than any other but Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

, and many early films were either based on the novel of Dracula or closely derived from it. These included the landmark 1922 German silent film Nosferatu, directed by F. W. Murnau and featuring the first film portrayal of Dracula—although names and characters were intended to mimic Draculas, Murnau could not obtain permission to do so from Stoker's widow, and had to alter many aspects of the film. In addition to this film was Universal's Dracula
Dracula (1931 film)
Dracula is a 1931 vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as the title character. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the stage play of the same name by Hamilton Deane and John L...

 (1931), starring Béla Lugosi
Béla Lugosi
Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó , commonly known as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian actor of stage and screen. He was best known for having played Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version, as well as having starred in several of Ed Wood's low budget films in the last years of his...

 as the Count in what was the first talking film to portray Dracula. The decade saw several more vampire films, most notably Dracula's Daughter
Dracula's Daughter
Dracula's Daughter is a 1936 American vampire horror film produced by Universal Studios, a sequel to the 1931 film Dracula. Directed by Lambert Hillyer from a screenplay by Garrett Fort, the film stars Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill and, as the only cast member to return from the...

 in 1936.

The legend of the vampire was cemented in the film industry when Dracula was reincarnated for a new generation with the celebrated Hammer Horror series of films, starring Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

 as the Count. The successful 1958 Dracula
Dracula (1958 film)
Dracula, also known as Horror of Dracula in the United States, is a 1958 British horror film. It is the first in the series of Hammer Horror films inspired by the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Carol Marsh, Melissa Stribling and...

 starring Lee was followed by seven sequels. Lee returned as Dracula in all but two of these and became well known in the role. By the 1970s, vampires in films had diversified with works such as Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), an African Count in 1972's Blacula
Blacula
Blacula is a 1972 American horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role about an 18th century African prince named Mamuwalde, who is both turned into a vampire and locked inside a coffin by Count Dracula...

, the BBC's Count Dracula
Count Dracula (1977)
Count Dracula is a British television adaptation of the famous novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It first aired in December 1977. It is among the more faithful of the many adaptations of the original book...

 featuring French actor Louis Jourdan as Dracula and Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
Francis Finlay, CBE is an English stage, film and television actor.-Personal life:Finlay was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, the son of Margaret and Josiah Finlay, a butcher. A devout Catholic, he belongs to the British Catholic Stage Guild. He was educated at St...

 as Abraham Van Helsing, and a Nosferatu-like vampire in 1979's Salem's Lot
Salem's Lot (1979 TV mini-series)
Salem's Lot is a 1979 American television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King...

, and a remake of Nosferatu itself, titled Nosferatu the Vampyre with Klaus Kinski
Klaus Kinski
Klaus Kinski, born Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski , was a German actor. He appeared in more than 130 films, and is perhaps best-remembered as a leading role actor in Werner Herzog films: Aguirre, the Wrath of God , Nosferatu the Vampyre , Woyzeck , Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde .-Early...

 the same year. Several films featured female, often lesbian, vampire antagonists such as Hammer Horror's The Vampire Lovers
The Vampire Lovers
The Vampire Lovers is a 1970 British Hammer Horror film directed by Roy Ward Baker and starring Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, Madeline Smith, Kate O'Mara, and Jon Finch. It is based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella Carmilla and is part of the so-called Karnstein Trilogy of films. The other films in...

 (1970) based on Carmilla, though the plotlines still revolved around a central evil vampire character.

The pilot for the Dan Curtis 1972 television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974-1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter — Carl Kolchak, played by Darren McGavin — who investigates mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly ones law...

 revolved around reporter Carl Kolchak hunting a vampire on the Las Vegas strip. Later films showed more diversity in plotline, with some focusing on the vampire-hunter, such as Blade
Blade (comics)
Blade is a fictional character, a superhero/vampire hunter in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan, his first appearance was in the comic book The Tomb of Dracula #10 as a supporting character.The character went on to alternatively star and co-star...

 in the Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

' Blade films and the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a 1992 American action/comedy/horror film about a Valley girl cheerleader named Buffy who learns that it is her fate to hunt vampires. The original script for the film was written by Joss Whedon, who later created the darker and more acclaimed TV series of the same name...

. Buffy, released in 1992, foreshadowed a vampiric presence on television, with adaptation to a long-running hit TV series of the same name and its spin-off Angel
Angel (TV series)
Angel is an American television series, a spin-off of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was created by Buffys creator, Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David Greenwalt, and first aired on October 5, 1999...

. Still others showed the vampire as protagonist, such as 1983's The Hunger, 1994's Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles is a 1994 American drama and horror film directed by Neil Jordan, based on the 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. The film focuses on Lestat and Louis, beginning with Louis' transformation into a vampire by Lestat in 1791...

 and its indirect sequel of sorts Queen of the Damned
Queen of the Damned (film)
Queen of the Damned is a 2002 film adaptation of the third novel of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series, The Queen of the Damned, although the film contains many plot elements from the latter novel's predecessor, The Vampire Lestat. It stars Aaliyah as the vampire queen Akasha, and Stuart...

, and the 2007 series Moonlight
Moonlight (TV series)
Moonlight was an American paranormal romance television drama created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson, who was also executive producer for all episodes with Joel Silver, Gerard Bocaccio, Gabrielle Stanton and Harry Werksman. The series follows private investigator Mick St...

. Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dracula is a 1992 American Gothic horror-romance film directed and co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker...

 was a noteworthy 1992 film which became the then-highest grossing vampire film ever. This increase of interest in vampiric plotlines led to the vampire being depicted in films such as Underworld
Underworld (2003 film)
Underworld is a 2003 action-horror film about the secret history of Vampires and Lycans . It is the first installment in the Underworld series. The main plot revolves around Selene , a vampire who is a Death Dealer hunting Lycans...

 and Van Helsing
Van Helsing (film)
Van Helsing is a 2004 American action horror film directed by Stephen Sommers. It stars Hugh Jackman as vigilante monster hunter Gabriel Van Helsing, and Kate Beckinsale...

, and the Russian Night Watch
Night Watch (2004 film)
Night Watch is a 2004 Russian supernatural thriller film directed by Timur Bekmambetov. It is loosely based on the novel The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, and is the first part of a trilogy, followed by Day Watch and ending supposedly with Twilight Watch .-Plot:In the prologue, which...

 and a TV miniseries remake of 'Salem's Lot, both from 2004. The series Blood Ties
Blood Ties (TV series)
Blood Ties is a Canadian television series based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff; the show was created by Peter Mohan. It is set in Toronto, Canada and has a similar premise to an earlier series also set in Toronto, Forever Knight, in which a Vampire assists Police in dealing with crime...

 premiered on Lifetime Television
Lifetime Television
Lifetime Television, often referred to as Lifetime TV, or most commonly, Lifetime, is an American cable television specialty channel devoted to movies, sitcoms and dramas, all of which are either geared toward women or feature women in lead roles. The cable network is owned by A&E Television Networks...

 in 2007, featuring a character portrayed as Henry Fitzroy, illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 turned vampire, in modern-day Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, with a female former Toronto detective in the starring role. A 2008 series from HBO, entitled True Blood
True Blood
True Blood is an American television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional, small town in the state of Louisiana...

, gives a Southern take to the vampire theme. Another popular vampire-related show is CW's The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries is a young adult vampire horror series of novels written by L. J. Smith. The story centers around Elena Gilbert, a high school girl torn between two vampire brothers. The series was originally a trilogy published in 1991, but pressure from readers led Smith to write a fourth...

. The continuing popularity of the vampire theme has been ascribed to a combination of two factors: the representation of sexuality
Human sexual behavior
Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons...

 and the perennial dread of mortality.
Another "vampiric" series that has recently come out is the Twilight Saga
The Twilight Saga (film series)
The Twilight Saga is a series of supernatural romance fantasy films from Summit Entertainment based on the four Twilight series novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer. The films star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. The series has grossed over $2 billion in worldwide...

, a series of films based on the book series of the same name.

Games

The role-playing game
Role-playing game
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development...

 Vampire: the Masquerade
Vampire: The Masquerade
Vampire: The Masquerade is a role-playing game. Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, it was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern gothic-punk world....

 has been influential upon modern vampire fiction and elements of its terminology, such as embrace and sire, have become widely used. Popular video games about vampires include Castlevania
Castlevania
Castlevania, known as in Japan, is a video game series created and developed by Konami. The series debuted in Japan on September 26, 1986, with the release of for the Family Computer Disk System , followed by an alternate version for the MSX 2 platform on October 30...

, which is an extension of the original Bram Stoker Dracula novel, and Legacy of Kain
Legacy of Kain
Legacy of Kain is a series of action-adventure video games developed initially by Silicon Knights in association with Crystal Dynamics. After a legal battle, Crystal Dynamics continued the series without Silicon Knights and Eidos Interactive became the publisher...

. Vampires are also sporadically portrayed in other games, including The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a single-player action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks and the Take-Two Interactive subsidiary 2K Games...

, when a character can become afflicted with porphyric haemophilia
Porphyric Hemophilia
Porphyric hemophilia may refer to:* Porphyria, using an uncommon name for the conditions* Vampirism...

. A different take on vampires is presented in Bethesda's other game Fallout 3
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and the third major installment in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2008, and in Japan in December 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360...

 with "The Family". Members of the Family are afflicted with a manic desire to consume human flesh
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

, but restrict themselves to drinking blood to avoid becoming complete monsters.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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