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Vampires in folklore and legends

Vampire is a corpse that supposedly returns to life at night to suck people's blood. According to many folk stories, a vampire must have a constant supply of fresh blood obtained by biting the neck of sleeping victims. The victims lose strength, die, and become vampires themselves.

The vampire lifestyle (or vampyre subculture) is a lifestyle, involving a number of customs and beliefs, followed (in various fashions and to different degrees) by a subculture of people who are attracted to contemporary vampire lore and who seek to emulate it. While some older occult and tribal cultures have rituals and customs similar to the modern subculture, the vampire subculture itself is largely a social creation within Western culture, seemingly drawing from the rich recent history of popular culture related to cult symbolism, horror films, the fiction of Anne Rice, and the styles of Victorian England. It has been noted that the Vampyre subculture has stemmed largely from the Goth subculture but also emulates some elements of the S/M subculture


Nosferatu, the living Dead Do they exist? Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings that subsist on human and/or animal lifeforce. In most cases, they are reanimated corpses who feed by draining and consuming the blood of living beings. In folklore, the term usually refers to the blood-drinking humans of Eastern European legends, but the term is often applied to similar legendary creatures from other regions and cultures. The characteristics of vampires vary widely among these different traditions. Some cultures also have stories of non-human vampires, including real animals such as bats, dogs, spiders, and mythical creatures such as the chupacabra.

Vampires are a frequent subject of fictional books and films, although fictional vampires are often attributed traits distinct from those of folkloric vampires.

Vampirism is the practice of drinking blood from a person or animal. In folklore and popular culture, the term refers to a belief that one can gain supernatural powers by drinking human blood. The historical practice of vampirism can generally be considered a more specific and less commonly occurring form of cannibalism. The consumption of another's blood (or flesh) has been used as a tactic of psychological warfare intended to terrorize the enemy, and can be used to reflect various spiritual beliefs.

In zoology and botany, the term vampirism is used in reference to leeches, mosquitos, mistletoe, vampire bats, and other organisms that subsist on the bodily fluids of other hosts.

Please also see: Vampires Amongst Us

Tales of the dead craving blood are found in nearly every culture around the world, including some of the most ancient ones. Vampire-like spirits called the Lilu are mentioned in early Babylonian demonology, and the even more ancient bloodsucking Akhkharu[citation needed] in Sumerian mythology. These female demons were said to roam during the hours of darkness, hunting and killing newborn babies and pregnant women. One of the demons, named Lilitu, was later adapted to Jewish demonology as Lilith.

In India, tales of vetalas, ghoul-like beings that inhabit corpses, are found in old Sanskrit folklore. A prominent story tells of King Vikramaditya and his nightly quests to capture an elusive vetala. The vetala legends have been compiled in the book Baital Pachisi. The vetala is an undead creature, who like the bat associated with modern day vampirism, hangs upside down on trees found in cremation grounds and cemeteries.

The hopping corpse is an equivalent of the vampire in Chinese tradition; however, it consumes the victim's life essence rather than blood.

The Ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet in one myth became full of bloodlust after slaughtering humans and was only sated after drinking alcohol colored as blood.

The strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood is mentioned in Roman tales. The Romanian word for vampires, strigoi, is derived from the word, as is the name of the Albanian Shtriga, but the myths about those creatures show primarily Slavic influence

As an example of the prominence of similar legends in later times, it can be noted that 12th century English historians and chroniclers Walter Map and William of Newburgh recorded accounts of revenants that arguably bear some resemblance to East European vampires.

The vampire myth as we know it is most strongly rooted in East European (particularly Slavic) folklore. Here, vampires are usually revenants of suicide victims, criminals or evil sorcerers, though in some cases a vampire could pass his vampirism onto his innocent victims. It was also thought that a victim of a cruel, untimely or violent death was susceptible to becoming a vampire. Vampires were accused of killing people, often by drinking blood, but also by throttling, or sitting on them to prevent breathing. In this folklore, a vampire could be destroyed by cutting off its head, by driving a wooden stake into its heart, or by burning the corpse.

Vampyren "The Vampire", by Edvard Munch

Vampyren "The Vampire", by Edvard Munch

Slavic vampires
In Slavic lore, causes of vampirism include being born with a caul, teeth or tail, being conceived on certain days, "unnatural" death, excommunication, and improper burial rituals. Many Serbians believed that having red hair was a vampiric trait. Preventive measures included placing a crucifix in the coffin, placing blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, putting sawdust in the coffin (so that the vampire awakens in the evening and compelled to count every grain of sawdust, which occupies the entire evening, so he will die when at dawn) or piercing the body with thorns or stakes. In the case of stakes, the general idea was to pierce through the vampire and into the ground below, pinning the body down. Certain people would bury those believed to be potential vampires with scythes above their necks, so the dead would decapitate themselves as they rose.

Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours; an exhumed body being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair; a body swelled up like a drum; or blood on the mouth coupled with a ruddy complexion.

Vampires, like other Slavic legendary monsters, were afraid of garlic and were compelled to count particles of grain, sawdust, and the like. Vampires could be destroyed by staking, decapitation (the Kashubs placed the head between the feet), burning, repeating the funeral service, sprinkling holy water on the body, or exorcism.

The most famous Serbian vampire was Sava Savanovic, famous from a folklore-inspired novel by Milovan Glišic.

As mentioned above, the Old Russian anti-pagan work Word of Saint Grigoriy (written in the 11th or 12th century) claims that polytheistic Russians made sacrifices to vampires.

Romanian vampires
Tales of vampiric entities were found among the ancient Romans and the Romanized inhabitants of eastern Europe, Romanians (known as Vlachs in historical context). Romania is surrounded by Slavic countries, so it is not surprising that Romanian and Slavic vampires are similar. Romanian vampires are called Strigoi, based on the ancient Greek term strix for screech owl, which also came to mean demon or witch.

There are different types of Strigoi. Live Strigoi are live witches who will become vampires after death. They have the ability to send out their souls at night to meet with other witches or with Strigoi, which are reanimated bodies that return to suck the blood of family, livestock, and neighbours. Other types of vampires in Romanian folklore include Moroi and Pricolici.

Romanian tradition described a myriad of ways of bringing about a vampire. A person born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hair was doomed to become a vampire. The same fate applied to someone born too early, someone whose mother encountered a black cat crossing her path, and someone who was born out of wedlock. Others who became vampires were those who died an unnatural death or before baptism, the seventh child in any family (presuming all of his or her previous siblings were of the same sex), the child of a pregnant woman who avoided eating salt, and a person who was looked upon by a vampire or a witch. Moreover, being bitten by a vampire meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death.

The Vârcolac, which is sometimes mentioned in Romanian folklore, was more closely related to a mythological wolf that could devour the sun and moon (similar to Skoll and Hati in Norse mythology), and hence later became connected with werewolves rather than vampires. (A person afflicted with lycanthropy could turn into a dog, pig, or wolf.)

The vampire was usually first noticed when it attacked family and livestock, or threw things around in the house. Vampires were believed to be most active on the eve of two religious holidays, the Feast of St. George (Julian calendar, May 4-5 Gregorian calendar April 22-23) and the Feast of St. Andrew . (Julian calendar, November 23-24. Gregorian calendar, November 29-30) The explanation of two calendar dates are given because Romanians used the old Julian calendar, while as displayed in Stoker’s novel, the modern Gregorian calendar was used. The difference in time between the two calendars was 12 days. Also, it should be noted that the lag time between the old Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar increases one day every century. The Feast of St. George was a very important festival in honor of St. George. Also known as the “Great Martyr,”George was a beloved Saint. Not only was he acknowledge as the patron of England, but many other countries as well. He was also the patron of horses, cattle, wolves, and all enemies of witches and vampires. It was on St. George’s eve that vampires all the forces of evil were most exquisite. People would remain in their homes with continuous light throughout the night. They placed thorns across thresholds, painted crosses on their doors with tar, put thistles on windows, lit bonfires, and spread garlic everywhere they could. Through out the night, prayers would be recited repeatedly and naked blades placed beneath their pillows. If the night went well without any occurrences , the saint’s feast was celebrated with much exuberance that day. The thorns and garlic were then replaced by Roses and other flowers. Bram Stoker, having done his research on vampire lore for his 1897 novel Dracula, included the fear of the villagers on St. George’s Eve to warn Jonathan Harker that at midnight “all the evil things in the world will have full sway.”

The Feast of St. Andrew, accompanied with the Feast of St. George and Easter was acknowledged as one of the most feared times of the year in Romania. The Feast of St. Andrew was in honor of St. Andrew who was the patron of wolves and donor of garlic. It was on St. Andrew’s Eve, in certain parts of Romania, that the vampire was believed to be the most active and dangerous, the vampires was also believed to continue their activity through out the winter and rest at epiphany (January). During these perilous times, it was considered wise to rub garlic on the doors and windows to protect families within the residence from any vampire attacks. Livestock was also at risk of an attack, so precautions were taken with them as well by rubbing them down with garlic.

A vampire in the grave could be discerned by holes in the earth, an undecomposed corpse with a red face, or with one foot in the corner of the coffin. Living vampires were identified by distributing garlic in church and observing who would refuse to eat it.

Graves were often opened three years after the death of a child, five years after the death of a young person, or seven years after the death of an adult to check for vampirism.

Measures to prevent a person from becoming a vampire included removing the caul from a newborn and destroying it before the baby could eat it, careful preparation of dead bodies, including preventing animals from passing over the corpse, placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave, and placing garlic on windows and rubbing it on cattle, especially on St George's and St Andrew's day.

To destroy a vampire, a stake was driven through the body, followed by decapitation and placing garlic in the mouth. By the 19th century, one would also shoot a bullet through the coffin. For resistant cases, the body was dismembered and the pieces burned, mixed with water, and administered to family members as a cure.

Greek Vampires
Belief in vampires was common in nineteenth century Greece. Greek customs may have propagated this belief, notably a ritual that entailed exhuming the deceased after three years of death, and observing the extent of decay. If the body was fully decayed, the remaining bones were put in a box by relatives and wine poured over them, a priest would then read from scriptures. However, if the body had not sufficiently decayed, the corpse would be labelled a vampire.

According to Greek beliefs, vampirism could occur through various means: excommunication or desecrating a religious day, committing a great crime, or dying alone. Other more superstitious causes include having a cat jump across the grave, eating meat from a sheep killed by a wolf or having been cursed. It was also believed in more remote regions of Greece that unbaptized people would be doomed to vampirism in the afterlife.

The appearance of vampires varied throughout Greece and were usually thought to be indistinguishable from living people, giving rise to many folk tales with this theme. However, this was not the case everywhere: on Mount Pelion vampires glowed in the dark, while on the Saronic islands vampires were thought to be hunchbacks with long nails; on the island of Lesbos vampires were thought to have long canine teeth much like wolves.

Vampires could be harmless, sometimes returning to support their widows by their work. However, they were usually thought to be ravenous predators, killing their victims who would be condemned to become vampires. Vampires were so feared for their potential for great harm, that a village or an island would occasionally be stricken by a mass panic if a vampire invasion were believed imminent. Nicholas Dragoumis records such a panic on Naxos in the 1930s, following a cholera epidemic

Varieties of wards were employed for protection in different places, including blessed bread (antidoron) from the church, crosses and black-handled knives. To prevent vampires from rising from the dead, their hearts were pierced with iron nails whilst resting in their graves, or their bodies burned and the ashes scattered. Because the Church opposed burning people who had received the myron of chrismation in the baptism ritual, cremation was considered a last resort.

Roma and Indian vampire beliefs
Even today, Roma frequently feature in vampire fiction and film, no doubt influenced by the Bram Stoker's Dracula, in which the Szgany Roma served Dracula, carrying his boxes of earth and guarding him.

Traditional Romani beliefs claim that the dead soul enters a world similar to ours except that there is no death. The soul lingers next to the body and sometimes wants to return to life. The Roma legends of the living dead have indeed enriched the vampire legends of Hungary, Romania and the Slavic world.

The ancient home of the Roma, India, describes many vampire entities. The Bhut 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. In northern India, there is the BrahmarakShasa, a vampire-like creature with a head encircled by intestines and a skull from which it drank blood. Vetala and pishacha are other creatures who resemble vampires to an extent. Since Hinduism believes in reincarnation of the soul, it is supposed that leading an unholy or immoral life, sin or suicide, will lead the soul to reincarnate into such evil spirits. This kind of reincarnation does not arise out of birth from a womb, but is achieved directly, and such evil spirits' fate is predetermined as to how they shall achieve liberation from that yoni, and re-enter the world of mortal flesh in the next incarnation.

Also See: Vampires & Werewolves: Are They Mostly Ghostly or Really Rather Real? By Susan Sheppard


The most famous Indian deity associated with drinking blood is Kali, who has fangs, wears a garland of corpses or skulls and has four arms. Her temples are located near cremation grounds. She and the goddess Durga battled the demon Raktabija who could reproduce himself from each drop of blood spilled. Kali drank all his blood so none was spilled, thereby winning the battle and killing him.

Sara, or the Black Goddess, is the form in which Kali survived among Roma. Some Roma believe that the three Marys from the New Testament went to France and baptised a Gypsy called Sara. They still hold a ceremony every May 24 in the French village where this is supposed to have occurred. Some refer to their Black Goddess as "Black Cally" or "Black Kali".

One form of vampire in Romani folklore is called a mullo (one who is dead). This vampire is believed to return and do malicious things and/or suck the blood of a person (usually a relative who had caused their death, or did not properly observe the burial ceremonies, or who kept the deceased's possessions instead of destroying them as was proper).

Female vampires could return, lead a normal life and even marry but would eventually exhaust the husband.

Anyone who had a horrible appearance, was missing a finger, or had appendages similar to those of an animal, was believed to be a vampire. If a person died unseen, he would become a vampire, likewise if a corpse swelled before burial. Dogs, cats, plants or even agricultural tools could become vampires. Pumpkins or melons kept in the house too long would start to move, make noises or show blood. (See the article on vampire watermelons.)

To get rid of a vampire, one could hire a Dhampir (the son of a vampire and his widow) or a Moroi to detect the vampire. To ward off vampires, 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. Further measures included driving stakes into the grave, pouring boiling water over it, as well as decapitating or burning the corpse.

According to the late Serbian ethnologist Tatomir Vukanovic, Roma people in Kosovo believed that vampires were invisible to most people, but could be seen "by a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday who wear their drawers and shirts inside out." Likewise, a settlement could be protected from a vampire "by finding a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday and making them wear their shirts and drawers inside out...This pair could see the vampire out of doors at night, but immediately after it saw them it would have to flee, head over heels."

Also, some believe that vampires may have the attributes of aliens thus some think they are not of Earth at all. They would rather be considered demons as the 13th century folklore may have suggested.

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.

In Exeter, Rhode Island, the Brown family suffered a sequence of tuberculosis infections in the final two decades of the 19th century. Tuberculosis was called "consumption" at the time, and was a devastating and much-feared disease.

The mother, Mary, was the first to die of the disease, followed in 1888 by her eldest daughter, Mary Olive. Two years later, Mary's son Edwin also became sick.

In 1891, another daughter, Mercy, contracted the disease and died in January of 1892.

Friends and neighbors of the family believed that one of the dead family members was a vampire (although they did not use that name) and causing Edwin's illness. This was in accordance with threads of contemporary folklore linking multiple deaths in one family to undead activity. Consumption was a poorly understood condition at the time, and the subject of much urban mythology.

George Brown was persuaded to exhume the bodies, which he did with the help of several villagers on March 17, 1892. While the bodies of both Mary and Mary Olive had undergone significant decomposition over the intervening years, the more recently buried body of Mercy was still relatively unchanged and had blood in the heart. This was taken as a sign that the teenager was undead, and the agent of young Edwin's condition. The cold New England weather made the soil virtually impenetrable, essentially guaranteeing that Mercy's body was kept in freezer-like conditions during the 2 months following her death. Therefore, the lack of decomposition is not surprising.

Mercy's heart was removed from her body, burnt, and the remnants mixed with water and given to the sick Edwin to drink. Unfortunately, despite all his efforts, George was unsuccessful in protecting his son, who died two months later.


It is difficult to make a single description of the folkloric vampire, because its properties vary widely between different cultures.

The appearance of the European folkloric vampire contained mostly features by which one was supposed to tell a vampiric corpse from a normal one, when the grave of a suspected vampire was opened. The vampire has a "healthy" appearance and ruddy skin, he is often plump, his nails and hair have grown and, above all, he/she is not in the least decomposed or in anyway pale.
The most common ways to destroy the vampire are driving a wooden stake through the heart, decapitation, and incinerating the body completely. Ways to prevent a suspected vampire from rising from the grave in the first place include burying it upside-down, severing the tendons at the knees, or placing poppy seeds on the ground at the gravesite of a presumed vampire in order to keep the vampire occupied all night counting. Chinese narratives about vampires also state that if a vampire comes across a sack of rice, s/he will have to count all of the grains. There are similar myths recorded on the Indian Subcontinent. South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings have a similar aspect to it.
Apotropaics, i.e. objects intended to inhibit or ward off vampires (as well as other evil supernatural creatures), include garlic (confined mostly to European legends), sunlight, a branch of wild rose, the hawthorn plant, and all things sacred (e.g., holy water, a crucifix, a rosary) or an Aloe vera plant hung backwards behind the door or near it, in South American superstition. This weakness on the part of the vampire varies depending on the tale. In stories of other regions, other plants of holy or mystical properties sometimes have similar effects. In Eastern legends, vampiric creatures are often similarly warded by holy devices such as Shinto seals.
Vampires are sometimes considered to be shape-shifters not limited to the common bat stereotype depicted in cartoons and movies. (Rather, vampires are said to morph into a wide variety of animals such as wolves, rats, moths, spiders, and so on).
Some Vampires in European folklore are said to cast no shadow and no reflection, perhaps arising from folklore regarding the vampire's lack of a soul. However this was not universal as the Ustrel (Poland) and Vrykolakos/Tympanios (Balkans) did supposedly cast shadows and reflections.
Some traditions hold that a vampire cannot enter a house unless invited, although they only have to be invited once after this they can come and go as they please without further permission.
Roman Catholic tradition holds that vampires cannot enter a church or holy place, as they are servants of the devil.

During the 18th century, there was a major vampire scare in Eastern Europe. Even government officials frequently got dragged into the hunting and staking of vampires.

The panic began with an outbreak of alleged "vampire" attacks in East Prussia in 1721 and in the Habsburg Monarchy from 1725 to 1734. Two famous vampire cases (which were the first to be officially recorded) involved Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole from Serbia. As the story goes, Plogojowitz died at the age of 62, but came back a couple of times after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the next day. Plogojowitz soon returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood. In the other famous case, Arnold 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, and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours.

These two incidents were extremely well documented. Government officials examined (and wrote reports of) the cases and the bodies, and books were published afterwards of the Paole case and distributed around Europe. The controversy raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural epidemics of so-claimed vampire attacks, with locals digging up bodies. Many scholars said vampires did not exist, and attributed reports to premature burial, or rabies. Nonetheless, Dom Augustine Calmet, a well-respected French theologian and scholar, put together a carefully thought out treatise in 1746, which was at least ambiguous concerning the existence of vampires, if not admitting it explicitly. He amassed reports of vampire incidents and numerous readers, including both a critical Voltaire and supportive demonologists, interpreted the treatise as claiming that vampires exist. In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire wrote on the vampires:

These vampires were corpses, who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomachs, after which they returned to their cemeteries. The persons so sucked waned, grew pale, and fell into consumption; while the sucking corpses grew fat, got rosy, and enjoyed an excellent appetite. It was in Poland, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Austria, and Lorraine, that the dead made this good cheer.

According to some recent research, and judging from the second edition of the work in 1751, Calmet was actually somewhat sceptical towards the vampire concept as a whole. He did acknowledge that parts of the reports, such as the preservation of corpses, might be true. Whatever his personal convictions were, Calmet's apparent support for vampire belief had considerable influence on other scholars at the time.

Eventually, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria sent her personal physician, Gerhard van Swieten, to investigate. He concluded that vampires do not exist, and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies. This was the end of the vampire epidemics. By then, though, many knew about vampires

With the exception of the Romanian belief that a dhampir (the child of a vampire and his human widow) could be used to detect a vampire, vampire hunters do not play a part in the vampire lore of Slavic and Romanian people. However, the vampire hunter has found popularity in modern fiction and popular culture.

The most widely known example of a vampire hunter is Abraham Van Helsing of the novel Dracula and in other works of fiction adapting or modifying that work. Other more recent figures include Buffy "the Vampire Slayer" Summers from the television show and film of the same name, and BloodRayne from the eponymous video game series and film. Even more well-known[citation needed] are the Belmont clan from the Castlevania series.

As well as being knowledgable about vampire lore, vampire hunters in fiction are often armed with an eclectic mix of items and weapons which are designed to take maximum advantage of the monster's traditional weaknesses. These have included firearms with silver ammunition, appropriate religious symbols, crossbows that fire all wood bolts and even waterguns filled with blessed holy water in the movies The Lost Boys and From Dusk Till Dawn.

The organizational strength of depicted vampire hunters can vary wildly. Most hunter characters are in small groups working alone and in secret.

While predominantly depicted as human, examples of other types of vampire hunters also exist. Dhampiric figures, having a mix of human and vampire blood, are a popular form (such as Alucard from the Castlevania series). Examples of this include D of Vampire Hunter D and the eponymous hero of the Blade series of comic books, movies, and television episodes.

The image of the vampire hunter is often a mysterious and dramatic avenging hero, an eccentric extremist, or sometimes a bit of both. A hunter may be a heroic figure, a lonesome avenger, or sometimes, although not usually, a bounty hunter-style character, hunting Vampires for profit. Vampire hunters have also popularly been depicted as hunting various creatures such as werewolves, demons, and other forms of undead as well.

Having vampire hunting become a family tradition handed down to future generations of a bloodline is a popular use of the archetype in fiction.

A vampire hunting kit is on display at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum in Niagara Falls Ontario.

Dracula Impaled

Apotropaics ( The word is of Greek origin and literally means "turning away" which was seen in the apotropaic eye, an exaggerated eye painted on drinking vessels in the 6th century BC to ward away spirits while drinking. Curiously, eyes were often painted to ward off the evil eye. The word is also used in vampire fiction and folklore in reference to symbols such as crucifixes, the Holy Sacraments, silver bullets, wild roses and garlic that can ward away or destroy vampires. The Yiddish expression, "Kain ein horeh" is apotropaic in nature, and literally translates to "no evil eye," somewhat equivalent to the expression, "Knock on wood." Because of the shared meaning, an "apotropaic amulet" would be redundant; rather, an apotropaic symbol can be an amulet.) —mundane or sacred items able to ward off revenants—such as garlic or holy water are common in vampire folklore. The items vary from region to region; a branch of wild rose and hawthorn plant are said to harm vampires; 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, rosary, or holy water. 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, mirrors have been used to ward off vampires when placed facing outwards on a door (vampires do not have a reflection and in some cultures, do not cast shadows, 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 utilized by Bram Stoker 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 destroying suspected vampires varied, with staking the most commonly cited method, particularly in southern Slavic cultures. Ash was the preferred wood in Russia and the Baltic states, or hawthorn in Serbia, with a record of oak in Silesia. Potential vampires were most often staked though the heart, though the mouth was targeted in Russia and northern Germany and the stomach in northeastern 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 was the preferred method in German and western Slavic areas, with the head buried between the feet, behind the buttocks 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. 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 on the body, or by exorcism. In Romania garlic could be placed in the mouth, and as recently as the 19th century, the precaution of shooting a bullet through the coffin 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 was placed in the mouth of suspected vampires.

Apotropaic magic is a ritual observance that is intended to turn away evil. It can be as elaborate as the use of magical ceremonies or spells, or as simple as the vaguely superstitious carrying or wearing of a "good luck" token or "charm" (perhaps on a charm bracelet), crossing one's fingers or knocking on wood.

"Apotropaic" is an adjective that means "intended to ward off evil" or "averting or deflecting evil" and commonly refers to objects such as amulets or other symbols. The word is of Greek origin: apotrope literally means "turning away" or averting (as in "averting the evil eye"). The Greeks propitiated the chthonic "Gods of Aversion"—the apotropaioi.


Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Munarau's chilling and eerie ... all » adaption of Stoker's Dracula is a silent masterpiece of terror which to this day is the most striking and frightening portrayal of the legend.


Director: F.W. Murnau

WATCH THE ENTIRE MOVIE 1922 ORIGINAL MOVIE NOSFERATU HERE FREE. Nosferatu (1922) Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Munarau's chilling and eerie adaption of Stoker's Dracula is a silent masterpiece of terror which to this day is the most striking and frightening portrayal of the legend. Director: F.W. Murnau





Nosferatu to you Vampire and Werewolf names from around the world... MORE HERE!


Philip Burne-Jones Bt. (1861-1926) Le Vampire

Vampires in fiction and popular culture
Main articles: Vampire fiction and Vampire films

Count Orlock, a well-known example of vampire fiction, from the 1922 film Nosferatu.Lord Byron arguably introduced the vampire theme to Western literature in his epic poem The Giaour (1813), but it was John Polidori who authored the first "true" vampire story called "The Vampyre". Polidori was the personal physician of Byron and the vampire of the story, Lord Ruthven, is based partly on him — making the character the first of our now familiar romantic vampires. The "ghost story competition" that spawned this piece was the same competition that motivated Mary Shelley to write her novel Frankenstein, another archetypal monster story.

Other examples of early vampire stories are Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished poem Christabel and Sheridan Le Fanu's lesbian vampire story, Carmilla.

Bram Stoker's Dracula has been the definitive version of the vampire in popular fiction for the last century. Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease (contagious demonic possession), with its undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord in a Victorian Europe where tuberculosis and syphilis were common. Stoker's writings are also adapted in many later works. In modern popular culture, book series by Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Stephenie Meyer, as well as many other popular novels, feature vampires.

Vampires have also proved to be a rich subject for the film and gaming industries. Television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Konami's Castlevania and Crystal Dynamics' Legacy of Kain video game series, role-playing games such as Vampire: the Masquerade, and Kouta Hirano's Hellsing manga have been especially successful and influential.

In New Age terminology, an energy vampire or psychic vampire is a being said to have the ability to feed off the "life force" (often also called qi, prana, enerrgy or vitality) of other living creatures. Alternative terms for these persons are pranic vampire, empathic vampire, energy predator, psy/psi-vamp, energy parasite, psionic vampire

The legends and spiritual teachings of some cultures refer to people, often given priestly attributes, who manipulate or remove (feed from) the energy of others. The tiger-women spoken of across Asia (as well as the fox-women of Japan) may be noted, as can the incubus and succubus of Judaeo-Christian mythology. This concept is purported to be represented in the myths of a number of cultures, just as blood-drinking vampires are.

In the oral tradition of the Hopi, a powaqa is a sorcerer who comes to a victim pretending to help and then feeds off the victim's life force.

Dion Fortune wrote of psychic parasitism in relation to vampirism as early as 1930 (considering it a combination of psychic and psychological pathology) in "Psychic Self-Defense". The term "psychic vampire" first gained attention in the 1960s with the publication of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. LaVey, who claimed to have coined the term,[3] used it to mean a spiritually or emotionally weak person who drains vital energy from other people. Adam Parfrey likewise attributed the term to LaVey in an introduction to The Devil's Notebook.

The theme of the psychic vampire has been a focus within modern Vampyre subculture. The way that the subculture has manipulated the image of the psychic vampire has been investigated by researchers such as Mark Benecke and A. Asbjorn Jon. Jon has noted that, like the traditional psychic vampires, those of Vampyre subculture 'prey[s] upon life-force or 'pranic' energy'.Jon also noted that the group has been loosely linked to the Goth subculture.


Vampire Sources
Belanger, Michelle: The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work. Weiser Books, 2004. ISBN 1-57863-321-4
Bernstein, Albert J.: Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry. McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN 0-07-138167-8
Fortune, Dion: Psychic Self-Defense. Weiser Books Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-57863-151-3
Harbour, Dorothy: Energy Vampires: A Practical Guide for Psychic Self-protection. Destiny Books, 2002. ISBN 0-89281-910-3
Hort, Barbara E.: Unholy Hungers: Encountering the Psychic Vampire in Ourselves & Others. Shambhala, 1996. ISBN 1-57062-181-0
Kaldera, Raven: The Ethical Psychic Vampire. Xlibris Corporation, 2005. ISBN 1-4134-6198-0
Konstantinos: Vampires: The Occult Truth. Llewellyn Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-56718-380-8
^ LaVey, Anton Szandor: The Satanic Bible (Avon, 1969, ISBN 0-380-01539-0)
Nyarlathotep, Frater & Jesse Lindsay: Ardeth - The Made Vampire. Lulu Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84728-516-4
Slate, Joe H.: Psychic Vampires: Protection from Energy Predators & Parasites. Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-7387-0191-2
Barber, Paul : Vampires, Burial and Death : Folklore and Reality. Yale University Press.1988. ISBN 0-300-04859-9
Bell, Michael E.: Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-7867-0899-9
Bunson, Matthew: The Vampire Encyclopedia. Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1993. ISBN 0-517-88100-4
Faivre, Tony [i. e. Faivre, Antoine]: Les Vampires. Essai historique, critique et littéraire. [Préface de Robert Amadou.] Paris: Le Terrain Vague - Eric Losfeld, 1962.
Frayling, Christopher: Vampyres, Lord Byron to Count Dracula. 1991. ISBN 0-571-16792-6
Introvigne, Massimo: La stirpe di Dracula. Indagine sul vampirismo dall'antichità ai nostri giorni. Milano: A. Mondadori, 1997 (Antropologia).
Jaramillo Londoño, Agustín: Testamento del paisa. Medellín. Editorial Bedout, 1967. ISBN 958-95125-0-X
Jennings, Lee Byron: An Early German Vampire Tale: Wilhelm Waiblinger’s “Olura" (first-published in 1986), in: Suevica. Beiträge zur schwäbischen Literatur- und Geistesgeschichte 9 (2001/2002), Stuttgart: Verlag Hans-Dieter Heinz, Akademischer Verlag Stuttgart 2004 [2005], S. 295–306 ISBN 3-88099-428-5
McNally, Raymond T.: Dracula Was a Woman. McGraw Hill, 1983. ISBN 0-07-045671-2
McNally, Raymond T. & Florescu, Radu. In Search of Dracula. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. ISBN 0-395-65783-0
Melton, J. Gordon.: The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead Visible Ink Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8103-2295-1
Nyarlathotep, Frater & Jesse Lindsay : Ardeth - The Made Vampire. Lulu Press. 2006. ISBN 1-84728-516-3
Montague Summers: The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, 1928 (reprinted with alternate title: Vampires and Vampirism ISBN 0-486-43996-8), The Vampire in Europe, 1929 (reprinted ISBN 0-517-14989-3) (reprinted with alternate title: The Vampire in Lore and Legend ISBN 0-486-41942-8)
Skal, David J.: V is for Vampire Plume/Penguin 1996 ISBN 0-452-27173-8
Tomkinson, John L., Haunted Greece: Nymphs, Vampires and other Exotika, Anagnosis, Athens 2004 ISBN 960-88087-0-7
Wright, Dudley: The Book of Vampires. 1914 (available in various reprints)



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