Vampires are an endless source of fascination, as they are immortal creatures, but how much do you really know about them? We’ve gathered 12 of the most fascinating vampire facts and theories to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Keep reading to find out why vampires drink blood, how to kill a vampire, and much more!
1. Vampires Have Been Talked About for Hundreds of Years
The legend of the vampire has been around for centuries within a myriad of cultures. The earliest vampire history dates back to ancient Greece, whose civilization lasted from 1200 BCE to 323 BCE. During this period, there were stories of people being attacked and drained of their bodily fluids (they took this as a sign of vampirism). While the modern vampire drinks the blood of its victim, these attacks definitely kick-started the history of vampires.
2. Why Vampires Drink Blood
Vampires attack and drink blood to survive and, secondarily, for pleasure. This distinction may seem irrelevant, but not all vampires relish draining blood from living things (mostly humans). For vampires, blood-drinking can be compared to humans consuming food and drinks; they need to drink the blood of the living to survive. In addition to blood, vampires commonly have been thought to consume other essences of the human body, including thoughts, saliva, and fluids exchanged during sexual activity. While all vampires need to suck blood, some depictions of vampires reject the idea of hurting or killing humans, so they drink the blood of animals.
3. How Vampires Manipulate the Mind
There are various abilities present in vampire myth, depending on the source. One of these powers is the consumption and/or manipulation of a victim’s thoughts. For example, in certain depictions, it’s believed that vampires are able to feel the emotions of their victims and essentially absorb their thoughts to varying degrees. Vampires may also be able to manipulate the thoughts of their victims through compulsion. This allows a vampire to look into a human’s eyes and change their memories and thoughts; often in popular media, vampires use compulsion to erase memories from their human victims.
4. Why Vampires Are “Undead”
Many of a vampire’s powers can exist simply because of the fact that they are no longer living human beings: they are supernatural creatures that are classified as the “undead.” As an undead figure, their everyday functionalities differ from those of living or dead beings, like sustenance requirements and forms of reproduction.
5. How Vampires Reproduce
The forms of reproduction that vampires engage in differ from that of living organisms. Creating more vampires can be helpful in increasing the size of a clan or coven. For example, a vampire can turn a mortal into another vampire by biting them and not draining them of their blood; this entails the transfer of vampire blood and/or venom to the human and the human living after the vampire finishes feeding, like in The Twilight Saga novels and films. Another way for vampires to turn humans into vampires is by killing a human who has vampire blood in their system and then drinking human blood once they awaken, which occurs in The Vampire Diaries television show and books. This process relies on a blood exchange and the death of the human with vampire blood in their veins. Once they awaken “in transition,” they must feed on human blood—essentially completing the cycle—or die. Vampires can also turn humans by drinking a majority of the human’s blood and then forcing them to drink vampire blood, like in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lastly, some vampire folklore says that a human can be turned by a vampire bat.
6. How Dracula Became a Vampire
The most famous vampire in the genre, Count Dracula, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, creates more vampires by biting humans (spreading his blood and venom), but the way he becomes the “original” vampire is up for debate. In the vampire novel Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it is assumed that Count Dracula uses his intensive knowledge from schooling and some “black magic” to make him immortal. In Francis Ford Coppola’s horror film, Dracula becomes a vampire in response to his wife’s denial into Heaven. Furthermore, his wife, Elisabeta, commits suicide, due to false reports of Dracula’s death in fighting as a soldier, so her soul is unable to remain pure and enter Heaven. Because of this, Dracula channels black magic and turns into a vampire out of undying love for his late wife. Using her damnation, he turns into a vampire to begin the vampire race in this universe. Black magic and suicide are the final two standard ways to become a vampire. In other horror films and television adaptations of Dracula, there is a backstory of another vampire starting the vampire race.
7. How to Kill or Harm a Vampire
Vampire legend says the main ways to kill a vampire include a wooden stake through the heart, exposure to sunlight, decapitation, removal of the heart, and contact with fire. Vampires also have objects that hurt them and/or reduce their abilities. Vampires hate garlic, running water, and objects associated with Christianity such as holy water and crucifixes. It’s believed that vampires often need to be invited inside the place of residence of a human if the deed is in a human’s name. This adds both a layer of protection for humans to escape and a chance for a human to “consent” to the vampire entering their homes.
8. The Vampire Connection to “Vlad the Impaler”
While the history of the vampire legend dates back to ancient Greece, the most famous vampire, Count Dracula, is actually loosely based off of Vlad III of Wallachia. The ancestors of Vlad III became honored into the Order of the Dragon, a noble warring family, which is where “Dracul” and “Drac” were derived, hence the modern vampire name Dracula. Vlad III was also known as “Vlad the Impaler,” partly from his fix for blood, and his tendency to impale his enemies to get rid of them. People believe that Vlad invited hundreds of boyars (Russians who were part of the old aristocracy at the highest rank) and stabbed them, leaving their dead bodies on stakes for others to view. This gruesome practice is one example of Vlad’s behavior that earned him the nickname “Vlad the Impaler.”
9. The Vampire Disease: Porphyria
Vampire-like behaviors are often associated with the rare, genetic blood disease porphyria. This group of illnesses refers to a buildup of porphyrin, which helps hemoglobin bring oxygen into the bloodstream. It causes a sallow appearance, sometimes a yellowing and stretching of the skin. Those with this illness also may have itchy or irritated skin, which makes them sensitive to sunlight and photographs. Urine may become dark brown or red. Lastly, people may develop madness over time, if symptoms are not managed properly. These symptoms led to porphyria becoming known as “the vampire disease.”
10. Why Vampires Lack a Reflection
It’s common belief that vampires don’t have a reflection due to their “soulless nature.” This is related to the perverse nature of vampires, in that they feed on human blood and resist human age and power constraints. Another explanation could be that vampires are demonic creatures that do not deserve to be looked at. Soulless creatures can be symbolic of non-stable entities, indicative of a vampire’s ability to shape-shift into and/or control bats, rats, wolves, etc.
11. Beware of the Redhead
In medieval times, people with red hair were regarded as vampires. Similarly, in ancient Greece, people believed that redheads turned into vampires after death. The ancient Greeks burned the dead bodies of redheads before burial in order to prevent them from rising from the grave.
12. How to Properly Bury a Vampire
While it may be impossible to kill the undead, a vampire burial is the best way to ensure that a vampire is immobilized for as long as possible. Wooden stakes are often driven through a vampire’s chest in order to pin it to its coffin. Alternatively, a vampire can be buried face down with the hope that it will dig itself further into the Earth in the event that it should attempt to rise. Always stay strapped with holy water because you never know if a vampire is truly dead!
From ancient beliefs to modern beliefs, the legends of vampirism live on forever. If you loved reading about the history of vampires, then you need to check out the rest of the spooky content on our site. We have blogs about creepy urban legends, scary ghost stories, historic events about vampires, facts about evil spirits, and so much more. Hoping to dress up as a blood-drinking vampire or a vampire slayer this Halloween? Spirit Halloween has the vampire Halloween costumes and accessories you need.