Mythological Creatures: Vampire

MythDen.com - Vampire

Vampires are death personified, feeding on life in the form of blood. Dating and placing where vampire mythology originated is difficult. However, vampiric superstition and fear is believed to have peaked throughout late 17th, early 18th century Europe, especially in places such as the Balkans, Hungary, Greece and of course Transylvania. Although many books were written about vampires, the Irish author Bram Stoker's 1897 novel 'Dracula' has remained the quintessential depiction of these undead creatures...

Vampiric folklore suggests that vampires were slightly bloated creatures that rose from the grave to drain their victim's blood, this feeding is said to have given them a reddish skin tone. Later additions to this basic idea were fangs, immortality and immense strength as well as living in huge castles and being the archenemies of werewolves. However, vampires do have weaknesses in the form of apotropaic items (items that ward off evil) such as garlic, crucifixes and holy water. Sharp items were buried with many people throughout Europe to burst the corpse in the event of bloating and transforming into a vampire, however, it is said that to kill an already risen creature, you must impale it with a wooden or metal stake. Vampires are unable to walk on consecrated ground such as that found around churches or temples, nor may they cross running water, in some cultures vampires have no shadow or reflection, this is perhaps due to the absence of a soul. The vampire bat is a relatively recent addition to the mythology of vampires as they are only found in South America, although they now feature heavily in books and television, usually depicting the vampire transforming into a bat. Different cultures have different beliefs about how vampires are created, some believe that they are witches or non-believers rising again and taking their vengeance, others say that if an animal such as a cat or dog jumps over a grave, a vampire is born. A long held belief of vampiric mythology is that of the 'vampire's kiss', it is said that being bitten by a vampire will transform the victim into a vampire. In the past these creatures were genuinely feared, however, today vampires have been romanticised in films such as the Twilight Saga and the Vampire Dairies, both depict vampires as being gaunt and pale - features that came about during the 19th century.