Vampires are claimed to be undead creatures/persons who continue to live on by ingesting the life force from another creature, usually in the form of blood. Much of the vampire lore we encounter today hails back to Slavic folklore. Here the vampire is often portrayed as a beautiful man or woman with superhuman strength and a thirst for human blood. The lore also claims that anybody bitten by a vampire may turn into a vampire at any time.
According to legend there are only a couple of ways to kill a vampire, one of which is to drive a wooden stake through the heart of the alleged vampire/corpse. This part of the legend is particularly ironic given that it may have been partially inspired by the Romanian hero Vlad Țepes (“Vlad the Impaler”), who was famous for killing his opponents by impalement.
There are still reported sightings of vampires from all over the world, and invariably they lure modern day vampire hunters to these sites. These reports include everything from the Central American Chupacabra, a vampire-like creature who allegedly sucks the blood from goats and other domesticated animals, to the more classical forms we know from Western literature. Tragically, in Africa today, there have even been reports of people being killed as a result of vampire accusations.
The belief in vampire creatures that suck the life force or the willingness to live from out of a person has been around for thousands of years in many of the different cultures around the world. But it was not until the 1800s when the word ‘vampire’ was coined and what we associate with vampires today in the Western world was described. This was done through a couple of popular books such as Abraham Stoker’s Dracula. This book was loosely built on Slavic and Germanic folklore portraying the vampire we know today.
Vampires can be entertaining but strictly as a work of fiction.