The Vampire is one of the Undead, a reanimated corpse that feeds on the blood of the living.
The legend of the Vampire is universal, and each culture has its own name for the creature. The modern term vampire actually arises from the Slavonic Magyar vampir, which literally means “blood monster”. In Romania, it is known as nosferatu, which comes from the Greek nosophoros, meaning “plague-carrier.”
The Vampire tends to resemble the person it was in life. However, the Vampire of legend is a walking corpse. Its body might be bloated, the skin stretched tightly across the creature’s body. The Vampire’s fingernails and toenails have grown since the creature’s burial, now sharpened talons. The skin tends to have a pale pallor to it, while being somewhat decayed. Since the Vampire tends to feed on its own flesh while struggling to leave the grave (known as manducation), there are often chunks of flesh missing from the limbs. The creature has sharp, extended canine teeth (the fangs), which allow for easy feeding. The Vampire’s breath reeks of decay and coagulated blood (although getting close enough to confirm this is next to impossible). The Vampire tends to be dressed in its burial shroud or whatever clothing the body happened to be wearing at the time of burial, and the creature itself reeks of death and grave dirt. The Vampire’s eyes are fiery red, and the creature’s ears are grotesquely stretched and pointed. The Vampire of ancient times is a horrifying monster, a far cry from the modern interpretation of the Vampire.
The Vampire of modern times is a very different creature, in both looks and character. Some Vampires have no distinguishing characteristics in this day and age, as the creature has retractable fangs that only show when the Vampire is feeding or angry, and the characteristic blood-red eyes only become apparent under these conditions as well.
Since Bela Lugosi appeared on the silver screen in Tod Browning’s 1931 film Dracula (Universal Studios), the Vampire stereotype had been fully established. The Vampire appears in formal evening attire: a white shirt, a red bowtie, a black jacket, black trousers, formal shoes, a prominent widow’s peak or slicked-back hairstyle, needle-sharp fangs, blood-red eyes, long fingernails (always cut to a sharp point), and finally a black opera cape, lined with scarlet and sporting a high collar. In the movies, these stereotypical characteristics instantly identify a given individual as one of the Undead.
In most cases, as mentioned previously, the Vampire bears a striking resemblance to the individual it was in life. The creature tends to be gaunt and wiry in build, belying the Vampire’s supernatural power. The Vampire has pale skin, and is very attractive to the opposite sex, which helps the Vampire to attract its victims. It tends to have long, needle-sharp fangs and fine nails (usually pointed and very sharp indeed). It should be noted that, in Bulgaria, the Vampire was believed to have only one nostril (probably not true). In Poland, the Vampire has a sharp, needlelike point on the tip of its tongue, much like a bee’s sting. It is through this appendage that the Vampire is believed to pierce the skin and drain its victim’s blood. However, the creature usually appears human under normal circumstances, unless in a state of bloodlust or angered in some way. At this point, the Vampire’s fangs (which are retractable) and the creature’s fiery red eyes become apparent and a feral, predatory visage can be seen. Female Vampires tend to have long, luxurious red hair, along with supple, firm breasts, a leanly muscular physique, and are generally sexually attractive to potential victims.
The Vampire tends to be somewhat unpredictable in its behavioral patterns. The Vampire tends to be nocturnal, but it is a misconception that the creature can only arise from the grave at dusk and cannot abide by the light of the day. In fact, the Vampire could often rise whenever it pleased to hunt and feed, usually between the hours of noon and midnight (according to Slavic folklore, anyway). The Vampire only prefers the darkness because it can move about freely and unseen.
The Vampire is a highly intelligent creature, with the predatory cunning of an animal. However, most newly-risen Vampires are little more than cunning, mindless predators. The revenant’s every move and thought is driven by one instinct: hunger. As mentioned earlier, the Vampire’s need for blood is all-consuming. It will do everything within its power to gain a potential victim, so that it may feed. Like mentioned previously, the Vampire prefers to bite its victim on the neck, breasts, or wrist, although it will occasionally go for the inner thigh or the area of the chest directly over the heart (although some sources say that the Vampire sucked the victim’s skin and drained blood through the pores). It usually preys on victims of the opposite sex, although Vampires who chose an “alternative lifestyle” while still living may make exceptions. When the Vampire first rises from the grave, its first victims will be its family and loved ones. At times, when human prey is scarce or unavailable, the revenant will prey upon wild animals and livestock, although the Vampire tends to find such prey to be bland and unsatisfying. This is only something that the Vampire will do in desperation or is trying to avoid feeding on humans as much as possible.
In some cases, when a corpse reanimates, the Vampire is too weak to rise (as it has to smash through its coffin and claw through six feet of dirt). In order to gain the necessary power, the revenant engages in manducation, which literally means “eating.” This involves the Vampire chewing on its burial shroud and feeding on its own flesh (which has to be very painful). Once it has fed enough, it can arise from the grave and seek out its first victim, increasing in strength every time the creature feeds.
Hunting is a relatively straightforward task for the Vampire. Usually, since the creature prefers to hunt at night, it will wander through a nearby village or along the roads, seeking a potential victim. The Vampire then enters through an open window or under the door (usually in the form of a mist). It will then proceed to approach the sleeping victim and, once there, the Vampire leans over and sinks its fangs into the victim’s neck, right above the jugular vein. The victim usually moans aloud, but does not awaken. The Vampire then proceeds to drain off a portion of its prey’s blood, usually no more than a quart. However, this amount of blood loss isn’t enough to kill the victim. The victim then wakes up the next morning, feeling weak and utterly exhausted. The Vampire then proceeds to return over the course of several nights, continually draining the individual’s blood until death occurs from blood loss and sickness. If lucky, the victim is only dead. However, if this is not the case, the victim will rise from the grave three days later as one of the undead.
The Vampire is a vicious and deadly foe in a fight. The revenant’s combination of strength, speed, and agility, as well as its razor-sharp claws and fangs, makes the Vampire truly a force to be reckoned with. However, the creature must rest within its grave during the day, as this isn’t the Vampire’s natural time (sunlight does little actual harm, if any, to most Vampires). This leaves the revenant highly vulnerable to attack from Vampire Hunters. However, if the would-be hunter isn’t careful, the Vampire may rise and the hunter will become the revenant’s meal.
The Vampire is an intelligent, cunning creature, often more than capable of outwitting humans. The longer the Vampire lives, the more its intellect increases. Thus, Vampires that have lived for centuries on end are extremely dangerous foes. The revenant has razor-sharp instincts and is unnaturally perceptive, making the creature all the more formidable. Remember this: the Vampire has centuries of experience built up, and has had more experience in dealing with would-be killers than most Demon Hunters are inclined to think or admit to.
Although the Vampire is impotent and incapable of sexual activity for the most part, some exceptions are known to exist. According to Slavic folk beliefs, the Vampire is known to rise from the grave, return home to its widow and demand its favorite meal. Afterwards, the Vampire would demand intercourse (forcibly, if necessary). This was particularly common in the Slavic regions of Eastern Europe, especially in Romania. Since the Vampire’s sperm was considered to still be potent, this kind of encounter could easily result in an unwanted pregnancy. The resulting child is known as a dhampir, a half-human, half-vampire hybrid. The child has all of the Vampire’s strengths, but none of its weaknesses (although the child may not see it that way). The dhampir possesses the strength, speed, agility, reflexes, endurance, and the acute senses of the Vampire. However, the dhampir is both blessed and cursed. The child is able to perceive the Vampire in its incorporeal form, but like his vampiric father, he is cursed with an insatiable hunger for human blood. Usually, the dhampir hunts down and destroys his father, for both revenge and common cause. Some traditions say that the dhampir has a weak, gelatinous skeleton. Therefore, the dhampir’s life will be short and filled with discomfort and pain.
Sometimes as Gypsy folklore dictates, the Vampire’s sexual drive was enough to cause the creature to return from the dead. The Vampire could also return if it had been in love with a woman, but the couple had never actually experienced sexual ecstasy together. She would be invited to return to the Vampire’s grave, where the creature would make her one of the Undead and, as a result, they could share their love forever.
The Vampire may cause death and despair through other means than its bite alone. According to some legends, the Vampire would call out its chosen victim’s name, several times if necessary. If that individual answers the call, they are doomed to die. Another legend says will climb up to a church’s bell tower and ring the bell. Anyone who heard or gave heed to the bell’s ominous ringing was condemned to die by the fangs of the Vampire. The creature can kill by causing disease to sweep through a given area, or it can spread misery by raping virginal young girls. Sometimes, the Vampire will cause poltergeist effects, like throwing objects, making loud banging noises, and opening or closing doors invisibly and repeatedly. It may attempt to suffocate humans with its vile stench. The Vampire is capable of causing crop blights or drought, draining the crops of life and causing a famine among the humans as a result. The Vampire would attack livestock, depriving the people of food.
The Vampire’s habits and behavioral patterns are, at best, chaotic and malevolent. The Vampire is an extremely difficult adversary to contend with, so absolute caution is advised when dealing with the Vampire. One can never tell what may come to pass in a life-or-death struggle with the Undead.
The Vampire needs to feed on fresh human blood for survival. This unnatural hunger drives the creature’s existence, and the Vampire constantly craves blood. It is thought by most that the blood invigorates the Vampire’s body, maintaining the undead state of the body and preventing further decay. When it feeds, the Vampire not only takes the victim’s blood, but also infects the victim with the supernatural taint of vampirism. Therefore, while prolonging the creature’s own soulless existence, it damns the unfortunate individual to become a Vampire after their death. Thus, the Vampire propagates its own kind.
When the Vampire feeds, it usually bites its victim on the neck, breast, inner thigh, or wrist. Through these wounds, the Vampire drains the victim of their flowing blood. The Vampire prefers to feed on victims of the opposite sex, although it is not unknown for some Vampires to feed upon the same sex. The Vampire doesn’t require much blood for survival, needing about one-half to a full quart every night. Older Vampires can resist the bloodlust for several weeks, but the creature grows progressively weaker the longer he goes without feeding, eventually reverting to its true age (which proves to be fatal). The Vampire can sate its hunger on the blood of animals if necessary, although this is usually something done only in desperation.
Folklorists, occultists, and vampirologists have debated exactly why the Vampire needs blood for a very long time. In ancient times, people recognized that blood is the source of life. To take another’s blood was to absorb the other individual’s strength and vitality, even to the point of killing the other. Early on, women recognized the innate connection between menstruation and the act of giving birth, as blood is symbolically and physically shed during both acts. People believed that, by drinking the blood of one’s fallen enemies, an individual would absorb his enemy’s strength and become exponentially more powerful. Blood is viewed by pagan religions as the sustenance of their gods, maintaining their power and immortality through the sacrifice of humans and animals. But, blood is sacred to God, and in the Old Testament, God emphasizes that drinking the blood of another is a mortal sin and is strictly forbidden. He specifically states this as follows:
“And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people.”
-Leviticus 7: 26-27 (New International Version)
It could therefore be argued that the Vampire is a man (the Vampire tends to be predominantly male), cut off from both God and his own people because of his craving for human blood. The Vampire is a horrifying and reviled creature, cursed by God to arise from the grave as one of the undead and to feed on the blood of the living for eternity. As stated earlier, the blood is the life. God spoke to Moses on this matter, again explicitly emphasizing the importance and the sacred nature of the crimson fluid. God thus states:
“Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood — I will set my face against that person who eats blood and cut him off from his people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any alien living among you eat blood.”
-Leviticus 17: 10-12 (New International Version)
Basically, God says that “thou shalt not drink the blood of another, lest thou be damned for eternity.” Think of it as the eleventh commandment. Christians believe that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross saved them from sin and eternal damnation in Hell. Before He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot (whom some believe may have been the first true Vampire), Jesus said at the Last Supper: “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He offered it to His disciples, saying “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26: 26-28).” The Vampire, being a creature born of Satan’s power, drank blood in blasphemous defiance of God’s command, defiling the sacred and stealing what belongs to God alone.
The Vampire possesses an array of supernatural powers at its disposal. This makes the creature extremely difficult to contend with in a fight. Although the abilities attributed to the Vampire differ somewhat from culture to culture, the creature’s other powers remain the same. However, many of the abilities that the Vampire is commonly though to possess are based in fiction, not folklore.
The Vampire possesses supernatural strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and endurance. The Vampire’s strength is said to be far greater than any mortal’s, as the Vampire is no longer restrained by mortal limitations and is empowered by a combination of the spirit and the flesh, the only limitation being that the Vampire requires blood to fuel its energy reserves. The creature’s strength gives it an advantage during the hunt, as it can overpower almost any human without much effort at all.
The Vampire is extremely quick, moving faster than the human eye can possibly see. The creature’s sheer speed, combined with its unnatural stealth, makes it impossible for the Vampire’s prey to detect or escape from the Vampire until it is too late. The Vampire possesses supernatural agility as well. The creature can leap to great heights and is nimble enough to scale sheer surfaces with amazing speed, much like a spider. The Vampire is able to avoid gunfire easily, and reacts with unnatural quickness to any threat, due to the creature’s superhuman reflexes. The Vampire is able to move at great speed for long periods, and it is nearly impossible to tire the Vampire, due to its preternatural degree of endurance.
Once again, the Vampire’s formidable abilities are limited by one thing: blood. If the Vampire goes without feeding or is prevented from doing so for an extended period of time, the creature steadily begins to weaken and show its true age. This can prove to be fatal to the Vampire, if the cunning Vampire Hunter doesn’t dispatch the revenant beforehand.
The Vampire’s senses of sight, smell, hearing, and touch are of supernatural keeness, comparable on many levels to a wolf’s. The Vampire can see with perfect clarity in the darkness of the night, to the point of being able to detect the bodily heat emanations from its victims. The creature’s hearing is comparable to a bat or an owl, possessing a level of sensitivity on par with the bat’s own echo-sensitivity.
The Vampire’s sense of smell is as acute as that of a wolf or a dog’s, enabling the creature to track its prey for miles by the scent of the victim’s blood alone, a sensation that the Vampire relishes. The Vampire is also able to tell individual people apart by the scent of their blood coursing through their veins or bodily odors. The Vampire’s sense of touch is amazingly acute, as the creature can feel the heartbeat of a potential victim through thick walls, or it can detect the vibrations of a vampire hunter’s footsteps and the direction of the footsteps, enabling the Vampire to either escape or prepare an ambush for the would-be hunter.
In addition to its five senses, the Vampire possesses a preternatural sixth sense. The Vampire can instinctively sense impending danger, usually posed by humans. The revenant can sense emanations of good or evil, instinctively avoiding the former while congregating in the latter. Overall, the Vampire’s keen senses give the creature several advantages when hunting or eluding its enemies.
Resistance to Injury
The Vampire is incapable of being harmed or slain by most forms of conventional injury, including firearms or blades. Furthermore, the Vampire cannot feel the pain that would result from such attacks. Gunfire has no effect on the revenant whatsoever, serving only to slow the creature down. Likewise, blades don’t affect the Vampire at all, unless the blade pierces the heart or removes the head.
The Vampire has supernatural regenerative capabilities, which allows the creature to recover from injuries that would permanently incapacitate or even kill a human. However, the Vampire cannot regenerate severed limbs, although the creature could possibly reattach a severed limb by pressing the limb against the stump. Poison, suffocation, extreme cold, aging, drowning, or disease cannot kill the Vampire, as the creature is already dead. The only substances that can kill or cause the Vampire pain are silver or blessed steel (both of which will be discussed later).
According to legends from around the world, the Vampire is a shapeshifter, capable of assuming a multitude of different forms. However, the Vampire is restricted primarily to animal forms, most notably a bat, a wolf, a rat, or a mist. The Vampire is able to assume these forms at will. In some cases (usually fictional cases), the Vampire is able to take the form of a monstrous man-beast form of the bat or the wolf.
By no means is the Vampire limited to assuming the forms of the aforementioned animals. In folklore, it is practically unheard of for a Vampire to change into a bat. However, according to folklore, the Vampire is able to assume the form of a fox, a moth, an owl, a spider, a locust, a cat, a dog, a frog, a snake, a fly, a flea, a mouse, or a raven (as well as other species of bird).
Shapeshifting gives the Vampire an array of advantages. Although not prominent in European folklore, the form of a bat enables the creature to fly over considerable distances. The bat also has keen hearing and the ability to use echolocation to maneuver through the night. The wolf is a ferocious predator, possessing savage strength, great speed, a degree of animalistic cunning, and keen senses, as well as deadly claws and teeth. The rat is small enough to penetrate most openings with ease, as well as having sharp teeth that enable the rodent to gnaw through nearly any material and having a keen sense of smell as well. The other forms mentioned previously offer many of the same advantages, as well as some unique ones of their own. Basically, the Vampire can utilize any abilities that an animal may have when it assumes that particular animal’s form.
In addition, the Vampire is able to dissolve into the form of a vaporous mist at will. While the creature’s ability to become a mist is rarely mentioned in folklore, it is feared greatly by the people of Hungary, some other parts of mainland Europe, and the Orient. While the creature’s ability to travel for any considerable distance is limited in this form, it is able to move in complete silence, to leave its grave (through finger-sized holes in the earth), to slip through the slightest openings with ease, and to escape from vampire hunters in pursuit of the creature. The Vampire is also unable to be physically harmed in this form, as projectiles just pass right through the vapor.
In other legends, it is said that the Vampire can become a ball of luminescent light, known as a will-o’-the-wisp. Perhaps coincidentally, these dancing lights are thought to be the ghostly remains of the dead in folklore throughout Europe.
In folklore, it is sometimes thought that the Vampire appears as a ghost to its victims, materializing only to attack and feed. In such cases, the Vampire’s spirit would arise from the grave, leaving the creature’s physical body safely behind in the grave. While in spectral form, the weapons of mortal men could not harm the Vampire, but this did leave the body vulnerable to an attack from vampire hunters.
Through the use of hypnosis, the Vampire is able to dominate the mind and will of a human. The creature can convince a potential victim to allow the revenant to enter the individual’s home or leave a house unseen, command one that has been bitten by the creature in any way the Vampire wishes, and to force the chosen victim to accept the Vampire’s dark embrace without a struggle. The Vampire’s bite seems to have an anesthetic effect on the victim, giving the creature the time it needs to feed. Afterwards, the Vampire may use this ability to make the victim forget about the attack.
To dominate a human, the Vampire need only make eye contact with its victim for a few seconds. However, the stronger the human’s will, the longer hypnosis takes. If necessary, the Vampire can completely crush the human mind or destroy the individual’s sanity, leaving little more than a drooling lunatic. In the same manner, the Vampire can create a human slave. This slave is totally obedient to his master’s will, to the point of being willing to sacrifice everything for his master’s safety, including his life. Such individuals inevitably lose their minds, due to the Vampire’s power over them.
However, the Vampire’s ability to dominate a human is largely an invention of Bram Stoker’s, and the term domination comes from the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. In folklore, the Vampire attacked its victims while they slept. Some were even unconsciously aware of the Vampire’s attack, claiming that they felt a heavy weight sitting on their chests, or even being awakened to find the creature hovering over them, readying itself to feed.
According to legend, the Vampire is able to command many of the very animals it is able to transform itself into. This includes the bat, the wolf, the rat, locusts, the owl, the fox, the snake, and the moth. These creatures of the night come at the Vampire’s beck and call. They will obey each and every single command, even if it means death. This ability is present in folklore, but isn’t commonly mentioned.
One possible explanation is that, since mankind sees the Vampire as a savage beast, these animals see the Vampire as a kindred spirit of sorts, finding themselves somehow compelled to obey the Vampire’s commands.
Command of the Weather
According to Professor Abraham Van Helsing, the Vampire is able to control the weather, within limits. The creature could direct the fog, summon a powerful storm, control the direction and the force of the wind, or even call down bolts of lightning to strike its enemies.
However, folklore makes no mention of the Vampire possessing such power. One tradition, as told by Dimitrij Zelenin, says that the earth itself rebelled against “unclean” bodies being buried within its soil, and retaliated by causing severe weather, like bringing about cold and frost during the spring months. Other than that, this is an invention of Bram Stoker.
As the Vampire is essentially a rotting corpse, the revenant is capable of spreading a deadly plague through either its bite or its mere presence. In Romania, as mentioned earlier, the Vampire is known as nosferatu, which literally means “plague-carrier.” When the Vampire has destroyed a village, the contagious disease that inevitably follows kills off the survivors with a horrible wasting disease. Over the next few days, the victim would progressively become weaker and weaker, until death occurred. Worse, those who died of the plague could become Vampires themselves. Those that did arise from the grave would continue to infect the countryside with the Vampire’s evil, spreading death and pestilence wherever they went.
During the Middle Ages, the Black Death struck Europe. The people who didn’t die of the bubonic plague blamed the Black Death on the Vampire, even though infected rats that had been bitten by disease-infected fleas had caused the disease. In fact, it could be argued that the fleas and the rats (both of which the Vampire may command) were sent by the Vampire to wreak havoc on human society. It is said that those who died of the Plague were cursed to rise from the grave as the Undead. Overall, the Black Death killed an estimated thirty to sixty percent of Europe’s population, and went on to spread into other parts of the world. Unlike the humans, however, the Vampire itself is immune to disease.
The most coveted trait of all is the Vampire’s immortality. Conceivably, assuming the Vampire feeds on a regular basis and evades vampire hunters, the Vampire could live forever. However, no Vampire in folklore ever exists long enough to actually determine how long the creature could exist. Thus, immortality is more of a trait of the fictional Vampire than a historical fact.
In regards to the Vampire’s actual lifespan (so to speak), it is often assumed by people that, barring destruction, the Vampire is immortal. However, this notion is only partially supported by folklore. Muslim Gypsies though that the Vampire’s unliving existence only lasted for several months, while other Gypsies believed that a reanimated corpse could only exist for forty days, which was seen as a mockery of the forty days that Jesus Christ spent in the desert, resisting temptation from Satan.
In the Slavic countries of Albania and Serbia, it is said that if the Vampire can escape destruction for thirty years and feed on human blood discreetly, the Vampire will eventually become human again, wandering about the world with a new identity.
As far as the Vampire of fiction goes, time equals power to the Vampire. The Vampire grows in strength for every year of its existence, gaining greater intelligence, greater cunning, an exponential increase in its various supernatural abilities, resistance to its weaknesses (sunlight, holy icons, etc.), and a decreasing need for blood. While this may be somewhat true in ancient folk beliefs, as mentioned previously, this is only partially supported by folklore.
In addition to those mentioned above, the Vampire has some other, lesser-known powers at its disposal. One of these abilities is the Vampire’s alleged ability to scale sheer surfaces, vertically or horizontally, much like a spider. This ability would allow the revenant to access places that would be otherwise impossible for a human to reach. However, this ability may have its roots in fiction, perhaps due to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It likely came from the observation that the common vampire bat (desmodus rotundus) is highly agile compared to most other species of bats, able to cling to and scale sheer surfaces like mentioned above. However, the Vampire predated the discovery of the vampire bat, and hence this ability’s origins lay in fictional accounts.
Other abilities, more rooted in folklore than anything else, that the Vampire possesses includes causing crop blights (destroying food sources), causing a drought, causing impotence in men, or even stealing vital organs (like the heart or the liver).
Fortunately, the Vampire is not without its weaknesses. Since the Vampire exists in one form or another in cultures all over the world, the creature’s vulnerabilities are numerous. However, one who is well versed in Vampire lore and organizes himself accordingly, he will be able to come up with innovative uses for these weaknesses. Some of these vulnerabilities are apotropaics, or substances that are able to repel evil. Others listed here will cause the Vampire more direct harm. Some have no relevance at all, except for in fiction.
Garlic (allium sativum) is the best known and certainly one of the most effective Vampire apotropaics. It is well known in both folklore and fiction that this potent herb’s pungent odor and spicy taste is known not only to repulse the Undead, but just about everyone else, too! Knowledge of garlic’s antiseptic and antibiotic properties originates thousands of years ago in Egypt, where it was believed to possess healing powers. According to one source, Roman soldier were issued daily rations of garlic before battle to give them courage and strength, as well as for general health.
It is believed that garlic’s efficacy lies in the herb’s powerful odor. According to the theory that like repels like, it is highly likely that the Vampire, reeking of death and decay (overall, not just the revenant’s breath), will be utterly repulsed by any substance that smells just as badly (in this case, garlic).
In the Slavic lands of Europe, garlands of garlic are still worn by peasants and hung over doorways, as superstition still rules these people to an extent. These garlands are even available for purchase to tourists! Children are forced to wear garlic on their person at all times, whether at work or play. This kept away everything, including potential playmates. In China and Malaysia, it is rubbed all over to prevent vampiric attack, usually on the forehead or the armpits (the favored spot in the Philippines).
However, garlic is also useful in the Vampire’s destruction. Once a stake had been driven through the heart and the body decapitated, garlic bulbs were used to stuff the mouth. The garlic’s anti-evil properties severed the bond between the inhabiting demonic spirit and the dead flesh. This ensured that, if it was decided not to burn the corpse, the Vampire would be unable to regenerate itself and return to take its vengeance.
Silver is a relatively recent addition to Vampire folklore. While popular in fiction, it also has some basis in folklore. Because of its purity and lustrous white color, silver is believed to possess protective powers against evil and negative influences. It is also said to have a supernatural association with the moon.
Because of its protective powers, silver has been used to keep evil at bay for thousands of years. It is said that silver nails in a coffin will prevent a revenant or a restless spirit from escaping the confines of its grave, while silver amulets repel evil spirits. A cross or a crucifix made of pure silver is far more powerful than one made of other metals, especially against the Vampire. On another note, silver is thought to ward off the Evil Eye.
When one thinks of silver being used in a supernatural context, the Werewolf and the silver bullet immediately come to mind. However, silver is considered to be the bane of all evil, and has therefore been utilized against vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, witches, giants, and those that live a “charmed” life. When a sorcerer’s familiar is injured or dies by a silver bullet, the creature’s master is dealt the same fate.
Silver is highly effective when utilized against the Vampire in a combat situation as well. A wound inflicted by a silver blade on the Vampire heals very slowly, if at all. If it pierces the heart, the Vampire dies. Since silver is too soft to make a serious weapon (with the exception being stakes, bullets, or projectile points), it is used in steel alloys and to plate steel blades (a process called silvering). The most popular choices for such applications are blades, especially swords, daggers, or knives. If a priest blesses the blades, then their efficacy is increased considerably. In folklore, one clear reference is found in Serbia. One man broke up silver coins (which were each engraved with a cross), loaded them into his shotgun, and fired on a revenant. The creature did not bother the villagers again.
According to legend (and the works of Bram Stoker), the Vampire is unable to cross running water, except at the ebb and flow of the tide. This includes rivers, streams, and (in some cases) the open ocean. According to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the creature may be carried over it on a water-going vessel (a boat or a ship). In folklore, witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are incapable of crossing running water, as water is a symbol of life, purity, and holiness. It is said to have healing and cleansing powers. Water is the main element in holy baptism and is held to be sacred to the Church, washing away sin and evil.
Water is a prominent element in folklore. It is said that tricking the Vampire into wading into flowing water can destroy the creature. Once the Vampire has entered the water, it will drown and perish. This is not to say that the Vampire can’t swim. The water’s inherent power and symbolism, through supernatural means, impedes the revenant’s ability to stay afloat and swim. However, if the creature is removed from the water, the Vampire will return to unlife. Then, it will proceed to make a meal out of its “rescuer.”
It is currently unknown where this belief originated from, but it may have come from Greece. The people, tired of the Vampire’s depredations, would unearth the corpse and exile it to a small, uninhabited island a few miles offshore. There, the revenant was reburied. Thus surrounded by flowing water, the Vampire was imprisoned and denied its need for blood.
The Vampire is unable to enter a house without first being verbally invited inside. However, once the invitation was extended, the Vampire may enter whenever it wishes, at anytime thereafter. Thus, as long as the people do not give admittance to the creature, they remain safe. However, once the Vampire has been invited inside, the creature is extremely difficult to get rid of. This usually happens when the household fails to recognize the Vampire for what it is. Once inside, the Vampire will drain each person of blood, one by one.
This is not a prominent limitation in folklore (except, perhaps, for the Greek Vrykolakas). In fact, superstitious peasants were forced to come up with their own remedies just to keep the Vampire out. The myth that the Vampire cannot cross the threshold of a house without first being invited most likely originates from a Christian belief that Satan cannot go where he isn’t welcome.
Lack of a Reflection
According to legend, the Vampire casts no reflection in a mirror. This comes from the ancient belief that the mirror reflects the soul of the one who gazes into it. The Vampire has no soul, and therefore casts no reflection. The Vampire knows this, and it instinctively seeks to avoid reflective surfaces, hating mirrors so much that the revenant actively seeks to destroy them. The Vampire’s lack of a reflection is, sooner or later, something that is bound to be noticed by a perceptive individual.
On a similar note, it is said that the Vampire is incapable of casting a shadow. However, there is virtually no evidence in the annals of folklore to support this. This limitation is an invention of Bram Stoker, as is the Vampire’s inability to cast a reflection. In fact, the Vampire in folklore is able to cause death to any human that falls within the creature’s shadow.
According to contemporary folklore, the Vampire cannot withstand direct exposure to the rays of the sun. Exposure to sunlight supposedly causes the Vampire to burst into flames and disintegrate into a pile of ash.
However, there is absolutely no evidence in folklore to support this notion. In early Vampire literature (such as J. Malcolm Rymer’s Varney the Vampire or Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla), the Vampire could walk about freely in the daylight. This notion was popularized by F.W. Murnau’s 1922 horror masterpiece Nosferatu, and has achieved immense popularity in subsequent Vampire fiction and films. The terrifying truth is that, with only one exception, the Vampire isn’t adversely affected by sunlight, and the revenant has actually been known to hunt during the day. According to Slavic legend, the Vampire usually hunts between the hours of noon and midnight. However, this notion may have some indirect roots in folklore. According to Serbian folklore, the Vampire has no power during the day, but in fact receives its power from the Devil by night.
The Vampire’s aversion to sunlight in fiction is most likely derived from the notion that the Vampire is entirely nocturnal. While it is true that the revenant prefers the darkness of midnight, the Vampire is by no means limited to it. With few exceptions (such as the Chinese jiangshi), the Vampire may rise from the grave whenever it so chooses, and nothing can stop it.
It is said that the sight of holy icons, namely the cross or the crucifix, repulses the Vampire. This is a prominent theme in Vampire folklore, as well as literature and the movies.
The cross is one of mankind’s oldest forms of protection against evil, predating Christianity by centuries. It is associated with pagan sun deities and Heaven. In ancient times, the cross symbolized divine protection and prosperity. The symbolism of the cross was forever changed when Jesus Christ was crucified, sacrificing Himself by taking on the sins of the entire world, descending into Hell, and defeating the Devil. He then rose again from the dead three days later. This proved that, beyond any doubt, that Jesus truly is the Son of God. This transformed the cross into a symbol that was far more powerful: the crucifix. While resembling the cross in terms of basic form, there is one significant difference between the two: the crucifix bears the Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. It represents Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins of the world, that one day His people might ascend to Heaven and join Him in eternal life. This powerful symbolism means that the crucifix is far deadlier to the Vampire than the cross.
The cross and the crucifix are regarded as being the most potent of defenses against Satan and his evil legions. The cross is used in exorcism, to ward off sexual predators (like the Incubus and the Succubus), to prevent bewitchment, to protect crops from dark magic, and of course, to ward off the Vampire. During the Inquisition, the inquisitors (witch-hunters) wore the cross on their person or crossed themselves in the presence of a suspected witch as protection against any evil spells that the accused may cast against them. The common people crossed themselves frequently before they set about any given task, just in case evil happened to be lurking nearby. In folklore, a gold cross was placed in the mouth or on the body of corpse, in order to prevent the deceased from becoming one of the Undead.
In any event, no competent Demon Hunter should be without a cross or a crucifix (preferably the latter). During the Middle Ages, Christian Gypsies believed that the cross would repulse the Vampire (which is where all this started). When presented to the Vampire, the sight of the icon will visibly repel the creature. In addition to this, pressing the crucifix causes an agonizing burn, which will not heal and will scar the Vampire for as long as the creature continues to exist. However, the power of the symbol lies not in what it is made of, but in the strength of the icon’s symbolism, strengthened by the wielder’s faith and his will. This is essential, for without faith the cross will only be effective against the weakest of the Undead.
Furthermore, when placed in a grave, the grave is rendered uninhabitable to the Vampire. If a crucifix is buried with the deceased, then the corpse won’t become a Vampire. If blessed by a priest and anointed with holy water, or if forged of pure silver, the crucifix’s power is effectively doubled.
According to contemporary folklore, the Vampire must rest by day, in a coffin filled with the soil from the land of the Vampire’s birth. Supposedly, the Vampire draws its power from the earth in an unknown manner. Placing a crucifix or the Eucharistic wafer in the coffin will defile the earth and make it inhospitable to the Undead, as will soaking the earth with holy water. The Vampire cannot travel more than one hundred miles from its home without taking at least a pound of its native soil with it.
However, the idea that the Vampire is dependent upon the earth while resting is an invention of Bram Stoker, as there is no evidence in folklore to support this notion. According to Slavic folklore, the Vampire has to return to its grave before dawn. However, it remains unsaid if the Vampire is compelled to do so, unlike it is shown in popular literature and the movies.
In folklore, it is believed that the Vampire is, for some reason, extremely obsessive-compulsive. The creature is therefore compelled to stop and count tiny objects, like seeds, grains, salt, iron pellets, or pebbles. It is known that the Vampire loathes all that is natural or untainted by evil’s claws, and the seed’s symbolism as the start of a new life may be the key to the Vampire’s distraction. In any event, the Vampire will not stop until it has counted every single seed, sometimes as slowly as the rate of one seed counted per year, or even a century! Mustard seeds and poppy seeds are deemed to be the most effective, as Jesus alludes to the mustard seed in His parables, and the poppy seed has a narcotic effect on the Vampire that makes it unwilling or unable to leave its grave. Other effective substances include (but are certainly not limited to): iron nails, linseeds, sea salt, sand, oats, peppercorns, corn kernels, dried peas or beans, steel ball-bearings, rice, or grains of various kinds are all recommended.
Similarly, the Vampire is obsessed with untying knots. Confronted with a tangled cord, the Vampire is unable to feed until it has picked every single knot apart. It was thought that the creature took a year to untie each knot. It is thought that the knot’s mystical symbolism was responsible for this. Witches used them to cast spells, emotions or objects could become magically ensnared, and it was even believed that the knot could trap one’s soul indefinitely.
Wolfsbane (a highly toxic member of the genus aconitum, also known as aconite or monkshood) was thought to have anti-evil properties against Vampires, Werewolves, and shapeshifters for centuries, and is used in the same manner as garlic. A concoction derived from the roots of the plant was often used to wash bite wounds from wild or venomous animals, and so perhaps this is where Wolfsbane derived its supposed ability to cure people of lycanthropy or other supernatural afflictions.
Due to its white color, purity, and its preservative properties, salt has always been associated with holiness and the triumph of good over evil, and has been used to repel witches, ghosts, demons, spirits, and all manner of evil beings. Very little mention has been made regarding its use against the Undead in folklore, other than that pregnant women in Romania that did not eat enough salt and were gazed upon by a Vampire would give birth to a child that, after its death, was doomed to rise from the grave as a Vampire. Furthermore, salt has a corrosive effect when it comes into contact with the Vampire’s skin.
Fire has been a powerful force against the Undead and evil for centuries, as it is considered to be a symbol of God and the Holy Spirit, as well as one of nature’s most powerful purifiers. Therefore, after the Vampire is staked and decapitated, the remains were burned to ashes and were then scattered to the four winds.
Burning the Vampire is without a doubt the most effective means of permanently annihilating the Undead, but it is very difficult and takes hours on end, even days. Large amounts of wood and fuel are needed to completely cremate a body, but it was well worth the effort. The ashes were then placed in a burlap sack, which was then tied shut, and then the bag was tossed into a fast-flowing stream or river. Once this was done, there is no way in Heaven, earth, or Hell that the Vampire could possibly return.
The Vampire has other weaknesses as well, most of them being herbal in nature. They include the following: wild rose, holly, plants of the hawthorn family (hawthorn, blackthorn, whitethorn, and buckthorn), linden, juniper, lemon, mayflower, millet, rowan, ash, aspen, maple, oak, and dogrose. It should be noted that it is believed that the Vampire is unable to leave its grave on Saturdays (an exception being Holy Saturday, for some odd reason). On this day, it is stated in Bulgarian folk beliefs that the Vampire is reincarnated. This belief possibly stems from the fact that Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath day.
Just as the Vampire has its weaknesses, there are just as many ways to kill the Vampire. But how exactly does one kill a creature that is already dead? Although the many methods differ from one culture to the next, most seem to be similar in one way or another. There are three primary methods, used together, throughout Europe to destroy the walking dead: staking, decapitation, and burning. Collectively, these methods are known as the Vampire Exorcism. Its purpose is to ensure that the Vampire never again returns to plague the living.
The best-known method of slaying the Vampire is to drive a wooden stake through the revenant’s heart. However, unlike what is portrayed in the movies and popular literature, a stake through the heart doesn’t actually kill the Vampire, but immobilizes the creature so that the rest of the Exorcism can take place.
The stake pins the Vampire to the ground, both physically and symbolically. Once the Vampire is affixed to the earth, it is thought that natural forces would catch up with the revenant’s body, and decay would begin. If the evil spirit inhabiting the corpse tried to escape, it would be unable to do so. However, according to Russian folk customs, the stake had to be driven completely through the corpse with a single blow, as a second blow would awaken the Vampire from its slumber. It is essential that, when staking the Vampire, one avoids spurting blood, as an individual that is splattered with the creature’s blood will either die instantly or become irrevocably insane.
The materials used to make stakes have varied somewhat throughout the ages. Iron was a popular choice during medieval times, and in some cases, the point of the stake was heated until the iron started to glow red-hot, at which point the stake was driven into the creature (a practice of the Bulgarian people). However, various hardwoods have remained the most popular choice for making stakes. Hawthorn or aspen are considered to be the most effective, as both woods have powerful religious connotations (hawthorn was used in Christ’s crown of thorns, while aspen was the wood that was used to build the cross that Jesus was crucified on). Other woods used for this purpose include oak, ash, wild rose, willow, yew, juniper, blackthorn, whitethorn, buckthorn, linden, rowan, and maple. However, in the countries of Albania and Dalmatia, a dagger that had been previously blessed by a priest was used to pierce the Vampire’s heart, as opposed to the more traditional wooden stake.
While many of these hardwoods are still popular, many modern vampire hunters prefer silver stakes. Although expensive, stakes made of this precious metal are worth every penny. A silver stake is far more durable than a wooden one, and can be used over and over. When irreparably damaged, they can be melted down and recast. As silver hardens when cold-forged with a hammer, this can be used to enhance the durability of the stake’s point. Silver stakes are generally useful in a close-quarters fight, while wooden stakes are usually used for pinning (although they are still useful in a fight).
A stake might be driven into the ground above the grave of a suspected revenant, so that the creature might impale itself upon rising from the grave. However, as mentioned previously, staking the Vampire wasn’t enough to slay the creature. As said earlier, the stake only immobilizes the Vampire for an indefinite period of time. Some Vampires were known to ignore the stake completely (one revenant thanked his would-be killers for the stick, using it to keep away dogs). To put it simply, the stake is only one part of destroying the Vampire.
By far the most effective method of killing the Vampire is decapitation. Cutting off the head will kill any Vampire, no matter how old or how powerful the creature may be. This grisly practice originates from the belief that the Vampire is incapable of existing without its head or heart, as it cannot regenerate these vital parts. Without its head, the Vampire is unable to wander about at night without the head to direct it. As with staking, spurting blood must be avoided at all costs.
After the Vampire is exhumed and a stake is driven through the corpse, decapitation follows. Beheading could be done with a sword or an axe, but this was traditionally done with a gravedigger’s shovel (which has a supernatural connection to death) or the sexton’s spade (which is possessed of the holy power of God). Beforehand, the corpse was covered with a large piece of thick cloth, so as to avoid spurting blood. Then, the head was quickly struck off with a single stroke. Afterwards, the mouth was stuffed with fresh garlic cloves (as this severed the connection of the flesh and the inhabiting spirit). If the corpse was reburied, the head was placed under the arm or in between the legs, turned facedown. The head and the body should be buried at the crossroads, disposed of separately, burned (in separate fires), or buried in different plots. This is the second step in the Vampire Exorcism, but is highly effective in close-quarters combat with the Undead as well.
Burning is the final step in the destruction of the Vampire, but it is also the most difficult and time-consuming parts of the Exorcism. As said earlier, cremation will destroy any Vampire. Fire is a manifestation of God’s Power, and one of the most powerful purifying forces known to man. However, incineration is only used as a last resort, only if staking, decapitation, or other preventative measures have failed.
Burning the Vampire is an extremely difficult undertaking, requiring copious amounts of oil, an unending supply of wood (one tale from Russia says to use “a hundred loads of aspen boughs”), an executioner, and a day or two off of work.
A corpse needs immense temperatures, oxygen, and constant heat to be reduced to charred ashes, and the commoners were incapable of meeting these demands. Therefore, an executioner (who has experience cutting up human bodies) with an axe was called in. He then proceeded to chop the vampiric cadaver into small pieces. This made it easier to burn the corpse. The Russians made an important emphasis on catching and killing any creatures that crawled out of the fire (insects, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and other such things), as these vermin could conceivably hold the Vampire’s essence. If even one of these creatures escaped, then the Vampire would find a new body, and the creature’s reign of terror would begin anew.
If cremation was successful, on the other hand, the people could rest at ease. The Vampire, no matter how powerful it was, would be gone forever. Next, the ashes were scattered to the winds, put into a sack and thrown into a fast-flowing river, or the ashes were simply buried. Either way, the threat of the Vampire was temporarily abated.
There are many other methods of destroying the Vampire, all of which are prevalent in folklore. Some are fairly extreme measures, reluctantly done when the vampire hunters or the common people had no other choice or any other ideas.
Excision of the Heart
This is more extreme than staking, and quite a bit gorier as well. The heart is considered to be the part of the Vampire that is inhabited by a demonic spirit. In Romania (and some other parts of Europe), the Vampire is said to possess two hearts (and therefore, two souls). The second heart houses the evil spirit, maintaining the Vampire’s state of undeath. With two hearts, the revenant is twice as difficult to kill. If one destroys the heart, one destroys the Vampire. However, this is far easier said than done…
First, the Vampire had to be exhumed. Recall that, although nocturnal by nature, the Vampire is more than capable of activity during the daylight hours. Therefore, extreme caution is advised while doing this. Using a sword, a dagger, or a knife (the blade having been blessed by a priest previously), a deep incision is made in the abdomen or the chest cavity. Then, the Hunter inserted his hand and felt around for the heart. Once found, he ripped the organ out. But he wasn’t done yet…
Next, the heart had to be disposed of. This is usually done by burning it to ashes. Sometimes, the heart was boiled in wine, vinegar, oil, or holy water, and the heart was then returned to the body or burned afterwards. At times, after cremation, the ashes were carefully spooned back into the cavity. This method has been used quite frequently, especially in America (such as the Exeter, Rhode Island case of Mercy Brown in 1892). It remains a popular option, although messy and generally unpleasant.
Dismemberment is a grisly process that involves hacking off the Vampire’s limbs, one by one, to prevent the creature from rising from the grave and attacking the living. Obviously, any revenant is going to find it to be impossible to get up, wander around, and feed without its arms or legs. Ideally, this should be done with a sword (blessed by a priest) or a woodsman’s axe.
Piercing with a Sword
The sword’s blade should be blessed and anointed with holy water beforehand. This should be done with a single thrust, directly through the heart. However, this method is more appropriate in a battle with the Undead. But either way, this technique gets the task done. No Vampire will rise again after a sword thrust through the heart (provided that proper disposal procedures are followed afterwards).
Immersion in Water
As water’s symbolism as a purifier and one of the Holy Sacraments is anathema to the Vampire, a revenant that is fully immersed in water (especially running water) will drown and be destroyed. A bathtub could work, but disposal of the creature’s body may prove to be problematic (as removing the Vampire from the water will revive the creature).
Stealing the Left Sock
Truly one of the most bizarre ways of destroying the Vampire. While the Vampire slumbers, the Hunter steals the creature’s left sock, fills the sock with earth or stones from the Vampire’s grave, and tosses the sock outside of the village’s proximity, usually into running water (i.e. a deep river). The Vampire, being an obsessive creature by nature, will panic and frantically begin searching for its missing sock. The revenant will even endure running water to find its sock, and will eventually drown.
Drenching in Holy Water and Garlic
As both holy water and garlic have a negative effect on the Vampire, a quantity of holy water and garlic oil should be poured into the Vampire’s grave. This will cause the creature immense pain and to eventually disintegrate. However, several gallons are needed for this to be successful.
Injection with Holy Water
Ideally, a hypodermic needle, filled with holy water or holy oil (whichever is preferred), should be inserted into the Vampire’s heart and the plunger depressed. This will carry the consecrated liquid throughout the revenant’s body, causing agonizing pain and also causing the Vampire to burn up from the inside.
Bottling the Vampire
As incredible as this notion may seem to be, in Bulgarian folklore this is said to be one of the most powerful and effective methods of containing and destroying the Vampire. However, this requires powerful magic (which may be just as evil as the Vampire itself), and one has to hire a sorcerer as well. It is extremely dangerous, requiring a great degree of willpower, experience, and an excellent sense of balance. The Hunter (known in Bulgaria as the vampirdzhija), armed with a holy image or a relic and a bottle (baited with the Vampire’s favorite food, preferably the Hunter’s own blood), lies in wait for the revenant.
Once the creature appears, the Hunter chases the Vampire, pursuing it across rooftops, through houses, and even up trees without even a moment’s respite. When the Hunter finally corners the revenant, the Vampire is trapped. Confronted with the crucifix or holy image, the Vampire will have no choice but to assume the form of a mist and flee into the bottle. The Hunter quickly seals the bottle with a lid (engraved onto which is a cross). He then throws the bottle into a roaring fire, thereby forever destroying the Vampire.
In Malaysia, a similar practice is employed, but differs as follows: a bamboo tube (known as a tabong), sealed with leaves and a mystical charm, is used in place of the bottle and, instead of burning the container, the tube is tossed into the sea.
Although the Vampire is able to command wolves, there is one exception: the white wolf. The white wolf is greatly feared by the Vampire, making it a loyal companion and a friend to any Demon Hunter. This wolf can sense the Undead, and this is an extremely useful ability. In Albania, the Lugat (a powerful if somewhat cowardly Vampire) can only be destroyed by a white wolf. The wolf accomplishes this by biting off the Vampire’s leg. Grievously injured and even more humiliated, the lugat will retreat to its grave, never to be seen again.
Shooting with a Consecrated Bullet
Under normal circumstances, firearms have little or no effect on the Vampire. However, a bullet that has been blessed by a priest (not necessarily silver) and is fired into the Vampire’s coffin or the Vampire’s heart will slay the revenant. However, this method is seldom mentioned in folklore. All the same, it is definitely worth a try.
Vampires. The very word conjures up images of ruined castles, black-clad nobleman with pale complexions, and flowing streams of blood. However, the truth is far more frightening. Webster’s Compact Office Dictionary defines the Vampire as “in folklore, a reanimated corpse that sucks the blood of sleeping persons.” The Dictionary also designates the origin of the word Vampire as a Slavic word (although the word itself didn’t enter the English language until the year 1734 AD). It appears to be Slavonic Magyar, originating from the word vampir, which means, “blood monster.”
"In all the darkest pages of the malign supernatural, there is no more terrible tradition than that of the Vampire, a pariah even among demons. Foul are his ravages; gruesome and seemingly barbaric are the ancient and approved methods by which folks must rid themselves of this hideous pest."
– Reverend Montague Summers
The Vampire has haunted humanity since the day of creation. Legend has it that Cain, after killing his brother Abel, was cursed by God to wander the earth eternally, never to stay in one place for long, and to drink the blood of humanity. It is said that he was the first true Vampire. Others say that Lilith, the wife of Adam (before Eve) in Hebrew myths, refused to let Adam lay on top while they were making love. While an angel of the Lord tried to convince her to return to Adam, she cursed at the angel. In turn, she was cursed by God (although what exactly the curse was is unknown). Frustrated and angry, Lilith escaped and copulated with demons. God stated that He would destroy a thousand of her children a day. She cursed back, saying that she would drain the blood of newborns and the sexual potency of men. Some even say that Cain and Lilith met, having a sexual encounter that gave birth to a race of monsters, vile beyond belief. Still others say that, after having betrayed Jesus and hung himself from a tree (suicide is one of the best known methods to become a Vampire), that Judas Iscariot arose from the grave as the first true Vampire.
Although there are no clear biblical origins for the Vampire, the Vampire seems to originate back to either ancient Egypt or the Indus Valley (folklorists are debating as to the validity of these notions).
Still working on research at this time. A bibliography will be listed once the research is done.