I get many letters from people, especially young people, asking why, if I do believe vampires exists, I do not believe the vampire of myth can be real? They refer to the legends of vampires who are supposed to be spirits or servants of the devil. 'Why can't they be real, too? Don't all myths have some seed of truth?' This is the question I am asked most often. So, for all the lurkers out there who have asked this of me, here is my response.

Yes, it is true, all legend and myth may have a seed of truth hidden somewhere far in the past. But as far as the Dracula-like vampire, such as 'Forever Knight' and Anne Rice vampires are concerned, there is indeed a smidgen of truth. The problem is, it has been so embellished and/or corrupted through the generations of re-telling, that the truth has been lost.

There are real reasons as to why almost all foreign lands have similar legends; the explanation is actually quite simple. Almost all of the old beliefs in vampires, from the Japanese to the European, are based on the same thing. They are based almost completely on medical misinformation and original church lore and teachings (depending on which country you are talking about at any given time). As to the medical misinformation, we must always keep in mind the times in which these legends were formed, especially in Europe.

These legends and myths were mainly formed anywhere from the 11th through the 17th centuries. A time when the majority of the people could not read, were not well educated, and could not write. A time when candles or oil were the main means of lighting. A time when good, God fearing people were in their homes at dusk because only thugs, robbers, highwaymen, thieves and other miscreants were on the roads. Good people were indoors after dark.

This was a time, mostly, when travel was difficult, and news was passed slowly by word of mouth.

The Church was very powerful. In the beginning there was no separation between church and state. In fact, the church *was* the state. The church ruled in politics and in law. The church had tremendous powers over the lives of the people, not only in religion but in almost everything. To go against the church law or beliefs meant either death or banishment. And in both cases your property (and/or you family's property) could be taken by the church.

What had all this to do with vampires?

The church, and the human fear of death (and what came thereafter) coupled with the non-existent knowledge of medicine and biology are *the* reasons for the legends. These myths are based on unreality; the things created from these fears and misinformation are unreal and nonexistent as well. In these times, burial procedures were very minimal and simple for most people.

A family member died, they were laid out for the viewing, this meant the body was either put in a coffin or bed and placed in the church or in the home for others to view. Viewing consisted of sitting with the corpse, actually sitting in the room with it! Why? In order to show respect, to pay one's last regards. Family members took turns in doing so. In many cases, the viewing took anywhere from 3 to 14 days, sometimes longer.


Back then, corpses were not embalmed. They were just placed in coffins or boxes or simply laid out on a bed or placed in a special room or chamber in the home or in the church. Nothing was done to the body, most often, unless it was to change the clothes, close it's eyes, or in the case of the rich, do something to make it look more as if it were just sleeping. Most of the regular poor people did not have this procedure done to their dead. As you probably have learned in biology, things happen to the body when it dies and after death. We shall try not to get too graphic here, but this is indeed important to see why and how these legends of the Living Dead began.

In death, things happen like the hardening and tightening of tissue and muscle. This causes muscles to constrict and tighten. Often this results in the arms or legs twitching, moving and often in the dead body sitting up with a rapid movement. (There is now a disagreement on this point of exactly what causes bodies to sit up, we are leaving this explanation in for now but we are researching it ... updates on this point to follow) The result is a dead body sitting dead upright (no pun intended) in a very quick movement. Now I don't know about you, but even knowing why this happens, if I personally saw it happen, I would probably be scared silly for the moment.

Update: It is now believed that stomach gases, upon deterioration of the body, could cause the body to sit upright from the waist. The stomach acting as a balloon, sort of, that pulled the body upright as the gases expanded. I do not mean stomach acids, but the actual stomach gases that develop while decomposing. Such is another belief and a more modern belief as to why the body sat up, if in fact it did.

I, as author of this site, find it difficult to believe that there could be such a gaseous build up as to be powerful enough to move a body in such a manor. But such is one of the more popular modern day beliefs.

Think of what it was like for someone to see a body dead a few hours or days old do this? Would they not think it was alive? Also during normal decomposition, the body builds up gases, internal gases, making sounds just as in a living body expelling such gas. Burps, stomach rumbling, and ... how shall I say this ... passing gas, which normally makes a rude noise.


Now again, if there was a family member in the room with a corpse, which was dead for several days, and they suddenly heard these sounds, would they not think it was alive? Even though they could see that it was whitish pale, non-moving and truly dead. How could this be explained? It was explained ... the corpse was not dead. But, it was dead. So, it must be undead. Dead, yet living.

In addition, there where several medical conditions and illnesses such as catatonia and Porphyria. Catatonia was a condition whereby a person would fall into a deep coma for days at a time. Outwardly, he or she would appear to have died. Breathing was not discernable. Doctors would place mirrors in front of peoples' mouths to see if the mirror would fog up from expelled breath. It was believed that this mirror test would catch the faintest of breath and fog the glass. If it did not fog, the person was believed to be dead. Often, the heartbeat was so low and slow it could not be heard by placing one's ear to the chest of the person, as was most often done by doctors not rich enough to have a stethoscope, or prior to it's invention. The person in a state of catatonia could not feel or hear. Even stabbing them with a needle to see if they would move was pointless and just went to show the absence of life.

So, many of these people were declared dead, then laid out for viewing or placed into graves or burial chambers above ground. Often these people would become conscious days later to find themselves buried alive in coffins, or pine boxes, or locked in airless vaults. They would scream or go mad from pure terror while trying to claw their way out. Years later when someone else died and the grave was opened to add the new person, or the tomb opened, there would be the remains of the corpse usually with expressions of terror or in positions of struggle. Also giving proof that the dead came back to life.

The other illness mentioned is a blood disorder. It causes the patient to go into a coma-like sleep. Very like catatonia, but this illness also produces a blood-red rash, or cherry-red rash, about the mouth and hands. Can you feel the terror of a relative going into a child's room or a spouse's room, which is dimly lit, with candles or oil lamps to see a blood red stain about that person's mouth? The lighting is very bad; flickering shadows. Would it not look like blood, and would that not terrify the relative into running out of the room rather than trying to see if it was blood, and if this person was asleep? And if the relative tried to wake him and they did not stir during the day but was active at night? Even if the relative touched the blood and found it was not actually wet or dried blood, might they not think a large amount of blood drunk by this person had stained their skin? Another reason for the belief that vampires drink blood.

Add this to the church teaching and church law that demons drink the blood of the living, demons drink the breath and life of the living, demons possess the living, demons are evil, and demons are servants of Satan. If you did not believe this, back then, you were considered a heretic, a sinner and possibly under the very control of Satan yourself. So all good people believed these myths, for not to believe was to go against God, and the church, and that meant damnation and suffering in hell for all time. Not to mention possibly being killed yourself, getting your family killed and having all you owned taken by the church.


Most vampire myths are so similar because all dead bodies decompose in the same manner, even if Asian, European, or American. Since this is a reality, so is the similarity of all the international myths about vampires. As to the church view opposing Asian teachings ... O.K. Not the same, but even in those religions there are good gods and evil ones. All evil gods and their servants, usually called demons, in most translations, act the same way against the good, God fearing people. They trick, torture, invade, possess, etc. Hence the similarities. We did say there is a grain of truth, a seed of truth, in all these myths and they too are similar.
The seeds of truth are:
1. A vampire lives longer.

2. A vampire is much stronger.

3. A vampire stays younger longer.

4. A vampire is eternal. … eternal actually meaning a longer
life span than anyone’s experience or belief at the time.


Now, where did they get all that from?

Very simple. There were, and are, real vampires. Some were alive during those times and some were alive through these times. Inheritors, Classicals, Night-Timers, and Genetics all share some very real traits. Difficulty in being in the sun and heat. This comes down in myth as difficulty to being in daylight. This is still truth.

I personally have had several incidents, and my husband as well, where we misjudged the heat. Twice after going out in the afternoon, I was overtaken by the heat and very nearly needed hospital treatment for heat stroke. The last time, I could not even make it to my front door. I became dehydrated to a dangerous level after only 2 hours outside. I became shaky and too weak to get from the car to my home. So weak, I had to fight passing out. I know of others, in all categories, who get extensive blistering and hives from being in the sun which has put them into the hospital.

Yes, humans get these sun allergies too. I suggest there were real vampires or Night-Timers back then too. If they stayed in until it got dark or simply curbed their activity until later in the afternoon hours, or slept all day, not like their neighbors. Then, if one of their neighbors saw them so sick or so burned or affected by the heat, might they not start the legend of not being able to stand sunlight or go out during the day?

The embellishment of this belief could have lead to the myth. So it could be for all, or most of the myths, either there were real vampires around or the church and folk legends just got out of hand at times. And there is your seed of truth.


As for vampires being 10 to 100 times stronger than humans ... not so. Most are only three or four times as strong. As to the living forever, we have discussed this before.

Example: In the 1200s, the normal life span was about 30; in the 16th century, it was 50. Today it is 75, extreme old age to be 90 today or above. Many humans live will into their 80s and some past 100 or at least to 100. Recently, on the national news, they covered the celebration of a woman’s 115th birthday. Would that not seem eternal to someone who’s normal life span was 30 or 50? In this case, the extremely old woman looked extremely old.

If you were born in the 12th century and you could live to be 100, might you not consider it living eternally? Yes, it is true that vampires and Night-Timers do live longer than average humans do, but it is not the same thing. Age and time are relative to your own norm. So that is the seed for this myth.

Looking younger. Yes, again true. If you age more slowly, by nature, you tend to look younger longer. Today the actual vampire in his/her 90's or as old as late 100s looks typically 30-ish.

There are many seeds of truth planted in the ancient myth but they still remain myth. There are no undead vampires, so there are no real, undead Dracula or Lestat vampires. But there are indeed real vampires just the same.

I have always found the myths of greatest interest. Here is a sampling of vampire myths from around the world. A vampire, for the sake of these examples, is believed to be any dead person who attacks or torments the living by night, either by his own means or with the help of a demon.

In the following myths - in which the importance of geographical location with regard to the aspect and behavior of vampires is shown - information is presented only to further understand the myths of all countries, as we know a vampire is not dead, or undead, or these creatures of myth.

Species: Upierczi
How It Becomes a Vampire: Suicide, violent death or practice of witchcraft during lifetime. Causes drought, even drying the dew on plants.

Cure: Drowning in a lake or river (salt water does not seem to be indicated). If transfixed with a nail, must not be hit more than once otherwise it will revive.


European: Russia
Species: Mjertovjec
Characteristics: Has a purple face. It is active from midnight until the cock crows thrice in the morning.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes; if it is the son of a werewolf or a witch, or else if in its lifetime is has behaved as a werewolf, a sorcerer, an apostate, or if it has cursed its own father or the church.

Cure: Sprinkle poppy seeds along the road leading from the tomb to the house of the deceased. When the evil becomes apparent, transfix the Mjertovjec through the chest, nail it to the coffin or else burn it.


Species: Upier (male), Upiercsa (female), Wieszczy
Characteristics: Has a harelip and the tip of the tongue pointed like an insect's sting.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes: when born with teeth. Special Activities: tolls bells at night and cries out the names of some inhabitants who die almost at once.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Bury it face downwards well covered by the earth;
preventive cures:
(for Wieszczy): Bury it with a cross made of willow tree under the armpits, the chin and the chest; put a little earth taken from the threshold of its home on the coffin.


Species: Ogoljen
Cure: Preventive Cures: Put a little earth from the tomb in its navel; bury it at a cross-roads.

Species: Farkaskoldus
Characteristics: When dying it takes on the aspect of a werewolf.

Species: Krvopijac
Characteristics: Has only one nostril, to identify it while it is in its tomb, send a black foal into the graveyard, ridden by a naked adolescent of proved virginity. Where the foal refuses to be ridden, there the Krvopijac is buried.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By drinking wine and smoking during Lent.

Cure: Preventive Cures: Chain it to the coffin with a garland of wild roses; when the evil becomes apparent: a wizard, holding a small saint's image up in the air calls forth the soul of the demon inhabiting the corpse and forces it to go in a bottle of blood that he will then immediately throw into a fire.

Species: Varcolaco - Murohy - Strigoi
Characteristics: Can take on the aspect of a dog, a cat, a frog, a toad, a louse, a flea, a spider, and is particularly active on St. George's and St. Andrew's days.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Generally by heredity, but also by dying un-baptized or by suicide. Special Activities. bites without leaving any signs of wounds.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Tying a thorny bush to the shroud. Suicides, particularly, should be put in running water as soon as they are dead. When the evil becomes apparent: take out its heart and cut it in two; plant a nail in its forehead; put a spoonful of quick-lime or a head of garlic in its mouth; smear it with fat of a pig killed on St. Ignatius's day; sprinkle the shroud with holy water, take the corpse far away into the mountains and leave it there. If the vampire is female, plant some iron forks in its heart and eyes and bury it in a very deep grave, face downwards.


RUMANIA (contd.)
Species: Norferat
How It Becomes a Vampire: natural causes: By being the illegitimate son of two illegitimate parents, or by being the seventh son of a seventh son.

Special Activities: Makes husbands impotent.


Species: Gierach - Viesczy - Stryz
Cure: Preventive Cure: Put poppy seeds in the grave to send it to sleep or else give it a stocking to unravel at the rate of one stitch a year, or else a fishing net to disentangle at the same rate.

Species: Nachzehrer
Characteristics: When in the tomb holds the thumb of one hand with the other and always has its left eye open. Has the habit of gnawing the shroud and when it has completely swallowed it even gnaws parts of its own body, making a sort of grunting noise which can be heard at a distance.

How it becomes a Vampire: By being born with a second skin or dying from drowning.

Special Activities: The fact of gnawing its shroud helps to propagate cattle pest and sometimes even real plague in the immediate vicinity of the graveyard. When it leaves the tomb it sometimes amuses itself by tying cattle together in pairs by their tails.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Put a stone or a coin in its mouth to prevent it from chewing. For the same reason, one can also put a lump of earth under its chin or bind its jaws together with linen. When the evil becomes apparent: cut off the head of the nachzehrer with the axe used in ordinary executions.


Characteristics: A butterfly called Alp sometimes comes out of its mouth.

Cure: Put a lemon in the vampire's mouth.

Special Activities: The Alp settles on the chest of sleepers suffocating them and sucking up all their breath.


Species: Neuntoter
How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes: by being born with teeth or a silver spoon in its mouth and dying as a child.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Burning the 'silver spoon' and making it eat the ashes (while alive of course). When the child dies, cut off its head between eleven in the evening and midnight.

Special Activities: Spreads plague.


Species: Sriz
Characteristics: Has the habit of going up the highest church steeple in its village, where it pronounces the names of some of the inhabitants.

Special Activities: Makes those people die whose names it speaks.


Species: Strigoiu
Characteristics: Lives at night in abandoned or ruined houses.

How It Became a Vampire: Natural causes: having red hair.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Nail it to the coffin or else cover the tomb with tow and then put a certain quantity of explosive in it and blow it up


Characteristics: Goes around naked, leaving its shroud on the tomb.

Cure: Take its shroud away.


Species: Vrukolak - Vukodlak
Characteristics: It is contagious; it prefers to devote itself to relatives and friends; it shrieks when it is transfixed.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By predestination or contagion, but also when a dog or cat jumps on its bed where it died, or when it is murdered without anyone seeing the assassin.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Nailing it to the coffin by planting a nail through its heart, or else, as soon as it is dead, cutting its tendons and piercing it all over its body.

Special Activities: Profaning tombs when alive and sucking blood when dead.


Species: Vlkodlak
Characteristics: Has the congested face of an impenitent drunkard and blood-colored skin; always aged more than twenty and can remain active for a maximum of seven years, then becomes a man again and repeats the process in another part of the country.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By committing one of the following misdeeds in its life: murder, perjury, incest with its mother; or else following one of these two mishaps: being killed by a werewolf or else eating lamb killed by a werewolf.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Cutting off its toes and thumbs. Putting a nail in its neck. When the evil becomes apparent: piercing its navel with a branch of hawthorn and covering all its hair parts with tow, then setting fire to it with candles used for the death vigil.

Special Activities: Causing eclipses.


SERBIA (cont.)
Species: Mulo
Characteristics: It is generally a dead gypsy (but even a stallion or a lamb); it can grow after death (when it is a still-born baby) up to the age of eight; it wears very white brand new clothes, and willingly drinks even wine. Sometimes it has the aspect of a vegetable. It lives and is as active at the stroke of noon as it is at night.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes: by being still-born or else by being murdered.

Cure: To call a dhampir (degenerate son of a vampire) who will eliminate it after a hand-to-hand struggle, sustained by magic practices.

Special Activities: It boils the women it likes the most in a great cauldron in order to de-bone them more easily and make them similar to itself.


Species: Pijawika
Cure: Cutting its head off and putting it between the legs or under one arm.

Species: Kuzlak
How It Becomes a Vampire: By being taken away before its time from the mother's breast.

Cure: To call a Franciscan monk who will transfix it with a hawthorn bough plucked high in the mountains.

Special Activities: Amuses itself by throwing dishes and saucepans in the kitchen and by moving about carts in the courtyard.


Species: Blautsauger
Characteristics: Has no skeleton and is very hairy, has very large eyes and is able to turn itself into a rat, but usually takes on the shape of a wolf.

Cure: Scatter hawthorn flowers along the road leading from its former home to the cemetery. The blautsauger will not fail to pick them up thus losing precious time.

Special Activities: Always holds a bit of earth from its tomb behind its back and tries to make sleeping peasants eat it in order to turn them into vampires.


Species: Vryolakas
Characteristics: Is active from ten in the evening until the first cockcrow in the morning.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes: by having a desire for wine over its face.

Cure: By pouring boiling oil over it or else sticking a long nail in its navel. It is also worth while scattering bird seed over its tomb for it will lose time counting the seeds.


Species: Vukodlak
Characteristics: Easily turns itself into a wolf; only goes out when there is a full moon; crows never go near its tomb.

Species: Llugat - Sampiro
Characteristics: Goes around at night, wrapped up in its shroud and wears shoes with very high heels; its tomb is indicated by a will o' the wisp.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Natural causes: being an Albanian of Turkish blood.

Special Activities: Spreads death and destruction.


Species: Bruculaco
Characteristics: Has swollen, tense and hard skin as though it had been tanned. When hit it sounds like a drum, for which reason the bruculaco is nick-named timpanita. The bruculaco has a very sonorous voice but can also emit one scream a night.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By being excommunicated.

Cure: Preventive Cure: Not to excommunicate it when alive. Minor method of defense: when hearing its call at night, not to answer until repeated a second time. When the evil becomes apparent: cut its head off and bum it. At Milo, it is advised to cut the head into pieces and boil it in wine.

Special Activities: Causes the death of any who answer its nightly call; spreads the plague.


Species: Bruculaco
How It Becomes a Vampire: By falling into cataleptics: the soul thus being momentarily separated from the body goes into that of a wolf, making it thirsty for fresh blood.

Species: Catacano
Characteristics: Mouth always grinning, showing very white teeth.

Cure: Burning its nails in flames, boiling its head in vinegar or isolating it behind a barrier of water, salted if possible.

Special Activities: Spits blood on its victim's skin, producing horrible burns.


Species: Dearg-dul
Cure: Preventive Cure: To pile large quantities of stones on its presumed tomb.

Species: Moribondo
Cure: Making one's herd pass through a circle of fire, at the cost of burning a few head of cattle.

Special Activities: Particularly assaulting cattle.


Species: Vampiro
Characteristics: Fall prey to monstrous spirits, it has the habit of animating the first corpse it finds, giving it all kinds of shapes.

Species: Bruxsa
Characteristics: Has the form of a woman during the day, and becomes a bird at night.

How It Becomes a Vampire: Through witchcraft.

Special Activities: Sucks the blood of children.


Species: Talamaur
Special Activities: Sucks the life out of the dying, and sometimes devours the hearts of healthy men when they are asleep.

Species: Ekimmu
How It Becomes a Vampire: From not having had a proper burial.

Species: Vetala - Punyaiama (pure race) - Veda
Characteristics: Looks like an old woman.

Special Activities: Cannibalism; sucks the blood of sleeping, drunken or mad women. Sucks the blood of sleeping persons by passing a magic thread down the chimney.


Species: Ch'ing Shih
Characteristics: Has red staring eyes, pointed nails curved like claws, long hair, a greenish-white in color, and flies very fast, being given strength by the moon light. When burnt, emits a piercing shriek.

Cure: Make a circle of rice grains around it; thread seven pieces of Jujube on its back-bone.


Characteristics: Has red antennae coming out of its nose with which it sucks. Sometimes only consists of a head.

Species: Buo
How It Becomes a Vampire: By being a warrior slain in battle.

Characteristics: Lies with its eyes open in the coffin; it becomes ten times as strong with the moon; can turn itself into a bat and if burnt, emits a long moaning.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By being an ex-sorcerer.

Cure: Burn it by night when there is no moon, or else nail it to the ground with a nail. Carefully burn every little fragment, for even the smallest bit will be enough for the whole monster to be reborn again.


Species: Asanbosam
Characteristics: There are three varieties: men, women, and children, all in human form except for a pair of books in the place of their feet.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By sucking blood from the thumbs of a sleeping person.


Species: Otgiruru
Characteristics: Looks like a dog.

Special Activities: Makes anyone who answers its call die.


Species: Wume
How It Becomes a Vampire: By being a criminal in life or else being the victim of a curse.

Cure: Bury it in a secret place.


Characteristics: Has a long proboscis.

Special Activities: Sucks the brain of the sleeper by putting its proboscis into the victim's ear.


Species: Ciuateteo ('Right honorable mother')
Characteristics: Face, arms and hands painted with whitest of chalk; knows how to fly.

How It Becomes a Vampire: By being still-born.

Cure: By offering it bread and meteorites.

Special Activities: Produces infantile paralysis.


MEXICO (contd.)
Species: Lord of the Mictlampa (male vampire) is the husband of the Mictecaciuatl; Lady of the Place of Death (female vampire)
Characteristics: A very black body and a skull in the place of a head.

Species: Lobishomen
Characteristics: Small stature, stumpy and hunch-backed, resembling a monkey, but with a yellow face, bloodless lips, black teeth, bushy beard and plush-covered feet.

Special Activities: Makes its victims (all women) into nymphomaniacs.

Cure: Let it get drunk on blood in order to catch it more easily, then crucify it on a tree while stabbing it.


**Note: Vampiric Studies wishes to thank those responsible for all the above original research on different species of mythological vampires which they graciously gave us permission to use from their own web site. Unfortunately, we had a computer crash and the names of these contributors have been lost.

As ever,
Catherene NightPoe

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Native American Vampire Myth

     1.  Introduction 14. Myths Continued
     2.  Classical Vampires 15. Native American Vampire Myth
     3.  Inheritor Vampires 16. The Prophecies
     4.  The Night Timers 17. The Knights Templar
     5.  Genetic Vampires 18. Historical Vampires
     6.  Psi - Vampires 19. Supernatural Vampires
     7.  Bloodists 20. Fictional Vampires
     8.  The Medical Reality 21. El Chupacabra
     9.  Real Hunters 22. The F.A.Q. Page
    10. Real Predators 23. Acknowledgments & Credits
    11. Sexual Vampires 24. The Teacher's Lounge
    12. The Parent's Page 25.  En Español ~ Introducción
    13. Myth Origins 26. The Vampire Shop @ Amazon