There are almost as many different characteristics of vampires as there are vampire legends being dated back as far as ancient Greece. But the main characteristic of vampires is they drink human blood using their sharp fangs to drain their blood. Killing them and turning them into vampires.

In general, vampires hunt at night since sunlight weakens their powers. Some may have the ability to morph into a bat or a wolf. Vampires have super strength and often have a hypnotic, sensual effect on their victims. They can’t see their image in a mirror or cast shadows due to their soulless nature. In Most cases vampires are undead, having been somehow revived after death.

While vampires usually do not die of disease or other normal human illnesses. They are indeed often said to have faster than normal healing capabilities, increased strength, and heightened senses. There are various methods to destroy and kill one. The most popular of those include a wooden stake through the heart, fire, decapitation, and exposure to sunlight. Vampires are often shown as being repelled by garlic, running water, crucifixes and holy water. In some stories vampires may enter a home only if they have been invited.

A 700-year-old skeleton from Bulgaria was found with its teeth removed and stabbed through the chest with an iron rod. Scholars suspect that townspeople did this to ward off vampires, a very real fear in Europe for hundreds of years.

Back in the 1800s, the spread of tuberculosis claimed the lives of entire families in the Northeastern states. The death was horrific in that they lost weight, coughed up blood, and their skin turned ashen. A slow death that looked like someone or something was sucking the life out of them. They believed that the cause of the illness was due from dead relatives preying on the living family members which became known as the New England Vampires.

To prevent the disease from spreading, panicked family members would dig up the bodies and perform various rituals, including burning internal organs. One such exhumation took place in March 1892. George Brown gave the townspeople permission to dig up his deceased wife and daughters. While the daughters corpes had rotted away, the wife remained oddly well-preserved. Despite lying in a crypt for several months, it looked as if her nails and hair had grown, and, when pierced, her delicate skin still contained drops of blood. Believing her to be a vampire, they removed her heart and burned it on a nearby rock. George then consumed her ashes to prevent her from coming back to life.

Bram Stoker’s epic novel, Dracula, perhaps feeding on these fears, was published in 1897. That was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for an entire genre of literature and film. Bram Stoker’s Dracula film in 1992 is one of my ultimate favorites and grossed over $215 million at the box office.

Although modern science has silenced the vampire fears of the past, people who call themselves vampires do exist. They’re normal-seeming people who drink small amounts of blood in an effort to stay healthy. They generally keep to themselves and conduct their “feeding” rituals, which include drinking blood of willing donors in private.

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