52 Creepy Vampire Facts: History, Beliefs And Folklore Explained

Joan Agie
Oct 23, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Mar 08, 2022
Creepy vampire facts.

A popular vampire legend is that they are fanged and they feed on human blood.

Stories of vampires and their mysterious night activities have always been a topic of fascination. In most of these stories, they are portrayed as strong supernatural creatures that drink blood to survive.

History Of Vampires

Vampires have been part of ancient stories for centuries. Check out these interesting vampire facts.

The word 'vampire' means 'to drink with teeth'.

There are apparently numerous ways to kill a vampire. The most popular ones are driving a wooden stake through the vampire's heart, exposing them to sunlight, burning them, or covering them in holy water.

The earliest references of these characters date back to 4000 BC in the ancient Sumerian culture. They were called Ekimmu.

Ekimmu denoted people who rose from their dead bodies to suck the lives of those who were living.

Ancient Babylonians had stories of a creature called Lilitu, who was a she-demon with certain vampire-like features.

Romanian legend facts say that in the 1650s, certain parts of Romania had a law that ridiculed the belief in demonic creatures and forbade people from digging up bodies and burning them or spreading stories about the sighting of demons.

The first time the word vampire appeared in the English language was in 1732. Newspapers and the media started publishing stories about vampire attacks in the region.

In eastern Europe, people started circulating vampire legends and started passing them on, creating fear about mass vampire attacks.

These stories and the fear of the evil spirit became widespread when Medieval Europe started going through a series of trouble, including famines, pandemic diseases, and natural disasters. All these were suspected to be the act of vampires.

During the late 1700s up until the early 1800s, there was so much fear of vampires that innocent people who were suspected of being corrupted by satanic souls were killed, and their bodies were burnt so they would not return as vampires.

The stories of vampires spread so much in Europe that people started hurting one another, suspecting vampire actions.

Some of the reasons that led to vampire mass hysteria were lack of knowledge about death and what happens later, unhealthy superstition, and spiritualism.

During the 18th and the 19th centuries, South America and North America both started getting affected by stories of vampires too.

In many places in the USA, people started removing the hearts of their dead relatives and burning them to ensure the body was not found and used by vampires.

The fear of evil spirits was so high that in 1892, something called the 'Mercy Brown Vampire Incident' occurred and created extreme shock among people. Some people, to date, consider Mercy Brown to be the first real vampire.

Mercy Brown died of tuberculosis when she was 19 and at that time, there was a strong belief that tuberculosis was a result of dead family members visiting existing (and alive!) members.

Since a lot of members of the same family died of the disease, the neighbors thought one of the dead members was visiting the others and killing them. As a result, Mercy Brown's body was dug up after two months and then burnt.

Vampires In Literature

Check out these interesting fiction facts about vampires in literature:

Count Dracula is the famous vampire from the very popular book 'Dracula', written by Bram Stoker.

Lord Ruthven, from 'The Vampyre; A Tale' was written by John William Polidori.

The Countess Mircalla, from 'Carmilla', was written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

Lestat de Lioncourt from the 'Interview With The Vampire', was written by Anne Rice.

Matthew Clairmont from 'The Queen Of The Damned', was also written by Anne Rice.

Anita Blake from the 'Vampire Hunter' series, was written by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Kurt Barlow from 'Salem's Lot', was written by Stephen King.

Edward Cullen and his family of vampires in the very popular 'Twilight' series by Stephenie Meyer.

Characteristic Features Of Vampires

Vampires have also long been associated with certain character traits. Here are a few of them:

Vampires are believed to be very pale in color and don't venture out during the day.

It's said that they don't age like normal human beings and are very attractive-looking.

Just like there are human vampires, it's believed there are vampiric animals too.

A lot of folklore talk about bats, leeches, and even lampreys that had satanic powers.

It's believed that vampires do not have reflections so won't be seen when looking in a mirror.

Another hearsay is that these creatures can't tolerate the smell of garlic.

It's believed that vampires don't seem to like running water.

It is believed that most vampires attack for the thirst for blood. It is also believed that they can't resist the smell of blood.

People believed that vampires were afraid of holy items like rosaries and crosses.

They say vampires can be distinguished by their extremely pale skin.

Since vampires don't have a heart that beats or blood that flows, people believe their bodies are exceptionally cold.

Many believe that vampires can hypnotize their victims and even lead to a sensuous effect, making the victims fall for them.

Vampires can also apparently feed off sexual desires, and emotions.

In the early times, people with porphyria were suspected vampires! That's because this condition causes changes in the skin on exposure to light. Even King George III had this condition.

The story behind why vampires love blood is interesting. People with porphyria had low hemoglobin levels and those times, drinking fresh blood was considered a way to increase hemoglobin levels.

The resting places of vampires were said to be coffins.

Folklore says that vampires can also shape-shift and change into animals or birds of their choice.

The medieval period is when many myths emerged.

Medieval And Later European Vampire Folklore

Europe is considered the birth house of satanic stories. Check out these amusing folklore tales:

The Old Norse of Newburgh is a creature that originated in these Scandinavian periods and talks about a creature that does not die and has characteristics similar to that of vampires.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) was considered a true vampire because she bit the human flesh of little girls and used their blood to bathe.

In 1672, there were reported satanic activities in a region called Istria when people believed a man died and became a vampire, coming back to hunt others.

The 18th century saw a lot of different vampire facts and vampire myth tales that talked about vampire attacks on helpless adults and children.

A dreadful attack in that period is the famous mass vampire attack in east Prussia. This was in the year 1721.

Some references say that a farmer was killed by a vampire and after that, a lot of neighbors began to die of mysterious causes. It was then believed that the farmer had become a vampire.

These stories spread so much that people started digging up the dead bodies of people who had died in the past and used a wooden stake to pierce their hearts to prevent them from turning into vampires.

Holy water was considered the best protection against vampire attacks.

During the 19th century, these vampire stories spread to parts of New England and Connecticut in America.

The story of vampires spread from Europe to different parts of the world during the 18th and 19th centuries. For instance, Chinese vampires are called Chiang Shih and these are hopping corpses.


Q. What are vampires afraid of?

A. Vampires are believed to be afraid of holy water, sacred items like rosaries and crucifixes, and sunlight.

Q. What do vampires hate?

A. Vampires are said to hate the smell of garlic, running water, sunlight, crosses, and rosaries.

Q. Who is the oldest vampire?

A. The real first vampire, according to certain sources, was a young woman named Mercy Lena Brown.

Q. How do you recognize a vampire?

A. According to folklore, a vampire can be identified by pale skin, hesitance in coming out in the sun, lack of reflection, and cold skin.

Q. Where do vampires come from?

A. Vampires supposedly come from their coffins.

Q. What are all the powers of a vampire?

A. It is believed that vampires have sharp fangs and nails and can shapeshift and hypnotize.

Q. How long can a vampire live?

A. According to legends, vampires may live for eternity.

Q. What language do vampires speak?

A. Some literature says that vampires may have a language of their own and speak that amongst themselves. In addition, they are also quick to learn other local dialects.

Q. Can you be born a vampire?

A. According to stories, you cannot be born a vampire but can be born a half-vampire. A half-vampire is born for a human mother and a vampire father.

Q. What's a female vampire called?

A. Female vampires are called vampirettes. Female vampires younger in age may be called a vampirene.

Q. Do vampires have wings?

A. Vampires rarely are believed to have wings but in some stories, vampires can turn into vampire bats and in these cases, they may get wings to fly around. But in the story 'Dracula', the famous vampire Count Dracula had the ability to fly and defy gravity. The stories and the powers of vampires keep changing.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

Read full bio >