Vampires have been a favorite amongst monster lovers as long as stories have been told. Their popularity has continued to reign and has exploded with new "rules" regarding the vampire expanding and evolving all the time. A simple set of guidelines was set in place when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula back in 1897 but there were more questions than answers for adoring fans.
New ideas have been explored involving almost every aspect of vampires ever since. Everything from examining what would be possible with a vampire/human hybrid in the Blade comic book series to an alternate universe where vampires were the dominant species on earth, hunting the remaining humans to extinction in the action-thriller Daybreakers.
We are going to have a look at five of the strangest, little known and down right crazy vampire facts that we could dig up. Enjoy!!!
5. Compelled to Count
The puppet "Count Von Count" from sesame street is based on actual vampire legend. One, one great character AH, AH, AHHH!!
It was said that to protect yourself from vampire attacks one was to scatter mustard seeds, poppy seeds or a bag of rice, according to Chinese vampire lore, at your door. Fishnets were said to be best to cover windows..... A vampire who had wished to gain entry to your home would be compelled to count each seed or knot in the net. Hopefully delaying them long enough for the sun to rise leaving just a charred mess at your door or window in the morning.
Similar superstitions were used to keep a vampire from rising up from it's grave. If something was left for the vampires to count they may be stuck for centuries. The most popular was a fishing net. It was thought that the vampire could only untie one knot a year and would keep it in the grave indefinitely.
Seems people used to believe local vampires had some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Image - Count Von Count from Sesame Street
4. The Name "Vampire"
It is currently believed (and has been hotly debated for some time) that the name "vampire' is derived from a Slavic verb meaning "to drink". The Slavic language originated in and around Serbia.
The word vampire was known in England in the seventeenth century, 1734 to be exact according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It gradually made it's way to most other European languages by the mid eighteenth century. Bram Stoker is thought to have made it a household name when he wrote Dracula, introducing many to the concept of the vampire.
It is believed that the word was gradually passed from language to language when the French derived 'vampyre' from the German 'vampir' which closely resembles the Slavic verb meaning "to drink".
No matter where it came from, by the time Bram Stoker's Dracula reached the publics hands it became a horror fans new favorite word. And shows no signs of stopping.
Image - Vampire in a coffin
More About Vampires
3. Casting No Reflection?
The fact that vampires cast no reflection in mirrors is widely known by vampire lovers, but where did this vampire lore originate?
It is believed that a mirror casts a reflection of the soul. A vampire, being an undead creature of the night, has no soul. Hence it casts no reflection.
Another belief was based on early mirrors which were backed with silver to give them their reflective quality. Silver is said to have supernatural powers against vampires (and werewolves) and that was the reason that no reflection could be cast by any creature of the night.
Another interesting and somewhat related fact about mirrors is that many cultures believed if someone died in a house all mirrors in that home should be covered to prevent that soul of the recently departed from becoming trapped in the mirror and end up unable to travel to the after life. Not many cultures still practice this belief.
Image - Old mirror
2. Why Blood?
The main form of sustenance for a vampire. But was it merely to shock listeners by early story tellers in ancient times or was there some other meaning behind the drinking of blood?
Blood is considered scared by many religions and cultures. It is has been symbol of vitality and fertility throughout history. Our ancient ancestors sacrificed thousand of people a year to various gods giving an excellent example of how strongly they believed in blood's value.
Before vampires existed our ancient ancestors attributed blood drinking to the work of demons, devils or spirits. Many ancient cultures also had a god or deity who consumed blood. This is probably why it became a powerful tool in the very first vampire stories, what better way to display the power of evil than to have it drain the very thing that allows us to live.
Blood drinking has evolved in many ways in the vampire story throughout time but it remains the defining quality of a vampire and probably always will.
Image - Blood splatter
1. Becoming One of the Undead
Besides from the traditional method of being bitten and ultimately becoming one of the undead yourself there are numerous other way of joining the vampire ranks. Some of them are quite fantastic and some are just plain weird.
A list of a few of the ways seen through out history include :
- Committing sucicide
- Eating the meat of a lamb killed by a wolf
- Practicing witchcraft or satanism
- If an animal such as a cat or dog passed over the corpse of the recently deceased
- A corpse which is improperly buried may come back as a vampire
- Having a spell cast on you at birth
- Dying before baptism
Image - Nosferatu Purchase print
Would Vampires be your favorite monster or would it be some other?
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Sites used as reference while compiling the information for this article.
- Vampire Web Site
A site which helps separate vampire myth from reality.
Everything you could every want to know about vampires.
- The Facts About Vampires
Great site with all kinds of information regarding vampires.
- Drink Deeply and Dream
One of the coolest real vampire sites ever. Full of of vamp info.
- Monstrous Vampires
Vampires section on monstrous.com, excellent links to more vampire information here.