Terrifying tales of vampires pervade centuries of folklore, proving as immortal as the night stalkers themselves. Modern storytelling transformed these gruesome monsters into beautiful, desirable creatures and teenage heartthrobs. Explore some vampire facts from folklore.
1. They're Bloodthirsty
The single most compelling fact about vampires is they must drink blood in order to survive. Legends tell of a vampire preference for warm human blood. However, if vampires find themselves in a bind, they can quench their blood thirst with a little animal blood until they find a human donor.
Gentler and more woke modern vampires have evolved. These concerned vampires consume refrigerated blood supplied to them by compelled hospital workers. Some night creatures have even developed a connoisseur's palate with preferences for a specific blood type. Other self-effacing vampires have sworn off human blood and chug down pig's blood purchased from a local meat packaging company.
Of course, there's the rogue vampire element at play. These vamps never left their roots. They still relish the hunt and fear they evoke in their human victims. They're addicted to the rush of adrenaline when they bite into throbbing jugulars.
2. Sunlight Destroys Vampires
Vampire legends describe how the undead cannot survive in sunlight. The slightest exposure will burn their flesh. If fully exposed to sunlight, the vampire will either burst into flames or immediately crumble into dust.
This aversion to sunlight forces vampires to be nocturnal. They must wait for sunset before they can emerge from their havens. They use the cloak of darkness to overpower unsuspecting humans. They feed on their victims and then quickly return to the safety of their shelters before dawn.
People claiming to be modern day vampires say this is an exaggeration. They report being photosensitive. Their medical condition causes headaches and faster than average sunburns, but no bursting into flames and disintegrating.
3. Fear of Crosses and Holy Relics
It's said that one of the few ways to defend yourself from a vampire attack is with a silver cross. This religious symbol is capable of repelling the evil creature. Some folklore advise carrying a crucifix with the image of Christ since this is the type of cross used in the Catholic Rite of Exorcism. It's believed when the cross is touch to the vampire's forehead, it will drive out the demon and release the person's trapped soul. The vampire can't survive under the divine symbol.
Holy water is another weapon that can be used to repel a vampire. When the blessed water comes into contact with the vampire, it causes pain and scarring of the creature's skin. Some modern versions include the holy water burns the vampire's flesh, much like sunlight.
4. Garlic Repels Vampires
Garlic has long been used to repel vampires, and this fact may hold a kernel of truth. Garlic has a distinctly strong odor that many people find repulsive. If vampires truly have heightened senses as many legends state, the odor of garlic would seem overpowering.
Folklore advises hanging garlic at doors and windows to discourage vampires from entering your home. It would be far easier to seek another victim than endure the obnoxious smell. It is argued that this vampire attribute likely became part of the lore since some humans are allergic to garlic.
5. Must Sleep on Native Homeland Soil
The vampire can't survive without sleeping on soil from its place of origin. Vampire mythology states the undead creature is mystically tied to the land of its birth. In order to survive its undead state, it must sleep on top of the soil from its native homeland.
The soil is typically spread on the bottom inside of the coffin, creating a bed of dirt. The vampire then lies down on top of its native soil and can rest peacefully during its daily sleep. Modern vampire genre fiction often omits this rather macabre part of the lore.
6. No Reflection in Mirrors
Folklore has it that the vampire's image doesn't reflect in a mirror. This vampire fact serves to make the vampire even more eerie and frightening. After all, everything in the physical world has a reflection when a mirror is placed in front of it. The idea that a vampire doesn't show up in a mirror just adds another layer of creepiness to it.
Perhaps the mirror lore is a distortion of the old practice of holding a mirror beneath a person's nose to detect if they're still alive and breathing. If vampires are truly undead, they wouldn't leave any condensation from their breath on the mirror's surface because they have no need to breathe.
7. Vampires Compel People
Folklore describes how these beings possess the ability to compel humans to do their bidding. The vampire supposedly looks deep into their victim's eyes and creates a type of hypnotic connection.
The human falls under the vampire's spell. The vampire gains full control of the victim. When compelled, humans are unable to resist the vampire's commands. It doesn't matter if the victim is ordered to do something they ordinarily wouldn't do. The vampire's will dominates.
Beyond the blood consumption, tales of immortality are one of the most fascinating of all so-called vampire facts. The prospect of living forever is very attractive to some people; perhaps attractive enough to seek out a vampire to transform them into one of these creatures of legend.
The plight of the vampire, seen from their perspective, is a curse to walk the world at night-forever. From a human perspective, immortality might not be such a bad thing, especially when modern vampires have outstanding beauty.
9. Gift of Night Vision
Vampire mythology discusses their excellent night vision. Like most nocturnal animals, vamps are said to see almost as well at night as they do in the daylight. They can also see great distances, making their search from victims more efficient.
These two visual abilities give vampires the advantage when stalking their victims in the dark. It certainly makes these creatures more frightening predators unhampered by the lack of light.
10. Move Faster Than Humans
One of the ways a vampire overpowers its human prey is with speed. The vampire is able to move so quickly that it's nearly invisible, or appears as a brief shadow flitting past.
The air current generated by the vamp's fast movements is often shrugged off as an odd breeze. When inside a building, the sudden whoosh of air might be rationalized as a strange draft. The ability to go undetected until it's too late gives the vampire a tremendous advantage over a human being.
11. Compelled to Count Objects
One of the odd characteristics of a vampire that supposedly leaves them vulnerable is a compulsion to count things. This obsessive compulsive behavior was often wielded as a defense weapon in folklore. Seeds were left on gravesites of suspected vampires in an effort to keep them occupied by counting the seeds all night.
A targeted victim could throw a handful of seeds onto the ground and the attacking vampire would be forced to pause and count each seed. The one thing not included in this version of the story is the vampire's speed. Even stopping to count hundreds of seeds wouldn't take the vampire much time and probably not give the victim enough time to escape.
12. Ability to Fly
For a vampire, air travel doesn't require a plane ticket. Vampires are supposedly the crossover of bat and human. This genetic strangeness imbues the vampire with all the bat's attributes, include the ability to fly. In older fiction, the vampire transformed into a bat to take flight. Modern vampires evolved in their flying capabilities. They can fly wingless at will.
13. Possess Keen Hearing
There can never be any sneaking up on these beings. Just as a bat can hear better than other animals, so can vampires. This ability to hear far better than their human counterparts is another powerful ability. They can hear at great distances and certainly will know if anyone is coming for them. In modern fiction, the good vamps hear the cries for help and swoop in to rescue victims.
14. Flexes Super Strength
Another attribute that makes a vampire such a formidable enemy is its incredible strength. These undead creatures of supernatural origins have an arsenal of superhuman powers. Their unearthly strength allows them to defeat the strongest of humans. Modern vampire movies and TV shows depict vampires effortlessly tossing body builder types around, crashing through windows, or hurtling in the air for great distances.
Vampire Facts to Keep You Up at Night
Vampire lore features compelling facts about vampires. When examined as a whole, these facts make a vampire the most formidable enemy a human can have.