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The Odd Origin of Vampires In History

Vampires are part of our folklore for hundreds of years. The belief that a being subsisting on blood timelessly fascinated us. But where did it come from?Let’s find the odd origin of vampires in history.

The Odd Origin

The odd origin of vampires in history, let’s dig in. In the early seventeenth hundreds, the process of decomposition remained something people did not know about.

The black plague or bubonic plague was now part of their past, but most corpses went through incineration, thus spreading diseases through the air, but that’s another topic. Those considered to be regular people had a coffin for their burial.

In Western Europe, many cases shared reports of sightings of presumed “dead” people. The description was so that their appearance was dark, bloating, and blood dripped from their nose and mouths. Also, those cases happened to be the first ones revolving around “vampirism” after ancient times.

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist. Even had we not the proof of our own unhappy experience, the teachings and the records of the past give proof enough for sane peoples.” 

Bram Stoker

Vampires are part of folklore and beliefs since millennia. The presence of those creatures is well evident in the old civilizations such as Mesopotamians, Hebrew, Ancient Greeks, and even the Romans.

They spoke of those beings coming after dark looking for their next victim. Certain similarities of vampires also spread to China and in Slavic culture as well.

Vampires In History

Vampires came out as demons or even spirits, traditional burials required modifications to stop the vampire infestation. Different civilizations borrowed methods of the Ancient Greeks. They would place objects to please evil that would take over the body to keep it at bay.

The Ancient Greeks performed the same task, but differently. They would place a coin in the mouth of their dead to pay the toll to cross the river Styx in the underworld. However, some argued that the procedure was to keep evil at bay, thus leading the vampire to the offering distracting it from multiplying.

Furthermore, it does not stop there as similar creatures are also part of the African continent, North and South America, and also widely spread in Asia. Many different creatures resemble the vampire, and although said in other dialects or with subtle differences or purposes, it remains that it is a bloodsucking creature.

The population never studied their dead to understand the process of natural decomposition. Many descriptions revolve around the fact that hair and nails were longer along with facial hair when a man. They would then mention the bloating and darker appearance.

Those are all characteristics we know today to be normal, but not in those times. Scientific observations would often scare people used to be ignorant, and so if caught studying the dead, it was the result of witchcraft.

The Odd Origin Of Bite

The word vampyre, as we know, today only dates back, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, to the eighteenth century. However, the name itself became part of France and Germany a while before its first appearance in the English language.

Alnwick - Northumberland - England
Alnwick – Northumberland – England

It is also interesting to note that the English language borrowed the term vampyre from France and possibly from Serbia as well. Many countries all over Western Europe had a term, a word, or a description that meant vampire.

“I love the ‘Underworld‘ movies because the vampires aren’t automatically evil, yet neither are they, humans, with fangs.”

Jeaniene Frost

What the word itself meant in most countries was: to thrust with force, while others intended forceful bite. What is most interesting, though, is that many encounters were sightings. But were there actual reports from those times where someone witnessed a vampire biting someone else?

Bloody Hands
Bloody Hands

If the etymology of the word, means to thrust forcefully or forceful bite, someone had to see something somehow. However, it is next to impossible to pinpoint where it all began. It goes back so many centuries ago. It is almost tempting to believe that like humans, vampires just spread everywhere.

Vampires In History

People once believed that vampires were often people who had a criminal life, practicing mutilation, committed suicide, or were solitary people. The reason was simple: introversion was not accessible at the time and nor were psychological illnesses.

Vampirism spread like a flame to a paper. Perhaps it was not as famous as the witch trials, but it had its time where people kept an eye out for vampires. They would be walking through cemeteries with virgin boys or virgin stallions until the horse would stop and balk.

Again, descriptions were similar to the ones mentioned above, and so corpses suffered decapitation or staked through the heart. However, various cases over Europe showed other methods of preventing vampires from rising again.

Sometimes, archaeologists would find corpses with nails among their bones. It suggests that the prevention of rising had something to do with nailing corpses to their coffin.

Some vampires suffered incineration while others dismemberment. Often, they would give the corpse back to the family members as a “remedy” against vampirism. Meanwhile, others, mostly in Romania, turned to garlic cloves and would put those in their corpses’ mouths when suspicion vampirism while alive.

Odd Origin

Vampire sightings in the 1800s were frequent and very popular. It spread like the plague. Everyone was out looking for one. However, it all began at first in Eastern Europe, where many staked corpses appeared. Meanwhile in other graves, unburied because some would think it was a potential vampire.

The Eighteenth-Century supposedly appeared as the era where futile beliefs and superstitions died. Then again, vampires somehow gained much popularity and were the word on everyone’s lips.

The news became a mass hysteria that spread, this time, throughout Europe. People said attacks happened, some killed and sucked out of their blood. People died like flies, and this time, no plague to blame.

Petar Blagojevich
Petar Blagojevich

The Petar Blagojevich case is still, to this day, one of the most famous vampire cases of all time. The story goes that the man died at the age of sixty-two but returned to see his son and asked for food.

The son, probably traumatized, refused, and so died the day that followed. He returned according to others and kidnapped people, later on, found lifeless and missing blood.

The Odd Origin Of Vampires

Yes, vampire encounters are still happening today. However, because of our knowledge of the human body and the lifespan we are aware of a human, we are jaded. It becomes harder for people to believe in the possibility that we are not alone on Earth. The odd origin of vampires in history seem to find a second wind and hopefully can attract more people toward it.


It was in London, England, in the year 1839 within the Highgate Cemetery, a place reserved only for the high society, that after years of neglecting, sightings happened.

The apparition of a ladylike silhouette with pale skin and dark clothing with red eyes engaged a thorough investigation following many reports.

Highgate Cemetery - London - England
Highgate Cemetery – London – England

As the years went by, the sightings remained frequent. But in 1971, a young girl passing by the cemetery reported an attack by the red eyes lady. She mentioned her superhuman strength when thrown violently to the ground. But once a car stopped by and witnessed the attack, the silhouette disappeared.

She had scraps on her limbs, when brought to the police station. The woman told her story—supported by sightings from the community kept for a century. The silhouette is still around to this day.

The Odd

The following encounter is in line with the series, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which listed this story as accurate.

At a crowded intersection, an ambulance hit a man resulting in propelling him several feet away. Despite the hit, the man stood up and appeared healthy. Because the ambulance hit him, the paramedics decided to bring him to the hospital despite his insistence to leave.

Once at the hospital, the man refused to give his name or receive any treatment they offered him. The man was in a separate room to calm down. A nurse present outside to prevent him from leaving, heard that the man, at this point, refused food and water.

Blood Donation Bags
Blood Donation Bags

Hours later, an old couple visited his room and brought with them a duffle bag to give the man.  ER technicians came by to attempt to have the man agree to X-rays. The nurse walked in and saw what the duffle bag contained. She walked into the bathroom and saw him drink blood donation bags.

When the nurse ran out of the room, a patient on a wheelchair unconscious showed punctures on his neck. The nurse screamed for security on the fifteenth floor, where they were. She saw the man jumping out the hospital window and got on his feet fleeing the hospital.

The conclusion of the story mentioned the nurse took her retirement early.

Vampires Of History

I prefer to remain open to the possibility that humans aren’t the only “intelligent creature” on Earth. There are places in this world where we haven’t reached yet.

If we are ready to settle for what we see, then we are closing ourselves to the possibility of discovery. The odd origin of vampires in history can always find new ways to fascinate me.

There is always a piece of truth in folklore and legends. If vampires spread all around the world millennia ago, why can’t they be real?

The OCD Vampire,
Alexa Wayne

17 thoughts on “The Odd Origin of Vampires In History

  1. Great Article, just wanted to add a couple of thoughts that I discovered back when I was researching vampires for my novels.

    Lilith appears in early Hebraic writings and stories. It is said that Lilith was the first wife of Adam, and she thought herself equal to him and refused to be submissive. For this, she was banished from the garden of Eden into the demon realm.

    Once there she stole babies and small children to devour them or seduce men, who never survived the encounter as she drank the blood of her victims.

    Lilith’s offspring became demons, and she was known as the Mother of Demons, which later became the Mother of Vampires.

    Then, there is Countess Elizabeth Bathory who lived in the year 1560 in Hungary, she was a most prolific murderess, not only killing, but torturing hundreds of young girls. She bathed in their blood and by drinking it, she believed it would keep her young, earning her the nickname of The Blood Countess.


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