Home » Vampire Myths
As creatures that developed thousands of years ago out of folklore and fear of the unknown, vampire myths are definitive of this character. Also, given the vampire is a popular fictional character from both literature to motion pictures, it is no wonder that so many vampire legends have emerged over the years.
The majority of vampire legends were started during the Dark Ages, as horrors abound from people who were left in the dark literally and without hope. Some of the most common vampire stories have religious origins often from Christian orthodoxy, as people attempted to explain the unexplainable.
However, there are plenty of vampire myths that originated
from those people who witnessed behavior that was characterized as
related to vampirism. These myths did not die out with the Dark Ages,
either, as some of the most recent vampire stories were documented in
the 20th century, such as the case of Mercy Brown from New England.
One of the most popular vampire myths is that vampires sleep in coffins. This premise made its formal debut following the movie Dracula 1931 that starred Bela Lugosi. Gravediggers and those who frequented cemeteries claimed to see vampires coming out of crypts and coffins. However there is some sort of rational explanation for this belief. When someone dies they go into a state of rigor mortis as the corpse becomes stiff.
In some circumstances the muscles contract or constrict as the body’s fluids and gases shift out of the body. This has been known to cause dead bodies to move or even sit up. In those religions, mostly in Eastern Europe, that have the dead remain in the home for a period of days for mourning, this is a more common occurrence.
Vampires do not kill people or have fangs that they use to suck the blood of victims. This is just a scare tactic that is used to frighten those unaware of the vampire community.
In the past few
decades vampires have been documented as using blood from donors who
are willing to feed vampires. However, vampires do not live on blood
alone; they have to eat real food just like everyone else in order to
survive. They simply add blood to their diet in order to fill a void
that is required to provide them with strength and power that they
would not be able to obtain otherwise.
Most people believe that to kill a vampire one must drive a wooden stake through their heart. This theory is first described in the novel Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872, and more famously in Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897.
This vampire myth that has become more popular with the modern vampire thanks to Christianity. However, since vampires would use their skeletal muscles to circulate their blood, they would be capable of surviving a stake to the heart. Also using a wooden stake has no influence whatsoever. The theory that vampires are immortal is false. While vampires seem to be able to live a long time, which is most likely associated with the consumption of blood as a dietary supplement, vampires will die just like everyone else.
There is a common vampire myth that vampires will disintegrate in the light. This is believed to be because of vampires’ sensitivity to light, and somewhat viable. When faced with bright light or the sun, a vampire’s eyes hyper dilate and they are momentarily blinded.
Also, the hyper dilation causes an epileptic reaction as neural paths shoot off at random in the vampire’s cerebrum. Even though these physical reactions do occur, the vampire will not disintegrate or even set on fire when faced with light. Are vampires visible in mirrors? No, this is just another vampire myth. It is based on the connection with Christianity that claims vampires have no souls, and therefore, cannot have a reflection.
Even though vampires can see themselves in mirrors, and other people can see their reflections, vampires do not typically enjoy looking at themselves. That vampires can fly is another vampire myth. This idea most definitely comes from the idea that vampires can transfigure into bats, and thus fly through their victims’ windows at night. While the transfiguration is not true, vampires have been noted as super high jumpers who are capable of leaping over 20 foot tall fences.
Another vampire myth is that garlic repels vampires. No rational sources can excuse this. It is determined that vampires have sensitive nostrils and they despise strong scents, of which garlic is a truly fragrant smell.
Vampire believers feel that experienced vampires are capable of building up immunity to garlic, so the smell will have no effect on them. Christian crosses and holy water are also thought to repel vampires.
Other vampire myths that are a result of human error include premature burial, contagion, and porphyria. Before the use of machinery and other telling tools to determine if someone was dead, it was commonplace for bodies to be interred before the person was dead. As a result, scratching noises or screams could be heard from the person after the coffin was closed. Another theory is that the bodily gasses would bubble out of the corpse’s mouth, thus causing unnatural noises.
Contagion, also known as tuberculosis, is a more recent disease that was related to vampirism. When a person would die suddenly from tuberculosis, shortly after several other people who had visited the person would contact the disease and die. As a result of not understanding that this was a disease, rural communities blamed it on vampires. Porphyria is another illness, a blood disorder that causes people to crave blood from humans. This disease was commonly associated with vampirism, as it gave birth to one of the most common vampire myths.