The Blood is the Life

Bram Stoker In 1897 an Irish writer by the name of Bram Stoker published a book, it was about a Count who sucked blood of humans and resided in Transylvania in a large castle. The name of the book was "Dracula" - it was the birth of a legend - that of the famous Count Dracula. It also stirred up the legends and stories surrounding a forgotten historical figure, a man who went by the name of Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula.

The Legend of Vampires originate from a complex history of mythology and many other varied sources. In later life the Vampire has been turned further into a romantic type hero with the great success of Anne Rice books and LeStat the Vampire appearing in a blockbuster Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

The source of the famous Count Dracula was Vlad the Impaler - he alone makes for an interesting story.

Vlad the Impaler
click here for more Vlad the Impaler/Dracula Information

The word Vampire or Vampire came into English language in 1732 via an English translation of a German report of a much publicized vampire staking in Serbia. The fear of vampires was so widely spread that even some government officials went out hunting and staking vampires. This scare was responsible for England's current vampire myths however vampire myths go back thousands of years and occur in almost every culture around the world. The different legends portray many variety of vampires from glowing red eyed monsters with green or pink hair as in China to the Greek Lamia which has the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a winged serpent. Japan believes in vampire foxes and Malaysia has it's own version with trailing entrails known as Penanggalang.

The most common legend as portrayed in film and television is of a blood drinking man that has the ability to change into a bat at will, wears a black cape with a dinner suit underneath, black slicked back hair and of course the fangs in his mouth. He preys on his human victims at night biting and sucking the blood from the veins in the side of the neck. He is an undead creature who cannot stand the sunlight and usually sleeps in a coffin in the basement of an old mansion.

Vampires are thought to be most active during a full moon, on the eve of St. George's Day (April 22 - Julian, May 4 Gregorian calendar) and St. Andrew's day the night when all forms of evil were supposed to be abroad. They are immortal and can only be killed or harmed by using one of the below mentioned means. If bitten by a vampire you are to become one of the undead yourself

Bats are believed to be associated with vampires due to the Vampire bat of Central and South America. During the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with them and recognized the similarity between the feeding habits of the bats and those of their vampire legends. Over the following centuries the association became stronger and was used by many authors of vampire books including Brahm Stoker and of course Brian Lumley


Both cases are unbelievably similar:

The first case took place in the mid 1700's. Peter Plogojowitz was a Serbian Peasant who lived in the village of Kisilova, in the Rahm district. He died at the age of 62 (it is not clear of what) and lay in his grave for 10 weeks when villages reported seeing him at night. They claimed that he came to their beds at night and attacked them. Nine people died within 1 week. His wife then claimed to have seen him. She claimed that he came to her asking her for his shoes (it was a common belief in Europe that vampires desired certain earthly possessions). The woman was scared to death and hurriedly left the village. It was then decided to exhume Plogojowitz's body to dispose of him and stop his nighttime attacks.

Once the body was exhumed it was noticed that the body was odour free along with little if no decomposition at all - the only thing that was decomposed was the nose and his skin - but the strange thing was that his skin was regrowing and new skin could be seen where the old had fallen away (perhaps he was really a snake?). The same went with his nails (that Revlon nail polish will do it to you every time!). There was also blood flowing from his mouth.

They quickly destroyed the Vampires' body by driving a wooden stake through his heart at which point it was said that fresh blood gushed from his body. There is also some talk of the body containing some other "wild signs" but it's not clear what these were. The body was then burnt and luckily there were no more attacks on the villagers.

The other was of Arnold Paole. An ex soldier who claimed to have been attacked by a vampire whilst in Gossowa (in Turkish Serbia). The belief in that era was that they only way to reverse the effects of a bite and be rid of the vampire was to eat some of the earth from it's grave and smear oneself with the creature's blood. Paole claimed to have done this (god knows how he got the vampire's blood!). It worked to get rid of the Vampire but did not stop him becoming one himself. He returned home but soon died an accidental death from falling off a hay wagon. He was buried but returned from the grave within one month - the villagers soon reported of being attacked by him at night. Four of the victims died and the fear of the Vampire became very real - they took it upon themselves to dig up his body - finding that his skin and nails had fallen away and replaced by new skin and streams of blood were flowing from his mouth (sound familiar?). They then did the stake and burning body thing (same as Plogojowitz) and also did the same to all the victims who they claimed to have also been in "vampire condition".

Several years later another epidemic broke out. A Vampire hunt took place and bodies were exhumed from graves. The bodies were "successors" of Paole and all apparently were in the same "vampire condition" as Paole. In all sixteen bodies were exhumed, four were infants buried alongside 3 of their mothers.

Of course probably all the conditions these people suffered could be explained medically - but at the time medical knowledge was not at it's best and with all the myths and superstitions surrounding vampires no one was brave enough to suggest anything else for fear of being labelled one themselves.

Another medical condition attributed to vampires publicly aired by Professor David Dolphin in 1982 is that they could be suffering from a congenital blood disorder known as iron-deficiency porphyria now dubbed "Dracula Disease". The metabolism of sufferers is very inefficient in combining iron with complex compounds called porphyrins to yield haem, an much needed component of the blood pigment haemoglobin. The disease results in their skin becoming increasingly impregnated with iron-free porphyrins, which are stimulated by daylight to incite a chain of reactions causing skin lesions and other disfigurements. To avoid this sufferers tend to only come out at night - they also suffer from gum tightening which causes the teeth to protrude - giving them vampire-like appearance and habits. Even more fascinating is that garlic activates a killer enzyme which destroys that which is most valuable to them - the precious haem which their bodies is lacking -hence they are pretty much allergic to it!

Things that can harm, ward off or kill a vampire:

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