Posted in sci-fi/fantasy writers series

Vampires: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers Series–Magical Creatures

In this Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers Series I will provide sci-fi/fantasy writers with a wealth of information concerning subjects that they may wish to use in their work.

The series will name and describe some of the magical or fantastical creatures that you may want to use in your stories.

Vampires (also spelled Vampyre):

What is a vampire? The definition given in Webster’s International Dictionary is: “A blood-sucking ghost or re-animated body of a dead person; a soul or re-animated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep, causing their death.”

Vampires have been featured in folklore and fiction of various cultures for hundreds of years, predominantly in Europe, although belief in them has waned in modern times.

Folklore includes a long history of tales of walking corpses and creatures that suck blood. Consequently, there are many variations of the characteristics that are attributed to vampires.  

The word vampire (Dutch, vampyr; Polish, wampior or upior; Slownik, upir; Ukraine, upeer) is thought to be derived from the Servian wampira. The Russians, Morlacchians, inhabitants of Montenegro, Bohemians, Servians, Arnauts, both of Hydra and Albania, know the vampire under the name of wukodalak, vurkulaka, or vrykolaka, a word which means “wolf-fairy,” and is thought by some to be derived from the Greek. In Crete, the vampire is known by the name of katakhaná.

Vampire lore is, in general, confined to stories of resuscitated corpses of male human beings, though amongst the Malays a penangglan, or vampire, was a living witch, who can be killed if she can be caught in the act of witchery. She was especially feared in houses where a birth has taken place, and it was the custom to hang up a bunch of thistle in order to catch her. She was said to keep vinegar at home to aid her in re-entering her own body. In the Malay Peninsula, parts of Polynesia and the neighboring districts, the vampire was conceived as a head with entrails attached, which comes forth to suck the blood of living human beings.

In Transylvania, the belief prevailed that every person killed by a nosferatu (vampire) becomes in turn a vampire and will continue to suck the blood of other innocent people until the evil spirit has been exorcised, either by opening the grave of the suspected person and driving a stake through the corpse or firing a pistol-shot into the coffin.

In very obstinate cases it was further recommended to cut off the head, fill the mouth with garlic, and then replace the head in its proper place in the coffin; or else to extract the heart and burn it, and strew the ashes over the grave.

Works Cited:

  1. Dudley Wright, Vampires and Vampirism, London William Rider and Son, Limited 1914. In the public domain. Found at


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