The South American Aztecs poured blood into the mouths of their idols. In India, the Rajas drank blood from severed heads. In China, family members guarded the corpse the night before the funeral so that a dog or cat would not jump over the body and transform it into a vampire.
The wooden Greeks, and later the Romans, believed in a type of female vampire called a llama, who seduced men to suck their blood. Later, the Greeks had another word for vampire – hot-haired, a creature that was able to revive the dead and whose victims then fed on the blood of the living. Anyone – male or female – with red hair, youth on the body or at least only with blue eyes could be suspected of being a vampire.
Fortunately, blue eyes are rare among Greeks. But those who were born on Christmas, then the seventh son, the person with the rabbit’s lip, and anyone else who looked even a little unusual could also become suspicious, so many people easily fell under the description of vampires.
Vamiri were so ‘widespread’ on the Greek island of Santorini, that the eminent French botanist Joseph de Turnfor stated in 1717 that ‘there is no Orthodox Greek in the whole archipelago who firmly believes that the wicked are able to revive and fill dead bodies with new energy. ‘. In 1874, a man on the island of Rhodes dug his daughter out of a grave and burned her heart because he believed she was drinking life force from other members of his family.
The word vampire itself is of Slavic or better to say Serbian origin and did not exist in Western European countries until the 1930s. At the time, reports of vampires in Eastern Europe were a perfectly normal occurrence, and were collected by travelers and researchers who then spread the story of vampires throughout Europe. During the eighteenth century, there were so many reports of vampires that a military doctor said that it “spread like a plague through Slavia and Wallachia, causing numerous deaths and filling the whole country with fear of mysterious visitors who no one felt safe.”
One classic case from that time concerns a Hungarian soldier who camped on a peasant estate not far from the Austro-Hungarian border. One evening, while he was eating with a peasant and other members of his family, an old man joined them. The soldier noticed that the family was terribly frightened by the man, who simply touched the peasant on the shoulder and then left. The next morning, the soldier found out that the peasant was dead. It turned out that the old man was the host’s father and that he died ten years ago. When he visited and touched his son, he announced and caused his death at the same time. The soldier told the story of the old man to other people in his regiment, and he was soon declared a vampire.
Because, regardless of the fact that he did not take the blood of his son, he proved by his appearance that he was a member of the living dead, and that he thereby caused the death of his son. The affair began to spread unrest among the soldiers, so several officers and one military doctor launched an investigation. Members of the peasant’s family were interrogated under oath, statements were taken from other peasants, and in the end the old man’s grave was opened. His body looked like that of a man who had only recently died — not ten years earlier — and his blood was like the blood of a living man. The regiment commander ordered that the vampire’s head be cut off, after which the body was returned to the grave.
During the investigation, the officers were told about another vampire, who returned at intervals of ten years to suck the blood of his family members. A striking feature of vampire stories is that the vampire’s relatives and former love partners usually become the first victims of his attack.
One case in a remote village in what was then southeastern Hungary concerned a particularly vicious vampire who killed three of his nephews and one brother in just fifteen days. He was found just as he was beginning to suck the blood of his fifth victim – another beautiful young nephew – but he managed to escape.
A delegation, made up of military and civilian officials, was sent to the scene to investigate the case. The members of the delegation went to the vampire’s grave at the end of the day, accompanied by a large group of local villagers. The man had been buried three years before, but when investigators opened the grave they found that his body was very well preserved – along with his hair, nails, teeth and eyes.
According to a subsequent report, his heart was still beating, no matter how incredible it sounded. When the investigators pierced the heart with a hawthorn stick, some whitish liquid mixed with blood gushed. Then they cut off his head with an ax. Only when the body was finally buried in living lime, the young nephew who was supposed to become the vampire’s fifth victim began to recover.
According to the applicants, in such cases, a terrible stench usually spreads around the corpse, which hardly sounds surprising. One corpse was pictorially described as’ swollen and strangled like some large leech that had just burst ‘, and when the usual stake was buried in the chest of another corpse’ fresh red blood flowed from them profusely, and also from the nose. and mouth ‘. The next touching case was also recorded when ‘tears welled up in the vampire’s eyes as he let out his last scream of pain’.
One of the main reasons people are afraid of vampires is their alleged power to infect victims with their own insatiable greed for blood. According to some legends, only people who die from blood loss after several consecutive vampire attacks will become vampires themselves.
Other vampire stories claim that one or two attacks are enough and that each vampire victim will return as a new vampire after his natural death. It is said that a vampire hypnotizes its victim while eating, so that the person in question is not able to remember his horrible experience, but simply claims that he is suffering from insomnia and some strange lack of life energy.
That way, the vampire can safely return from night to night to the same victim if he wants to, until the victim gradually becomes completely anemic and dies. Sometimes there are scars from the stings on the victims’ necks. In such cases, if they believe in vampires, the persons in question will easily guess where the cause of the trouble that befell them lies.