www.livescience.com:Modern writers of vampire fiction, including Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others, have a rich vein of vampire lore to draw from. But where did the modern idea of vampires come from? The answer lies in the gap between science and superstition.
Some sources incorrectly trace vampires back to Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), who fought for independence against the Ottoman Empire. Though by most accounts his methods were brutal and sadistic (for example, slowly impaling his enemies on stakes, drawing and quartering them, burning them to death, etc.), in reality they were not particularly cruel or unusual for the time. Similar techniques were used by the Catholic Church and other powerful entities and rulers during the Middle Ages to torture and kill enemies.
Bram Stoker is said to have modeled some aspects of his Count Dracula character on Vlad Tepes.
While Tepes (partly) inspired fictional modern vampires, the roots of “real” vampires have very different origins. As a cultural entity, vampires are a worldwide phenomenon. According to anthropologist Paul Barber, author of “Vampires, Burial, and Death,” stories from nearly every culture have some localized version of the vampire, and “bear a surprising resemblance to the European vampire.”
The belief in real vampires stems from superstition and mistaken assumptions about post-mortem decay.
The first recorded accounts of vampires circulated in Europe in the Middle Ages. The stories follow a consistent pattern: Some unexplained misfortune would befall a person, family, or town—perhaps a drought dried up crops, or an infectious disease struck.
Before science could explain weather patterns and germ theory, any bad event for which there was not an obvious cause might be blamed on a vampire. Vampires were one easy answer to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.
There’s a lot of interesting theories about how vampires came to be, just like many other supernatural creatures. But like the author says, every culture has its own version. To find the real source might take even longer 😉 What do you think?