Vampires and vampire culture have be widely nurtured in recent years, with productions like Twilight (2008), Blade (1998), Daybreakers (2009), and The Strain (2014) (to name but a few) portraying some romanticized version of the modern day vamp.
If, however, you are in search of the real deal, you might want to turn to history books instead of movies. Check out the real life vamps that terrorized our forefathers:
1. Peter Plogojowitz
In 17th Century Serbia, a peasant man named Peter Plogojowitz was said to have died... temporarily, that is!
Apparently, within 10 weeks of his death, nine people mysteriously passed away from a strange sickness, all of them claiming to have been throttled by Peter Plogojowitz in their dreams, just before they died.
Peter’s son claimed to have seen his father standing in the kitchen, demanding food, three days after his death; and his wife fled town after she had seen her husband late one night, demanding a pair of shoes! (A man can't properly vamp without his kicks.)
Eventually soldiers were called to the city to conduct some serious vampire investigations. They dug up Plogojowitz's grave and reportedly, he was in his coffin breathing and his open eyes were moving! WTactualF!?
Naturally, they drove a stake through his heart and he burst into flames.
2. Fritz Haarmann: Vampire of Hanover
One of the most infamous vampire related mass murderers was Fritz Haarmann (1879-1925). This dude was cray.
Born in Hanover, Germany, Fritz was a petulant and slow-witted child that apparently spent a lot of time dressing up like a girl.
He lived a pretty nefarious life, spending time in an asylum for child molestation as well as most of his twenties in and out of jail for offenses ranging from pickpocketing to burglary.
After the war and a few more stints in prison, Harrmann decided that enough was enough and embarked on the crusade of becoming a vampire cannibal serial killer.
Living in Hanover's seamy Old Quarter, Haarmann found an abundant supply of prey in the young male refugees who were flooding the city. He often brought young men home and, with the help with two accomplices, he would overpower them and fall upon their throats, chewing through the flesh until he had nearly separated the head from the body!
Though Haarmann was ultimately charged with 27 murders, it seems likely he was responsible for as many as 50.
When police came close to discovering him, he confessed everything and, at his own request, he was beheaded with a sword; ironically one of the most effective ways to dispose of a vampire. Coincidence? I think not!
3. The Alnwick Castle Vampire
The Alnwick Castle, which you probably associate with the witches and wizards, of Hogwarts was home to an ancient vampire circa 1200, long before Harry Potter came along.
Legend has it that a Lord became privy to his wife's indiscretions and climbed up onto the roof of their chambers one night, catching her in bed with another man. He was struck with such anger that he took a fatal fall off the roof!
Well, his outrage prevailed because he came back as a walking, rotting corpse spreading plague in his wake.
Eventually, a priest gathered a pitchfork wielding angry mob and uncovered the vampire's grave.
They dug him up, opened his coffin and upon striking the body with a spade, blood gushed out, seeming to prove that the naughty bugger had been feasting on the blood of the living!
They burned the body, and the attacks ceased.
4. The Highgate Vampire
Highgate Cemetery in London, a gothic Victorian graveyard seemed the perfect setting for strange events and local public hysteria that followed.
In 1969, there were many reports of dead animals in the area that had been completely drained of blood!
This was followed by claims of a tall, dark figure with a face contorted in horror floating at night by the graveyard fences. One man claims he came face to face with the Highgate Vampire, which caused him to be so petrified that he was glued to the spot for several minutes.
As word spread and the press became involved, the graveyard was descended upon by an army of self-proclaimed vampire hunters that searched the grounds and dug-up several graves.
The hunt was pretty much a bust; they didn't find so much as a vampire cape. Hysteria died down of course, but apparently there continued to be reports of a tall dark figure giving the locals a nice serve of the heebie-jeebies.
5. The Gorbals Vampire
Scotland made its mark in the vampire diaries when hundreds of children between 4 and 14 years old, some of them armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were found patrolling Gorbal's graveyard in Glasgow in 1954.
A strange rumor about a vampire with iron teeth had apparently taken hold of the schoolyard and spread like wildfire.
Within a few hours, the graveyard was teeming with an itty-bitty army of kids wielding makeshift weapons hunting for the vampire.
BBC News interviewed one of the 8 year old Van-Helsings:
"At three o'clock the school emptied and everyone made a beeline for it. We sat there for ages on the wall waiting and waiting. I wouldn't go in because it was a bit scary for me.
I think somebody saw someone wandering about and the cry went up: 'There's the vampire!'"
Authorities blamed the occurrence on hysteria influenced by American comic books like Tales from the Crypt...I would sooner blame the kid that started the rumor.
6. Sava Savanovic
Introducing Sava Savanovic. This Serbian blood-sucker lived in an old mill and fed on the blood of people that ventured near his mill after dark.
Allegedly, the locals didn't bother to hunt down Savanovic because he didn't attack the villagers, just the unsuspecting travelers passing by, which was apparently ok with them.
The mill where he lived eventually fell into disrepair and collapsed after years of neglect, forcing poor old Sava to roam the Serbian countryside in search of a new abode. This sent the the Serbian people into a panic, forcing the council to send out an official warning for residents to put a cross in every room in their house!
7. The Vampire of Croglin Grange
During the 1800s, the Cranwell Family took up residence in Groglin Range in Cumbria, England. One hot evening, Lady Cranwell felt unwell and decided to go to bed early. Poor dear. As she lay in bed she noticed strange lights moving by the churchyard in the distance towards the house. This apparently didn't warrant any alarm as she just turned over and went to sleep.
She was soon awoken by a rustling at her window and realized that what she saw were not lights, they were flaming eyes glaring at her!
Lady Cranwell was paralyzed by fear as the vamp climbed in her window and then bit her throat. Her brothers, on hearing their sister scream, rushed to her room to find her bleeding from the neck and a black figure making off into the darkness.
Some time later, the siblings returned to the estate in order to set a trap and effectuate their revenge on the monster.
Lady Cranwell pretended to sleep in the same room and when the vampire came to feed on her once more, the brothers fired at it with pistols, injuring it before it ran off.
As they raided a graveyard crypt with their token angry mob the following day, they discovered an open coffin containing a rotten corpse with a recent bullet wound. Safe again, they held an obligatory burning and all was well in the world again.
8. Jure Grando
Jure Grando was a peasant from Istria, Croatia who died in 1656, leaving behind a widow and a wake of sleepless terror that haunted his hometown for the following 16 years!
Jure Grando, referred to by the locals as "strigon," (the local name for vampire) terrorized people at night by a knocking on their doors which was said to be a warning that someone in the house would soon die. Chilling.
It would seem that death did not kill Grando's vigor, nor did it diminish his libido because he also visited his widow every night for 16 years to get laid.
It only took the townsfolk 16 years to grow tired of his antics, at which point the local priest and a bunch of villagers chased the randy monster back to his grave, dug him up, and decapitated his corpse. Good Riddance.
9. The Vampire of Melrose Abbey
This legend begins with a very unpriestly priest who spent most of his life enjoying worldly pleasures including a favorite pastime of hunting with dogs earning him the nickname "Hunderprest" which translates to "dog priest."
Having sinned so much in life, he was forced after death to walk the Earth as a spirit feeding on the blood of innocents and turning into a bat.
Another testament of man's insuppressible lust, the Hunderprest was another vamp that thirsted for more than just blood. One night he visited his mistress with romantic intentions to no avail. Terrified, the woman ran straight to the monks of the Abbey and pleaded for help.
The monks decided to gather at his grave the following night and wait for him to rise. In impressive badass manner, they took him down with a well-timed blow to the head with an axe.
They cremated his body, scattered his ashes to the wind and ended his terrible reign.
10. Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole born in the early 1700s in Medvegia, Serbia was said to be a good-natured, honest man. However, when he returned from the war in Turkish Serbia, his personality was said to have changed.
He claimed that he was attacked by a vampire, which he eventually killed, having followed it to its grave. Paole then ate some of the dirt from the tomb and bathed his wounds in the blood of the vampire, claiming it cleansed him from the attack. That's some weird initiative, Arnie.
He died during an accident and a few weeks later, but sightings of Paole surfaced. The four people who made these reports died, and a panic began to spread.
The townspeople unearthed Paole’s body 40 days after his burial to discover a fresh corpse! Apparently, he had a new layer of skin and his nails had continued growing.
A strake was driven into his heart, and it is said that he uttered a groan as if in pain. They severed his head too, just in case.
So there you have, irrefutable proof that blood-sucking vampires are not mere characters in the Twilight Saga. Be sure have a cross near by and add extra garlic to every meal to ward off those deadly demons, and because... garlic is awesome.