In folklore and fiction, a vampire is usually a type of monster that was originally human but has been transformed. In many vampire stories, a vampire inhabits the body of a person who has died. For that reason, a vampire usually sleeps in a coffin. A vampire needs to feed on the blood of living humans to stay alive and obtains that blood by biting its victims. Provided that it continues to feed on the blood of the living, and escape the many ways to destroy a vampire, the monster can live for hundreds of years or potentially forever.
In much old folklore, vampires are often depicted as dark, ruddy colored and bloated. In more recent times, however, they are often depicted as pale and thin.
The most famous vampire is probably Count Dracula.
In many vampire stories the victim becomes a vampire after being bitten. The details of how this happens vary from story to story. In some stories the transformation happens instantly, in others the process of vampirization is long and slow, involving the vampire making repeated attacks on the same victim.
The easiest way to tell if someone is a vampire, according to tradition, is to see if the person casts a reflection in a mirror, vampires do not.
According to folklore and fiction, there are a number of ways to avoid being attacked by a vampire and to defeat one. They include the following:
- Wearing a crucifix will render a vampire unable to hypnotize you.
- Garlic can be used to ward a vampire off easily.
- Vampires can be killed by splashing them with some holy water.
- When being chased by a vampire, spill several grains of rice or seeds. The vampire will be compelled to count every one of them.
- A vampire can be killed by a stake in the heart, or via decapitation.
- Vampires are repulsed by silver.
- Sunlight is often said to destroy vampires. For that reason, vampires are usually said to stay hidden in their tombs or other dark places during the day and only venture out at night. However, some versions of vampires are said to be unharmed by sunlight, and able to venture out during the day.
- Vampires may only be able to adopt aliases that are anagrams of their real names. Thus in the 1872 novella Carmilla, Mircalla Karnstein calls herself Carmilla and Millarca and, in some media, Dracula reverses his name and calls himself Alucard.
- Count Dracula.
- Lord Ruthven, a character introduced in John William Polidori's 1819 short story "The Vampyre", widely regarded as the first work of modern vampire fiction.
- Carmilla Karnstein from the 1872 novella Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu and its many adaptations.
- Count Chocula, the mascot of a brand of American breakfast cereal.
- Possibly Count von Count from Sesame Street, whether or not he is a vampire is disputed.
- Count Bloodcount, the vampire encountered by Bugs Bunny in the 1963 cartoon Transylvania 6-5000.
- Barnabas Collins from the 1966 - 1971 American soap opera Dark Shadows and the 2012 film of the same name.
- Edward Cullen from the Twilight novels and films.
- Draculaura from the Monster High franchise.
- Count Duckula
- vampire costume
- Vampire Baby Prop
- Vampire (Heroes of Might and Magic II)
- Vampire (Clash of Heroes)
- In some works of fantasy, vampires are a separate non-human, sometimes non-humanoid, race of creatures. An example of this is bat-like creatures featured in J.R.R. Tolkien's works. There are also works of fantasy that feature non-human, but humanoid, vampires. An example of this is the Elvish vampire Jander Sunstar.
- Symbols associated with religions other than Christianity may or may not have a similar effect. It depends on the story. In the 1974 British/Hong Kong movie Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires the Chinese vampires are repelled by cards with pictures of Buddha on them.