There have been many attempts to rationalise the Eastern-European tales of vampires, including a hereditary blood disease called porphyria (whose sufferers included Mary Queen of Scots, James I, and George III). These have largely been discredited. An alternative explanation is rabies, which can cause sufferers to undergo changes in sexual appetite and sleep patterns. It can also make people more likely to bite others, and make them hypersensitive to light.
There was a belief in the middle ages that vampires spread the plague; as a result, suspected vampire corpses had a brick placed into their mouths to prevent them from biting. Of course, the more common way to dispose of vampires is to hammer a stake into their heart. A similar practice is still apparently carried out in some parts of rural Romania, where it was reported in 2005 that a family had exhumed a family-member's corpse, driven a pitchfork into his chest, and then removed his heart after they blamed him for the sickness and nightmares which plagued the family.
The nearest thing to a real Dracula was Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler (1431-76). He was born in Transylvania, but only because his family were in exile at the ; he was actually the prince of another Romanian province called Wallachia. Most of the worst stories about Vlad were put around by his enemies; while he certainly did use impaling as a method of punishment, we don't know how often he actually did it. To many Romanians he is a national hero who resisted the Turkish conquerors and asserted Romanian national sovereignty.
The Asian vampire moth sucks the blood of water buffalo or deer.
One thing vampire children are taught is, never run with a wooden stake.
Vampire bats have an anticoagulant in their saliva that stops blood from clotting while it is being sucked out. It's called 'Draculin'.
The vampire squid from hell (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is actually quite a docile animal, which usually just hangs motionless in the water column. It isn't a true squid; it's somewhere between a squid and an octopus, and belongs to its own order, Vampyromorphida.
It is the only cephalopod that lives its entire life cycle in the core of the 'oxygen minimum layer'. This is an extremely deep part of the ocean that is almost totally devoid of oxygen. Its blood is especially effective at removing oxygen from the water. To help it survive, it also has a low metabolic rate and gills with a large surface area.
It has filaments which trail behind it; when another animal touches one it swoops round to the point of contact, hoping to catch it. It also has, proportionally, the largest eyes of any animal on Earth; equivalent to a human having eyes a foot in diameter. These are necessary because it’s very dark at the depths in question. If threatened, instead of ejecting ink, it throws out a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus which contains innumerable orbs of blue light. This dazes would-be predators and allows the vampire squid to disappear into the blackness without needing to swim far. Females brood over their eggs for up to 400 days before they hatch, starving themselves in the process so that they die soon afterwards.
…the great door swung back. Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.
If every vampire fed once a month and turned their victim into a vampire, all humans would be vampires within two and a half years.
Porphyria's symptoms include an adverse reaction to garlic, increased skin sensitv-ity to sunlight and more pronounced canines.