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Basics

Vampires are a mythological being that returns from death and must drink the blood of living creatures in order to survive. Usually, the victim will then become a vampire themselves. The word vampire is generally believed to have Slavic origins, and there have been many variations over the centuries. But the word vampire first came into the English language during 1732.

Media and foke-lore have shaped our understanding of the vampire over time, and while the vampire can differ greatly two aspects have remained strong: that vampires are immortal and that they must drink the blood of the living to survive.

Blood has become the universal food source for vampires, and this is probably because blood was believed to hold supernatural qualities as a giver and keeper of life. In Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula appeared old until he drank blood, and then he appeared younger.

Forms of the vampire have been around since the 1500s, but over the last century, media has relished the vampire and new 'takes' on the vampire have arisen, including the change from the vampire being a hideous monster to a more charming being.

The most famous story of the vampire has been the Irish author Bram Stoker's classic, Dracula. Dracula is based on the two real characters Vlad V of Wallachia (1456 - 1476 - otherwise known as Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler) and Countess Elizabeth Bathory, famous 'vampires'.

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