What is a vampire?
A: A vampire is a mythical creature that subsists by feeding on the vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living.
In European folklore, vampires are what?
A: Undead creatures that often-visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighborhoods they inhabited while they were alive.
They wore shrouds and were often described as what?
A: Bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 19th century.
Vampiric entities have been recorded in cultures around
the world; the term vampire was popularized in Western Europe after what?
A: Reports of an 18th-century mass hysteria of a pre-existing folk belief in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Local variants in Eastern Europe were also known by
different names, such as what?
A: Shtriga in Albania, vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania.
In modern times, the vampire is generally held to be a
A: A fictitious entity, although belief in similar vampiric creatures (such as the chupacabra) still persists in some cultures.
Early folk belief in vampires has sometimes been
ascribed to the ignorance of what?
A: The body's process of decomposition after death and how people in pre-industrial societies tried to rationalize this, creating the figure of the vampire to explain the mysteries of death.
The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern
fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of what?
A: "The Vampyre" by the English writer John Polidori.
The story was highly successful and arguably what?
A: The most influential vampire work of the early 19th century.
Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula is remembered as the
quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of what?
A: The modern vampire legend, even though it was published after fellow Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 1872 novel Carmilla.
The earliest confirmed record of the word vampire in
English dates from when?
A: 1688, with a lack of explanation of its meaning suggesting it was in regular use.
It was similarly documented in French in 1693 relating
A: Cases in Eastern Europe.
After Austria gained control of northern Serbia and
Oltenia with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, officials noted the local
practice of what?
A: Exhuming bodies and "killing vampires".
Cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient
Greeks, Manipuri and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are
A: Precursors to modern vampires.
In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings,
suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by what?
A: A malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire.
Belief in such legends became so pervasive that in some
areas it caused what?
A: Mass hysteria and even public executions of people believed to be vampires.
Vampires were usually reported as bloated in
appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in
color; these characteristics
were often attributed to what?
A: The recent drinking of blood.
In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was
jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become
A: One of the undead.
A body with a wound that had not been treated with
“what” was also at risk?
A: Boiling water.
In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once
A: Witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.
Cultural practices often arose that were intended to
A: A recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant.
Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was
A: Placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin.
This method resembles what ancient Greek practice?
A: Placing an obolus in the corpse's mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld.
It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended
to do what?
A: Ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore.
This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about
the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the
inscription "Jesus Christ conquers" were placed on the corpse to prevent
A: The body from becoming a vampire.