According to legend, vampires are undead creatures that rise from the grave and hunt for blood from the living. Vampires need blood to stay in their non-living, non-decayed state. They avoid sunlight at all costs, as this will burn its skin and eventually cause death. Other vampires are created if an existing vampire bites its victim in a particular way, or by possession of evil spirits according to some versions of the legend.
Dracula is the most famous vampire in history. This character was based partially on the true story of Vlad III; Prince of Wallachia referred to as Vlad the Impaler. A ruler of ancient Romania, Vlad the Impaler earned his reputation of torturing his enemies and terrorizing churches. He held his own moral standard to high regard and persecuted those who went against it. His reign was marked by his cunning and cruel manner of territorial acquisition. He was a firm believer that the country be led by its people and not be influenced by foreign nations. Victims reached thousands and were killed mercilessly. He took murder to unthinkable extremes. This account of a supreme leader who would kill without compassion led to the creation of the Dracula in books and movies.
The fictional Count Dracula, as ruler of all other vampires, was depicted as having superhuman strength, control of animals and telepathic abilities. Count Dracula could only be killed by decapitation followed by a wooden stake to the heart. Lower forms of vampires could be killed by either of those methods. With Christianity, holy water and crucifixes were used to repel vampires. Its effectiveness depended on the victim’s belief in God. As symbols representing beliefs and traditions, these held meaning and deterred evil while protecting righteousness.
Today’s vamps have evolved from the days of Count Dracula, look at the Twilight series, the Vampire diary, and Being Human. Whether they are seen by the individual as blood thirsty demons you never want to meet or immortalized as an irresistible stranger to hop in the sack with, vampires seem to be here to stay.