Interesting information about vampires

A vampire is a being from folklore that

subsists by feeding on the vital force

(generally in the form of blood) of the

living. In European folklore, vampires were

undead beings 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 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

most cultures; the term vampire was

popularized in Western Europe afterreports of an 18th-century mass hysteria

of a pre-existing folk belief in the Balkans

and Eastern Europe that in some cases

resulted in corpses being staked and

people being accused of vampirism.[1]

Local variants in Eastern Europe were also

known by different names, such as shtriga

in Albania, vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi

in Romania.

In modern times, the vampire is generally

held to be 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 of the body's process of decomposition

after death and how people in preindustrial societies tried to rationalize this,

creating the figure of the vampire to

explain the mysteries of death. Porphyria

was linked with legends of vampirism in

1985 and received much media exposure,

but has since been largely discredited.[2][3]

The charismatic and sophisticated

vampire of modern fiction was born in

1819 with the publication of "The

Vampyre" by the English writer John

Polidori; the story was highly successful

and arguably the most influential vampire

work of the early 19th century.

[4] Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula is

remembered as the quintessential vampire

novel and provided the basis of the

modern vampire legend, even though it

was published after Joseph Sheridan Le

Fanu's 1872 novel Carmilla. The success

of this book spawned a distinctive vampire

genre, still popular in the 21st century, with

books, films, television shows, and video

games. The vampire has since become a

dominant figure in the horror genre.

The Oxford English Dictionary dates the

first appearance of the English  vampire (as vampyre) in English from 1734,

in a travelogue titled Travels of Three

English Gentlemen published in The

Harleian Miscellany in 1745.[5] Vampires

had already been discussed in French[6]

and German literature.

[7] After Austria

gained control of northern Serbia and

Oltenia with the Treaty of Passarowitz in

1718, officials noted the local practice of

exhuming bodies and "killing vampires".[7]

These reports, prepared between 1725

and 1732, received widespread publicity.


The English term was derived (possibly via

French vampyre) from the German Vampir,

in turn derived in the early 18th  from the Serbian vampir (Serbian Cyrillic:


The Serbian form has parallels in virtually

all Slavic languages: Bulgarian and

Macedonian вампир (vampir), Bosnian:

vampir / вампир, Croatian vampir, Czech

and Slovak upír, Polish wąpierz, and

(perhaps East Slavic-influenced) upiór,

Ukrainian упир (upyr), Russian упырь

(upyr'), Belarusian упыр (upyr), from Old

East Slavic упирь (upir') (many of these

languages have also borrowed forms such

as "vampir/wampir" subsequently from the

West; these are distinct from the original

local words for the creature). The etymology is unclear.

[12] Among the

proposed proto-Slavic forms are *ǫpyrь

and *ǫpirь.[13]

Another less widespread theory is that the

Slavic languages have borrowed the word

from a Turkic term for "witch" (e.g., Tatar

ubyr).[13][14] Czech linguist Václav Machek

proposes Slovak verb "vrepiť sa" (stick to,

thrust into), or its hypothetical anagram

"vperiť sa" (in Czech, the archaic verb

"vpeřit" means "to thrust violently") as an

etymological background, and thus

translates "upír" as "someone who thrusts,

bites".[15] An early use of the Old Russian

word is in the anti-pagan treatise "Word ofSaint Grigoriy" (Russian Слово святого

Григория), dated variously to the 11th–

13th centuries, where pagan worship of

upyri is reported.[16][17]


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