One of the things that’s so delightful about watching Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) make a meal out of Mystic Falls’ ladies is that there aren’t really bloodsucking dudes lurking in alleys waiting to drain our blood. And Stefan's (Paul Wesley) vamping trick where he races from one side of the room to the next? That can’t really happen. Right?
Maybe we’re just being paranoid, but we only have so many scarves, so we’re not too keen on becoming someone’s walking blood donor, à la Season 1 Caroline (Candice Accola). Therefore, we’re getting all high school research paper with this subject in order to determine just how safe our necks are. Do vampires really exist? Read on to find out.
Vampires in history
Although it wasn’t the first vampire story — John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” was the first English-language story but the creatures have existed in folklore for centuries — Bram Stoker’s Dracula was based on a real person. Vlad Tepes — or Vlad the Impaler, if you’re nasty — was a historically bad dude from Romania who wanted to strengthen his territory, Wallachia, and preferred to impale his enemies on stakes. While the numbers are probably exaggerated, his victims are numbered between 40,000 and 100,000. Irish novelist Bram Stoker came across the name of Vlad Tepes in An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia: With various Political Observations Relating to Them (catchy title!), from which he took details for his book. We recommend Elizbeth Kostova’s The Historian for an interesting spin on the Dracula tale, one which supposes that Vlad really was a vampire.
But if bad-news Katherine has taught us anything, it’s that just because you’re a lady vamp, it doesn’t mean you’re going to play nice. History holds a similar lesson in Elizabeth Báthory, a Hungarian countess who matched Vlad fairly well in the murder department. Along with four assistants, Elizabeth murdered a reported 650 girls so that she could bathe in their blood. Evidently, the 1600s version of Glamour reported that virgin blood was good for the complexion, and the Countess bought it. While her henchman were convicted, the Bloody Countess never went to trial but was bricked into her castle as punishment. They say her ghost still haunts the castle, thirsty for blood. No, we’re totally kidding about that.
Vampires in nature
Although there is a variety of orchid known as Dracula, these pretty plants don’t practice hematophagy (that’s science for “they feed on blood”). There are loads of insect varieties that sustain on the red stuff — such as bedbugs, mosquitoes, and ticks — but the most famous sanguivores are vampire bats, naturally.
And may we say, these little suckers get a bad rap! Even though the mammals are only found in Mexico, Central America, South America, and some Caribbean Islands, the bats get blamed for biting humans all over Europe and North America. But come on, the winged critters only consume about an ounce of blood per feeding, usually from livestock or birds. Damon’s appetite is hardly that dainty!
The truly squirmy part is that the bat’s saliva, which gets injected into the prey, has an anticoagulant compound, so the animal bleeds long after the bat has flown off. It’s not all bad, though; a drug used to treat heart attack and stroke victims is derived from the the spit stuff.
Sucking blood for fun and profit
Look, people may have accused us of being obsessed with The Vampire Diaries, but we only take that love so far. For example, we don’t surgically alter our teeth, bite our friends, and drink their Type O for funsies. But with a little creative Googling, you’ll learn that such people do exist, including a former Bachelor contestant, Madison Garton. The blonde beauty, who also acts, has a set of pointy chompers that she started sporting after meeting the leader of of “the underground vampire world.”
Now, we don’t know where this underground world is, but Seregon O’Dassey, a New York vampire — who also models and acts (seriously, can IRL vampires do anything else?) — does. She told TimeOut New York that blood drinking is like sex — kinda dirty and not something you wanna do with multiple partners. Hear that, kids? Practice safe exsanguination.
Some vamps already have enough iron in their diet without drinking blood thankyouverymuch, and instead are considered psychic vampires. These individuals are anemic in the “life-force” department, so they feed off the emotions and energies of others. This type sounds way less sexy than the vampires that reside in Mystic Falls.
Are vampires real? Sort of, but none of them have the whiskey-swilling grace of Damon or the sculpted hair of Stefan. Our last words come from Swiss musician DJ Bobo, who is pretty convinced that “Vampires Are Alive.”
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