Mythical dead humans feeding on the blood of the living ones. These mythical characters with different names appear in many cultures such as (Mesopotamia, ancient Greece or Rome). Vampire terminology became popular in the 18th Century when myths began to spread from Eastern Europe across the Balkans and Western Europe. Slavs use many mythical creatures in their legends. In 1819 John Polidori's book The Vampyre contributed to a general fear. At times it was highly accelerated by locals that the governments, exhaled graves and tombs. Empress Maria Theresa put an end to it, when her personal doctor Gererds van Swieten investigated ''Vampire so called Attacks''. Van Swieten declared that no such thing as vampires exist. Never the less, today vampire legends are still popular!
Descriptions of vampires and their habits differ, but they are generally known as immortal beings, that turn their victims into vampires, too. They have deep eyes and long teeth and nails.
Myths how to keep a vampire out of sight:
- One method of how to find a vampire`s grave is to let a virgin pass through a cemetery on a black horse, thos horse will keep distance from the grave.
- Garlic can be used as defense against vampires. A bouquet of wild roses or hawthorn should be also effective. People, used to banish a vampire from their houses, by sprinkling mustard seeds on the roofs.
- For those, more religious, holy crucifix, rosary or holy water were more preferable.
- In some legends and cultures (mainly after 16th century when special blood-sucking bats were discovered in South America), vampires had the ability to change into bats and fly.
- Vampires can`t enter holy places such as churches or monasteries.
- Vampires have no reflection in the mirror and don`t cast a shadow. Therefore, as a contra-vampire tradition, mirrors used to be placed in front doors.
- Vampires are active at night, however sunlight is not harmful (as it is interpreted in modern movies nowadays).
- The most common method of killing a vampire is to spike its heart by a pale (spiking through mouth was more popular in Russia or North Germany).
- Decapitation was preferred in West Slavic cultures.