Vampire is a sord that derives from the serbo-croat. In 1897 the writer Bram Stoker published the story of the famous vampire Dracula, setting him in Transilvania to respect the Middle European origin of the theme of vampires. The character was freely inspired at Vlad III of Valacchia, known as "Tzepes" (the impalator) famous for having impaled tens of thousands of people. He was also known with the nickname of "Draculaea". The features of the vampire are long canine teeth, fair skin and a strong dose of sensuality. People think that they hate garlic and crosses, that they can become bats or smoke, that mirrors can’t reflect their image and that they can be killed only by thrusting a stake of ashen wood in their heart, by burning them or cutting off their head.We find legends about “non-deads” ever since the XII century in every culture and tradition. In the ancient times people did periodical offerings of food to satisfy vampires’ hunger. Sometimes the food supplies were put into the graves. There are many testimonies about the fact that the supplies were really used, for example the treatise “DE MASTICATIONE MORTUOREM IN TUMULIS”, by M. Raufft, about the manducatory activity in graves. Since Roman times, the Germanic barbarian tribes buried deads with hands and feet tied whit laces (there are many archaeological testimonies), because also this people thought that deads could awake from their sleep and return among living people to take revenge.The typology of the “non-dead” changes depending on the various cultures, and also the name changes. “Mjertovjec” is the vampire of Russia, “Upir” of Poland, “Vrukolaka” of Romania and Greece, “Vurdolak” of Serbia, “Sampir” of Albania, “Norferat” of Bulgaria... In “Carmilla” (1870), the writer Sheridan le Fanu describes a young, beautiful and mysterious vampire woman who, we discover at the end of the tale, is a countess dead long ago.Thanks to this book Bram Stoker made researches for his “Dracula”. It is known that vampires suck blood from people to regenerate theirselves. Since ancient times, in fact, blood is viewed as a regenerating liquid, with the possibility to give physical energy and the beauty of the body of old people. In the past many people did baths of blood for these reasons and the most famous was the Hungarian countess Erzbeth Bathory who lived in the XVIII century and who tortured her maidservants and did baths in their blood. So, also her (a person who really existed) can be considered, in a certain sense, a vampire.

Translated by Roberta M. "Nemo85"