Terrifying Vampire Facts From Folklore, Myths, and Legends

Way before Twilight made them soppy and Buffy made them sexy, vampires of folklore and ancient legend were nightmarish beings to be truly frightened of. So, it's time to dim the lights and revive the world's most terrifying trivia of vampiric mythologies. From the depths of history, think bizarre rituals to rid yourself of vampirism and the terrifying curse of the black cat: don't say we didn't warn you.

1. Jure Grando was the earliest real-life “vampire”

In 1689, Johann Weikhard von Valvasor released the initial writings on vampires, and they partly concerned Jure Grando. It seemed that in the 16 years after Croatian Grando died in 1656, he would often knock on villagers’ doors — something that was said to signal imminent death for the inhabitants inside.

2. In 1725 a “vampire” murdered nine people after he’d died

The case of Serbian Petar Blagojevich is among the first reported instances of vampire mania. Supposedly, in the week and a half following Blagojevich’s death in 1725, he had returned from beyond the grave to first choke nine people in their dreams and then murder them outright. Jeez! He must have been having one seriously bad day in the afterlife.

3. A stake through the heart

The residents of Blagojevich’s community were so freaked out by the very real deaths — and the possibility of vampirism — that they disinterred his body. They found that the deceased man’s hair and nails had grown and that, alarmingly, he hadn’t decomposed. As a preventative measure, they decided to drive an arrow through his chest. That ought to do the trick!

4. There are several ways to become a vampire

Romanian folklore states a few ways that an average joe can wind up a member of the bloodthirsty undead club. First on the list of ones to watch, we have people born to unmarried parents. In close second are those out there who've been blessed with a third nipple. Next up are people who are born with a caul — that's babies who arrive into the world with their amniotic sac intact. Oh, and let's not forget anyone who dies suddenly or witnesses a black cat walk in front of them. Take note — any of these could put you at risk of vampirism.