Now, before I go into any detail, let me make one point very clear (because I get asked this question repeatedly): Yes, I do believe in the existence of vampires. What I do NOT believe in are the concoctions of fiction spawned by old cinematic special effects. Having said that, let’s first examine what a vampire is.
Vampires, by all historical accounts, fall into one of two categories: the Living, and the Revenant (dead). Living vampires have never been dead. They’re most likely not going to be harmed by anything WE wouldn’t be harmed by. They can be super-fast, and super-strong, but they’re certainly not going to be turning into sand, bats, rats, or what-have-you. The most common type of Living vampire is known as a Psychic Vampire. Some psychic vampires don’t even know they ARE vampires. These people feed off of the energy of others, leaving them emotionally, mentally, and spiritually drained. Have you ever been around someone, and when you left, you just felt like you needed to go home and sleep for 24 hours? If this happens repeatedly with the same person, chances are good that person may be a psychic vampire. These are, by far, not the only Living vampires, but they are the most prevalent. There are Living vampires who drink blood, as well (though why, no one is certain. The live human stomach is full of acids that break down and render blood useless), and even some types of cannibals fall under the category of Living Vampire. Contrary to some belief, vampires are not categorized solely by whether or not they drink blood. They are categorized by the fact that an encounter with one leaves you missing some vital bodily force, whether that be energy, blood, or flesh.
Fiction’s more common vampiric friends and fiends are the Revenant, or Risen, vampires. These are the corpses of people (and animals) who have died. Contrary to most popular fiction, being bit by a vampire will not instantly turn you into one, and nor will drinking their blood. By historical accounts, turning into a Revenant vampire has more to do with the manner of your death and burial than it does ever encountering another vampire. A violent death, leading to a desire for blood vengeance, or an improper burial can cause a body to rise as a vampire. Yes, being drained by a vampire can kill you, and perhaps even instill that need for vengeance, but the concept of being bitten and becoming a vampire are not mutually exclusive. Also, drinking a vampire’s blood isn’t likely to do much (see above where I referenced blood in the living human stomach), and though transfusion of vampire blood might, in theory, turn someone, there is no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, to support this (there are no documented cases, since the development of blood transfusion, that note any vampiric tendencies after a transfusion). Another point that’s supported by historical evidence is that vampires are not confined merely to the physical plane. There are vampiric entities and spirits which are not corporeal (physically present) on our plane. They often behave in a manner similar to ghosts, except that they drain spiritual/physical energy from their victims. These often fall into the “vengeance” category of the Revenant vampire.
If you are interested in finding out more about vampires, please check back for information on my webinar “Beyond Dracula: Myths and Evidence of Vampirism in History and the Modern Age”