The Freaky History Of Vampires Might Surprise You: These Supernatural Beings Originally Were Used As Scapegoats For Disease

Anatoly Tiplyashin godfer - - illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

Today, the word “vampire” brings many established traits to mind. You might envision a pale figure with long fangs who has an extreme aversion to garlic. You may also ponder the supposed fact that vampires cannot see themselves in the mirror but can be killed by driving a stake through their hearts. And finally, everyone knows that vampires drink human blood.

But, back in the day when the supposed existence of vampires first entered the human psyche, these characteristics were not so well defined.

Instead, modern depictions of popular vampires such as Dracula in 1897 and even Twilight in 2005 have drawn inspiration from numerous traditional beliefs fostered throughout Europe during the sixteenth century.

And interestingly enough, these beliefs– which were mainly centered around the fear of the dead coming back to harm the living– often stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of how the human body decomposes.

For example, after someone passes, their corpse’s skin will shrink– causing fingernails and teeth to appear larger than before. Additionally, while internal organs decompose, a dark fluid will often leak from the mouth and nose.

But, during the sixteenth century, most people were not familiar with this natural process. So, if they saw a corpse, it was easy to mistake the dark fluid for blood and assume that the being had sucked it from the living.

Nonetheless, these post-mortem functions were not the only thing driving vampire beliefs throughout Europe. Instead, vampires were also used to reason other unexplainable instances– such as the spread of disease.

As populations grew larger and travel became more common, the spread of disease was inevitable. But, before people understood the science behind infection, vampires were often blamed for ravaging communities.

Moreover, this belief only inspired more people to attempt to kill vampires or prevent their supposed feeding habits. In doing so, people were afforded a greater sense of control over their community’s fate.

Anatoly Tiplyashin godfer – – illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

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