When it comes to popular monsters from all over the world, vampires and werewolves rank high. One is a beast covered in hair with wolf-like features, while the other comes ‘alive’ when the sun sets ”“ in search of their next meal. In this article, you will learn more about the origins of vampires and werewolves.
With sharp fangs that press into the flesh of tender skin, vampires are known for being in search of fresh blood. This is the vampire that we know. These creatures need blood to survive and while they prefer to feast upon the veins of humans, they will attack animals for their next meal. Vampires were especially popular during the 18th century. Interestingly, the first vampires that originated from Slavic lore did not have fangs and were actually described as bloated characters with dark skin ”“ far from the handsome, charming Draculas of nowadays.
Called by different names according to the cultural lore, the mythological beings led to many different vampire legends and superstition. The tales that spread across Western Europe caused a mass hysteria. People would actually stake corpses and others were accused of vampirism. There was a variety of interesting ways that people would use to identify a vampire.
A few include:
”¢ Leading a virgin boy through a graveyard or church grounds on a virgin stallion was one way to pinpoint a suspected vampire. It was said that the horse would hesitate at a grave that may contain the undead. Black horses were usually chosen for this task, while white horses were used in Albania.
”¢ If holes appeared in the earth over a grave, people took this as a sign of vampirism.
”¢ If a corpse had the appearance of looking healthier than expected, or showed little to no signs of decomposition.
In 1897, Bram Stoker introduced the world to Dracula in his novel, which sparked countless movies and other adaptations. To this day, the vampire continues to captivate audiences and readers.
There are two different kinds of werewolves that appear in literature and folk tales ”“ the man that is half-man and half-wolf, or the man that transforms entirely into a wolf. The creatures are often depicted as one who is fighting a curse that makes them turn into a werewolf. The beasts are associated with a full moon, which dates back to the Middle Ages although some people believe that the concept has roots with ancient Greek writers.
Werewolves were described as having the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or a wolf-like creature. Some of these creatures were born as a human with a lycanthropic trait or have become the victim of a curse. In some instances, the bite or scratch from a werewolf can cause the chance to occur. The werewolf underwent the transformation when a full moon was in the sky. This beast when fully transformed, would have sub-human strength and speed that exceeded both common wolves and humans.
In America, wolf and associated shape-shifting tales are often connected (but not limited) to the Native Americans, who told stories of animal spirits and a human’s ability to turn into an animal.