Although vampires are recognized to be deadly creatures and their existence is controversial, evidence substantiates that they do indeed exist. The teachings and the records of the past give enough proof for sane people. Horrible things happen today, due to vampire activity. Humans are instinctively fearful of the truth, fortune and of death; but human fear of the fact that some incidences are actually caused by vampires leads man to ignore the problem and thus make himself believe that vampires do not exist. Ignoring the problem only increases its severity. The number of vampires is probably multiplying. Vampires would most likely one day rise against humanity, to avenge their long dead ancestors, and turn the human population into a vampire one. People need to be aware of the problem, and educated about vampires, maybe even taught about them in school, so that humans can destroy the legions of the undead and live in peace.
If the issue of vampires' existence is to be discussed, then the exact meaning of the word vampire should be clarified. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a vampire as "a bloodsucking ghost or reanimated body of a dead person believed to come out from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep" (qtd. in Baumann 5). This statement is also supported by the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English and Encyclopedia International (950; 6). Dictionaries and encyclopedias usually give limited information, but in this case they actually gave an incorrect definition. Firstly, vampires are not "believed..." to be, but their existence has been proven. Secondly, they do not just suck "the blood of persons asleep" but also of those who are awake. In short, the word vampire is applied to a dead and buried person who rises out of the grave every night except Friday, and goes about stealthily sucking the blood of whoever is available (Crow 252). Kipling was absolutely correct in writing that "Some of him lived but the most of him died" (201).
Vampires have certain physical characteristics that distinguishe them from humans. Generally, vampires are pale and skinny (Baumann 7). The most widely known universal characteristic would be the fangs. Right before the bloody encounter, the vampire uses its piercing eyes to hypnotize its prey (Baumann 7). The vampire plunges these two, long, sharp teeth into the jugular vein and sucks the blood from its victims (Baumann 7). It is well known that vampires cast no shadow nor a reflection in the mirror (Stoker 245). A vampire can transform himself into a wolf (Stoker 245). Vampires can also take the form of a bat to gain entry into a victim's house; It would resume its normal form once inside (Baumann 7). Vampires, on certain occasions, can also be seen as phantoms (Crow 252). Vampires are not always spotted right away; but because of these morphological differences between humans and vampires, it can be made.
Vampires have powers, but they can not always do as they wish because their power is limited. A vampire will remain undead, as long as it feasts on the blood of the living and is not killed (Stoker 245). A vampire can not die like a human by the mere passing of time and the growing of age because he can grow younger (Stoker 245). People who have died by the hands of a vampire are at his command (Stoker 243). A vampire "...can direct the elements: the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things: the rat, and the owl, and the bat and the fox, and the wolf..." (Stoker 243). A vampire possesses strength so overwhelming that it is estimated to be the equivalent of twenty people (Stoker 243). A vampire can transform himself into a wolf, can come in mist, can slip through hair breadth space, can see in the dark, and he can come on moonlight rays as elemental dust (Stoker 245). A vampire can only enter a house at first if invited, he can then come as he pleases (Stoker 246). A vampire is powerless in daytime (Stoker 246). If the undead creature is not in its coffin, it can only transform itself at sunrise, noon, or sunset (Stoker 246). A vampire can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide (Stoker 246). Garlic and a crucifix make a vampire powerless (Stoker 246). A vampire with all its power still has to abide by some of nature's laws.
No one is born a vampire; yet, one can become a vampire if certain conditions are met. According to legend, when a werewolf dies, it immediately becomes a vampire (Baumann 7). Priests proclaim that people who commit serious sins leave their graves at night because their souls can find no peace (Baumann 7). A person can be buried for months, even years before leaving the grave (Baumann 8). People excommunicated by the church are also liable to become vampires; so are people cursed by their parents, and wizards, and people who commit suicide (Baumann 5). But horribly enough, some people became vampires solely by having their blood sucked, during life, by another vampire (Crow 252). Even after death a person can become a vampire, that is if an animal jumps over the corpse or if a bird flies over it (Crow 252). These undead or living corpses are doomed to live as vampires until they could be destroyed.
Certain procedures have to be employed if one desires to keep vampires away and ensure safety from them. The most common method is placing garlic in front of all doors and windows (Baumann 8). A person wearing a crucifix or rosary is also supposed to be safe, so is someone standing in a circle of holy water or salt (Baumann 8, 76). If a vessel of holy water is thrown onto a vampire,it would be burned and scarred (Baumann 8). The same result would be achieved using Holy Wafer (Stoker 302). It is said that placing a wild rose over a vampire's coffin would prevent him from leaving it (Stoker 246). For people living in fear of vampires, it is reassuring to know that they can protect themselves from them.
The best news is that vampires can be killed, but they simply do not die as easily as a normal human. As a human dies and turns into a vampire, it is as if it has just been born again, but as a vampire this time who has been baptized with blood. Morning is when vampires are usually found in their coffins; they must be killed immediately before they recruit some more troops. There are many ways to kill a vampire such as driving a large nail across the head, through the temples, driving a stake through the heart, or cutting the head off or burning the whole body (Crow 252). If the coffin is found empty, usually at nighttime, a crucifix is placed in the grave so the vampire will not be able to get back into it; then when the sun rises, and its rays will transform the vampire into a shapeless pile of dust (Baumann 3). A vampire can also die if a sacred bullet is fired into the coffin (Stoker 246). Vampires will live on and on, feasting on the blood of the living, unless one of the mentioned anti-vampire remedies is used.
Dracula, often assumed to be a vampire, did exist; sixty years after the publishing of Dracula, his identity has been firmly established (Baumann 10-11). Dracula means "son of the dragon" or "son of the devil" (Baumann 13). If it had not been for Bram Stoker, the real Dracula would very likely have been lost to history (Baumann 13). Dracula's childhood may explain why he "...was one of the cruelest and most barbaric rulers in recorded history" (Baumann 13). At eight, Dracula was imprisoned by the Turks for four years and, as a result, he became eager for revenge (Baumann 16). Dracula was released from prison and he ruled Walachia (Baumann 16). On one occasion, three hundred Tartar soldiers entered Walachia; Dracula had several of them fried in oil, made their companions eat them and he told them that they would continue eating each other if they do not agree to fight the Turks with him (Baumann 18). He got into more trouble with the Turks than he could handle and fled to Hungary, but there he spent seventeen years in prison (Baumann 18). Even though Dracula was imprisoned, he still had to see blood flow. Guards brought him creatures and the Russian ambassador to the Court of King Matthias (the king of Hungary) reported that: "Dracula particularly enjoyed plucking all the feathers off chickens. He would watch in fascination as they ran around his cell in wild circles. When the novelty of that finally wore off, hewould slit their throats (Baumann 19)." Dracula's long years in prison were not entirely unpleasant; the sister of the King liked him and as a result, he was given special treatment by the guards (Baumann 19). He ate and drank well, and he spent much of his time in the palace because the King enjoyed showing him off to his visitors (Baumann 19). Dracula married the Princess when he was released from prison (Baumann 19). Dracula was killed on the field of battle by anonymous assassin(s), who cut off his head and sent it to the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople; it was openly displayed on a stake (Baumann 19). "He spilled the blood of thousands of people, but he never drank any of it. Contrary to common to popular belief the real Dracula was not a vampire" (Baumann 13).
Although Dracula was not a vampire, the existence of vampires has been proven. Men centuries ago signed statements saying that Arnold Paole became a vampire because he was bitten by one during his lifetime in 1727 (Baumann 46). Within months after Arnold's death, a number of villagers claimed that they have been haunted by him and his nightly visits left them weak; some of them died soon afterward (Baumann 48). A party was sent to destroy the vampire; when the grave was found and opened, Arnold's eyes were wide open and blood stained his lips, he looked as if he died recently (Baumann 49). As a stake was driven through Arnold's heart, the corpse shrieked (Baumann 52). The same was done to the people who died because of him and no more attacks were reported (Baumann 52-53). Many similar stories are told, including ones about the Vampire of Croglin Grange and the Vampire Shoemaker (Baumann 61-68; 32-39). For people living in the eighteenth century, there was proven evidence of the existence of vampires.
One might wonder why there is no evidence of vampire activity today, there is! Highgate Cemetery is an unkept and a rather frightening place in London, England (Baumann 69). An epidemic of ghost sightings began in 1967 and still continues; there is evidence that at least one of the ghosts is a vampire (Baumann 70). Dead foxes and rabbits were found in the Cemetery; they had wounds around their throats and their bodies have been completely drained of blood (Baumann 70). Manchester, President of the British Occult Society, personally investigated the matter and found that the most accurate description of the phantom came from a man who had been attacked one night while walking in the Cemetery (Baumann 73). Elizabeth Wojdyla had the symptoms of a vampire victim and contacted Manchester; she bore the "mark of the vampire" on the side of her neck (Baumann 74-75). On several occasions, Elizabeth went into a trance and sleptwalk to the northgate of the Cemetery and then came back (Baumann 76). She was attacked several times by the vampire and desperate measures were taken to prevent further attacks (Baumann 76). The attacks stopped, which indicates that "the ancient anti-vampire remedies still worked in the twentieth century" (Baumann 77). The vampire, unfortunately, found another victim "Lucy", who refuses to reveal her real name, and who developed the same symptoms as the ones Elizabeth had (Baumann 77). Manchester believed that if Lucy were followed sleepwalking, the vampire's grave would be found, which is what happened; but he could not give it the vampire treatment because disturbing a corpse was against the law (Baumann 77-81). The entrance to the tomb was sealed (Baumann 82). Four days later, a body of a dead man was found in the Cemetery; he had died from a vampire attack (Baumann 82). Things that can not be explained logically still happen in Highgate Cemetery (Baumann 82). "Twentieth-century man may refuse to believe in vampires", says Manchester, but he insists that they are by no means a thing of the past (Baumann 74).
People must face the fact that vampires exist and do something about it. Vampires will not disappear if they are forgotten; that is like asking whether a falling tree in a desolate place makes a noise or not. Vampires and humans were probably created at the same time and for centuries neither race became extinct, but the vampire population is increasing and is ready to strike. It is a war that has to be fought and humans have to take the first step which is, since the existence of vampires has been proven, making the public believe in vampires in order to be watchful and control them.
Baumann, Elwood D. Vampires. New York: Franklin Watts, 1977.
Crow, W.B. Witchcraft Magic and Occultism. Hollywood: Wilshire Book Co., 1974.
Hornby, A.S. "Vampire." Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974. p 950.
Rudyard Kipling. "The Vampire." Treasury of Poems. Chicago: Book Production Industries, 1985. p200.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Penguin Books, 1992. "Vampire." Encyclopedia International. 1963. ed. p6.
Definition: If the issue of vampires' existence is to be discussed, then the exact meaning of the word vampire should be clarified. Description: Vampires have certain physical characteristics that distinguishes them from humans.
How to become a vampire: Nobody is born a vampire, yet one can become a vampire if certain conditions are met. Vampire's powers and limitations: Vampires have certain powers but they are limited.
To keep them away: Certain precautions and procedures should be employed if the desired effect is keeping vampires away. To kill: Vampires simply do not die as easily as a normal human.
Dracula: Dracula did exist! Ancient vampires: Even though Dracula was not a vampire, it has been proven that there are other people who did become vampires. Recent vampires: The vampire of Highgate Cemetery proves that vampire activity is still going on today.
Thesis: Although vampires are recognized to be deadly creatures and their existence is controversial, evidence substantiates that they do indeed exist.
I. Defining a vampire
B. Physical characteristics
II. Becoming a vampire
III. Having certain powers and limitations
IV. Protecting oneself
A. To keep them away
B. To kill them
V. Identifying Dracula
VI. Identifying real vampires
A. Arnold Paole
B. Vampire of Highgate Cemetery