Vampire Legends from around the World
This is a "sampler" of vampire legends from around the world.
African. Asanbosam are normal vampires except that they have hooks instead of feet. They tend to bite their victims on the thumb.
Indian. These vampires natural form is that of a half-man, half-bat creature roughly four feet tall. They are otherwise unremarkable.
Malaysian. The bajang normally take the form of polecats. They could be enslaved by sorcerors and forced to kill the sorceror's enemies, and some families were believed to be hereditarily stalked by the bajang.
Scottish. The baobhan sith (pronounced buh-van she) are evil fairys who appear as beautiful young women and will dance with men they find until the men are exhausted, and then feed on them. The baobhan sith can be harmed and destroyed by cold iron.
Ancient Greece. According to Greek legend, a child born on Christmas will become a allicantzaros.
These vampires often appear in half-human, half-animal shapes.
Chinese. Ch'ing shih appear livid and may kill with poisonous breath in addition to draining blood. If a Ch'ing Shih encounters a pile of rice, it must count the grains before it can pass the pile. They can be harmed and destroyed by normal weapons and by sunlight. Their immaterial form is a glowing sphere of light, much like a will-o'-the-wisp.
Mexican. These vampire-witches held sabbaths at crossroads and were believed to attack young children and to mate with human men, producing children who were also vampires. They were believed to be linked to the god Tezcatlipoca.
Irish. The dearg-due is a standard European vampire, except that it cannot shapeshift and may be defeated by building a cairn of stones over its grave.
Ancient Greece and Rome. Empusas appear as either beautiful women or ancient hags. They are strongly related to the incubi and succubi (q.v).
Assyrian. These are vampires of the spirit variety. They are naturally invisible and are capable of possessing humans. They can be destroyed by using wooden weapons or by exorcism.
Indian. These creatures live in forests and can control dogs. They will attempt to lure or drive travellers into the forest to attack them.
European. Incubi (plural of incubus) are sexual vampires. They are spirit vampires of a demonic nature. They may enter homes uninvited and can take on the appearance of other persons. They will often visit the same victim repeatedly. A victim of an incubus will experience the visits as dreams. The female version of an incubus is a succubus
Brazilian. Normally appearing as snakes, jaracara are said to drink the milk of sleeping women as well as their blood.
Bulgarian. Krvopijacs (also known as obours) look like normal vampires except that they have only one nostril.They can be immobilized by placing wild roses around their graves. One way to destroy a krvopijac is for a magician to order its spirit into a bottle, which must then be thrown into a fire.
Ancient Greece and Rome. Lamias are exclusively female vampires. They often appear in half-human, half-animal
forms and eat the flesh of their victims in addition to drinking their blood. Lamias can be attacked and killed with normal weapons.
West Indies. Appearing as old women, these vampires go abroad at night as blobs of light, much like the will-o'-the-wisp.
Serbian. Mulos normally appear as people wearing white clothes. They are active both day and night, and can assume the shapes of horses or sheep. They eat their victims in addition to drinking their blood. Mulos are also known as Vlokoslak.
Central and Eastern European. The "traditional" vampire described in Dracula. Most vampires appearing in movies and books are of this sort.
Indian. The Rakshasas are powerful vampires of the spirit variety. They usually appear as humans with animal features (claws, fangs, slitted eyes, etc.) or as animals with human features (flattened noses, hands, etc.). They often appear as tigers. In any form, rakshasas are powerful magicians. They eat the flesh of their victims in addition to drinking blood. Rakshasas may be destroyed by burning, sunlight, or exorcism.
Eastern European. These are "birds of ill omen" who will attack people at night, with a whole flock of strigoi sometimes attacking a single victim. The strigoi use their long,sharp beaks to peck holes in their victims and drink their blood.
Serbian. The vampyr is naturally invisible, but can be seen by animals or by a dhampir. A dhampir is the (living) offspring of a vampyr, and is capable of seeing vampyrs and of harming them physically. Dhampirs would often hire out to destroy vampyrs. Vampyrs cannot shapeshift
Medieval Greece. Described as being "swollen" and "distended," vrykolakas can walk in daylight without being harmed. The vrykolakas may only call to be let into a specific house once a night. In addition to sucking blood, vrykolakas also cause nightmares. They may be destroyed by exorcism or burning. In Crete, they are called kathakano.
Polish and Russian. Wampiri appear exactly as normal humans and have a "sting" under their tongue rather than fangs. They are active from noon until midnight. A wampir may only be destroyed by burning. When the wampir is burned, its body will burst, giving rise to hundreds of small, disgusting
animals (maggots, rats, etc.). If any of these escape, then the wampir's "spirit" will escape as well, and will later return to seek revenge. These creatures are also called vieszcy and upierczi.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Some other regional variants on the vampire are: dracul (Austrian), kwakiytl (American Indian), lobishomen Brazilian), murony (Wallachian), nachzerer (German), ogolgen (Bohemian), otgiruru (African), oupir (Hungarian), owenga (African), strigoi (Romanian), talamaur (Melanasian), vapir (Bulgarian), and varcolac (Romanian)