Well it turns out that the first vampires might not be Dracula or Elizabeth Bathory. And the first vampires might not have acted anything at all like the images we've dreamed up vampires to be today. One of the most adamant arguments on this site is that real vampires need to drink blood. And up until today, I would have agreed with you. But then I came across this piece of information about vampires in Eastern Europe in the mid 1600s. These creatures, which are thought in some parts to be the true first vampires, seem to come to be what they are more out of the way they died and such, and that the focus of the stories is that they come back from the dead.
It was during this time that communities throughout Eastern Europe and Greece started seeing some sort of paranormal phenomenon. It wasn't vampire-like activity per se, but rather things that you would expect from a poltergeist, such as dishes flying, drawings slamming shut, etc. After these happenings, panic broke out among the people.
It's also important to note that these communities were made up of mostly people from the Eastern Orthodox faith. This is of particular importance because it was this faith that believed strongly in the rituals of death and associated the way a person died and how they were buried, had a lot to do with what happened to their soul once they were gone. The Eastern Orthodox people who were experiencing the terrifying incidences explained their experience as being attacked or seeing something that seemed human yet unnatural and hadn't decayed. There was also a strong believe attached to the Eastern Orthodox faith that if the soul wasn't set free properly, the physical body would be unable to decompose. This was to reflect the state their soul was feeling, rather than what was really physically happening. And because of their faith, believed these to be souls that had come back due to a wrongdoing in the death ritual, or a spot on the person's soul. Those in the same areas however that weren't of the Eastern Orthodox faith said that the creatures did seem to be decayed to them.
It wasn't thought that these first vampires came back to drink anyone's blood. It was common knowledge that they came back to eat and drink but they would feast on either animal or human, whichever they came upon or fancied. These first vampires of the Eastern Orthodox faith were also thought to have a very healthy sexual appetite. If they were married when they had died it was thought that they came back to be with their spouse, or that they would bother strange men and women to sleep with them. And just like our storytelling still goes today, these vampires were also very beautiful and hard to resist.
These vampires weren't thought to live on generation after generation however. It was widely assumed that once a vampire appeared on the scene in these areas, they would have only a certain amount of time before they were eventually eliminated or just died out.
This particular piece of history surrounding what could have been the first vampires applies only to the Eastern Orthodox people of the is area during this particular time. Like all vampire mythology and vampire history, this is one piece of the puzzle and applies to a specific group of people.