5 of the Creepiest and Most Horrifying Vampires from Folklore

Most vampires nowadays are beautiful, love-struck immortals who live in lavish homes and act like gentlemen. But that wasn’t always the case. If you look back at folktales through the ages from all over the world you will discover the most hideous and disturbing of creatures. No romance, no vegetarians, just pure bloodlust and savagery. The vampires of folklore are what nightmares are made of… not daydreams. Below are 5 of the creepiest and most terrifying  vampire myths.

Brahmaparusha: A cruel vampire species found in India that feasts upon humans. The vampire drinks the blood of its victims from a human skull it uses as a chalice and dances with the body’s intestines wrapped around its head like a crown.

Penanggalan: A dreadful vampire that comes from Malaysia. This is a very disturbing being that it is nothing more than a floating head and neck and has intestines dangling beneath it. These revolting dripping intestines would cause sores if they so happened to drip on a living person. The Penanggalan also uses vinegar to shrink its intestines, so that they will fit in the head/neck. Also, these intestines just so happen to glow in that dark. If all that’s not bad enough, the penanggalan feeds on children or on babies still in the womb.

Jenglot: This vampire is actually a tiny living doll in Indonesian and Malaysian folklore. It is described as a living mummy or doll that’s about 15cm to 20cm in length, with creepy eyes, sharp fangs and long nails. The body’s flesh looks like it has been fossilized. The face either looks like a skeleton or like a corpse, and the hair on its gross head is believed to grow over time. This living doll is said to have magical properties and will allow its owner to use such power for a price – and that price is blood.

Mara: The Scandinavian mara (also known as mora) was believed to enter the room of sleepers and give them horrible nightmares. But that’s not all, sometimes she would transform herself into a horse and stomp on the sleeping victim’s chest . When she wasn’t doing that, she was of course, drinking their blood. In some versions of the myth, when a mara drank a man’s blood she would instantly fall in love with him, never leaving him and always haunting his dreams.

Churels: There are two very different myths on the churels of India. In one the vampire is a gorgeous woman who feeds on the blood and semen of its male victims. Doesn’t sound too scary right? Well, in the other version of the myth, a churel is actually a hideous woman who is always naked, has a long black tongue, big gross lips, long sagging breasts, huge sharp teeth, snarled dirty hair, a potbelly, long unkempt pubic hair, a pig’s face and claw-like hands. It hangs out at cemeteries and preys on the blood of whoever enters.

There you have it Dear Readers, 5 of the creepiest, most terrifying vampires of folklore – and they aren’t alone, there are many more grotesque vampire myths out there. Vampires of the past were not to be taken lightly.

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).


      1. The Mara is actually the origin of the word “nightmare” – brought by the vikings when they invaded Britain. In Scandinavia a bad dream is still known as a mar[a]dream(mardröm).

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