There are three main ways to become a vampire; by birth, by bite, and by death. The second is explanation enough in and of itself. A vampire bites and feeds from a male or female, and whether it is the result of recurring feeding or one incident of feeding that led to death, he or she then becomes on of the undead. According to folklore from different cultures across the globe, there are numerous signs that a child is born a vampire, or that a corpse has become one after death. There are signs that one might give that they have been bitten and are turning into a vampire, such as shying away from religious talk, or items, lessening hygiene and foul breath, have newly begun to sleepwalk, as well as anemic tendencies.
Some of the causes for vampirism in a child are being born on certain holy days, new moons, or seasonal equinox, or being conceived on those days, born with a red caul on their head, too much hair, an extra nipple, two hearts. The habits of the child may also indicate vampirism, such as if it was weaned too soon, or if the baby continues nursing even after it has been weaned. Dying before baptism as a baby is another possible way to turn into a vampire infant. There’s also being born the seventh son of a seventh son; but this can also be taken as a good omen as well. Some reasons fall on the mother; if she stared at a vampire, or did not eat enough salt while she was pregnant, her child might be born a vampire. Other reasons are curses, either after the baby has been born, or while still in the womb.
One can also become a vampire if certain customs are not observed after death. In some areas of Romania it is believed that burying a corpse face up will result in vampirism, while others remain steadfast that the only way is to die as a vampire’s victim. Improper burial ceremonies, no burial, as well as shadows falling across a corpse, the wind from the Russian Steppe blowing over a corpse, even having a cat, dog, or other animal jump over the corpse has been believed to be a certain cause of vampirism. Some believe it is the way the person dies that makes the vengeful spirit of the vampire linger, such as those were died violently, with murders that went unavenged, or even death by drowning. In other cultures, the actions of others dictate the vampire change in a corpse; some believe that stealing the ropes used to bury a corpse will cause the dead to rise, while others believe that if the corpse has a sleepwalking brother, it will come back as a vampire.