How long are vampires granted to walk the earth? Most books and movies tell us that a vampire will live forever, wandering the earth for all eternity. But is that the case with all vampires? Actually, it’s not.
If we take a look back and peek into the vast world of vampire folklore we’ll find that the immortal undead aren’t as common as one would think. For example, many Muslim gypsies believed that a vampire will only live for several months – not eternity. Other gypsies claimed that a vamp only walks the earth for forty days. In Albania and Serbia it was believed that that the undead must be killed within thirty days of rising or it will become human once again, traveling the land under a new name.
In spite of the history, immortality is considered to be one of the biggest attributes given to vampires, it’s a big part of their allure. The thought that an ancient being secretly feeding upon mortals, existing among them and observing time as it goes by is one of the things that draws us to vampire stories. So it’s understandable that authors would create immortal vampires, rather than forty-day vampires. Most humans fear that slow lingering death, they fear their painfully short lives, but the undead, they have conquered that. Vampires may live a dark and grim life of blood and loneliness, but the fact that they have avoided that big mortal struggle is the main reason the popularity of vampires has endured for so long.
In most fiction a vampire will live forever as long as they stay out of sunlight and away from weapons that will kill them. They will also grow significantly stronger over the centuries, or so say the authors scribing these beloved tales. It’s a nice thought, one that vampire fans love, and often, believe to be true.
But where did the immortal vampire come from? It’s not universally documented in folklore, but it is well established in fiction. So like so many other “well known” vampire facts, immortality appears to be another creation of the entertainment world, not history.