Top 10 Vampire Stereotypes Explained

Thanks to today’s date – 10.10.10 – we’re bringing you a top 10 list, because really, what day is better than today?

After thousands of years of history, the vampire has earned itself countless well-known legends and when you mix in the stereotypes created by the entertainment world you have even more.  Many folks have a pre-conceived notion of vampires, so today I’ll explain those top 10 vampire myths and stereotypes.

10. Stake through the heart.
Thanks to movies and books a stake through a vampire’s heart has become the most popular way to kill a vampire. The truth is, this idea didn’t originate in any book or movie. Every country has it’s own vampire myths and its own vampire species – from the Malaysian Langsuir to the Czechoslovakian nelapsi – and every country has its own way to destroying a vampire, most of the time this involves a stake in the heart. Certain types of wood were said to be the most effective towards these old vampires, such as maple, hawthorn and aspen.

9. Bats.
Vampires being able to transform into a bat was made popular by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But Stoker wasn’t too off, many old vampire legends claim that certain vampires could transform into animals. Germany’s nachzehrer and the bruxsa could transform into an animal, along with many other vampires. A bat isn’t a far stretch, they are nocturnal animals after all, so it makes sense that some would think vamps could turn into one.

8. Water
Two common vampire stereotypes are that vampires can’t cross running water and that holy water burns them. Once again, these were made popular by the entertainment world and again, the original idea came from history. Water was believed to be a purifier that washed away evil and sin. In Greece, naughty vampires were “exiled” to islands (because they were surrounded by water see), which isolated them and kept them from leaving and eating up the living. As for holy water, this is water that has been blessed by a cleric, therefore made sacred and possessing powerful anti-evil properties. So people believed that holy water had the power to hurt damned beings like the undead.

7. Mirrors
Shows like Buffy and Angel have shown us vampires have no reflection, and countless books and movies say the same. And guess what?! This myth also has historical ties – shock shock! Back in the day, they believed that mirrors reflect souls and that evil beings have no soul, therefore no reflection.

6. Capes
The most popular vampire Halloween costume involves white makeup, slicked back hair and a big cape. This vision of a vampire glued to the minds of most people, but why?  It’s all because of actor Bela Lugosi and his role in the old Dracula flick. Christopher Lee and Frank Langella later helped to reinforce Lugosi’s look by repeating it over and over again. Years later, we still remember their classic image of a vampire and every Halloween we have hundreds of Lugosi vampires running around.

5. Vampires can fly
We’ve seen flying vampires in quite a few movies and TV shows and so it’s has become a pretty common idea that there are flying vampires. Believe it or not, flying vampires can be traced back to folklore. There’s a species in the Philippines known as the aswang that can fly.

4. Garlic
The stereotype that vampires hate garlic wasn’t created by Hollywood. It’s another myth that can be traced back to the Middle Ages and earlier. Garlic was believed to have many anti-evil properties (like these), so it was used to protect against vampires and other supernatural beasties.

3. Fangs
All vampires have fangs right? Wrong. The fact is that very few vampires in folklore have fangs. Fangs are another example of the way in which authors and films have made an otherwise unrelated characteristic one of the most recognized traits of the undead. The entertainment world gave vampires fangs to drink blood and to be a little scarier, that’s why fangs are so common nowadays.

2. Sunlight
One of the best known vampire stereotypes is that they are killed by sunlight. Fiction and folklore combined have created this myth. The truth is that some vampires in folklore could walk in the sunlight, like Poland’s upior, which came out between noon and midnight. But honestly it’s a mixed bag, some vamps in lore could walk in the day, while others stuck to the night. Bram Stoker’s Dracula could also walked in the day, so why is the death by sunshine so popular? It was the influential 1922 film Nosferatu that really triggered the idea that vampires were destroyed by sunlight. A host of films followed suit and after a while we had tons of films about vampires being killed by the sun, and a stereotype was born.

1. Blood
Vampires drink blood! This is hands down the best known belief concerning vampires. Nearly every vampire in folklore drinks blood and nearly every vampire in entertainment drinks blood. Blood is life after all, so it makes sense that an undead being would feed on blood to survive.

– 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).


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    1. You want to turn into a creature who can only come out during certain times of the day, has to resort to eating the life-blood of others, can’t eat garlic ever again, and can’t handle a few plants?

  7. I would like to take a moment th help educate mankind as to what vampires really are… First of let’s clarify some myths. We do not burn to death in sunlight, vampirism ony increases the chances of becoming photosensitive which means we burn easier rather than tan. So obviously you don’t have to be pale to be a vampire. Vampires suffer absolutely no effect from water. Most vampires dislike of garlic is because f our stronger noses are overwhelmed by things with strong scents and I believe there is vinegar in garlic which gives it a strong scent. And we can not shapeshifte, that is pure mythology. Now for what vampires really are. We are nearly exactly the same as any human but what vampirism is is a genetic alteration which results in what makes us different from humans. Due to those genetic differences we functionally slightly different. There are two types if layers in the eyes that co trip the pupils, our have been changed so the layer that expands the pupil is stronger resulting in quicker adaptation to less light. We also have stronger nerves which have numerous consiquences. Some of which being our stronger vision as our brain processes information from the eyes faster allowing us to clearly interpret it. It also results in a vampires generally higher reflexes as we are signaled to move faster. Our nerves though more sensitive are more tolerant to pain, which his why we Mosty have higher than average pain tolerances, that however does not me th at we aren’t hurt just as bad by anything, it’s just we don’t feel it as much. I personally recently had one broken and two dislocated ribs from a martial arts class while sparring and I only thought I had a bruised rib until I realized that my ribs were pertruding. Our stronger nerves are the cause if all of our stronger senses except from smelling, which comes from an increase in our smell reseptors. Also do to our body having a higher metabolism and generally running at a faster pace, most drugs be it prescribed or illegal have less of an effect on us. I currently cannot think of any more things to explain about vampires but if asked I’m sure I can continue to share what I know and believe. I will note two thing however. First being that all of this information comes from my personal studies as well as theories. Second being one of the most confusing question I have faced, what causes us the ability to both grow and retract fangs as needed? Though I have no current way of scientifically determining what causes th is changed that seperstws us from humans, my only logical theory is that through our changes we have adapted some form if molecular manipulation. Of course the odds of that seem impossible so I’m not entirely sure of it but it is a possibility. I’ve done a small amount if research and determined that molecular manipulation (the growing, sharpening, retracting, and dulling of our fangs) is possible through molecules releasing an intense amount of heat and energy allowing the properties of molecules to be altered. This would explain how such a thing is possible but does not explain how that action is capable of being performed. If you feel that you are smart enough research molecular manipulation and make sense of the explainations yourself and help me out. :) and one last note, we don’t kill people by drinking all of thier blood, most vampires on average drink just below the amount that results in humans becoming lightheaded and dizzy, so don’t be afraid if you have a vampire friend who asked for your blood, it’s pretty painless if they know what they are doing and it won’t hurt you. :)

      1. Yeah because everybody who says they are a vampire has to have the story they tell be the true one right? Can’t have someone contradict what you say because that makes your fantasy whither away. Please though at least tell me that if you are going to reject what I say that you at least aren’t one of those idiots who thinks vampires are immortal monsters or demons or some other bs. Because I’ve seen enough people even just back in my highschool claim th be immortal vampires who are ungodly powerful and ect and it sickens me.

        1. I know vampires aren’t real. I don’t believe in any kind of vampire. I know basic science though. Your theory on vampires is illogical.

          1. You just literally wrote an article on vampires, with no truth behind anything you say, and you DARE to say this persons opinion has any less truth than yours? How DARE you. I am disgusted

        2. You’re the one whining about your fantasy being contradicted, Andrew. Shove a stake down your throat, ya ignorant bully.

    1. “… I believe there is vinegar in garlic…”
      And there goes ALL of your credibility as ANY type of intelligent creature.


      Unlike whiners like you, this website does actual research.

  8. I was told the reason why the myth that “vampires burn up in sunlight” It used to be that vampires were not welcome in daylight. The townspeople did not want them around. So the vampire hunters would set the vampire on fire. Pour gasoline on them. A person walking down the street would see a vampire on fire. The hunters would say” Oh the vampires naturally burn up in sunlight” This was so the vampire hunters would not get in trouble with the law. Not everybody agreed with harming vampires.

    1. They didn’t have gasoline back then, so whoever told you that has no idea what they’re talking about.

  9. The reason vampires wear capes or cloaks is because they want to be protected from sunlight. They are sensitive to heat. And they do get sunburn and sun poisoning very quickly. And sunlight makes them itch.

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