Over the centuries, there have been many incarnations of vampires throughout the world as documented in legend, folklore, historical accounts, fiction and nonfiction writings, cinema, and alleged firsthand accounts of sightings and interactions. These range from the Greek lamia, to Bram Stoker to Christopher Lee's Hammer films to the notorious case of London's alleged Highgate Vampire and even a host of intriguing modern-day blood barhoppers and individuals who practice blood fetish rituals.
For just as long, historians, scholars, authors, filmmakers, and various vampire experts have written about and portrayed vampires and forms of vampirism in all measure of creative caricatures, many of which have proven legendary, and some downright comedic. As with all discussions of bloodsuckers, there exists a wide range of opinions and accounts that in some cases have, over the decades and centuries, taken on a life of their own. As with all things dubbed “paranormal,” this is a natural anomaly. For the purposes of this book, we cover a wide variety of vampires and vampirism in their various incarnations, from the traditional “I vant to suck your blood” ghoul, to the romantic drawing room bloodsucker, to accounts of “real” vampires to current cult vampiric practices. We also include a trio of different tips to flesh out our fiendish findings: Fangtastic Folklore covers vampiric facts, legends, and lore, as well as vampire literature; Screen Screams highlight all measure of vampiric cinema; and Vampire Bites focus on vampire terminology.
By and large, the vampire, perhaps more so than any other legendary character, has been fictionalized and romanticized to the extent that it's almost overwhelming. But along the way, many diligent researchers, writers of fiction and nonfiction, historians, scholars, scientists, vampirologists, and folklorists have tackled the subject with the most tenacious and thorough aplomb one can employ when writing about a character rife with history, mystery, romance, and violence. That said, it must be stated that for the majority of folks, vampires and vampirism is nothing more than a legend. However, for some individuals, the practices and existence of vampires is very real, and their opinions, as well as those of scholars, historians, and experts must be acknowledged as well. As with legendary mysterious figures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, there remains the possibility that if something hasn't been clearly disproven, there is the possibility that it can indeed exist. Where vampires are concerned for the world's majority, however, it's unlikely that most folks would believe of their existence unless a bona fide, scientifically proven bloodsucker appeared on Larry King Live. Such is the course of modern-day human nature.
Regardless, there are many, many aspects of the vampire that remain a current fascination, from its traditional origins, literature, film, and folklore to other intriguing and complex conceptual aspects involving the psychological, spiritual, physical, and emotional realms and even the subjects of magnetic, astral, and psychic vampirism to name a few. To say that a vampire or the subject of vampirism is one-dimensional is a gross misstatement, as there exists an exceptional kaleidoscope of history, lore, and societal underpinnings that play into the seemingly eternal subtext of the vampire legend. All of that is what we seek to expose and introduce to you. We hope to provide a well-rounded initiation into a world filled with light and dark and a huge gray area whereby you alone can decide if creatures of the night do indeed walk among us, watching and waiting and perhaps even hoping that we gain a new understanding of why they hunt, how they live, and how they survive — whether in real life or purely in our minds — under the greatest measure of adversity. They are, and shall forever be known, as Vampyr. They shock. They seduce. They frighten. And on occasion they even make us laugh. But be warned. If one thing holds true when it comes to all things vampire related — their bite is worse than their bark.