Perhaps no fear is more primal than that of being consumed. That ancient terror is likely the root of the bloodsucker myths that darken folklore around the world. Vampire myths and tales of other bloodsucking creatures of the night are found in just about every culture across the globe, and date back centuries.
Each story takes on its own sinister dimensions. In some regions, blood drinkers are demons or evil spirits with the power to possess and reanimate the dead. In others, vampire lore shared some grisly details with the werewolf legend, as the creatures were said to shift their shapes. As for the dreadful creatures that were rumored to haunt Germany, they fed on fear as much as on blood.
These vampires from around the world still frighten as much as they fascinate. Discover their stories, and maybe consider investing in some garlic.
Celtic Fairies Bake Blood Cakes
Many Celtic fairies were believed to have a less-than-whimsical diet. On the Isle of Man, it was once tradition to leave water out each night for the fairies - or they would drink the blood of those asleep inside the house. Some said the fairies would even bake the family’s blood into a blood cake and hide it in the house. If the people didn’t find and consume the cake, they would wither away and die.
The German Alp Feeds On Blood, Milk, And Fear
A malevolent entity known as the Alp is said to haunt the people of Germany, especially young women. More specifically, any woman who commits an unforgivable sin while pregnant, like eating something "unclean," will suffer at the hands of an Alp.
The Alp enters humans through their mouths by turning into mist or a snake, or by using its tongue. Then it plagues its victims with terrifying nightmares. Fits, sleepwalking, and night seizures are all the work of an Alp. The Alp sucks blood from a person’s nipples and is said to enjoy breast milk as well.
The Mesopotamian Lamashtu Eats Newborns
This bloodsucking demon goddess has the ferocious head of a lion, the body of a donkey, and an appetite for babies. Lamashtu prefers newborns and will stalk a mother until the moment she gives birth - then she will swoop in and eat the baby's flesh and drink its blood.
An ancient incantation against her reads, "Great is the daughter of Heaven who tortures babies/Her hand is a net, her embrace is death/She is cruel, raging, angry, predatory/A runner, a thief is the daughter of Heaven."
The Indian Vetala Reanimates Corpses
Vampiric lore in India includes tales of a creatures known as Vetalas. These entities are said to lurk around cemeteries and feed on corpses. The Vetalas can inhabit corpses as well, and may impersonate dead animals as well as people.
These creatures of the night are said to take especial pleasure in killing children, causing miscarriages, and spreading destruction.
The Irish Dearg-Due Lures Young Men To Their Doom
One Irish legend tells the chilling tale of the Dearg-Due. Her name is Gaelic for Red Blood Sucker, and she was once a beautiful young woman who was forced into an abusive marriage. She committed suicide, but rose from her grave as a vampire. Her first mission was to kill her husband and her father. But she didn't stop there, and supposedly still continues to feed on young men. Like a siren, she lures them out into the night as they sleep and drains them of life.
The Filipino Aswang Sucks Up Blood With A Super-Long Tongue
According to Filipino lore, the Aswang is an incredibly attractive, seemingly normal woman by day; she may even be married and have children. But by night, she is a demonic, blood sucking bird. She has a long, hollow tongue that she slides through open windows or ceiling cracks and inserts into her sleeping victims, sucking their blood like nectar. The lick of an Aswang is so potent that it can mean death if the creature so much as grazes its tongue on a person’s shadow.
The Hindu Pishacha Feeds On Human Energy
According to Hindu lore, pishacha can drive you insane. These flesh-eating demons have dark skin with bulging veins and prominent red eyes protruding from their sockets. Like many creatures with vampiric attributes, they have the power to shape-shift. This particular breed, however, is also able to become invisible, and feeds on human energies, invades their minds, and even alters their thoughts.
Some stories say that anyone who sees a pishacha is doomed to die within nine months.
Romani Vampires Can Breed
The Romani people put their own twist on vampire stories. In their tales, female vampires returned to married life after rising from the grave. They were just as blood-thirsty as their male counterparts, but also had a voracious sexual appetites and were said to exhaust their human husbands.
Male vampires could father children, and those children would have special senses when it came to vampire detection. Known as dhampirs, the half-vampires could later become professional vampire hunters.