10 Notorious Real Life 'Vampires'

Some people in history are notorious for spilling blood in bizarre (yet brutal) ways. Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler may have partly inspired the legend of Dracula, but there are real-life offenders who have committed grave and nefarious deeds in order to satisfy an alleged bloodthirst.

The most notorious is Elizabeth Báthory, a Hungarian noblewoman and ruthless killer. In fact, Báthory lives in infamy as the most prolific female offender of her kind, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. So great was Báthory's bloodlust that many believe she bathed in the blood of her victims to attain infinite youth and beauty. In 1614, Báthory passed, having been imprisoned in her castle for her egregious crimes.

Read on to discover the most infamous real-life vampires who ever existed and collectively claimed many victims.

  • Elizabeth Báthory
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The Countess of Hungary is thought to have had 600 servant girls dispatched so that she could bathe in their blood, believing that this practice would preserve her youth. She was later apprehended and tried, then punished by being walled up in her room with only a slit for slipping food and water in.

    Báthory passed in her castle after only four years of imprisonment. 

  • Peter Kürten
    Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-11502 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

    The infamous "Vampire of Dusseldorf," Kürten is said to have committed a series of slayings from 1929 to 1930, ranging from young girls to older women. He claimed to have drunk the blood of at least one of his victims.

    He was apprehended in 1930 and guillotined in 1931.

  • Fritz Haarmann
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    "The Vampire of Hanover" is thought to have dispatched 27 boys, luring them to his apartment and biting their necks. Haarmann was actually a police informant prior to his apprehension. He was guillotined in 1925.

  • Joseph Vacher
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Joseph Vacher is dubbed "The French Ripper" in comparison to Jack the Ripper of London. A drifter, with a trademark appearance of rabbit fur hat and accordion, Vacher would terminate at least 11 people, many of them young shepherds in the field. He was caught after unsuccessfully going after a woman, who fought back and called out to people nearby for help.

    Vacher was apprehended and guillotined on New Year's Eve 1898. 

  • Neville Heath
    Photo: Metropolitan Police / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Neville Heath

    Neville Heath was a man known to frequently commit fraud. In London in 1946, he had been faking his identity, claiming that he was a lieutenant colonel. He then dispatched and drank the blood of two women using this guise. 

    Heath, AKA "The Lady Killer," was apprehended in 1946 and sentenced to receive capital punishment.

  • Andrei Chikatilo
    Photo: Rostov Police Department / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Andrei Chikatilo, known as the "Red Ripper" was an infamous offender from the USSR. Chikatilo is thought to have mutilated and terminated at least 52 women and children from 1978 to 1990.