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 CakesPhoto: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons
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 NewbornsPhoto: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons
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 CorpsesPhoto: inscripta.tumblr.com / via Pinterest
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.