Contest Directions: Tales of vampires in many cultures were inspired by several kinds of bats who are natural vampires and drink blood of cattle and other animals. Such bats were considered to be spirits of the
undead consuming the blood or flesh of living beings.
Vampire costumes are traditionally on the top of the sales list every Halloween season.
Turn celebrities (or politicians) into vampires, monsters or zombies.
Here's a good example 1, and example 2.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: A vampire is a mythological or folklore evil spirit, which generally is a revived human corpse, which feeds on human or animal blood. They also are frequent objects of cinema or fiction, though vampires from artworks have some differences from mythological vampires. In folklore, the term is usually used in relation to blood-sucking creatures from East European legends, but often similar creations from other countries and cultures are also called vampires. The characteristic features of vampires in various legends vary a great deal. Some cultures have histories about inhuman vampires, for example, bats, dogs and spiders.
Vampirism is way of life, based on the weaning of blood from a victim, usually drinking the blood from a person or animal. In folklore and modern culture, the term mainly refers to the possibility of obtaining supernatural abilities by drinking human blood. The historical practice of vampirism can be considered as more a specific and less popular form of cannibalism. The use of blood and/or flesh of another person in food were used as tactics of psychological war, directed for striking fear in the enemy and could be used to reflect various spiritual beliefs.
In zoology and botany, the term “vampirism” is used with respect to bloodsuckers, mistletoe, bat-vampires and other organisms, which feed on the corporal liquid of other creatures. The term is also used and in relation to fictitious animals of similar nature, including the chupakabra.
The term “vampire” can be used to designate any mythological magic creature, which is a predatory parasite, sucking force, energy or life from victims. Mythological creatures, which operate in a similar fashion, are often considered as a vampire sample, even if they do not enjoy blood.
Stories about dead persons shedding blood are found almost in all cultures worldwide, including the most ancient stories. Vampire-like spirits, called Lilu, are mentioned in early Babylonian demonology and blood sucking Akshara in even much earlier Sumerian mythology. These demons wandered in darkness, hunting and killing newborn babies and pregnant women. One of these demons by the name Lilitu was later on adopted by Judaic demonology as Lilit.
In India, stories about Bethal, vampire-like creations, which move into the corpses, were found in old Sanskrit folklore. Popular history talks about King Vikramāditya and his pursuits in the night with an aim to catch the elusive Bethal. Stories about Bethal were collected into the book Baital Pachisi. Bethal is a cadaver, which as a bat is associated with modern vampires and is associated with hanging head first on trees, growing on land, where the dead are cremated and in cemeteries.
The limping corpse is an analog of the vampire in Chinese tradition; however, it feeds on the vital essence of the victim not on blood.
In one of the myths, the ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet turned into a completely blood-thirsty goddess after the murder of people and was sated only after drinking a blood-colored drink.
In Homer’s “Odysseus”, Odysseus meets dead spirits during his trip to the underworld, which are enticed to the blood of sacrificed rams. Odysseus used this fact for the benefit by calling a shadow “Tiresia”.
In Rome, bloodsucking phantoms were called lamia, Jempus and lemurs. The Strix, a night bird, who fed on human blood and flesh, finds a mention in Roman stories. The Romanian word for designating vampires is striga and is formed from the word Albanian Shtriga, but myths about these creatures basically come from the Slavic influence.
As an example for the existence and popularity of similar legends in ancient times, it is possible to note that English historians and annalists Walter Map and William of Newburgh have written several histories in the 12th century which a have disputable similarity with East European vampires.
The myth about vampires in the form which it is known to us, appeared in Eastern Europe from Slavic folklore, where vampires were creatures, which killed people by drinking their blood or their souls. The vampire could be destroyed if its head is chopped-off, a wooden stick thrust into its heart or the burning of the body.