For centuries, the slightest possibility that vampires exist has lured many towards the tales and folklore of the undead. With the gift of immortality as the reward for believing, many are spellbound by the phenomena. From hundreds of years ago to today, the curiosity and fascination of vampires continues undeterred. No matter the gender of the victim or beast, many are seduced by their mysterious nature. Listed below are 10 of the most famous vampires.
Top 10 Famous Vampires
The Highgate Vampire
Around the time Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, a vampire was appearing in Highgate Cemetery in London. The first sign of the predator was the appearance of scattered dead animals on its grounds. These innocent creatures had wounds on their necks and were completely drained of blood. Witnesses described a tall, dark figure wandering the cemetery, omitting a hypnotic gaze upon anyone who looked at him. Eventually vampire hunters raided the graveyard and dug up several graves. Protecting the integrity of the site, authorities began closing the cemetery at night. Over time, there were fewer and fewer reports of the vampire.
The Vampire of Groglin Grange
Back in the 1800s, the Cranwell family moved into Groglin Range in Cumbria. Almost immediately, the lady of the house began noticing strange lights outside and just below her bedroom. One night, she woke up to the lights glaring at her. She realized then that they were not wandering lights, but the eyes of a vampire. The creature of the night broke through her window and wounded her in the neck, causing her to bleed profusely. As she screamed for help, her brothers ran to her just in time to see a figure leap from the room. They pulled out their pistols and shot at it. They tracked the vampire to the local graveyard. Finding an open crypt, they found a rotten corpse amongst gnawed bones and bearing a fresh bullet wound. They promptly destroyed it by setting it on fire.
The Vampire of New England
While sightings of vampires in the United States are rarely mentioned, there is record of a few early cases in New England. The most famous of the tales is the story of Mercy Brown. Mercy died from tuberculosis, which was a common ailment in the 1700s. Afterwards, her family began to take ill, each dying one right after the other. Locals dug up Mercy’s body to find it in pristine condition, especially considering the amount of time it had been in the ground. Fearing the works of a vampire, they burned it.
Fritz Haarmann: The Butcher
In the 1920s, the Butcher of Hanover, also known as the Vampire of Hanover, committed unspeakable crimes of murder and rape of over 50 young men. Fritz Haarman, the Butcher’s real name, was charged as a serial killer when a stash of human bones and more than 500 decaying body parts were discovered next to a nearby river. Since he was a convicted pedophile, he was immediately questioned and his home searched. Authorities found blood stains and several items that belonged to the murdered boys. He was found guilty of the crimes and in 1925 was beheaded. It was rumored later that he had a black market butcher business and the meat that he sold was from his victims.
Clara Geisslerin: The Torture Victim
In 1597, Clara Geisslerin was accused of witchcraft, grave robbing, murder and sexual relations with demons while they were in the form of animals. Under torture, she admitted to these crimes as well as to drinking the blood of sixty children that she had killed. As soon as the torture would stop, the 69-year-old German woman would recant her confessions. During one of the sessions, she even admitted to conceiving children from the demons, all of which she also killed. She named twenty other women guilty of the same crimes, who all turned against her. After Clara confessed one final time, she was unable to recant as she died under the pressure of the rack. Her death was recognized as the devil’s work, who was trying to stop her from revealing any more of his secrets.
Peter Plogojowitz: The Haunting Dead
One of the famous vampires is Peter Plogojowitz. In the 1700s, a man by the name of Peter Plogojowitz died. His death was unremarkable except for the fact that he didn’t stay dead. Nine people, who all experienced hauntings by Peter in their dreams, died within ten weeks of his death. Peter’s own son reported seeing him before dying mysteriously. His wife took off, claiming he had come to her one night demanding a pair of shoes. Authorities exhumed his body to find him allegedly breathing and his eyes moving. As they thrust a stake into his heart, blood gushed out and he burst into flames. Right after, all the unexplained deaths ended.
Elizabeth Bathory: The Blood Countess
Elizabeth Bathory was a 16th century Romanian Countess who found pleasure in tormenting peasants. She would beat them, pierce their bodies with nails and even douse them in water and let them freeze in the snow. She was accused of being a vampire when it was found she bathed in the blood of young maidens. Elizabeth was walled inside her castle while she was still alive, given only enough room to breathe and eat. Years later, after she died, it was rumored that her blood bath ritual was her attempt of achieving immortality.
Vlad III: The Tyrant
Vlad III the Tyrant, one of the famous vampires, was also known as Vlad the Impaler. A descendent of the Dracul family and son of Vlad II, he was often referred as Dracula. He earned his reputation through his practice of torturing his enemies and then killing them by impalement. He murdered upwards of 100,000 people, ruling Wallachia (now part of Romania) in the mid-1400s with acts of terror. Later Bram Stoker associated the name Dracula with his fictional vampire, thus creating the legend of Vlad being a creature of night as well.
Akasha: Queen of the Damned
Queen Akasha came alive through the works of Anne Rice and her world-famous vampire tales. In the story of Lestat, a vampire with a flair for rock music, she was introduced as the first mother of all vampires. She takes him as her lover, killing the king so Lestat can rule by her side. Queen Akasha devises a plan to overtake the world, killing any human or vampire that attempts to stand in her way. She was eventually killed when a group of vampires turn on her. They all viciously suck blood from her at the same time, with one taking on the fate of draining the last drop and turning into stone.
Carmilla: The Vampire Countess Mircalla Karnstein
Another vampire given the title of mother is Carmilla. Introduced in a short story by Le Fanu, she is described as a good-looking and dangerous woman. The story is steeped in sexiness and corruption. The tale tells of a young woman swayed by the attentions of Carmilla, being seduced by her powers. Written twenty-six years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, her story has been retold and adapted numerous times over the years. It is discovered in the tale that Carmilla is also the Vampire Countess Mircalla Karnstein. In the end, her crypt is found and she is destroyed.