It was the early 18th century. The ancient legends of blood-sucking monsters were already very popular around the world. A wave of the Bubonic Plague was beginning to emerge. Numerous deaths were happening in Eastern Europe because of the Plague, and various other diseases. Due to the increasing number of deaths, the graveyards were full of bodies and no grounds remained to bury the dead. To handle this situation, it was decided for the older graves to be dug up, and accommodate the new bodies. This small decision, eventually, led to the birth of the Vampires.
When the graves were dug, people noticed that the deceased bodies had long hair and long nails. Blood was flowing through the mouths of the dead. Due to the lack of advancement in science, no one understood this phenomenon. It seemed to them that these dead people must have come to life at some point. The blood in their mouth made it appear that the corpses had reawakened to drink blood. People started calling them “Vampires“. They compared it to the undead, nocturnal, and shape-shifting monsters from their folk tales. Also, there was no medical knowledge about the illness of plague and other flourishing diseases. So the people concluded that the vampires were killing the humans.
There is simple scientific reasoning for this phenomenon displayed by the dead bodies. When a person dies, the skin in the human body dehydrates and shrinks which leads to longer visible hair and nails. Bacterias in the stomach create various gases which bloat the belly, forcing out blood from the mouth.
Dracula and Vampires
Soon after, digging up graves was prohibited. With the advancement in science, the truth about vampires also came out. But their tales had already spread across the world.
Bram Stoker, a well-known author of the time, published a novel named Dracula, in the year 1847. Some scholars believe that the character of Dracula was inspired by a historical figure, Vlad 3 Dracula (also known as, Vlad the Impaler). However, many disagree with this and believe that Dracula comes from the Romanian word Dracule, which according to Bram, meant Devil. Moreover, the novel was extremely frightening. Following this, many other books were published. Some popular ones like The Vampyre and Carmilla.
In the year 1922, a German studio- Prana Film, adapted the novel- Dracula, and turned it into a silent film – “Nosferatu”. However, they denied paying any royalties to the author. Soon the studio got sewed for this. Stoker’s widow established copyright for the staged version of Dracula. Following it, in the year 1931, a movie named Dracula was released by Universal Pictures, which was a well-known studio of the time. This movie was a huge hit and eventually, stirred the world into believing in Vampires and Dracula.
Also read: Origin of the Zombies