LV As Seen Elsewhere in the World
      Vampires in Folklore


      The vampire categories listed below are mainly of the revenant type.  In their respective ways they're versions of a "hungry ghost", corrupt and perhaps tragic spirits who prey upon the living to bolster their own existence.  The listings are more a casual overview than an all-inclusive treatise.  Some of the countries mentioned also feature another sort of vampire in their cultures, manifesting as gods, bringers of enlightenment or sorcerers who are vampiric.   They will be spoken of elsewhere.

      Vetala: Punyaiama (pure race) looks like an old woman and lurks in burial grounds, deep woods and other dark and sinister places.   It can be spotted in trees at times hanging upsidedown like a bat.   Vetala are cannibals with a voracious appetites who use superhuman strength to tear human prey asunder.  It delights in sucking the blood of sleeping, drunken or mad women.   These creatures might also suck the blood of sleeping persons via passing a magic thread down the chimney.  It can animate corpses. Vetala are said to display an occasional benign side, even helping people but its base nature is that of a monster.
Rashasa-click for full image       Rakshasa:  a vampire demon of many colors, either bright yellow, green or blue, it is deformed and very ugly.  Other characteristics include its long, gleaming slits of eyes and lethal talons which doom anyone so unlucky as to be scratched by them to a painful death.  It is known to animate the dead, eat human flesh and perform acts of mischief, notably interfering with religious rituals and stealing horses, a culinary favorite of this monster.  A variation on the legend has some Rakshasa as being extremely wealthy.  They will whimsically endow a human they take a liking to with fabulous riches.

      Ch'iang Shih:  also called hopping corpses are created when the soul(Po) fails to leave the body, often because the spirit has been angered or offended in some way.   Or in an alternate version, the Ch'iang Shih is created when a cat jumps over a corpse.  The creatures appear livid and may kill with poisonous breath in addition to draining blood.  Their immaterial form is a sphere of light, much like Will-O-the-Wisps.  They can not only animate bodies but create new beings from a dry skull or a few bits of bone.  Ch'iang Shih are credited with diverse other powers as well, including an eyebrow that is magically long enough to be used to lasso it's enemies.  If one of these vampires encounters a pile of rice, it must count the grains before it can pass on.

      Kitsune:  Japan's sometimes feared and sometimes revered fox spirits are tricksters able to take on human form, nearly always female.  They aren't blood drinking vampires in the European tradition but have a distinctly vampiric facet in that they'll enervate those they seduce and sometimes take over their minds as well.
Two tailed Japanese vampire cat-click for fullsized image       Vampire Cats:  Cats seem to have a place in Japan roughly similar to the one bats hold in western vampire lore.  Japanese mythology speaks of a type of shapeshifting demon that appears as a cat.  This cat often had two tails, and sometimes it could change size and become larger than a person.  It was vampire-like in that its main purpose seemed to be sucking human blood.  After killing someone, it gained the ability to transform into perfect copy of that person.  Thus it would get close to new victims who wouldn't suspect anything til too late.  Among the most famed vampire cat tales is that of the Prince of Hizen, a distinguished member of the Nabéshima family, who was nearly destroyed by a vampire cat who had taken on the identity of his sweetheart after having killed her.  The ending is a happy one.  The vampire was driven off before she could take the life of the Prince and his family and later killed.

A fuller version of this classic tale can be found Here.      

      Langsuir:  This creature's form is that of a beautiful woman in a flowing green robe.  Her black hair flows down to her ankles and her nails are long and sharp.   A langsuir is created when a woman becomes demonised by grief over a stillborn child or dies in childbirth.   This vampire uniquely utilises a hole in the back of her neck to suck blood from children.  They like fish and will steal it from fishermen and can change into an owl.   The men of Malaysia seem to have given this myth some thought; as a final note langsuirs can be captured with proper technique.  Then her hair must be cut and stuffed back into the hole in her neck as well as her nails trimmed, transforming her into a 'tame' woman.
      Pennanggalan: a vampire of the unlovely type who also has a yen for the blood of children.  The legend is that an old woman was so startled by a strange man's appearance while she was performing religious duties that she violently kicked herself under the chin jumping up.  Her head and dangling entrails separated from her body and became monstrous. Or alternately the head-separating was a trick the devil taught a woman indulging in black magic.  Once having had her fill of blood the intestines become bloated and she has to soak them in vinegar to get them back into her body.  Anyone her blood drips upon is struck by dread sores and illness.  To discourage her from attacking babies, her preferred victims, thorns are strung around windows and doors to snag her intestines trapping the creature.  Interestingly thorns were also used by ancient Greeks, and among Serbs, Bohemians and Hungarians in the 17th and 18th centuries.
      Malaysia's rich vampire lore also includes several unpleasant creatures created by sorcery, the Bajang a vampiric demon crafted from the soul of a freshly buried infant that typically resembles a large lizard or weasel.  They're utilised to harm by inflicting convulsions and fainting spells on enemies and are destroyed when their creator is discovered and killed.  The Polong is a little oddity and inch in length that will act only in tandem with its mate, the Pelesit.  The latter uses a razor tail to burrow a hole into the victim, then chirps signaling the Polong to enter the body of the unfortunate one who then goes insane, usually dying raving about cats.  

      Vrykolakas:  The corpse of a wicked person who had been possessed by a demon, most Greek vampires origins are found in 'sin' or being in a state of un-grace with the Church at the time of death.  These vampires would rise from their graves, knock on doors and call out the name of a person inside.  Anyone who answered would meet their demise the next day.  For some reason they can't call a name more than once, so people would always wait for the second call before replying to hails from outside the door.
      Lamia:  This creature's form is that of a beautiful woman with a serpent's tail.  She will entice men to her embraces that she might feed upon their life and hearts blood.  This creature also likes to prey upon children.

      Bruxas:  succubi who will seduce and torment lonely travelers and also copulate with other demons.  They appear only at night and are said to even suck the blood of their own offspring.

      Murony:   a vampire able to shapeshift into almost any creature, mammal or bloodsucking insect.   It completely drains the blood, but doesn't leave any fang marks on its victims.  Know a murony in its grave by these characteristics: fangs, sharp talons and fresh blood dripping from ears, eyes, nostrils and mouth.
      Nosferatu:  One of the most widely known types, this creature is said to be the illegitimate child of parents who are also illegitimate.  He sucks blood, torments the living, and is a lustful creature who indulges in wild orgies.  The male can impregnate mortal women, producing children born covered with hair and destined to become witches or live vampires known as Moroii.
Romanians differentiate between Moroii, living vampires and Strigoii, (un)dead vampires.  According to folklore Moroii would become Strigoii when they died.

      Ubor:  This creature has only one nostril and a long, pointed tongue with a barb or sting at the end.  The ubour is blamed for freeing cattle and throwing household items.  It also takes joy in cruelty , choking people and generally tormenting the living.  When not smearing dung on everything, it will eat manure and even regular food.  It doesn't need blood unless other nourishment is unobtainable.

     Veshtiza:  this was a witchlike older woman who enters the body of a hen, black moth or fly.  She flies the night looking for infants or young children, her favorite food being their hearts.  Alternately she'd bite her adult neighbors causing the victim to gradually grow pale and feverish and then to die.  Some Montenegrians believed undead vampires returned to their graves in the form of mice, others that vampires spend part of their time as wolves.

      Upyr: The traits of this vampire vary, but are most developed in the Ukraine and Byelorussia.  This creature is another bloodsucker, but has an unusual variation in its behavior.  It goes about during the day, usually between noon and midnight, as opposed to being a night hunter.
      Another variety of vampire belonging to Russia is a ghoulish animated corpse lurking with homicidal intent in graveyards.  It drinks blood and also takes joy in tearing its prey to shreds and devouring them.


      Mara:  A demon similar to many in Europe.  She is a beautiful succubus.  According to southern Slavs, when a Mora (their version of mara) tastes a man's blood, she is so enamored of him that she returns night after night to relentlessly torment his sleep with nightmares

Native American-
      U'tlunta: A Cherokee ogress whose normal form is that of an old woman but she can shapeshift to anything that suits her purpose.  Her skin is hard as rock and nearly impenetrable and her special weapon is a long stonehard forefinger that she uses to stab whomever she encounters.  She slaughters people, drinking their blood and eating their livers.  This creature is much feared.
      Jumlin: a powerful evil spirit featured in Native American creation myths.  He tricked a Medicine Man to bring him across into this world by making him promises and by veiling most of his power.  This cruel creature then possessed the medicine man and began feeding upon the blood of living things, first forest animals, then horses, then people.  His power grew and he became voracious.  Finally in the throes of one of his dreadful feeding frenzies some warriors managed to kill him.  But a son he begat with a human woman escaped.  This son shares his father's nature and he and his brothers and sisters are said to still walk the earth.

A more detailed version of the Jumlin tale can be found Here.      

      Civatateo:Vampires who originated from women who died in childbirth.  They had once been mortal, had struggled with the child, and had succeeded in holding it until both died in the struggle.  Thus, they attained the status of warrior.  As demonic figures, the cihuateteo very much resembled such other vampiric figures as the lamiai of ancient Greece or the langsuir of Malaysia. The cihuateteo wandered the night and attacked children, leaving them paralyzed or otherwise diseased.

A table of vampire names and types can be found Here.

Earlier Still

    Vampires have been mentioned in humankind's recorded history for over four thousand years.  It stands to reason vampires have been shadow companions to man from earlier still.  Quoting J. Gordon Melton from 'The Encyclopedia of the Undead':  "The vampire (or its structural equivalent) was a universal figure in human culture, which emerged in the natural course of life.  That is to say, the vampire probably emerged independently at many points in human culture.  There is little evidence to suggest that the vampire emerged at one time and place, and then diffused around the world from that primal source."