Vampire. The word conjures up images of suave, handsome, or strikingly beautiful creatures, such as is depicted in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Those of you who are fans of her books are quite familiar with the arrogant and sexy Lestat.
One of the most famous vampires of all time is, of course, Count Dracula. The brain child of Bram Stoker who based his immortal monster on a Hungarian ruler know as Vlad Tepes, also know as Vlad Dracul-a, which when translated means "son of the dragon", a nicknamed that was well earned, for the count was a blood thirsty and ruthless ruler.
He was also known as Vlad the Impaler due to his habit of impaling people on very sharp stakes and letting them suffer until they died a horrible and extremely painful death. The legends of vampires were around long before Stoker wrote his book.
From very early times there have been reports and tales of vampires, or vampyr, which means, when roughly translated, "blood drinker". In nature there are all kinds of vampires. Mosquitoes, tick, fleas, bedbugs, and a species of bat that drinks blood, named most aptly the vampire bat.
But, what about the vampires of legend? Do they exist? There are some well documented accounts that indicate they do.
There was the case of Arnold Paole. It was reported that Arnold was bitten by a vampire while he was serving as a soldier in his country's army. When he returned home from service he became a farmer. One day while cutting hay Paole had an accident which killed him. A few days later, people started dying from loss of blood. The people started saying there was a vampire in their midst.
There were several eye-witness reports that said they had seen Arnold walking around after his death. His eye were glassy and his teeth had grown long and sharp. The locals went to dig up Paole's body, and when the had unearthed the corpse, there was no decay and there was fresh blood on the lips and a bloom of color in the cheeks. Arnold looked as fresh as the day he had died. The locals pounded a stake through the vampire's heart and heard the vampire screech in agony. Then they cut off the head and burned the body. The deaths stopped.