Real-Life Instances of Actual Vampires

May 30, 2023 People's Tonight 302 views

Christopher Shult 

Are vampires real? If you define them simply as creatures who drink the blood of other creatures, then real vampires do exist, and they are plentiful, both amongst humans and other animals in the wild.

But what of other aspects of vampire lore, like the fact they are undead creatures, that they are immortal, that they have sharpened incisors, the ability to shape-shift, that they can beguile or otherwise hypnotize people into bending to their will, or the idea that they cast no reflection? While many of these characteristics are the stuff of fantasy, as you will see in these true stories of real-life vampires, many are all too real. Other instances on this list do not necessarily demonstrate real vampires, but are instead documented “cases” of vampirism in the history books.


• 1

Photo: Metaweb (FB) / GNU Free Documentation License

This tiny, blood-hungry fish is among the most feared in the Amazon. Why? Because while its usual food source comes from entering the gills and mouths of other fish and eating them from the inside out, there have been reports of the candiru swimming up a man or woman’s urethra and feasting on their sexual organs. Long considered an urban legend, this occurrence – while indeed rare – can in fact happen, as a 1997 case established.

What do you think?

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• • 2

Photo: Drow_male / Wikimedia/CC-SA-3.0

While human attacks are especially rare (apparently, only when they are starving), lampreys are fish neither man nor woman would ever want to encounter. These animals use their jawless mouths full of razor-sharp teeth to latch onto prey and drain them of their blood as they swim.

In other words, lampreys are essentially the vampires of the sea.

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• • 3

BloodBizarre Cult Drinks Blood of Hit and Run Victims
Photo: FX

In a small village in Mberengwa, Zimbabwe, there occurred a rather bizarre incident in February 2013. Following a hit and run accident that killed four children, a group of people clad in black robes reportedly converged at the scene and feasted on the blood of the victims.

Numerous people witnessed the group in action moments after the accident.

Believing the people to be involved in some kind of cult, possibly Satanist in origin, the villagers brought in a man named Banda, who was a tsikamutandaa, or witch-hunter, to sniff them out. Banda was successful, and after giving the cultists a chance to turn themselves in, he named their names before the village and turned them over to the police chief.

Following this, the home of the cult members was raided, which was said to contain baboons and other “weird animals” which had never before been seen by the villagers. No word on what, exactly, these animals were.

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• • 4

PeterPeter Plogojowitz
Photo: UFA

Also known as Blagojevich, this man is one of the earliest examples of vampirism and the so-called vampire hysteria that plagued Europe in the 1730s. Moreover, Plogojowitz’s story is credited as founding many of the most commonly recognized aspects of vampire folklore.

It seems likely that, through the passage of time, this tale has taken on elements of the fantastic, confounding the truth of the situation, but it is nonetheless an enjoyable and chilling tale. To summarize as concisely as possible, it is said that weeks after dying and being buried,

Plogojowitz was seen walking around his village, looking healthy and decidedly not dead.

His wife even attests to having had a visit from her husband, requesting his shoes. Around this same time, several villagers began suffering a bizarre 24-hour illness and dying. All of them swore that Plogojowitz came to them in the middle of the night and throttled them in their beds. His son also reported seeing his father in their kitchen – then he too died under mysterious circumstances.

It was finally decided to exhume Plogojowitz’s body. Upon doing so, the villagers discovered the man alive and breathing in his coffin. They immediately staked him through the heart and burnt his corpse, after which the nightly terrors and sudden deaths instantly stopped.

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• • 5

RichardRichard Trenton Chase
Photo: Tahoe City Police Department

Afflicted with numerous mental problems, but never properly treated, and a drug and alcohol addict, Richard Trenton Chase began killing and drinking the blood of animals at a young age. He would go on to kill six people between 1977 and 1978. He would only enter homes with unlocked doors, believing – true to vampire mythos – that an unlocked door was an open invitation to enter. Chase drank the blood of his victims, as well as cannibalized their corpses.

He was eventually arrested and sentenced to death in 1979. However, in 1980, Chase managed to save up enough of his antidepressant pills, and committed suicide via overdose in his prison cell.

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• • 6

Photo: Richard Bartz / Wikimedia

While other animals on this list appear in specific areas, the tick can be found in many places around the world. Fun fact (if you consider this fun): ticks are arachnids, meaning they are basically in the same family as spiders. Worse than their eight-legged brethren, however, ticks borrow themselves beneath the skin of their prey and literally gorge themselves on blood. This causes them to proliferate a number of diseases, included the dreaded Lyme disease.

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• • 7

The Mercy Brown Incident
Photo: Public Domain

Part of the larger New England vampire panic of the late 19th century, the case involving Mercy Brown occurred in 1892 in Exeter, Rhode Island. As with all the other panic incidents, numerous cases of tuberculosis were attributed to the undead.

The Brown family had already lost Mercy, and her brother Edwin was also afflicted. As such, the Brown family decided to exhume members of their family to determine if any of the previous dead were the cause of the problem. While two other deceased family members showed expected levels of decomposition, Mercy seemed unnaturally well-preserved.

The family proceeded to carve out Mercy’s heart, burn it, and place the ashes in a cup of water for Edwin to drink, hoping the vampire’s remains would somehow restore him to good health. He died two months later.

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• • 8

Daniel and Manuela Ruda
Photo: via YouTube

Due to early associations of blood-drinking with revenant spirits or demons, there has emerged a modern-day confluence of Satanism and vampirism, though the two are more often than not exclusive to one another (i.e., real vampires are not necessarily Satanists, nor are Satanists vampires).

Despite this, people who adopt a more proactively “evil” lifestyle have melded the two concepts and, in doing so, committed atrocious crimes.

Take for instance Daniel and Manuela Ruda, a man-and-wife team of bloodsuckers from Witten, Germany, who also claimed to worship Satan and follow his commands. Such was the case in July 2001 when the Rudas killed a former coworker of Daniel’s, bludgeoning him 66 times with a hammer, drinking his blood and carving a pentagram in his chest.

The courts ultimately ruled the Rudas were mentally unfit and suffering “severe narcissistic personality disturbances.” Daniel and Manuela were sentenced to confinement in separate maximum security mental facilities.

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• • 9

Vlad the Impaler
Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

One of the primary inspirations behind Bram Stoker’s famous vampire character Dracula, Vlad’s nickname is fairly self-explanatory – he impaled his enemies and displayed their corpses around his castle, as a message to anyone questioning the prince’s might. But how did he become associated with creatures of the night? It is said Vlad enjoyed dipping his bread in the blood of those he defeated, one of the more tame sadistic and “unholy” acts in which the man engaged.

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• • 10

The Alnwick Vampire
Photo: shilmar / Pixabay / CC0 1.0

Some 800 years before the publication of Dracula, and long before the term “vampire” was popularized, an English historian, William of Newburgh, recorded a tale recounted to him by a devout and reputable priest. He told of a most dishonest sinner who escaped the law by retreating to Alnwick Castle.

There he married, but was soon confronted with rumors his wife was unfaithful. He climbed atop the castle’s roof to spy on her, and discovered the rumors were true. Shocked, the man fell from the roof and died. However, it was soon apparent the man was not dead at all, but rather a wandering undead revenant, spreading plague wherever he travelled.

It was decided to dig up the man to inspect his corpse, and upon doing so, it was discovered to be bloated with fresh, warm blood. The body was immediately burned on a pyre, cleansing the air and releasing the land from the clutches of the man’s plague.

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• 11

Thomas Gough
Photo: tookapic / Pixabay / CC0 1.0

Thomas Gough, a 20-year-old resident of Cheadle, near Stoke-on-Trent in north England, plead guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in December 2015 after slashing the arm of his friend with a razor, collecting the blood in a cup, and gulping it down in July of that year. Gough insisted he needed blood to survive, but promptly vomited after drinking of his friend’s life juice, proving that not everyone is cut out for the vampire lifestyle. Gough was sentenced to nearly seven years in an institution for young people.

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• • 12

Man Steals, Drinks Blood at Hospital
Photo: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay / CC0 1.0

A 29-year-old Hong Kong resident was arrested in September 2007 after he stole three vials of blood samples from a hospital, drank them at the scene, and disposed of the vials in the trash. Surveillance cameras caught the man in the act. He originally came to the hospital after injuring his leg while drunk.

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• • 13

The Vampire Finch
Photo: YouTube

Aptly named, the vampire finch is a a kind of subspecies of the average finch native to the Galapagos Islands. It often feeds on blood drawn from other birds in the area by pecking open a small wound with their incredibly sharp beaks – just enough that the prey does not become agitated and fly away, while still providing a steady stream of blood for the finch to feast upon.

These birds are also nest robbers, snatching eggs as soon as they are laid, and then rolling them on the ground with their feet until the eggs crack.

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• • 14

The Hidden Vampire Subculture
Photo: Madeinitaly / Pixabay / CC0 1.0

It may sound unbelievable, but there are actual vampire communities all over the world. They’re not so outspoken about their way of life, however, due to fear of persecution or general misunderstanding of their needs. They are not violent, bloodsucking ghouls or “evil” entities, but rather people who feel their most alive and healthiest when they consume blood. Human blood is best, and they only feed from willing donors who have had rigorous testing from a doctor.

There are also “psychic vampires,” who, rather than feeding on blood, consume the energy of another person – again, a willing donor – or of the universe at large.

Many real vampires hope to spread more awareness about their way of life so that it can become easier for them to find donors.

• Does this freak you out?

• • 15

The Vampire Bat
Photo: Sandstein / Wikimedia/CC-SA-3.0

You might be surprised to learn that the bat was named for the mythological creature, and not the other way around. Vampire mythology dates back to 1730s Europe, whereas the bat was not recorded until the 1770s, in the Americas. Moreover, vampire bat saliva contains an anti-coagulant called draculin, which is of course named after Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Despite the similarities between fiction and fact, vampire bats don’t actually suck blood, but rather lap it up after biting their prey.

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