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Most vampire myths come to us from the Dark Ages, when science was in its infancy and people looked to religion or superstition to explain the world around them. While many vampire myths have their basis in Christian Orthodoxy and Victorian romanticizing, others represent imaginative interpretations of actual vampire characteristics and behavior.
|Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula.|
Fact: If a vampire did spend the night in a coffin, it probably had nothing to do with sleeping preference. In the old days, many bite victims were interred while still in a vampiric coma. The truth is, vampires will sleep wherever they feel safe.
Fact: Vampires have sensitive noses and can be momentarily driven off by pungent odors. However, this method of deterrence is unreliable and certainly won't work on an experienced vampire.
|A cross employed in Horror of Dracula.|
Fact: Unless used as a melee or throwing weapon, or heated as a torture device, crosses have absolutely no effect on vampires. They have no trouble entering churches either.
|Staking in Horror of Dracula.|
Fact: Because their blood clots quickly and is circulated by skeletal muscles, vampires can easily survive injuries to the heart and torso, and they have little trouble freeing themselves from impalement. They also have no apparent allergy to wood (or silver for that matter).
A vampiric patient is set ablaze by sunlight in|
Let the Right One In.
Fact: Sunlight renders vampires, with their hyperdilated irises and reflective retinas, blind. It also causes neural pathways to fire randomly in the brain, creating an extreme epileptic reaction. Lastly, vampire skin is highly sensitive to UV rays, becoming badly burned and blistered within minutes. However, as dramatic as these reactions may appear, not even a hint of smoke will occur.
Fact: Holy water, or any water for that matter, has little effect on vampires. They can, however, still be drowned, and they generally hate getting wet as it can lower their body temperature, making them less energetic and able to hunt.
Lugosi whispers sweet nothings|
to his next victim.
Fact: While vampires have a stated preference for the taste of young blood, they are not particular as to which gender provides it. Being asexual, sterile and impotent, vampires cannot have intercourse, let alone produce any kind of offspring.
|Vampire speed portrayed in True Blood.|
Fact: While they can sprint faster than most humans (25 to 30 miles per hour) and jump higher than any (at least ten feet), vampires cannot fly, levitate, teleport, or move any faster than a world-class athlete.
Vampire bats share many characteristics with|
vampires, which is why they were thought of as
different forms of the same creature.
Fact: Vampires cannot turn into bats, or anything else for that matter. Although vampires can't shapeshift (or retract their fangs), their appearance does change over time, and they can be quite adept at disguising themselves using makeup and other methods.
Fact: Vampires do cast shadows and are indeed visible in mirrors—although interestingly enough, they are often quite uncomfortable with their own reflections.
|Vampire tears in True Blood (©HBO).|
Fact: Because the blood is confined to the eyeball, vampire tears are just as clear as ours.
Fact: While it's true that the vampirism virus is carried in both vampire blood and their saliva, transmission almost always occurs through biting. Contrary-wise, ingestion of vampire blood tends to cause a person to throw it back up, while injection can be outright lethal.
|Vlad III, aka Prince Dracula.|
Fact: There exists no verifiable evidence that Countess Báthory and Prince Dracula were biological vampires. Even the notion that they drank blood is dubious at best.
Fact: While vampires do have heightened senses due to their enlarged amygdalae, they cannot read minds or see the future, only physical expressions and mannerisms. This in-turn benefits their powers of persuasion, as they can more easily figure out what to say. However, these abilities depend largely on individual skill and experience.
Fact: Older vampires look more like Nosferatu.
Fact: Although animals and blood bags can get them by for a while, vampires need to feed on live humans to get all the nutrients they require.
Fact: While it's true that even major injuries can clot within a few minutes, vampire healing rate is only double that of a human's, and they still form scars. And although they can regenerate their upper and lower fangs, they cannot regrow lost body parts such as limbs or eyes.
Fact: Dead vampires actually decompose at a slower rate than human corpses, thanks to natural antibiotics in their bodily fluids.
|Count von Count|
Fact: Regardless of how severe a vampire's OCD might be, counting objects is a low priority when faced with a potential meal or threat.