I’m back with another vampire fact! In fact, all folklore facts are now back, so expect to see more of these!
The winner of the last vampire fact’s Patreon poll was “how to identify a vampire” (that was a hot minute ago because I had to take a break from these), very much like my previous werewolf fact on how to identify a werewolf.
I won’t be covering pop culture vampires in detail/providing a list of how to identify vampires in pop culture. I’m not so deeply versed in vampire pop culture as I am werewolf pop culture; I only study vampire folklore, not their modern media, unlike with werewolves. I familiar with some of it, for sure, but I’d never pretend to be any kind of expert on broader vampire pop culture.
Please note the following is not to be considered a 100% complete list, as there are many, many vampire legends out there! This is just several of the more “popular” methods of identification and perhaps some of the better-known.
Some Folklore Vampire Identifiers
- Pale – There are some stories in which vampires actually are pale in folklore, and in which being particularly pale might be a sign of vampirism.
- Reddish or purplish skin – Conversely, vampires can also be identified – especially in Eastern European regions – by having “reddish” or “purplish” skin and perhaps even a swollen appearance. All of this comes from drinking too much blood. It’s basically the opposite of being pale: they look flushed and reddened instead of pallid. This one was not uncommon.
- Red eyes – This didn’t always mean red eyes as in red irises, like in a lot of popular culture. Often, it could also mean similarly to the flushed appearance: it meant bloodshot eyes, eyes full of blood. But some might also be interpreted as having red irises, and let’s face it, red irises are very cool.
- Unnaturally beautiful – This one isn’t uncommon in legends, either: unnatural beauty. Vampires in many stories seduced their victims, and it wasn’t too unusual for things to get steamy, either. Again with the conversely, though…
- Unnaturally hideous – Vampires can also be unnaturally hideous. We’re talking like really nasty, because they’re monsters – often these are the monster vampires, demons, not vampires that were ever actually human. However, sometimes signs of being a vampire could also be just human traits that are considered hideous, such as having a caul, being exceptionally hairy (judgmental much?), etc.
- Only comes out at night – This is an obvious one in both popular culture and folklore. Often in folklore, however, vampires also only came out at night because it was the only time they actually left their graves. Vampires didn’t come out only at night because they were burned by the sun in folklore (they actually weren’t!), but because they were nocturnal.
- Signs of undeath in coffin – Often, vampires were identified via actually unearthing the coffin and taking a look at the corpse. There were many signs that might show a corpse was actually leaving the grave as a vampire, such as growth of the hair or fingernails, the eyes being open or partially open, blood around the mouth, reddened eyes, or a swollen reddish or purplish appearance, as if the corpse is engorged with blood.
Well, there’s a few, at least! There are so many vampire legends I won’t cover “all” of them until, you know, I write the Vampire Facts book someday (maybe? Werewolf Facts the book is definitely on the way, though). At any rate, be sure to tell all your friends how to find vampires today by reblogging this post!
Oh, and no, fangs are not included in folklore.