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vampire, in folklore, animated corpse that sucks the blood of humans. Belief in vampires has existed from the earliest times and has given rise to an amalgam of legends and superstitions. They were most commonly thought of as spirits or demons that left their graves at night to seek and enslave their victims; it was thought that the victims themselves became vampires. The vampire could be warded off with a variety of charms, amulets, and herbs and could finally be killed by driving a stake through its heart or by cremation. Sometimes the vampire assumed a nonhuman shape, such as that of a bat or wolf (see lycanthropy). Probably the most famous vampire in literature is Count Dracula in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.


See A. Masters, The Natural History of the Vampire (1972); N. Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves (1995).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Slavic folk beliefs, a corpse that comes out of the grave to harm people—to suck their blood.

The vampire is known in the superstitions of the Russians (upyr’), Ukrainians (upyr vampir), Byelorussians (vupar), Poles (upiór, upierzica), Czechs (upir), Serbs (in the 15—16th centuries, upir; later, vampir), and Bulgarians (vapir, vupir). A cult that offered sacrifices to vampires (to oupir) existed among the ancient Slavs. In a figurative sense, “vampire” is also used to refer to an extortionist, a cruel person, or an exploiter.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a vampire?

As important figures in folklore, vampires can simply be representations of our generic fears and anxieties. As creatures of darkness, vampires can particularly represent fears and anxieties arising out of our unconscious. Symbolically, a vampire is someone or something that sucks the life blood out of us. Alternatively, vampires can embody anxieties about our sexuality.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for bats making up the family Desmodontidae which have teeth specialized for cutting and which subsist on a blood diet.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. (in European folklore) a corpse that rises nightly from its grave to drink the blood of the living
2. See vampire bat
3. Theatre a trapdoor on a stage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Vampires, for most people, represent powerful and evil creatures. Dreaming about vampires suggests that the dreamer may be feeling overwhelmed in some areas of his or her life and is struggling with negative thoughts, feelings, and actions. You may be currently concerned about ethical or moral issues and be experiencing anxiety as a result. The vampire represents personal attributes or negative habits that drain energy and resources or cause emotional exhaustion. If you are being attacked by a vampire, you may perceive yourself as a powerless victim. Interpreting this dream’s message may help you to identify the source of your negative feelings and helplessness.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
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