When you think of Vampires you probably picture Bram Stoker's Dracula. A tall attractive aristocrat who uses his good looks to seduce the ladies and get a quick meal. You also probably assumed that the only way to become a Vampire was to get bitten by one. Well that might not be the case. According to Greek, Romanian, Russian, and Slavic Folklore, there are thirteen ways you can be turned into a Vampire, and none of them are sexy like Dracula.
1. Blood Exchange
If you only have a basic knowledge of Vampires like I did, then this is going to be the only method for becoming one on this list that seems at all familiar. during blood exchange, a vampire bites their victim and if they want to turn them into a vampire they allow them to drink their blood. This process is a little more involved than I thought. Growing up I always assumed that if you got bitten by a vampire you automatically turned into one. I guess it makes sense that a vampire wouldn’t want to turn everyone into an immortal superhuman demon creature. That's a great way to make an enemy of life and powerful ones at that.
2. Sin Against God
This one is very vague and seems to me to be an empty threat. From what I gathered, if you sin enough, get excommunicated, or commit a bad enough crime you will turn into a vampire. I found no information on what sins you needed to commit or how bad of a crime, but I imagine there would be legions of vampires at this point if these are the only qualifications. Also King Henry VIII got divorced six times, murdered five of his wives, and was excommunicated, does that make him a Vampire god?
3. Born a Vampire
When a mommy vampire and a daddy vampire love each other very much, they hold hands and kiss and a baby vampire is delivered by a stroke nine months later. Just kidding. The Greeks and Romanians had a far more convoluted idea of what indicated a baby was actually a vampire. If a baby was born prematurely, it’s a vampire. If the baby was born with an extra nipple, it’s a vampire. Baby born with a tail, vampire. Baby born with a lot of hair, vampire, baby born with teeth, vampire. And if we want things to get even more convoluted and oddly specific, if you have seven children all of the same sex, the seventh child will be born a vampire. I decided not to look into what exactly they did to these “baby vampires,” but I imagine it was quite gruesome and would ruin my day.
4. Black Cats
In Greece if a black cat jumps across a grave, the corpse will be reanimated as a vampire. In Romania, if a pregnant woman encounters a black cat, her baby will be born a vampire. Moral of the story is stay inside at all times if you're pregnant. Also don’t let black cats anywhere near a graveyard if you don’t want to deal with vampires.
5. Dying alone
In Greece if you die alone, you will turn into a vampire. No pressure or anything but if you’re still single and don’t want to come back from the dead as a vampire, you gotta find yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend ASAP. Luckily dating apps are a thing and you can do so from the comfort of your own home. (Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, one of you please sponsor us, we love money).
6. Eating Mutton
In Greece, if you eat a sheep that was killed by a wolf, you will be turned into a vampire. I agree with this one, it’s kind of a dick move to steal a good boy's kill. Seriously though this one makes no sense and kind of just seems like a waste of food to me.
7. Premarital Sex
Yep, you read that right, pre-marital sex, is not only a sin, but will produce a vampire baby. You better have that baby in wedlock, or you will have a little vampire on your hands. Or at least that's what the Romanians believe.
8. Marked by a Witch
In Romania, if a pregnant woman gets marked by a Witch, her baby will be born a vampire. Jeez some of these are just unfair and out of your control.
9. Dying Before a Baptism
In Romania, if a baby dies of unnatural causes before their baptism, they will turn into a Vampire. I assume that unnatural means they were murdered, so I think this one's valid. A murdered baby should be allowed to return from the dead and seek revenge.
In Slavic folklore, if you commit suicide you will turn into a vampire. I’m fairly confident this is misinformation, however, it's a great deterrent for suicide. You’re probably going to think twice before killing yourself if you’re going to be forced to live forever as a vampire. On the other hand, I can see this being a major issue as crazy people might commit suicide to try and become a vampire. Regardless, suicide is never the answer and if you’re having suicidal thoughts call the suicide lifeline 800-273-8255.
11. Improper Burial
See now this is one I can get behind, you gotta respect the dead or they will return as a Vampire and cause trouble.
12. Day of Conception
I couldn’t find what days in particular, but in Slavic folklore, if you’re conceived on a certain day you will become a vampire. This is a key piece of information where missing because if we just knew the cursed conception days we can look through our Facebook friends and not only see which of our aunts got really into conspiracies, but we could also see if they're a vampire.
13. Talking to Yourself
In Russia if you talk to yourself you’re a vampire. Well f**k I must be a vampire because I talk to myself all the time. That must explain why I’m so pasty white right now …
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that almost none of these made it onto the silver screen. Imagine how much less scary Dracula’s origin story would be if he just had a third nipple, or was particularly hairy?
If you enjoyed this blog check out the latest episode of Misfits and Mysteries. Emmy and I discuss Vampires, Ludwig the Bloodsucker, and the history of the world according to Ancient Aliens. You can find our latest episode on our website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform. Stay spooky misfits!