relationship with religion was an important cause for the changes. Also, the American fascination
with science and technology were other forces that shaped vampire media in the modern era.
Modern concepts of gender and sexuality also contributed to the dramatic change that occurred
in the way vampires are viewed in the last few decades. Today, the myth of vampires is ever
present as one of the major horror themes in arts, literature, and music.
The public's thirst for vampires seems as endless as vampires' thirst for blood. Even though
the belief in real vampires stems from superstition and mistaken assumptions about post-mortem
decay, people centuries ago had little knowledge of anatomy and relied heavily on folklore and
superstition for answers in times of sorrow. When there were no obvious answers to be found
often times the disinterment of the recently dead were ways to try to stop the sick from dying.
The modern concept of the vampire occurs for the first time in European civilization. In both
Roman and Greek mythology, there are found numerous bloodthirsty goddesses, known as
Lamiae, Empusae, and Striges: names which eventually evolved into the general terms for
witches, demons and vampires. But these vampires, though they do drink blood, were only
goddesses...not "living dead,” but spirits capable of taking on human appearances so that they
might seduce their victims. The vampires we know today are nothing else but mutation
determined by fiction and movies.
The most famous story is of course that of “Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, as he was also
known, a fifteenth-century Romanian prince who has gone down as one of the most bloodthirsty
rulers of all time” (Vampire Devotees 99). Dracula was put on paper by an obscure Irish writer
and theater manager by the name of Bram Stoker. The storyline of Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula,
about a Transylvanian count and his invasion of English virtue, is almost entirely original.
However, some of the characteristics of the vampire itself he drew directly from Slavic folklore,