The Real Vampires

Death, Terror, and the Supernatural

Publication Date15th June 2019

Book FormatHardback





Respected scholar Richard Sugg reveals the true history of vampires, exploring their cultural origins in a globetrotting tale of superstition, horror and strangeness. Sugg makes seemingly bizarre beliefs, practices and incidents comprehensible by showing in detail how vampires arose from a world of everyday "magic".
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The real vampires were not suave, polished, cultivated or rich. They looked like ordinary dead peasants – usually shabby, and often fat. Some of them never drank blood. Others ate apples, nuts, grapes, or green beans. Yet for those who believed in them, vampires were terrifying. So terrifying that they prompted live burials, nervous breakdown, hysterical paralysis and speechlessness. During a real vampire panic, an overworked, underfed community was so terrified that it found the energy to dig up eleven graves, and the wood to burn eleven corpses. Real vampires were so terrifying that the energy of fear they produced actually caused poltergeist attacks. In several cases, they were so terrifying that they quite literally scared people to death.

This book shows us how vampires looked and felt to those in their midst, in worlds where the soul lingered in the house of death for three days, and the dead watched their own funerals from open coffins. It also uses modern medical, scientific and paranormal analysis to show how such terrors occurred, and how they connect with our own world, through Sleep Paralysis and the alien abductor.

From Russia to New England, from the Scottish borders to Crete, and from the Bronze Age to the days of Twilight, The Real Vampires takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of wonder, horror and strangeness.

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