→Vampires in European folklore
====Vampires in European folklore====
[[File: Dracula 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A portrait of Vlad the Impaler]]
Many cultures have myths and legends about vampires and the first known references to these beings were in Ancient Mesopotamia. These figures are
very common in European legends, especially in the Balkans. Traditions about the vampire are in particular very much associated with Romania. Vampires are typically beings, who were once human, had died, and continue to exist because they are feeding on some vital force, usually the blood of the living. They are classed as a species of revenant, and that is a visible ghost or spirit.
Typically, they were criminals, social deviants, witches, and suicides, in life. These undead figures would haunt their old homes and remote areas. They are usually portrayed as evil figures who do harm to innocent people and often kill them, in their efforts to obtain blood.<ref> Frayling, Christopher (Vampyres, Lord Byron to Count Dracula (London: Faber, 1991), p 6 </ref>