There are many vampire legends. Most are false. Many are garbled. Some are plain ridiculous. Since the vampires in "The Saga Of Darren Shan" are different in lots of ways to those in movies and other books, we thought it would be helpful to print a list of some of the true vampire attributes -- and dispel a few of the more fanciful myths at the same time! You won't learn everything about vampires here, but it will be a useful starting point in coming to grips with the fabled creatures of the night ... before they come to grips with you!!!
... only come out at night. Sunlight will kill a vampire, but only after three or four hours of exposure. Many vampires prefer to sleep in coffins by day, though they don't need to -- any dark place will do.
... can cross running water. (Though many vampires believe that their soul will be trapped if they die in running water, hence the origin of the myth.)
... are able to enter a house without being asked in. (But this myth does have its roots in fact -- see Book 3, "Tunnels Of Blood".)
... do drink blood, usually by making a small cut with their nails (which are very sharp), but they only drink small amounts, and don't harm the people they drink from. If a vampire drinks too much of a person's blood, and kills them, he absorbs part of that person's spirit, and keeps some of their memories and personality traits alive.
... do cast shadows, and they can see their reflection in mirrors.
... can breathe out a special gas which knocks people out.
... can hypnotise people, but this is rare, and they can usually only do it when they first become vampires, while their bodies are undergoing many strange changes.
... can cure small cuts, by rubbing their spit into the wounds.
... must drink a human's blood at least once a month to remain healthy.
... can move at incredibly fast speeds, which they call "flitting".
... are much stronger than humans.
... are not people who come back from the dead. They are often called "the walking dead" and "the undead", most probably because they like sleeping in coffins.
... are not evil by nature. Crosses and holy water do not hurt them. Neither does garlic. They can enter churches.
... don't live forever, but they do age at one-tenth the human rate. So, for every ten years that pass, they only grow one year older. (Half-vampires age at one-fifth the human rate.)
... can't change shape, into bats or fog or rats or wolves. However, vampires are closely bonded with rats and bats and wolves. Some legends claim that vampires are descended from wolves, the same way that humans are descended from apes.
... can't fly. Except in a plane! But most vampires are nervous fliers!!!!
... don't bite people to suck out their blood. They don't have extra sharp fangs.
... don't turn other people into vampires by drinking them dry, but by pumping their own blood into the person.
... can't be photographed -- their atoms act strangely and their images can't be captured on film or video tape.
... can't drink blood from cats or dogs, or from certain other animals, such as monkeys and frogs and snakes. If they do, the blood of these animals will make them sick. In some cases it will kill them.
... are not immortal. A stake through the heart will kill a vampire, but so will a well placed bullet, or fire, or electricty, or a very nasty fall. They are tougher than humans, but far from indestructible.
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