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A street painting in Bucharest, Romania, depicts Bram Stoker, right, the author of Dracula, sharing a drink with Vlad the Impaler, left, the medieval Romanian ruler who inspired the book. (AP Photos/Vadim Ghirda)

Vampire myths originated with a real blood disorder

Did vampires ever really exist? The myth is likely related to a medical condition with symptoms that may explain many elements of centuries-old vampire folklore.
Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula in Tod Browning’s 1931 horror film is influenced by John Polidori’s tale of terror, ‘The Vampyre,’ first published — suggestively — on April Fools’ Day 1819. Universal Pictures

Perverse passions that will not die: The modern vampire first walked among us two centuries ago

One of the reasons the myth of vampires endures and captures the popular imagination is that vampires are a powerful metaphor for a wide range of cultural practices and social problems.

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