The Vampyre: Nosferatu
Although many cultures tell of such creatures, the closest to our concept of the Vampire is Bram Stokers' Dracula.
In Victorian days it was believed that a vampire was a ghost inhabiting and animating a decomposing body; an undead creature vengeful and jealous of the living and drinking the blood of its victims to survive.
The idea of the Vampire could have come from the diseases of Consumption and Syphilis that were rampant in Victorian times. These misunderstood illnesses were often blamed on vampires and bizarre funeral rituals were created to stop a spirit from infecting a dead family member.
Some rituals included a wooden stake driven into the heart of the recently exhumed dead and often the heart and lungs were removed, ritually burnt, and the ashes fed to the sick as a cure all. Some say that people identify with the immortality of vampires because, by doing so, they can overcome their fear of Death.
Contemporary subcultures feel that vampires are a gateway to awareness, unlocking the powers of darkness and chaos while bestowing the gift of eternal life. The current incarnation of the Vampire is centered on the tragic life of the lone, good looking anti-hero, and has become the modern archetype.
This icon of Transformation and New Beginnings symbolizes a life changing from feeling powerless in an endless cycle of meaninglessness into a realm of self-empowerment and individual control over all obstacles.