This comes from a documentary on AMC a short while ago and I thought I would place some info from the show. I suggest watching it because it is really good and interesting. I have placed only some of the information that came from the program. Hope you enjoy...
Fang vs Fiction Narrator: Tatiana Yassukovich
There is much still unexplained in this world many age old tale of creatures hidden in the dark corners of human history. Blood suckers, shape shifters... Today we dismiss them as myth, vampyres, werewolves, the stuff of science fiction and horror movies.
But what if there is something behind all these stories. What if these creatures were real?
Most of what we know or think we know about werewolves and vampyres comes from movies and novels. The realm of fantasy. We dismiss these creatures as colorful fidgets of our imagination. Frightening characters or nightmares and nothing more. But werewolves and vampyres has been reported in nearly in every culture. Stories from separate continents and time periods are eerily similar. And sightings persist today from the mountains of eastern Europe to the hidden corners of America.
Our records of vampyres goes back as far as we have records. In Ancient Greek times, Ancient Middle East, there are stories of vampyres that emerged as soon as we started writing down things. J. Gordon Melton-Author of "The Vampire Book"ť
Idea of the vampyre goes back as far as anybody knows, to the dawn of our written history in any event. -Daniel Cohen -Author â€śWerewolvesâ€ť In that you have a spirit or a being out there that sucks the life out of people.
Another legend as old as human kind tells of the ability of someone especially gifted or cursed to transform themselves into a wolf.
The concept of shape shifting is universal there is not a culture that anthropology can name where shape shifting does not occur. -Brad Steiger -Author of "There Werewolf Book"
One of the first recorded incidents of werewolfism in western history involves a ruler described in Greek mythology. King Lycon of Arkania. In honor of Lycon scientists named the syndrome Lycanthropy. Modern day werewolves are often called Lycanthropes or lycons for short. Early descriptions date back to 700 A.D.
The term werewolf itself comes from the old English name for man, were. It may have been coined by early travelers to Ireland who insisted they have met entire families of werewolves and witnessed individuals who had transformed themselves into wolves.
Elsewhere in Europe stories circulated of corpses rising up from the graves at night to prey upon the living. Villagers at the time reported opening caskets and finding preserved bodies that seemed to be in perfect health.
There were many accounts of Ireland was the land of the wolves. -Brad Steiger
By the 14th century vampyrism was wide spread especially in the mountainous region of eastern Europe.
Romanians in particular have a long history of encounters with the undead.
Vampyres must hunt in order to survive. As the Bible says "...for the blood is the life..." But lycons kill indiscriminately not just out of hunger. It was said they would attack whomever was unlucky enough to cross their path.
Werewolves just didn't bite you they ripped you to shreds. They ate you. -Brad Steiger
Medieval scholars studying these creatures concluded that the werewolf could move about during the day but vampyres were restricted to the night.
As a fray over the undead rage across Europe, the Catholic church were drawn into the fray. In the late 14 hundreds Pope Innocent the 8th released a treaty recognizing the phenomenon of shape shifters and vampyric creatures.
With support from the authorities over the next few centuries tens of thousands of werewolves and vampyres will be unearthed and destroyed. The underworld of the undead will come to light and a conflict between vampyres and werewolves will begin.
Many cultures reports werewolves and vampyres existing side by side. But most of our modern day knowledge of them come from the wide mountains of eastern Europe.
Each of your traits from height to hair color is encoded in our DNA. So presumably something occurs in the transformation into a vampyre that infects an individual's DNA giving them super human strength, the ability to survive on blood and incredible longevity. With that bite vampyres might be infecting a type of DNA that evades cells and rewrites their genetic identity. Giving victims entirely new physical and behavioral characteristics.
Itâ€™s like a virus... -Kathren Ramsland -Author "The Science of Vampires"ť
If vampyrism is a fundamental part of their DNA. It originally could have been a heredity mutation occurring in one or more individuals centuries ago.
Some trace their hereditary roots of the vampyre condition to the Romanian region of Transylvania. Even to this day local villagers honor Vlad Tepes in song.
Some believe that today's vampyres and werewolves are descendants of the mysterious Corvinus clan.
There was a battle in the year 1412. According to legend the werewolves and the vampyres had a war. -Gypsy Zanval -Lycanthrope. Vampyres are extremely, by nature, snotty. We are top of the food chain, blah, blah, blah and everyone else is beneath us. Werewolves are just men who can turn into animals so therefor they're pets. They can move out coffins during the day and protect us during the night, but they are just like having a big dog in the yard.
The werewolves mutinied against their status as servants and a fierce war ensured.
The werewolves were tired of being treated as pets and servants and literally revolted against the vampyre. The wolfen clans in America and Europe still to this day do not trust or like vampyres. -Gypsy Zanval
During the middle ages vampyres built their bloody reputation in eastern Europe. Werewolves spread out west ward from under their shadow fear followed in their wake.
30 thousand people were condemned as werewolves. -Brad Steiger
As a warning to other werewolves Stubee was punished severally. He was put on the torture wheel and his flesh was pulled off with red hor pincers. His arms and legs were broken and finally he was decapitated. To ensure that he would not return from the dead his carcass was burned to ashes.
Despite the mass slaughter of real and suspected werewolves and vampyres the creatures managed to escape complete annihilation. Later some of their protege said to have blended in with emigrants to the new world. Where they maybe continuing their underground war even today.
While we may dismiss them as myth in reality werewolves and vampyres are far from being just the imaginings of ancient history. Sightings continue well into the present and the reports are far too numerous to dismiss.
It wasn't really until the 1700's that the vampyre hunts started in areas such as France and New Orleans was being settled about that time. -Kalila Smith -Author of Journey into Darkness -Does Vampyre Tours in New Orleans
According to legend vampyres were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by women who lived in a Catholic convent.
These ladies were called Casket Girls, because they came to this country with large wooden boxes that resembled coffins. It is out vampyre folklore that suggests that these women are responsible for bringing the vampyres over in these coffins. -Kalila Smith
Vampyre reports continue to be part of New Orleans history.
Vampyres and werewolves are more than just figures of fiction and legend. Everywhere around the world modern day vampyres and werewolves exist on the fringes of society. Dozens of hidden underworld rarely seen by outsiders.
Because blood is so rich in iron mortal humans can only inject a small amount without getting sick let along survive on it.
Blood is so high in iron content that vampyres consume as much as 800 times more than an average human. Evidence suggests that vampyre bats have an highly efficient mucus membrane along the intestinal tract that prevents too much iron from getting into the bloodstream. But unlike the vampyre bat immortal beings can only thrive on the blood of one species, humans. According to the American Red Cross, there are currently no placement for human blood. Animal blood won't do. And at least for now human blood can't be manufactured.
For centuries the moon has been blamed for causing the transformation and plenty of scientific evidence exists to support its powerful effect.
One study has decided the changes in the brain's electrical activity coincide with lunar phases. Other researchers claim that the body metabolism increases during the full moon.
Police often note that especially violent crimes seem to occur more frequently during periods of full moon. But the essential shape shifting native of werewolves has defiled science for centuries. Like vampyres it is assumed that lycans suffer from a genetic mutation either inherited or acquired through a viral infection.
It's genetic disorder. All the way back on both sides Romanian gypsies descent all the way traceable to Vlad Dracual. -Gypsy Zanval
some like Gypsy explain the condition as being related to the level of adrenalin in the blood stream. According to this theory werewolves react strangely to surges of adrenalin. Almost as if they have an allergy. Swelling up and under going a physical change. But few first hand descriptions of the actual transformations have been documented, until now.
From personal experience what happens to me is that I start feeling a swelling or tightening of the muscles usually around the chest area is where it starts. People notice a physical change in the color of my eyes. My eyes which are normally hazel green will go to a goldish or yellow when this reaction happens. My feet and hands actually form rough lads much like an animal, my muscles swell. -Gypsy Zanval
The after effects of the transformation are not pleasant.
The next day, everything goes back to normal. Now you got these muscles that have been stretched beyond compactly just like working out with weights or anything else and preforming muscle strain. Very hard to move, you're tired and afterwards you feel like you've been ran over by a dump truck. It's terrible. It's not something I want to go on the six o'clock news and morph out and do this about three shows a day for Vegas or something just as a novelty. Because it is physically demanding and it hurts. And I like myself a lot, I don't like to hurt me. -Gypsy Zanval
As long as there been werewolves and vampyres there been those whom has hunted them.
The garlic that the vampyre hunters used around their necks was not to repel the vampyre, but to repel the smell of death as then were opening up the caskets. -Kalila Smith
To actually kill a vampyre you must track it down and destroy it in person. Traditionally vampyre hunters seek out their prey as it lies dormant in it's tomb.
Look at the people around you they may well be more than just ordinarily mortals. But approach the undead with caution. For the hunter often becomes the hunted. Enter the underworld at your own risk. And when the battle begins, which side will you choose?