We typically only hear about classically scary male vampires like Dracula or about sensuality-oozing lovers like Edward Cullin, but there are a plethora of female blood-suckers who are every bit as fabulously frightening and stunningly sexy as their male counterparts. There are also some women in history who have been accused of vampiric activities, sometimes even legitimately.
Here are 10 of the creepiest lady vampires (or potential vampires) from both fiction and real life.
Lamashtu is one of the first creatures known for having vampiric qualities. She showed up as a nasty demon goddess in stories from the Mesopotamians more than 4,000 years ago. She was said to suck the blood of young men and murder infants in their sleep. She also brought illness to townspeople and caused pregnant women to lose their babies. When a child unexpectedly died in the night or when someone suddenly became deathly sick, Lamashtu was often blamed.
Lamashtu is considered particularly evil because she doesn't just set her torturous sites on people who deserve it. She loves causing pain in humans without reason.
In some depictions, Lamashtu has the head of a particularly ugly lion She also has wings, and talons on the end of skinny bird legs. Her hair is dirty and greasy, and her nails are long and sharp. She may be from ancient times, but she's still immortal, so it's best to watch out for this nasty woman.
Did you know that Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was not the first work of vampire fiction? One of the earliest novels about these creatures of darkness told the story of Countess Carmilla. Carmilla falls for the novel's protagonist, Laura, giving her the distinction of being the first female and the first lesbian vampire, and her story revolves around her sexual and romantic desire for the young woman she is stalking. It is unclear to scholars whether the author, Joseph Sheridan La Fanu, was trying to equate lesbianism with evil or whether he was making a slightly twisted statement about girl power.
Carmilla is said to be the precursor to many modern female vampires, especially those with lesbian leanings. She helped popularize the thought of vampires as sexual creatures instead of horrific monsters.
There are very few real-life villains as frightening as Elizabeth Bathory. This horrible historical figure was a Hungarian countess ruling Transylvania in the 16th and 17th centuries. She was known for having an extreme taste for blood, figuratively if not literally. She may be the first documented female serial killer in history, and she really earned the distinction. She had an uncle who was a Satanist and an aunt who taught her the ins and outs of sadomasochism. Elizabeth tortured and killed hundreds of young women. She often took bites out of her victims and even forced one to eat her own flesh.
After her death, rumors circulated that the countess murdered virgins so she could drain their blood and bathe in it, thinking that this literal bloodbath would be good for her skin and keep her young. She would also drink the virgins' blood so that she would live forever. This didn't work for her, however, as she died alone in her castle after being forced to remain there because of her crimes.
Bram Stoker would have known this story, and he may have used Elizabeth Bathory in addition to Vlad the Impaler as inspiration for Dracula.
Many early American communities were obsessed with the occult. Mysterious happenings, especially illness and death, were often blamed on paranormal evil. Everyone knows about the witch hunts this inspired, but fewer people know about the investigation of vampires. That's mainly because instead of accusing living, breathing people of casting evil spells, the vampire hunts focused on those already dead.
In 1832 Rhode Island, many people were contracting tuberculosis. The people of the community determined that this was happening because people who were dead and buried had begun cursing the living. If one family had several members die from the disease, this was most likely because one of them was a vampire. This is what happened to the Brown family. The dead Browns were all exhumed so the bodies could be checked for clues.
It turned out that all of the deceased Browns were decomposing nicely except for one stubborn corpse. That was Mercy, whose body was breaking down at a far slower rate than the others. The people in the community did not consider that her body had been frozen for a time. Instead, they concluded that she was a vampire bringing illness to her family. They burned her organs and then gave the ashes to her sick little brother to drink. But the miracle organ potion was too late. He died anyway.
This suspected vampire was most likely just an extremely mentally ill woman. Her story was published in the St Petersburg Times in 1927. The Haitian woman was found to have tortured her niece. The young girl was becoming thin and ill, and no one seemed to know why. A doctor reportedly examined the child and announced that she was the victim of a vampire.
Anastasie eventually confessed to drugging the 9-year-old, cutting her between her toes, and then harvesting the blood for drinking. She said she had repeated this process many times and claimed that an uncontrollable force was causing her to do it. This was enough evidence for many people to conclude that she was a vampire.
Are you looking for a book about an erotic, vampire-driven love triangle? The 1981 novel, "The Hunger," by Whitney Strieber, delivers just that. One of the protagonists is Miriam, a sex-obsessed vampire who tricks her boyfriend, John, into thinking that as a vampire he will have eternal youth. It seems that when Miriam shares her blood with someone else, that person becomes a vampire hybrid: the characteristics of a vampire, like the lust for blood, but not the benefit of immortality.
John believes Miriam when she says that her blood will allow him to live forever. When it becomes clear that he is going to grow old and die, after all, he turns to a doctor for help, and she eventually gets pulled into Miriam's vampire world as well.
This novel was made into a movie in 1983, starring David Bowie as John and Susan Sarandon as the doctor. Sarandon later said that she did the movie as a way of exploring whether someone would want to live indefinitely if it meant having an addiction that would never end.
The moral of this story is that you can't believe anything a vampire tells you.
Claudia is a character from the 1976 book series "The Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice. She also appears in the 1994 movie of the book, "Interview with the Vampire," Claudia has the distinction of being a child vampire, which is rather rare. In the stories, she is orphaned and then taken in by the two main characters, who are both vampires. One of them bites her, turning her into a vampire as well. Because she becomes a vampire while she is still a child, she remains in a child's body forever.
Over time, Claudia becomes a prolific murderer, using her innocent appearance to lure unsuspecting victims to their deaths. After all, you'd never expect an angelic child with golden curls of wanting to cause you harm, much less harboring a deep thirst for your blood. Claudia ends up attempting to kill one of her adoptive vampire fathers, and a community of vampires sentences her to death by sunlight.
Another case of a suspected real-life vampire, Tracey Wigginton is an Australian woman who started her vampiric ways with the habit of killing animals to drink their blood. One day in 1989, she decided to try human blood instead. She found a victim, led him into the woods, and then brutally murdered him and drank his blood. News reports say the "vampire killer" showed no remorse and said she felt nothing for the man as she was stabbing him to death.
Tracey Wigginton was sentenced to life in prison for this crime, but she was released on parole in 2012 and reportedly posts disturbing messages on social media indicating that she still has a taste for death and blood.
Rayne is a video game character from the franchise Bloodrayne. In the video games, she confronts many of her half-siblings, who are attempting to rebuild their father's vampire domination of the world. In between taking out her brothers and sisters, Rayne fights Nazis. Because of this, she is essentially a vampire with a heart of gold, but the video games are still pretty gruesome.
There were a couple of movies made about Rayne, but they didn't get much attention.
This "True Blood" character is based on the biblical Salome, who hated John the Baptist because he had been critical of her mother's marriage to her step-father. She devised a plan where she would dance seductively for her step-father and then use his passion for her to demand that he decapitate John the Baptist. When the deed was done, she presented her mother with John's head literally on a platter.
The modern TV version of Salome occasionally makes statements suggesting that she is, indeed, the same Salome as the one in the Bible, but that her story was not told accurately. Salome of "True Blood" is portrayed as sexy, manipulative, and dangerous. Above all, she is fiercely intelligent. In the series, she encourages a lot of bloodshed, blood drinking, and general violence.