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The Symbolism of Vampires (Top 15 Meanings)

The Symbolism of Vampires (Top 15 Meanings)

Vampires are one of the oldest folklore creatures that need human blood to survive. The word “vampire” was first mentioned in the 18th century in the chronicles of Confucian scholar Lê Quý Đôn [1].

However, the origin of the concept goes back to prehistoric times, as mentioned in a classic movie called “The Man From Earth[2].

But what do vampires symbolize? With their thirst for blood and pointy fangs, vampires symbolize death, fear, mystery, negativity, and the dark side of a person.

In this article, I’ll explain the symbolism of vampires in detail and their meaning in different cultures of the world. So, read on to expand your understanding of this intriguing concept and discover its psychological implications.

Vampire Symbolism: At a Glance

  • Vampires are often seen as a symbol of death, darkness and the unknown. 
  • They can represent power, seduction and immortality. 
  • In literature, they often represent an outsider or someone who is different from the rest of society. 
  • The vampire’s ability to transform into a bat or wolf is symbolic of their dual nature – both human and animalistic. 
  • Vampires have been used in many cultures throughout history to explain natural phenomena such as disease outbreaks or unexplained deaths. 
  • In some cases, vampires may be seen as a metaphor for addiction or obsession with something that ultimately leads to destruction.
Vampire woman in red cloak isolated on black.

Vampire Symbolism Meaning

According to Anne Rice, a famous gothic fiction writer, a vampire is an outsider. He looks and sounds human, but he’s always on the margins [3]. So, you can choose to embrace the outsider aspect as a way to challenge societal norms or see it as a warning against rejection and isolation.

Ultimately, the meaning and significance of vampires are subjective and can vary greatly from person to person.

The following are the possible meanings of vampire symbolism.


Vampires are linked to death as they are depicted as creatures that suck the life out of humans by drinking their blood. For example, Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula,” features an undead main character who spreads his curse to others by feeding on their blood [4].


Vampires are known for their mysterious powers and abilities, which are often kept hidden from humans. This aspect of vampire symbolism highlights the idea that a person’s true identity is more than just their outward appearance.

It also suggests that people should allow their true selves to shine rather than hide them behind a facade.


Vampires are generally depicted as frightening and bloodthirsty beasts in popular media, such as books, TV shows, and movies. This portrayal is rooted in fears and anxieties about sexuality, race, and control.

However, it also serves as a reminder to not fear our differences and natural instincts as humans.

Dark Side of Personality

Vampires are free from guilt and feel no remorse for their actions, which are necessary for their survival. This represents our darkest desires and wants, which are often hidden from the world.

Glamorous portrait of a pair of vampire lovers.

This idea is in line with Jungian psychology, which calls this hidden aspect of our personality “the Shadow[5]. People can explore their darker desires and impulses by connecting with vampires.


The content about vampires shows that they’re rebelling against the world, which makes them appealing to rebellious individuals.

Their mysterious and secretive nature makes them feel like they are facing the world alone, which can be seen as a symbol of rebelliousness.


Vampires are immune to aging, pain, emotions, and suffering, which makes them symbols of resistance against these human weaknesses. They serve as a reminder for people to be at peace with their own weaknesses and to let go of the bonds that bind them.


The original Dracula, Vlad the Impaler [6], was known for his negative personality and cruel treatment of others. It’s one of the reasons why vampires have become associated with disappointment, struggle, unhappiness, and negativity.

Vampire Symbolism in Different Cultures

Different cultures around the world depict vampires in different ways. Some see them as evil monsters, others as romantic figures, and some even as demons or gods. Despite the differences, it’s clear that vampires carry significant symbolism.

Skull with book and potion bottle.
Photo by Pixabay


In African mythology, there are two known types of vampires, Sasabonsam and Asanbosam [7]. The Ashanti people believe in the Asanbosam, which live in the trees of forests and attack anyone who enters.

They have hooks for feet and iron-sharp teeth and bite their prey’s throats. The Sasabonsam are human-bat hybrids with sharp teeth and long wings. They also live in the trees and drink human blood.

North America

In the late 18th century, a vampire panic spread throughout New England. People believed that those who had tuberculosis were infected by family members who had died from the disease.

To protect themselves, they would remove the hearts of their loved ones and burn them to ashes. This was done to drain them of any life force and prevent them from infecting others.

Eastern Europe

In the 18th century, the fear of vampires spread throughout Europe. People believed that vampires lived among them and that many of those who were suspected of being vampires were staked and buried.

One well-known case involved a man named Petar Blagojevic, who attacked nine villagers after being declared dead and was believed to have drunk human blood [8].

Vampire Dream Meaning

Mysterious woman looking like a vampire wearing red dress looking into the camera and standing in the pool at night.

The following are some common vampire dreams, along with their possible interpretations.

Seeing a Vampire

A dream about a vampire can mean that there is negativity in your life that you need to eliminate. It could also indicate an addiction that you’re struggling to overcome.

Being Bitten by a Vampire

If a vampire bites you in a dream, it represents someone who is draining your life energy or using you unfairly.

Being Trapped by a Vampire

A dream of being trapped or followed by a vampire represents sexual tension with someone you’re attracted to. It suggests that you’re becoming too dependent on that person, so it might be time to reconsider the situation.

Dating a Vampire

A dream of dating a vampire is a warning sign. It means that someone close to you, like a partner, may cause emotional harm in the future. Be on guard and keep this in mind.

Killing a Vampire

If you dream of killing a vampire, it’s a positive sign. It could mean that you’re taking control of your life and overcoming dependence on others or external circumstances. It could also indicate that you’re confronting things that cause dependence or addiction.

Final Words

The symbolism of vampires in various cultures and literary works has evolved and diversified over time. These beings are often seen as symbols of death, fear, and the forbidden desires of the human psyche.

They can also symbolize rebellion and resistance against conventional norms and societal expectations. Ultimately, the meaning of vampires varies greatly, depending on the context and cultural background in which they are portrayed.