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It is difficult to make a single, definitive description of the folkloric vampire, though there are several elements common to many European legends.
Vampires were usually reported as bloated in appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in colour; these characteristics were often attributed to the recent drinking of blood.
In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the hybrid child of the karkanxholl (a werewolf-like creature with an iron mail shirt) or the lugat (a water-dwelling ghost or monster).
The dhampir sprung of a karkanxholl has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat.
Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin.
This method resembles the ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse's mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld.
In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire.
This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription "Jesus Christ conquers" were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire.Piercing the skin of the chest was a way of "deflating" the bloated vampire.This is similar to the practice of burying sharp objects, such as sickles, with the corpse, so that they may penetrate the skin if the body bloats sufficiently while transforming into a revenant.They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire which dates from the early 19th century.Vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures; the term vampire was popularised in Western Europe after reports of an 18th century mass hysteria of a pre-existing folk belief in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that in some cases resulted in corpses being staked and people being accused of vampirism.A vampire is a being from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital force (generally in the form of blood) of the living.In European folklore, vampires were undead beings that often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive.Blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its shroud or coffin and its left eye was often open.The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore.In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant.