In the West the vampire myth is widely thought to have been based on the life of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Wallachian warrior-prince whose devotion to cruelty and killing made the lives of his subjects miserable, bloody and short. However, bloodsuckers of all shapes and sizes feature in many cultures. The most famous of these is the chupacabra, or 'goat killer', a creature that is rumoured to have attacked and mutilated as many as 2,000 animals in Puerto Rico and Latin America. The chupacabra is variously described as half alien, half tail-less dinosaur with quills running down its back, a panther with a long serpent's tongue and a hopping animal that leaves an unbearable sulphurous stench in its wake. Whatever his form, one thing is for sure, the chupacabra shares little with his dark-cloaked, virgin-biting, garlic-hating, European cousin, apart from his lust for blood. VAMPIRES explores these diverse myths and legends, their impact upon popular culture and the possible explanations behind such phenomena.
Charlotte Montague is a freelance writer who specialises in general historyand true crime. After gaining an MA degree in History from Sussex University, she began writing on a variety of subjects including ethnic cultures travel and music. More recently, she developed an interest in the history of mythical creatures.