The modern concept of the vampire has its roots in early 18th century, Southeastern Balkan and European folklore. Today’s vampires took their appearance from 19th century works, like Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ who was depicted as a regal and highly intelligent Count. Seen as powerful and supernatural figures, these modern, romanticized versions are more appealing to those who’d like to exemplify the desirable attributes mixed with their gruesome desires.
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1) Richard Chase
Institutionalized for the first time in 1975 at the age of 25, Chase had spent his teenage years fighting drug and alcohol abuse and was diagnosed as a severe hypochondriac. He later became known as the Vampire of Sacramento, much to his family’s surprise. He showed a fascination for blood while under medical care and even went as far as mutilating a rabbit so that he could inject the blood into his own veins.
A few years later, Chase embarked on a killing spree, beginning with a drive by shooting. He then entered random homes wherever he could find an open door. His victim’s ages ranged from 22 months to 36 years – six in total. He performed horrifying acts, such as disemboweling them, drinking their blood and eating their flesh. After only one month into his spree, he was apprehended and sentenced to death by gas in 1979, however he beat the authorities to it. He was found dead after overdosing on antidepressants.
Everything in his home, from his blender, to drinking glasses, to the walls, to furniture, and so on...it was all soaked in blood when authorities searched his home.
2) Tsutomu Miyazaki
Known as Dracula, the Otaku Killer and the Little Girl Killer, Miyazaki stalked the Saitama Prefecture, Tokyo between the years 1988 to 1989. He had been known as a depressed young man who suffered from an inferiority complex. He was also known as a serial killer who mutilated and murdered schoolgirls between the ages of 4 to 7 years old. It was noted that Miyazaki also drank the blood of one of his victims and even ate pieces of her hands.
Miyazaki taunted the victim’s parents by writing and sending them details of how he tortured and murdered them, which led to his arrest. Sentenced to death and hanged in 2008, he never showed any remorse.
3) Fritz Haarmann
Haarmann was a part time burglar and thief, known as the Butcher or the Vampire of Hanover after more than twenty young men and boys were killed between the years 1918 - 1924. He would bring his victims to his apartment under a ruse, telling them that he would feed them well. He then plied them with alcohol before killing them by sinking his teeth into their trachea and chopping their bodies up. Then he threw their remains into the Leine River and sell their belongings.
Unsubstantiated reports state that he even ate some of their flesh and sold the rest on the Black Market – telling his unsuspecting buyers that it was animal flesh. Haarmann was executed in 1925. Still remembered in Germany, he is infamous for his utter evil acts and large number of victims. His preserved head is kept in a jar for scientific study in Germany.
4) Roderick Ferrell
Ferrell contrasts the others in this list, as he was a leader of a vampire group – named “Vampire Clan” – after his obsessive involvement in a popular underground role playing game called Vampire: the Masquerade. Claiming that he was a vampire with the name of ‘Vesago’, Ferrell stated that was hundreds of years old. He led the group in rituals where the participants drank each other’s blood.
In 1996, Ferrell and three of the group’s members drove to Heather Wendorf’s home. She was a long-time friend of Ferrell’s and they killed her parents – Richard Wendorf and Naomi Queen - with a crowbar, effectively beaten to death. Ferrell burned a V for vampire into Richard’s chest. Then the four went to New Orleans to visit their favorite video arcade. When captured, Ferrell advised that they wouldn’t be able to contain him but he was charged with murder and sentenced to death. This was later changed to life without parole.
5) James P. Riva
Riva shot his grandmother with gold bullets and then stabbed her in the heart in 1980. Then he drank her blood. He burned the house down after he realized what he’d done. Once captured, he advised that his motive was due to his belief that he was a 700 year old vampire, who needed to drink his elder’s blood in order to survive. He also believed that doing so would make him more wealthy and handsome. Spoiler alert: It didn't work.
Later on, Riva changed his story, telling authorities that the slaying of his grandmother was self-defense. He stated that she had been coming to him in his sleep to drain his blood. It bears noting that Riva had spent some time in mental institutions after it was discovered that he had been drinking the blood of animals. Charged with murder and arson, Riva was sentenced to life in prison.