By Amy Heritage
If Vampires really existed, where would you find them? On Bram Stokers 100th Birthday, we forget about Twilight, True Blood and Transylvanian tourism – and track down the top five places to spot a real (or the closest thing to a real) vampire instead.
In 2009 archaeologists uncovered a medieval Vampire skull at Lazzaretto Nuovo, a small island northeast of Venice. At the time (around the 15th Century) it was widely believed that female vampires were responsible for spreading the plague and, as the skull had a brick stopping its mouth (which was supposedly the way to stop a vampire from biting or resurrecting) the gruesome discovery was estimated to belong to a suspected vampire. Today, you can take a free guided tour of the Island – which has a fascinating history - on weekends from April to October. And who knows, maybe there a still a few Medieval Vampires hanging around?
The American city has inspired a whole plethora of vampire stories, including Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and, more recently, hit TV series True Blood. But beyond the films and novels, New Orleans has a history of mythology - from vampires to ghosts and voo-doo - which has well and truly shaped its modern day culture. Discover the history of the town on a walking tour, or with a visit to the local cemetery – then finish the day in a truly debaucherous style, with drinks at the oldest building in town – Lafitte’s.
South and Central America
Vampire bats may make an appearance in Bram Stokers Dracula novel, but they do actually exist in real life too. Native to South and Central America, they are the only mammals that feed entirely on blood – although it’s usually (but not always) the blood of sleeping cattle and horses they crave, rather than humans. They attack their prey from the ground, sensing the exact spot where blood flows near the skin surface, thanks to the help of their speical nose. They bite with razor sharp vampire teeth and don't drink enough to kill an animal, although the biten may die from infection later on. Possibly the best place to spot the creatures that inspired so many ledgends is Parque Nacional Corcovado, in Costa Rica, but be warned – they only come out to feed during the very darkest period of night. Creepy!
If Vampires were going to anywhere in the world – wouldn’t they be in a place that experiences just one hour of daylight in winter, and endless hours of Twilight? Iceland is one of the countries in Northern Scandinavia which experiences Polar Night – something that can last for two to three months. Unfortunately for Vampires, it doesn’t mean total darkness for 24 hours (although it does mean 24 hours of daylight in summertime) because the Twilight provides enough light to read by and the landscape, covered by snow, beautifully reflects the stars in the sky.
The great smoke has more than its own share of things that go bump in the night. But if you want to meet the real Edward Cullen? Then your best bet is to hang out in one of many celebrity-spotting hotspots across the capital, to catch sight of some of the stars who have played vampires in the movies. We recommend a bit of sunbathing on Primrose Hill followed by a few drinks in The Hawley Arms, Camden and then a trip to celebrity favourite The Box, in Soho.