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Everybody’s heard legends about vampires. Assume for the moment that vampires exist. Assume also that the main difference between vampires and humans is that vampires need to ingest blood — and that the stories about them are exactly what the stories claim to be: sheer fiction.

How, then, did the legends about vampires rise up? Read on.

1) Vampires hunt humans.

Yes, but only because your local Kroger or Vons won’t sell bottled blood. Some vamps enjoy hunting, just as some humans do, but most of them would rather not go to the trouble.

Some vampires who want blood without hunting it seek out doctors who won’t argue when the vamps, pretending to be human, claim to have hemophilia, anemia or other conditions that require regular and frequent infusions of blood. Some doctors are vampires themselves, and they supply other vamps — usually for a very high fee.

2) Vampires avoid daylight.

Yes, but not because it’ll burn them up or because they sparkle in the sun, but because getting nourishment means killing people, and would you want to do that in broad daylight where anyone can see you?

3) Vampires can turn into bats, have enormous physical strength, and possess a hypnotic stare.

Sorry, no. Those legends started partly because human braggarts tried to impress pretty girls: “Well, ladies, I did go up against a vampire, and he was something fierce, really dangerous, a super-powered monster — and I’m still here to tell the tale.”

Vampires have encouraged some of these legends to make themselves look invincible. Which brings us to our next point (pardon the pun):

4) A wooden stake through the heart is the only way to kill a vampire.

A myth. Vampires spread it to protect themselves from swords, bullets and other implements of death. They “let the secret out” that the only way to kill them was to use a primitive weapon that’s difficult to punch through a human body, and you had to hit in just one spot. This legend reduced the incidence of humans stabbing vampires with blades, shooting them, and throwing them through high windows.

5) Vampires, especially the males, are irresistibly sexy.

No, but male vampires spread this bit of fakery in to make human women believe that a vampire has unparalleled sexual prowess. (The gay male vamps want human men to believe it, too.)

6) Crosses repel vampires.

False. This legend came from religious leaders trying to impress superstitious folk with the power of Christianity.

7) Vampires can’t appear in mirrors or on film.

This lie grew from superstition. You’ve heard that people in non-technological cultures feel that taking their photo steals their soul. The same viewpoint applies here: that a mirror or camera shows you as you really are and is, therefore, a window to your soul. People in ancient times felt that something as murderous as a vampire must be soulless, so they assumed that vampires don’t show up in mirrors — or, later, on film. But no: Like other solid objects, vampires are visible in any medium.

8) Garlic repels vampires.

Not so. This one got started because the most famous vampire, Dracula, found the smell of garlic distasteful, just as you or I might hate the stench of certain cheeses or spices. When people heard that Dracula recoiled from garlic, they assumed that all vampires did.

And now, in addition to things you know about vamps that aren’t true, here’s something that you don’t know about vampires that is true.

If vampires can’t get blood, they’ll take other body fluids.

But they won’t admit to it, and they definitely won’t admit to liking it. No vampire wants his fellow vamps to call him “cumpire” — or worse, “pisspire.”

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