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A Collection of Dangerous and Deadly Creatures: Shapeshifting Monsters

In today’s world of fictional vampires, the overwhelming image is that of a creature which looks like a Goth rock-star or an underweight supermodel. Anemic-looking skin, black clothes, and sunken cheeks are very much the order of the day. But, it wasn’t always like that. Centuries ago, vampires were far more monstrous than anything that the world of Hollywood prefers to get its teeth into – pardon the pun. And, similarly, while movie-makers might occasionally still present a vampire shapeshifting into a bat, according to legend, the vampire could take on the disguise of numerous animals. For the vast majority of people, vampires are nothing but fictional monsters designed to entertain and thrill. But, long before the fictional vampire became all-dominating, there was the real monster. Both ancient reality and modern fantasy have one thing in common: namely, the belief that vampires thrive and survive on blood, predominantly human blood, but also that of animals, too – a process known as hematophagy. But, that is just about where the parallels start and finish.

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