Many elaborate rituals were used to identify a vampire. One method of finding a vampire's grave involved leading a virgin boy through a graveyard or church grounds on a virgin stallion—the horse would supposedly
balk at the grave in question.Generally a black horse was required, though in Albania it should be white.Holes appearing in the earth over a grave were taken as a sign of vampirism.
Corpses thought to be vampires were generally described as having a healthier appearance than expected, plump and showing little or no signs of decomposition.In some cases, when suspected graves were opened, villagers even described the corpse as having fresh blood from a victim all over its face.Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours. Folkloric vampires could also make their presence felt by engaging in minor poltergeist-like activity, such as hurling stones on roofs or moving household objects,andpressing on people in their sleep.
Tales of supernatural beings consuming the blood or flesh of the living have been found in nearly every culture around the world for many centuries.Today we would associate these entities with vampires, but in ancient times, the term vampire did not exist; blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to demons or spirits who would eat flesh and drink blood; even the devil was considered synonymous with the vampire.
Ancient Greek and Roman mythology described the Empusae,Lamia,and the striges. Over time the first two terms became general words to describe witches and demons respectively. Empusa was the daughter of the goddess Hecate and was described as a demonic, bronze-footed creature. She feasted on blood by transforming into a young woman and seduced men as they slept before drinking their blood.Lamia preyed on young children in their beds at night, sucking their blood, as did the gelloudes or Gello. Like Lamia, the striges feasted on children, but also preyed on young men. They were described as having the bodies of crows or birds in general, and were later incorporated into Roman mythology as strix, a kind of nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood.