A vampire is created through the bite of such a creature. Sometimes this bite is extremely virulant and creates a vampire almost instantly. In other cases, however, the victim must actually die from the blood loss and will rise again later--or sometimes they must also ingest the blood of a vampire to be "turned."
Most vampires exhibit superhuman strength and stamina. Other powers include mesmerism (by eye or voice contact), shapeshifting (into bats, wolves or mist usually), flight, super-speed, telepathy, etc. Killing a vampire generally requires either a wooden stake to pierce the heart, decapitation and/or burning. Mystical means can be used to resurrect some vampires so dispatched.
The origins of vampires are a matter of some debate.
- Wikipedia article on Vampires
- Wikipedia article on Vampires in Marvel Comics (i.e. The Tomb of Dracula, Dr. Strange, etc.)
- Wikidedia article on Vampires in Buffy The Vampire Slayer
- Vampirism in the WNU by Dennis Powers
- Children of the Night by Charles Loridans