Typically (and rightfully) associated with the Living Dead section of magical beings, Vampires are creatures famous in both Muggle and wizard legend; from the tales of Count Dracula to the bard of Prince Orfeo, Vampires have both fascinated and feared humans for centuries. Famously described as a "blight on the wonderful world of magic" by British Minister for Magic, Barty Crouch Sr., Vampires have a mixed reputation across the globe and have been on the wrong part of history for much of their millennium-long existence.
Biology and nature
Vampires are creatures with a myriad of traits and characteristics. They are humanoids with pale skin, which is caused by the slow blood circulation within the body, which also is the reason that Vampire bodied are very cold. Vampires do indeed have heartbeats, but they beat at a much slower pace than regular humans. Contrary to popular belief, sunlight is not lethal to Vampires, but they are very sensitive to it. They sunburn easily and employ the use of charms to keep their skin safe from the sun, although that is not often, as Vampires as a whole typically live a nocturnal lifestyle (i.e. sleeping during the day while awake at night).
Vampires are born with one of five eye colours; Black, Red, Red-Orange, Gold and Silver. Vampires have heightened senses of sight, smell and hearing, as well as strong natural physical strength and quick reflexes. Although Vampires tend to sleep during the day and stay awake at night, Vampires do not need much sleep; most Vampires do not like the daytime so they sleep it off, but some Vampires stay awake in the daytime as well, employing the use of charms on their houses' windows in order to prevent the sun from shining through. The average Vampire can stay awake for 48 hours with only a two or three hour rest in between.
Vampires are typically strong-willed, independent and confident. They are highly intelligent and well-educated, though not necessarily school-educated; Vampires are typically home-schooled by their parents. Vampires are known to be quite moody and are quick-tempered. Vampires seem to have a natural ability to know what another person is thinking.
Vampires do not have to eat normal food to survive, but most do as they quite like the taste of food and indulge in feasts often, preferring to feast on rare red meats. It was historically accepted that Vampires needed blood to survive, however more recently, it has been discovered that they do not necessarily require blood to survive, however is left without blood for over a period of a couple of weeks, Vampires begin to weaken and descend into a dangerous crazed state that makes them hunt for blood by any means necessary. Although Vampires do have an innate craving for blood, this does not necessarily mean they crave the blood of humans. Historically, both humans and Vampires alike believed that human blood was necessary in the survival of Vampires, however it has been discovered that Vampires simply need blood, any kind of blood, to keep their strength up. This has made drinking human blood taboo within the Vampire community, and the practice is illegal under Transylvanian and Serbian law.
Vampires have a naturally superior healing ability. Small cuts and such instantly heal, and although Vampires cannot regrow lost limbs, they can be reattached with relative ease. Because Vampires are undead, their bodies are cold because blood does not circulate through their bodies. In addition, things such as regular diseases do not afflict Vampires, but they are not immune to magical curses and afflictions.
As Vampires are undead, they can not reproduce like they could as humans. Female Vampires are inherently sterile while Male Vampires are infertile. Humans who were the victims of bloodlusting Vampires became the new generation of Vampires, however as time went on and the Vampires for the most part ceased victimizing humans after the Sighișoara Accords, Vampires needed a new way to repopulate their race. As such, to get around their own infertility, Vampires took to kidnapping infants and turning them into Vampires at a very young age and raising them as their own children. This continued until as late as the 1950's, when a program was initiated by Transylvanian wizards wherein they would become surrogate parents for Vampire families wishing to have children. Since the program was initiated in 1959, dozens of Vampires have adopted children from surrogate Transylvanian mothers.
While it is true that Vampires can afflict other humans with the curse, it is untrue that biting and sucking a human's blood is the way in which the other person is afflicted. To successfully turn another human into a Vampire, one must bite a normal human on the neck and imbue them with the curse, wherein the human will be fall into a coma and wake up as a newly-transformed Vampire.
Although there is no centralized government for all Vampires, most of the population answers to the Vampire Courts. The Courts are hierarchically-structured conglomerates of Vampire families that hold power and influence in Vampiric affairs. Within the government of Transylvania, these Courts act much like political parties, where they strive to gain as much influence within the government as they can in order to sway policies to suit their desires. Elsewhere with a Vampire Court presence; Serbia, Canada and the United States, the Courts act much like Muggle First Nations; the Courts represent their race on a national level and form self-governing bodies regulated to small communities where they are free to govern their own internal affairs.
Relationship with Humans
Vampires have a complicated relationship with humans. For centuries, Vampires hunted humans for blood and humans hunted Vampires for retribution, leading to a very hostile relationship between the two races. It wasn't until Vampires continued to be hunted that the Courts mutinied against Prince Darrien and sought peace with wizards, leading to the signing of the Sighișoara Accords. Afterwards, Vampires were given a homeland in the form of Transylvania where they could be represented within the wizarding government and live in harmony in exchange for ceasing all human hunting and deem the consumption of human blood illegal.
Common beliefs associated with Vampires
Vampires have an aversion to garlic
It is true that Vampires have a painful reaction to garlic, however nobody knows why that is, not even Vampires. It is thought to be the result of the properties of garlic that conflict with a Vampire's body chemistry, however nobody is one hundred percent certain and it remains a mystery.
A wooden stake will kill a Vampire
A wooden stake or iron rod, when pierced through the heart, will render a Vampire lifeless as per popular belief. However, the catch is that is the stake or rod is removed from the Vampire's heart, it will reanimate, which has spelled doom for many inexperienced Vampire hunters.
Holy symbols drive away Vampires
Holy symbols have been a subject of debate with regards to Vampires. If a person wielding a holy symbol has true faith in his or her religion, then presenting a cross or other religious symbol will drive away a Vampire most times. This seems to extend to prayer and places deemed "holy ground". This aversion is, however, purely psychological on the part of the Vampire. Most Vampires typically believe that they will be harmed by a religious artifact, and as such, shy away from it when one presents itself. Holy water is almost universally regarded as something that would harm a Vampire, however that belief stemmed from one instance of an experience Vampire hunter dumping acidic water laced with silver onto a Vampire, thereby negating its healing powers and killing the creature. Holy water, in and of itself, will not harm a Vampire.
Vampires are not affected by silver like Werewolves
In fact, this is a common belief by Muggles, though it could not be more wrong. Despite popular belief, Werewolves are not affected by silver, but Vampires most certainly are. Things such as silverware or coins made of a mixture of silver and other metals will not hurt a Vampire, but pure, one hundred percent undiluted silver is acidic to them, and exposure to silver of such purity negates their superior healing and can lead to a slow and painful demise should a Vampire sustain an injury.
Vampires do not need to breathe
Vampires do not require breathing in order to function, but they all do as as it is virtually impossible to speak without airflow over the vocal cords or smell without intaking air through the nostrils. Vampires can and do stop breathing at will, and can go indefinitely without drawing a single breath.
Vampires cannot drown
Vampires can drown, however as stated above, Vampires do not require breathing in order to function, and as such, can hold their breath underwater for an indefinite amount of time.
Vampires sleep in coffins
The belief that Vampires sleep in coffins, sarcophagi and crypts is a partial truth. There are some Vampires who sleep in coffins and the like, but not for reasons generally accepted by mankind. They do so because they provide the perfect proof against sunlight; a coffin, sarcophagus and a crypt are all air-tight. Most vampires, however, retire to bed and either draw curtains or charm their windows as to not let light in through them.
Vampires must sleep in the soil of their homeland
The notion that a Vampire must sleep in the soil of their homeland is false, however it is believed by many because Vampires tend not to stray from their covens as they face discrimination by the wizarding world, not because they physically cannot venture outwards.
Vampires can turn into bats
The notion that Vampires can transform into bats at will is entirely false, however it is not without basis. for Centuries before the Sighișoara Accords, a favoured trick employed by Vampires to escape their captors is to deploy a smoke bomb, Apparate away and leave a live bat behind in order to trick Vampire hunters into thinking they transformed into a bat and flew away, leading to said Vampire hunters to kill any and all bats they came across. The reality is, Vampires cannot wholly transfigure themselves into anything other than their natural humanoid appearance; in fact, Vampires do not have an animagus form, preventing them from transforming into any animal let alone a bat. The most self-transfiguration that a Vampire can perform is retract their fangs.
Vampires have an aversion to water
Vampires do not, in fact, have any aversion to water. Some of the more superstitious Vampires believe that their soul will be trapped if they die in running water, and tend to avoid crossing streams and such, hence the origin of the myth.