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by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis
A blood-lusting monster. The earliest reference to a vampire appears in the Bible, where it is called an alukah (Prov. 30:15). Jewish traditions about vampires vary over history. Sometimes they are regarded to be demonic spirits, other times they are described as a type of witch.

The best description appears in Sefer Chasidim, where the creature is understood to be a living human being, but can shape-change into a wolf. It can fly (by releasing its long hair) and will eventually die if prevented from feeding on blood for a long enough time. Once dead, a vampire can be prevented from becoming a demon by being buried with its mouth stuffed with earth.

Article copyright 2004 Geoffrey Dennis.

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  • Also known as:
    Yiddish: Estrie

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