We’ve all heard of vampires, the blood-sucking creatures of literary fiction. But have you ever heard of an energy vampire? According to urban legend, these bloodsuckers feed off of the life force of their victims, draining them of their energy.

While there is no scientific evidence to support this theory, it nonetheless persists, due in no small part to the striking resemblance between Pattinson and the iconic Twilight character. For whatever reason, the media has latched on to this urban legend and made it their own, so much so that it’s achieved the status of a common parody, where people mock the notion with tongue-in-cheek humor. But does this legend hold any truth? We take a look.

The Science Behind It

The first step in answering this question is to establish just what a vampire is. According to legend, a vampire is a human being who has been turned into a bloodsucking creature by the bite of a member of the undead, typically a bat or a wolf. So, while genetics play a role in how we look, it’s our diet that determines whether or not we are a vampire. Like all mammals, we need to eat to stay alive. But unlike most animals, we can consume the energy stored in blood to power our cells and keep us going. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship – let’s eat, let’s live – that has been played out over the years in movies like Dracula and Let The Right One In. It’s a classic tale of predators and prey.

While it’s true that these creatures do exist and are undeniably terrifying, they are incredibly rare. According to National Geographic, there are only about 30 documented cases of vampirism in history. While some urban legends claim that modern vampires roam the earth taking human lives in their wake, this scenario is highly unlikely. Most likely, these stories stem from the deep fear that so many people have of this horrifying condition.

What Is An Energy Vampire?

Regardless of whether or not you believe in vampires, you have to admit that they are pretty cool. Vampires have appeared in countless films and books over the years, and for the most part, they’ve always been a source of horror and excitement. Well, what if I told you there was another kind of vampire? One that fed off of human energy, not blood? What if I told you that these vampires resembled humans, and that they have, in fact, been around since the dawn of time? What if I told you that some ancient cultures worshipped these creatures, believing them to be Gods?

While the legends surrounding vampirism typically involve blood, it seems the origin of the energy vampire legend actually traces back to Native American mythology. During the 18th century, French explorers reported finding indigenous people in the Americas who believed in a kind of vampire that sucked the life force from its victims, causing them to suffer from terrible rashes and fevers. While a less violent variant of vampire existed in these cultures (known as a leech), these creatures were somewhat different from their European counterparts. Where a vampire typically feeds on the blood of its victims, creating a health crisis, an energy vampire instead feasts on their energy. In other words, they suck the vampire of vampires.

Since that time, the legend of the energy vampire has spread throughout the world, persisting in popularity even today in countries where vampire myths still exist. Even in the United States, where vampire myths are less prevalent, there is still a small but fervent following. Perhaps it’s the allure of the unknown that seduces us, the lure of the weird.

Whatever the reason for this enduring appeal, it’s clear that audiences have identified with the plight of the energy vampire. After all, who hasn’t ever felt like they were hit hard by adolescence, only to awake one day and discover that time has stood still? Who hasn’t felt frustration at their inability to control their fate, to make things better for themselves? Who hasn’t longed for a parent, a teacher, a spiritual leader to give them some sort of guidance, a path to follow? Who hasn’t ached to be able to join a club, find a soul mate, or fall in love and marry the person they love? All of these questions can be applied to Bella, the heroine of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon, as she faces the prospect of having to mend her broken heart yet again. It’s a scenario that speaks to something deep in all of us, something that wants to believe that when we wake up from our long night’s sleep, everything will be better.

The Popularity Of The Legend

While vampires have always been a bogeyman for millenials, the internet has played a role in popularizing the legend, bringing it into the mainstream and making it a part of modern culture.

The legend has been so popularized that even now, when you mention vampires to people, they will almost immediately think of energy vampires, even if they’ve never heard the term before. According to legend, if you’re born during a full moon, then there’s a slight chance you’re a vampire. This has led to the all-time great Urban Legend Trilogy premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where vampires are referred to as “neurals” (referring to the feeling of being overwhelmed by adolescence that the movie’s main character experiences). Even today, the legend of the energy vampire still has the power to thrill and terrify its followers.

How Did The Legend Begin?

The legend of the energy vampire began in the early 17th century, with reports from French explorers who encountered indigenous people in the Americas during that time. The reports described a creature that consumed the energy of its victims, causing them to have wild fevers and rashes. While that may sound like a problem for the indigenous peoples they encountered, these creatures actually helped the French explorers by dismantling the powerful Indians who had the habit of killing themselves and each other in battles. This ultimately led the French to name the creature “vampire,” because of its similarity to a demon from Christian mythology (known as a vampyre). Since then, the legend has been passed down through the generations and has persisted in popularity even today, when people in the Americas and elsewhere look to the stars and wonders if they too will be affected by the vampire bogeyman.

A God-Like Being?

These creatures were worshipped as gods in some Native American cultures. In fact, the very first energy vampire myth began in the Americas, where the Natives believed that these monsters were born of a union between a spiritual being and a human being. The legend goes that the spirit would shapeshift into an animal form and visit the human during their sleep, consuming their life force in the form of dreams, imagination, and self-doubt, manifesting themselves as gods amongst mortals. In some Native American mythologies, this first energy vampire is known as “The Trickster.”