Vampire (upyr, opyr, opyrytsia). A dead person believed to rise from the grave at night and to suck the blood of sleeping people, particularly children. According to Ukrainian folk beliefs vampires can also be living people, and they can cause droughts and epidemics. They are distinguished by their red faces and a tiny tail. Vampires are former criminals, suicides, victims of a spell, or improperly buried people. They can be destroyed by being exhumed and having a stake driven through their bodies. Living vampires must be pierced by a stake or buried. References to vampires occur in Ukrainian literature of the 13th to 17th centuries and in the works of Romantic writers.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]