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Although most vetala legends have been compiled in the Baital Pachisi, a prominent story in the Kathasaritsagara tells of King Vikramāditya and his nightly quests to capture an elusive one.The vetala is described as an undead creature who, like the bat associated with modern-day vampirism, hangs upside down on trees found on cremation grounds and cemeteries.Legends of vampires have existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demonic entities and blood-drinking spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires.Despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th-century Southeastern Europe, particularly Transylvania as verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published.The Hebrew word "Alukah" (literal translation is "leech") is synonymous with vampirism or vampires, as is "Motetz Dam" (literally, "blood sucker").
An alternate version states the legend of Lilith/Lilitu (and a type of spirit of the same name) originally arose from Sumer, where she was described as an infertile "beautiful maiden" and was believed to be a harlot and vampire who, after having chosen a lover, would never let him go.
Men, beasts, trees, rivers, roads, buildings, she brings harm to them all.
A flesh-eating, bloodsucking monster is she." One incantation tells of them as spirits that threaten every house, rage at people, eat their flesh, and as they let their blood flow like rain, they never stop drinking blood.
Today we know these entities predominantly as vampires, but in ancient times, the term vampire did not exist; blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to demons or spirits who would eat flesh and drink blood; even the devil was considered synonymous with the vampire.
Almost every nation has associated blood drinking with some kind of revenant or demon, from the ghouls of Arabia to the goddess Sekhmet of Egypt.
In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire itself.