In many stories, crosses or other religious symbols hurt vampires.

  • In the Shadowhunters books by Cassandra Clare, vampires are weak to whatever religious symbols they believe in.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires are specifically vulnerable to crosses.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, vampires, or indeed any undead, can be driven off or turned to dust by a (non-evil) cleric presenting their religious symbol.
  • In the Dresden Files, vampires can be repelled by any symbol backed up by genuine faith.

And of course, the big one:

  • In Dracula, one of the earliest vampire stories, crosses (generally a crucifix) are anathema to the undead.

What is the first story that featured a religious symbol (most likely a crucifix) being proof against vampires or vampiric (i.e. bloodsucking) entities? Was it Dracula, or something earlier?

  • @anaranjada -If you can find a specific folklore story written down, it's fair game. "In Romanian folklore, vampires are vulnerable to crosses" isn't quite what I'm looking for.
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:50
  • Note that crosses and crucifixes are not the same, and in Buffy a cross (without any crucifixion) was definitely sufficient to harm a vampire. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 16:36
  • @ToddWilcox -True, I know that.
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


Honestly, Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) seems to be the earliest work I've found where the vampires are warded off by a cross. Varney, one of the predecessors to Dracula, was specifically noted to not be bothered by them. There's probably folklore associated with apotropaic wardings of vampires, but I have not found them yet. As a side note, it does not match your title, as it only warded off Dracula, although a consecrated Communion wafer burned Lucy when pressed on her forehead.

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