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In vampire fiction, depending on the author, one common method of creating another vampire is that the vampire maker must bite the victim on three different nights before the victim becomes a vampire. The victim may or may not gain vampire-like traits with each bite. I have seen this used in the movies Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? (1971) and Once Bitten (1985), the Anita Blake novel series (going back to 1993), and mentioned numerous times in online discussions about vampires. However, I cannot seem to trace when this convention was first codified earlier than the 1971 example.

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    Back when Stoker wrote about the Count, the "victim" had to drink some of the vampire's blood as well as the other way around in order to turn -- and that exchange need only happen once. So, we can confidently say this was after the 1897 publication of Stoker's novel.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 20, 2021 at 18:38
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    @ZeissIkon Vampires preceded Stoker's Dracula, so the exchange you describe does not in and of itself place an earliest date on Anonymous' question.
    – Lexible
    Aug 20, 2021 at 22:11
  • @ZeissIkon The novel is vague on the requirements to become a vampire, so subsequent fiction has offered multiple interpretations. The "three bites" method was probably directly inspired by Dracula's multiple visits in the novel, but the novel was almost certainly inspired by older folklore where it is common for victims to be visited multiple times before death results (vampire attacks being used to explain wasting diseases before the advent of germ theory).
    – Anonymous
    Aug 21, 2021 at 21:07
  • Never, & I (a fairly avid enthusiast of all things horror) have never come across that particular method in any film, book, game or discussion b4 that I can remember so it can't even be one of the more common methods attributed to passing it on.
    – Pelinore
    Aug 22, 2021 at 23:10
  • Never, & I (a fairly avid enthusiast of all things horror) have never come across that particular method in any film, book, game or discussion b4 that I can remember so it can't even be one of the more common methods attributed to passing it on, so to call it a 'convention' is somewhat misplaced.
    – Pelinore
    Aug 22, 2021 at 23:16

1 Answer 1

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Your assumption that any vampire traits have been codified in a code of laws for fantasy writer's is unfounded.

Wikipedia has a set of tables of vampire traits in folkore and various works of fiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vampire_traits_in_folklore_and_fiction

There is a row for each folklore, ficiton, movie, or tv version of vampires, and columns for each trait, and each interesction is marked whether or not that trait is present in that version.

And TV Tropes has a trope called Our Vampires are Different:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurVampiresAreDifferent

And it gives many examples of the different traits of various movie, tv, etc. vampires.

So any particular trait which is common in modern vampire stories is not codified in laws for writers of vampire stories but one which many - but not all - writers chose for various reasons to use in their vampire stories. If two different people happen to read and/or watch different examples of fictional vampires they might come away with different ideas of what a typical vampire is like.

As for biting someone three times turning them into a vampire, it might be a common vampire trope. But the more common a trope might be, the more likely it is that some independent minded, contrarian spirited, writer will deliberately decide to reject or reverse it in their story.

So I wouldn't be surprised if some writer wrote a vampire story where a vampire bits someone on three different nights and turns back into a human instead of turning the human into a vampire!

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    The asker acknowledged in the question that this is only one vampire trope. I see the question as being about where this one trope originated. Aug 21, 2021 at 17:40
  • @ToddWilcox I'd have to disagree with your assessment // he calls it a convention & uses the word codified suggesting in no uncertain terms that he believes it's the primary, most common & widely accepted trope // it's not, I don't even recall ever hearing it b4.
    – Pelinore
    Aug 22, 2021 at 23:22
  • The linked Wikipedia page has since been deleted
    – Justinw
    Aug 23, 2021 at 14:00

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