There have been over 11,204 paranormal sightings in the UK in the last century. Trackdelphi (Wikimedia Commons)

Over the past 100 years, Britain has had more than 11,204 reports of paranormal encounters, with 206 of them about vampires. Romania in comparison has had only a handful of reports, despite having a strong history of vampire folklore and being the legendary home of Dracula.

Paranormal Investigator, Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, conducted research and found that with around two sightings per year, the UK is somewhat of a vampire hotspot.

Speaking to The Mirror, Fanthorpe said that despite being used to exploring the world of the paranormal, he was shocked at how many reported vampire sightings had taken place in Britain.

"I really only expected to find one or two instances in Britain," he said. "So I was amazed when I discovered one story after another. And I really didn't expect to find more here than in somewhere like Transylvania. It is in a part of Europe where folklore and fairy tales are widespread, but in fact we could find only nine or ten reports there, over the same period."

Fanthorpe thinks that there could be many explanations as to why there are so many sightings in Britain, from the publication of the infamous novel Dracula, to historical invasions of the country.

"There are lots of potential explanations. One is that after the publication of Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1897 more people were prone to use vampires as an explanation for all sorts of weird things.

"Another might be that we are an island nation where many people have come in from other parts of the world – Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings. So if these creatures came here as part of invasions, they stayed and had no means of getting out again."

Over the last century, the most common reports in the UK have been of ghosts and phantoms. Yorkshire topped the list with 615 sightings, with London (567), Lancashire (511), Essex (475) and Sussex (417), all following closely behind.

"Our research has suggested that certain areas of Britain may be referred to as horror hotspots not solely because of their vampire reports but also because of the number of reports of general paranormal phenomena emanating from them," Fanthorpe said.

Bloodied History

Stories of vampires date back thousands of years with blood drinking demons appearing in almost every culture. From tales of the mythical Lilitu, a demon who feasted on the blood of babies in Ancient Babylonia and Assyria, to the 'real' vampires of Europe, such as Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Báthory .

Vlad Tepes

Vlad the Impaler
Vlad Tepes Ri Lughaid (Wikimedia Commons)

It is widely believed that the first 'real' vampire is the Romanian prince, Vlad Tepes or Vlad Dracula, meaning 'son of the dragon', a reference to his father's involvement in a secret society called the Order of The Dragon.

It is said that he was much of the inspiration for the creation of the character Dracula, by the author Bram Stoker.

The prince was also known as Vlad the Impaler because of his passion for impaling his enemies on long spikes. It was said that during his reign he killed between 40,000 and 100,000 people.

According to a 15th century poem entitled The Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia, by Michel Beheim, Tepes also liked to dip his bread in the blood of his enemies at meal times.

Countess Elizabeth Báthory

Countess Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Báthory Masur (Wikimedia Commons)

Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian countess whose desire to stay young was so strong that it is said she bathed in the blood of virgins.

Báthory has been named one of the most prolific female serial killers in history and even though the exact number is debated, she is thought to have killed over 600 girls through various forms of torture and mutilation.

Vampires of the UK

The UK is home to many sightings as well as a few local legends of its own.

In 1969, dead animals drained of blood started appearing in Highgate Cemetery, with some witnesses reporting being attacked by a mysterious tall, dark figure, with a hypnotic stare. As more sightings rolled in, the more crazed people became, prompting a host of wannabe vampire hunters to flood the area and start digging up graves.

A similar story also happened in Lockerbie, Scotland, where ghost hunter Tom Robertson encountered a tall figure dressed in sacking, surrounded by a forest of dead animals at Lochmaben Castle. Upon seeing Robertson, the creature promptly leapt into a tree and ran away.

A little more recently, in 2005, people in two areas of Birmingham said that they were attacked by a man who bit them. On one occasion passers-by tried to catch the man, but found that he possessed unusual strength and was able to escape.