Before True Blood's Eric Northman, before the Vampire Diaries' Salvatore brothers, before Twilight's Edward—heck, before Interview With The Vampire's Lestat and even Dracula, vampires were a real concern for society. A recent New Scientist article reveals that in 1693, a literary journal called Mercure Galant wrote an article on an outbreak undead corpses in Poland and Russia. The article's author, Pierre Des Noyers (a former secretary to Queen Marie-Louise of Poland) wrote, “This reviving being… comes out of his grave, or a demon in his likeness, [and] goes by night to embrace his near relations or his friends...“ It then “sucks their blood so much as to weaken and attenuate them, and at last cause their death.”
Science now knows that there are some changes to a corpse that would make it appear as though it were reanimated tissue, but back then, not so much. No wonder everyone was so scared! And yay for creative types finding something fun to do with it.
Doesn't explain the sparkles, though.