What type of character does one or more of the following:
- Avoids sunlight.
- Has Super Strength.
- Has people begin disappearing when they arrive.
- Seems to have a thing for avoiding garlic.
- Seems to have a desire for others' blood/life-force.
If you said vampires you'd be right, but except for this trope.
This trope is for any instance where a character is set up as a vampire, and is then revealed not to be. It can lead to a massive awkward moment for the character that suspects as much, or it may just serve to deepen the mystery if there is a real vampire on the loose. In the latter case, the suspect may be a Vampire Vannabe who is in league with the real thing because they really want to be one, or they might be something even more sinister.
Sometimes, actual vampires may even coexist alongside one or more other kinds of beings that are capable of Vampiric Draining — the typical hallmark of a vampire.
Can also be Played for Laughs if a character accuses someone of being a vampire when it's quite clear to the audience that they aren't.
- Arystar Krory in D.Gray-Man. Because he'd attack the townspeople at night and drain them of their blood, everyone (including Krory himself) thought him to be a vampire. He turns out to be a human with Innocence, and he was instinctively attacking Akuma.
- It is easy to assume that Seishirou Kirishiki in Shiki is a vampire but it is not so. Instead, he is The Team Normal among the vampires.
- Played With in Hellsing — despite employing 1,000 vampire Nazis and looking just as young as he did during World War II, the Major turns out to be a cyborg. He insists this makes him human, and characterizes his quest against Alucard as one of man versus monster. Integra insists that he's still a loathsome monster (though she may have only meant in the moral sense).
- In God Child, the current inhabitants of the Weatherby Castle Darque and Justine. Particularly Justine has a lot of hints, with having a tendency to inherit elongated, sharp canines, and she is also very weak and feels faint when she is subjected to sunlight. There's also Gertrude, who was burned for being suspected of being a vampire, since a lot of people died lately and despite being in her 40s, she looked incredibly young and was thought to have made herself young by drinking the blood of young, pretty women. Turns out the people around Gertrude were dying due to The Plague and Justine is not actually a vampire... or she is... maybe...
- Batman himself is associated with bats, almost never seen in the daytime, seemingly appears out of nowhere and vanishes into thin air and much stronger than any normal person. It's been shown that a small number of people, particularly Gotham thugs, believe or suspect that he's a vampire, which isn't totally insane in a universe with aliens, wizards, superheroes, and even a few actual vampires (and is actually true in some Alternate Universes). Since Superman has occasionally worn the suit and impersonated him, some people have actually seen "Batman" fly, lift cars and survive hails of bullets, which makes the vampire theory that much more credible.
- The villainess Nocturna had an accident which turned her skin white and made her sensitive to light. She also has Shadow Walker and Charm Person powers. The New 52 version deliberately plays on her similarity to a vampire, at one point using hypnosis to convice Batwoman that not only is she a Lesbian Vampire, but that Kate herself has been turned.
- EC Comics:
- In an old story, the premise of a game show is to guess the job of a special guest. The contestants get steadily more panicky and more creative as they discover that their guest 'works with a red liquid' and it's not soap, or ink, or anything other than what they're thinking about... he's actually a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood). The contestants are the vampires — the gameshow is for supernatural creatures, and the contestants typically feast on the guest at the end of the show.
- This trope was also the twist in the EC story "Sweetie-Pie", where bodies of people last seen in cars that were wrecked turn up drained of blood with twin puncture marks in the throat. Turns out that it's the work of a ghoul who prefers his meals exsanguinated.
- Also the twist in another story about a graveyard-shift cab driver who reads in the papers that another murder has been committed; the victim bears the familiar neck-marks and drained blood. A doctor quoted and pictured in the article states the murders must be the work of a vampire, and he (the doctor) intends to hunt the bloodsucker down. When a sinister-looking passenger gets into his cab, the driver recognizes the man as the doctor he saw in the paper. After he drops the doctor off, the cabbie gets out and follows him on foot — only to be ambushed by the doctor, who reveals himself to be the vampire... and the cab driver wakes up. It had all been a dream the cabbie had while drifting off. But the same man the cabbie saw in the dream gets into his cab, and asks to be taken to the same destination. Instead the cabbie drives into an alley, where — you guessed it — the cabbie is revealed to be the real vampire, and he dispatches the good doctor. The final line of the story, spoken as the driver is getting into the trunk of his cab filled with graveyard earth: "Imagine! A vampire falling asleep at night — and dreaming! Ridiculous!"
- Justice League, during their "International" period (also known as the Bwa-ha-ha era), ran an arc in which a region of Europe was overrun by "vampires". It's revealed that a mad scientist had infected innocent people with an artificially mutated mind-controlling strain of porphyria, a blood disease that was once hypothesized to have been the origin of the vampire myths.
- One of the stranger storylines in Ruse involves an Uberwald-esque town seemingly empty by day but lively by night, and a nearby Gypsy caravan whose women are being kidnapped (and, eventually, Emma). Generations of inbreeding have induced a mutation causing the townspeople to be invisible in sunlight and extremely photophobic; they're kidnapping girls for outside blood to counter the mutation.
- Mickey Mouse Comic Universe
- A subversion of sorts occurs in one Mickey Mouse story. Goofy befriends a man who has just moved into an old house in town, and who actually dresses much like the stereotypical Bela Lugosi sort of vampire. The man even admits himself that it is the look he is going for, and that everything else he does, from sleeping in a wooden box to keeping the curtains shut, is just a healthy way of life. Goofy believes it, and wants to try. Mickey is not so gullible, and repeatedly tries to prove his claim by throwing about typical anti-vampire stuff such as garlic and running water. In the end, however, all attempts fail, and Goofy becomes increasingly angry with Mickey for messing around. Cue Mickey convincing him to find the man where he sleeps at day and pulling the curtains. Sunlight shines on him... and nothing happens. Mickey admits defeat, and they both leave. As soon as they have, however, the man pulls away the fake window he had on his wall, with just a normal lamp behind it. He laughs at them in the final frame, and will presumably go on to act like the vampire he is now that the "hunters" are gone.
- A story with Mickey as a professional Private Detective has Mickey encountering a foreign couple calling themselves Alucard who seem to have all vampire traits such as paleness and vulnerability to sunlight and garlic, while people are turning up sick in hospital with marks on their neck. The explanation to all this is that they are the descendants of the original Count Dracula and have caught a rare disease while visiting his castle. Ironically, the story builds an elaborate, even contrived explanation of how the myth of Dracula the vampire came about due to misunderstandings building around the historical and nice Count Dracula, when in the real world Dracula was an explicitly fictional creation named after a nasty historical figure. Anywho, there's a complicated story about how the original Dracula's wife caught a mysterious illness affecting twin glands in the throat that secrete a serum maintaining youth — making her prone to shrivel up in sunlight — and how the count found a cure but his sample of the disease fell in the drain and polluted the local water supply and, since he was already distrusted, he had to sneak into people's bedrooms to administer a cure using twin syringes that he put in his mouth to have both hands free... In the present, the "vampire" behind the attacks is simply a greedy doctor extracting the serum from young people's glands to give to his elderly patients, and the "Alucards" get a happy ending when they accidentally find that stuff used to preserve parchments protects their skin from sunlight (when Mickey makes some of it come out of the sprinklers to preserve a stolen parchment). Can't fault the writer for lack of imagination.
- One Archie Comics issue had Archie terrified that the woman who moved in next door was a vampire as she looked and acted like one, and even moved in with a suspiciously coffin-sized wooden crate. It turns out to be fully justified on Archie's case: The woman was a Method Actor who played a vampire on Television, and she ultimately pranks him by "turning" Chuck.
- Inverted in one of the Ninja Scroll comics. Once Jubei encounters a strange female monster, who wants to drink his blood and can turn into a bat or a wolf. It's obvious for the reader that she's a Western-style vampire, but Jubei doesn't know that and has to learn her weaknesses the hard way (with a little help from people of the village the vampire was preying on).
- One very unfunny stand-alone story in Trese was told from the point of view of a young boy who believed his mother's new boyfriend was a vampire, since that was how he interpreted the signs of the boyfriend molesting the boy's younger sister. When Trese investigates, she claims that the guy wasn't a vampire, but something worse.
- In Ric Hochet, Alister Devill is the prime suspect to being a vampire, just like his ancestors Derek and Ferguson. In the end, it was all a scheme from his cousin, Austin Chapin, to kill him and inherit his vast fortune.
- Judge Dredd: In the "Cursed Earth" arc, Dredd travels through an area where the locals' blood is being harvested by a mysterious monster that they believe to be a vampire. It turns out to be the last President of the United States, put into suspended animation after his complicity in the Atomic Wars. When the machine ran out of replacement blood, his three robot servants started to collect it from elsewhere as they were programmed to keep him alive at all costs. Dredd remarks that the man was indeed a vampire, just of a different sort.
- Inverted and played straight in Astro City. The superhero Confessor actually was a vampire, but kept it a secret, careful never to use his vampiric powers where people could see him, and never doing anything explicitly superhuman or that couldn't be explained by training really hard. His secret eventually came out, meaning the fact that the Confessor is a vampire is now common knowledge. However, the guy behind the mask is not the original Confessor, but his Badass Normal former sidekick, who really isn't a vampire, but everyone thinks he is.
- The first part of the Muppet Mash arc of The Muppet Show Comic Book revolved around the other Muppets thinking that Gonzo has become a vampire due to returning from a vacation in Transylvania, wearing a suit and a cape, having a noticeably paler complexion, reacting negatively to the Swedish Chef preparing a garlic steak and demonstrating a strong craving for tomato juice, among other things. At the end of the issue, it turns out that Gonzo isn't a vampire and he explains all the supposed signs of his vampirism (e.g.: He was pale because he was wearing sun lotion, the tomato juice craving and aversion to the garlic steak were because he was on a vegetarian diet, etc.).
- The Seinfeld fanfic "The Vampire Boyfriend" has Kramer and Newman suspect this about Elaine's new boyfriend due to his not answering the door in the daytime and receiving boxes of soil from Europe. It turns out he's at work during the daytime and the soil is used for growing orchids. At the end of the story, this trope is then applied to Elaine herself.
- In the MLP fanfic Nosflutteratu, Pinkie Pie assumes that anypony with a name like Twilight Sparkle must be a vampire.
- The Danny Phantom fanfic "Bloodsucker" has a rumor spread around Casper High that Danny is a vampire. He decides to let them believe it rather than leave them to keep guessing until they figure out he's a ghost.
- Following on from the second Discworld example below, one of the fics in "Ten Alternate Universes: Havelock Vetinari" by Paul A includes the observation that if someone as subtle as Vetinari was a vampire, he wouldn't look so much like one.
- In Texts from Superheroes, Superman thanks Batman for a UV light generator designed to keep his sun-light powered abilities from weakening in winter, and suggests he installs them to improve the mood in Gotham, previously mentioned to be in the special Gotham Eternal Darkness Time zone, but apparently the citizens of Gotham are so sunlight-deprived UV radiation burns them.
Superman: Are you sure everyone in Gotham isn't just a vampire?
Batman: No, I'm not.
- Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): Soma hits just about every vampire-ascociated trope out there; he is hurt by Holy Water and blessed objects, can turn into a bat, summon bats, has Innate Night Vision, Vampiric Draining powers and can tell apart people's blood by scent. He is even the reincarnation of Dracula. However, he is not actually a vampire; he can walk in sunlight and needs food like anyone else. He still occasionally scares the crap out of other people thanks to this motif, and has difficulty convincing strangers that he's a human.
- Vampire's Kiss is about a man who thinks he's turning into a vampire, but he's actually losing his mind.
- The early George Romero film Martin follows the activities of a young man who is convinced he is a vampire. It's left ambiguous as to whether or not he really is a vampire, but only Martin and his uncle believe in his vampirism, and there aren't any specific signs of his being supernatural that are explicitly shown.
- Isle of the Dead was producer Val Lewton's contribution to the vampire genre. It features a group of expatriates quarantined on an island during the 1910s Balkan Wars. One of the locals starts spreading rumors about how a vrovrolakas (the film's version of vrykolakas, the Greek term for vampire) is responsible for The Plague. Paranoia sets in.
- In The Lost Boys, Sam and the Frog brothers try some vampire-detecting methods on Max when he comes over for supper, and are humiliated when all the tests fail. Subverted when it turns out Max is the leader of the vampires; the tests had merely been rendered ineffectual because he'd been invited into the house by Michael.
- In Transylvania 6-5000, it turns out that a young lady named Odette was only acting like a vampire (dressing up in a black leotard and a vampire cape) to get attention, because she'd been unattractive prior to her recent nose-job.
- The main character in My Best Friend is a Vampire actually is a vampire; however, throughout the movie, vampire hunters believe it's actually his best friend, Ralph, who is the vampire.
- When they first meet, Abraham Lincoln and Edgar Allan Poe both mistake the other for being a vampire in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
- In the A to Z Mysteries book The Vampire Vacation, the three main kids begin to suspect that a man named "Dr. A. Cula" is, in fact, a vampire. Turns out he's just an actor dressed as a vampire, preparing for his next role.
- Early in Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter, five-year-old twins Rob and Will see someone standing in the woods near their riding school who looks like a vampire they saw in a classmate's vampire comic book. Lori checks out their story, convinced they saw someone, and finds footprints and a scrap of red silk the riding instructor missed. It turns out to be Charlotte DuCaral, a neighbour who wears the cloak, along with zinc oxide sun block and red lipstick, who was in the woods brooding over her lost love, who had promised to elope with her years before but never arrived.
- Used two ways in Tanya Huff's Blood Price, neither remotely funny:
- Toronto is hit with a series of murders in which all the blood is drained from the victims. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people think it's a vampire (including an actual vampire, for a while), but it's actually a demon. Not much of an improvement.
- A night nurse is accosted by her drunken neighbors, who have gotten caught up in the vampire frenzy and decide that a woman they never see by day must be a vampire. They impale the poor woman with a sharpened hockey stick... and are horrified when the body doesn't turn to dust at dawn.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this in a tie-in novel; the creature was actually a demon masquerading as a vampire and known as the Daywalker.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, some speculate that the eponymous Count is a vampire, on account of his jail-gained pallor. Obviously, averted in The Vampire Count of Monte Cristo.
- In Making Money, Mister Bent is suspected of being a vampire due to his dark clothing, mysterious past, obsessive counting, staying at Mrs. Cake's boarding house, where supernatural creatures often reside, and always showing up at the bank before light and leaving after dark. It turns out he was born a clown. He's just very dedicated to his job.
- Unseen Academicals, regarding Vetinari, whose other vampiric traits include being really pale, surprisingly strong for his build, and having an ambiguously romantic relationship with someone who actually is a vampire:
- The Morris Gleitzman short story "Dracila" is about a ten-year-old attempting to convince his kid brother that their sister's new boyfriend is not a vampire, despite a surprising amount of evidence cropping up to indicate that he is.
- The mysterious Mr A.R. Claud in Dracula, Go Home by Kin Platt. Of course, if he was seeking to avoid attention, he could have a chosen different alias.
- The title character in Eden Green initially thinks of her friend's infection with an immortal needle symbiote as vampire-like, and mocks the one who infected her as an 'Edward Cullen-wannabe'. By the end, she's dropped this idea in favor of treating the needles as an alien corruption that needs to be destroyed.
- The Goosebumps series had a short story where kids suspect their new classmate (who is very pale, Eastern European, and dresses all in black) is a vampire. She's not - they are vampires, and rapidly turn her into one.
- Played straight and subverted in the original novella I Am Legend. While the infected people technically could be considered vampires, Neville realises at the end that the reason most of them display the traditional weaknesses is actually psychological. As the virus spread the word "Vampire" started to be thrown around and the trauma of dying and then reviving drove most of those afflicted insane. He then understands why he once observed one Vampire climbing a telegraph pole only to leap to his death... he thought he would turn into a bat.
- In the first Kate Daniels book, a guy she meets and dates briefly is set up to be the Monster of the Week. He isn't. It's really, really awkward.
- In F. Paul Wilson's "The Keep" the main antagonist is an Atlantean sorcerer/antichrist, but he pretends to be a Wallachian nationalist vampire in order to persuade an old professor to help him, and fakes a set of weaknesses different from his real ones.
- In The Legacy of Lehr by Katherine Kurtz, there's a killer on the loose who appears to have all the indicators of being a vampire, but it turns out he isn't and it's just a series of coincidences. (That doesn't mean he isn't a dangerous killer, though.)
- Ann Hodgman's My Babysitter Is A Vampire: Book #4, My Babysitter Flies By Night, introduces Voldar Constantin, an exchange student from Drazylvonia in Europe. For a while main protagonist Meg Swain thinks he's a vampire, since he looks like one, talks in a strange, formal way, and is far more interested in blood than a normal seventh-grader. It turns out he's just weird and really into scientific stuff, and he becomes one of Meg's best friends and allies, helping her out in both that book and its immediate sequel.
- In the short story My Bloody French Exchange by Anthony Horowitz, a young boy on a foreign exchange with a French family comes to believe their elderly uncle is a vampire. He isn't ... unfortunately, the boy only finds out after he's killed the poor old man with a wooden stake, and gets sent to a psychiatric institution.
- In A Night in the Lonesome October, the Count's companion Needle shows up at Snuff's house and begs to be let inside, because the Vicar is chasing him with a crossbow. When Snuff expresses reluctance to let one of "you guys" in, Needle frantically insists that it's his boss who's a vampire and can't enter without permission: Needle, himself, is just a bat.
- Sherlock Holmes - "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire". Their client, Mr. Robert Ferguson, tells them that his Peruvian second wife has been seen sucking their baby son's neck, and pinprick holes have been found at the site, making him think she's a vampire who was sucking his blood. It turns out his and his first wife's fifteen-year-old son Jack, who's been left with limited mobility since a childhood accident, is jealous of the baby and has been trying to murder him with poisoned darts - the infant's mother discovered this and was sucking the poison out.
- In the novel Twelve, one of the Vampire Vannabe s isn't a vampire. This is a major surprise to the reader, the main character, and in the sequel, even to other vampires. Being able to pretend to be a blood-sucking torture-loving inhuman monster is not played for laughs.
- In Lensey Namioka's Village Of The Vampire Cat, two ronin try to solve a mystery regarding the Japanese-style vampire. Apparently it's sneaking into girls' rooms at night, killing them with its claws, and also causing fainting spells. And there's a strange mewling sound that crops up now and again, and sometimes people get attacked by invisible claws while in the forest. Turns out it's a man thought dead, who was killing the beautiful women who robbed his grave... using a hook on a long cord as a weapon. And his mewling voice came from his mutilated throat.
- 30 Rock: Jack and his kidnapped wife's mother, Dianna Jessup, went to visit the UN to ask for help getting Avery freed from her captor Kim Jong Un. When they visit the Transylvanian ambassador, he complains about everyone thinking he must be a vampire, since he's Transylvanian, is a night owl, and has a severe garlic allergy. He doesn't help matters when he makes a hand gesture and yells, "VAMPIRE PUSH!" at Jack and Dianna.
- Angel. Used for a brief Bait-and-Switch in "The Prodigal". A flashback shows Angel in 1753 coaxing a pretty female servant into the shadows... only for his father to appear and shove him into the sunlight. He doesn't burst into flame because he's not a vampire at this stage; just Liam, a drunken hedonistic layabout.
- In the Crossing Jordan episode "Revealed", Nigel suspects Alistair Dark aka Frank Jones of being a vampire and murdering a writer who was investigating him. Dr. Macy proves that Mr. Dark is just a particularly dedicated Vampire Vannabe and that the writer accidentally killed himself staging a vampire attack as a publicity stunt.
- One episode of CSI featured as its perp a woman who pureed people's livers into blood-rich protein shakes because she suffered from porphyria, a disease which causes photosensitivity, skin irritation, blisters, and excessive hair growth, along with mental changes... and which is believed to be one of the natural inspirations for the vampire myth.
- In an episode of the short-lived horror anthology Darkroom titled "The Bogey Man Will Get You" (from the Robert Bloch story of the same name) a young Helen Hunt believed her big sister's boyfriend was a vampire. He wasn't. He was actually a werewolf.
- Doctor Who: In "The Vampires of Venice", the "vampires" are actually alien Fish People who happen to exhibit a number of vampire-like traits. His delivery of the "fish from space" line makes it funny to boot. A later episode has him refer to them as "sexy fish vampires".
The Doctor: They're not vampires. Fish from space.
- On an episode of F Troop, Vincent Price makes an appearance as a spooky immigrant. They think he's a vampire, except of course Captain Parmenter. His reason? "They're not mentioned in the army manual." Of course, he's not a vampire.
- In the Get Smart episode "Weekend Vampire" the eponymous vampire isn't a vampire, he uses a musical blowgun to fire two small Poison Darts that he aims at his victim's neck. He also has a creepy castle and uses a coffin as a
bedsecret stairway to his underground lair, but these are just to scare off the curious.
- In an episode of Gilligan's Island, Gilligan gets bitten by a bat and has a dream that he is a vampire, Ginger is his vampire wife, Mary-Ann is the "ugly old lady" maid, the Professor and Skipper are Inspector Watney and assistant, and the Howells are his type of people (Type A and Type O). Turns out, it was a fruit bat.
- In Highlander: The Series, one episode features what appears to be a string of vampire attacks in Paris during the Renaisance. The victims in Paris all have missing blood and piercing wounds on their neck. There's even a Van Helsing type character hunting the vampire. He catches him too, only to be shocked when the vampire gets up from being staked. Turns out the vampire was an immortal faking vampire attacks so that he could kill his young bride and inherit her money.
- Parodied on How I Met Your Mother when Marshall believes that the bartender at MacLaren's is a vampire, based on his black clothing and tendency to come out at night.
Robin: Hey! That does describe a vampire! Or, you know, a bartender.
- In season 1, episode 4, of The IT Crowd, Jen opens the red door in the basement and finds a rather strange character, who she assumes at first to be a vampire. It turns out he's (probably) just an unlucky goth, however.
- Murder, She Wrote: In "The Legacy of Borbey House", the Victim of the Week is an eccentric who paid cash for a large Victorian house, has no mirrors in the house, and is only ever seen outside in the evening. He is is killed by having a stake driven through his heart. His aversion to sunlight and mirrors turns out to be a case of genetic photophobia, and the killer chose a stake through the heart as a murder method to take advantage of the fact that several locals suspected him of being a vampire.
- Parodied on The Office (US) in the episode "Business School." Jim is attacked by a bat and spends the rest of the episode faking vampire symptoms (garlic aversion, repulsion at Karen's cross, etc.). A dangerous game, knowing Dwight. Hilariously, this episode was directed by Joss Whedon.
- In the Parker Lewis Can't Lose episode "Teens from a Mall", Frank Lemmer is shown avoiding sunlight and other things, prompting Shelly to think he's a vampire. This culminate with her splashing him with a bucket full of holy water.
- The Psych episode "This Episode Sucks" has a black-cloaked killer draining people's' blood, and Shawn and Gus think it's a vampire. It's actually a man with a rare disease who is stealing blood for transfusions since he lost his insurance and has a rare blood type.
- St. Elsewhere did an episode in which a young man thought he was a vampire. His creepy behavior makes some of the hospital staff wonder about this, but he's eventually diagnosed with porphyria.
- An episode of Supernatural features a Shapeshifter who impersonates a Classical Movie Vampire, a Werewolf, and a Mummy because he's a big fan of old horror movies.
- Ultraviolet. Michael shoots a suspect who's been avoiding the sun turns out he's a human with a skin condition that means he can't go out in sunlight.
- The Vampire Diaries used a series of Red Herrings to trick more observant audience members into thinking that the new history teacher Alaric Saltzman was a vampire - he wore a conspicuous ring, like the sunlight protection rings other vampires wore, and didn't step inside the Gilbert's house. He was actually a vampire hunter, and didn't step inside because he was being polite... while the ring was an entirely different kind of magical artifact.
- In Soylent Scrooge Scrooge thinks Christians are vampires and must be staked, preferably with holly. No one he attacks supports this description.
- An episode of Hamish and Dougal suggested that either the Laird was a vampire, or he was in the thrall of his ancestor Count Cardula, who was a vampire. It turned out there were
plausibleexplanations for everything. We even heard some of them.
- Vampire: The Requiem actually has a whole book dedicated to this — Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead, which outlines the various creatures of the night that have vampiric traits but aren't necessarily on the same tier as the Kindred that are the central focus of the line. Such things include ghuls, jiang shi, penanggalan, a parasite that requires blood and eventually overtakes its host (replacing their tongue in the process), and a machine that rejuvenates humans but gives them a thirst for blood.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- 1st Edition AD&D had a whole set of monsters called "pseudo-undead", which had the physical appearance, hit dice and attacks of undead, but were living creatures with none of their special abilities. Pseudo-vampires were among the examples of this creature-type, all varieties of which existed mostly to be used by DMs as "ringers" for the real thing.
- A long-ago Dragon article about how to keep savvy players guessing suggested that monsters in a D&D game might spread misinformation about themselves. One example it gave was a pit fiend going by the title of "Vampire Lord", so would-be heroes would load themselves down with useless garlic and stakes.
- One of the villains of the Eberron adventure Shadows of the Last War is a changeling who pretends to be a vampire. It's a 2nd-level adventure, and vampires are traditionally powerful creatures, so the PCs will likely panic.
- One of the werebeasts from a Children of the Night supplement for Ravenloft is a werebat who pretends to be a vampire to mislead monster-slayers about his weaknesses.
- Vault of the Vampire sets up this situation with the final battle against Katarina Heydrich. The player will have just dispatched Katarina's brother Reiner — the actual vampire count of the title — probably by using collected stakes, garlic, mirrors and the like, and is offered the option to tackle Katarina in the same way. There are very subtle hints as to the truth of the matter if the player meets Katarina earlier on in the adventure, such as her drinking normal wine, but the confusion is sown deliberately.
- In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Anton is believed to be a vampire by everybody in town—including Anton himself. However, he is actually an old man and everyone is high on illusion fumes.
- Played for Drama in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion where three dead beggars with neck wounds on their throats are found. A vampire hunter comes to town and kills a suspected vampire (he acts like one). It turns out to be all a lie. The two guys as well as a third man in a different town were partners in treasure hunting. They all had a key to a chest full of treasure (you need all three to open it), which was their retirement fund. One of them decided to accuse the other two of vampirism and thought killing them would be a good idea. If you don't catch up to him when he flees town in a game day, then he escapes, thus failing the mission.
- There's also the Order of Virtuous Blood quest, where a real vampire, posing as a vampire hunter, frames an innocent poor sap and manipulates you to kill him.
- Scythe in Wild Arms 4 likes to drink blood, and has power over space like other Crimson Nobles in that universe, though no aversion to sunlight. It turns out he simply enjoys drinking blood. The reason why he has powers over space is because his girlfriend Belial, whom he frequently drinks from, is a REAL Crimson Noble, whose powers far surpass Scythe's.
- The Nasuverse enjoys playing with this trope, but to sum it up, every "vampire" is a "blood-sucker", but not every "blood-sucker" is a "vampire" (in the strictest sense of the word).
- Tsukihime, being essentially a vampire novel, plays this straight: after encountering a bunch of actual, honest-to-gods vampires, Shiki begins suspecting that his own little sister Akiha is one, too, especially after witnessing her feeding on Kohaku's blood. It turns out that Akiha is not a vampire but a demon hybrid who must consume "bodily fluids" (including blood) of a very specific person (Kohaku or her twin Hisui) in order to maintain her sanity.
- Vlad the Impaler exists in several forms throughout the franchise, which play with this trope in various ways.
- Melty Blood (a sequel to Tsukihime) mentions that Vlad the Impaler was not a vampire, despite the legend.
- This comes up again in Fate/EXTRA, when an enemy Master has him as a Servant. Nope, still not a vampire. Though in this case, he has vampiric traits anyway because of his legend claims he was one. When a Heroic Spirit gets summoned as a Servant, their abilities are influenced by what modern humans believe they were like.
- And yet again in Fate/Apocrypha he's summoned as a Lancer and rather sore about the whole vampire reputation, and while he tries to be mature and ignore it, depictions of him in that state end up getting destroyed. His second Noble Phantasm, Legend of Dracula, embraces the vampire image and does devastating damage to his opponents, though he doesn't like using it since he believes it's not helping his case. Also of note is that his abilities in this state are much more like "the vampire modeled on him" than like any actual Nasuverse vampires.
- And yet again in Fate/Grand Order Vlad can be summoned as a Berserker, and his second Noble Phantasm from Apocrypha is locked into an active state (though not as game-breaking here because he lacks the extra power boosts provided by one of his skills and from being summoned so near his home city in Apocrypha). Being summoned into this state intentionally is his Berserk Button and he'll gladly kill said Master for it, while in unintentional cases he will generously agree to work together with whoever summoned him.
- There are actual vampires in Eerie Cuties, but their bites are rarely viral. However, the humans in the comic's universe do believe in viral vampiricism. So when Layla bites the M.M.A.A.'s corpse (which wasn't really a corpse, because the sword was magical and harmless) the vampire slayer assumes that she has been revived by the vampire. She spends several pages wondering how to come out as a vampire to her parents.
- In El Goonish Shive, Raven has been portrayed as a vampire only for the next strip to feature him denying that he is one. He has also been shown to be suspected to be a vampire by other characters as a joke despite already being known to be an elf.
- Só Levando: Had a story arc where cats started disappearing. Because it started happening after a man named Eduardo arrived in town, a fan of the Twilight series assumed Eduardo to be a vampire who sucked blood out of the cats to avoid sucking it from humans. It was then revealed the cats were killed by a shopkeeper who tried to frame a competitor.
- The Whateley Universe has a character named Vamp, who is pale as an albino and sensitive to sunlight, with super-strength and the ability to draw some sort of energy from people, especially from Energizers. Vamp also has a lust aura she can throw at people, and she can cast a cloud of darkness about herself. She used to be in the monster-themed supervillain team The Children of the Night. In "Ayla and the Mad Scientist" Phase has to explain about the all of the half-dozen or so types of vampires running around their world at once, and why she isn't one of any of them, in order to keep THE CRIMSON COMET!!! from trying to stake her.
- Parodied in "The Six Monsters You'll Have as Roommates" CollegeHumor video. The "vampire" is a metaphor for the Handsome Lech who stays out all night partying and picking up young women (which is why he doesn't like sunlight). It doesn't help that this particular individual is a broody Goth type who doesn't like to eat garlic knots.
- Dr. Orpheus on The Venture Bros. is easily mistaken for "a dracula", when he's actually a warlock with a flair for the dramatic.
- The vampire girls in the "The Silent Partners" episode turn out to be prostitutes to indulge Billy's fantasy from the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- Played Straight then subverted on Hey Arnold!, in the episode "Sid The Vampire Slayer". Sid spends the whole episode believing Stinky is a vampire and tries to get proof. When he confronts Stinky, he has a perfectly logical explanation for everything and Sid leaves feeling stupid. Cut to later that night, where we see Stinky, talking to a bat and looking suspiciously like a vampire!
- Stōked!: "Grommy the Vampire Slayer" is all about this as Reef becomes convinced that three VIP Eastern European guests are vampires.
- In one episode of The Magic Schoolbus, the kids suspect Miss Frizzle is a vampire. She's not, of course, but this is probably an Invoked Trope, as she seems to be actively encouraging the assumption as part of this week's lesson about bats.
- Doug has an episode where several people at school start to believe Skeeter is a vampire.
- Phineas and Ferb has an episode where Candace believes she's a vampire after she's bitten by a bat, including suddenly being able to levitate, possessing super strength, and not showing up in a mirror. Turns out all of her abilities were just the result of her brothers' various inventions that day. Subverted at the end when Phineas exposes her to the sun.. and she evaporates into a pile of dust.
- On Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Josee starts carrying stakes around when she and Jacques are gunning for the Goths. Jacques, to his credit, realizes that she's acting nuts.
- The Beatles: "Baby's In Black" had a vampire girl trying to get married to Paul. When Paul's bandmates crash to the rescue, she reveals she's not a real vampire but a singer who wanted to join the Beatles' act. The scientist ("Professor Psycho—inventor of instant wolfbane and dietary witches' brew") who "brought" her to life was actually her manager.
- The Wild Thornberrys used this plot in the episode "Blood Sisters", where the family met a man claiming to be an old friend of Marianne's who had several not-so-subtle hints of being a vampire. It eventually turns out that he's not only an impostor of Marianne's friend, but also not a real vampire, just simply a crazy guy who believed himself to be one because he watched too many American horror films and was unable to distinguish reality from fiction.
- Milo Murphy's Law has a teacher named Mr. Drakko. He's popped out from coffins, wears a black cloak, prefers the night time, has a central European accent, uses an umbrella when in the sunshine, and is afraid of wooden stakes. All of these get reasonable explanations and no one in the class (or their parents) is sure if he is a vampire or not.
Mr. Murphy: Whoa. Was that teacher a vampire?
Milo: We're looking into it.