The vampire’s charisma, which branches out to mesmerization and even telepathy, is a staple of the mythos. Nearly every vampire story will make mention of a vampire’s eyes, and how the gaze is inescapable. This charisma is part of what makes them attractive and romantic figures, but its roots are in the vampire’s predator nature.
Like any good hunter, they’ve adapted traits which make it easier for them to catch prey. Unlike most predators, who rely solely on strength or speed, vampires operate differently. The use of strength and speed are necessary for predators who stand out from the prey. A cheetah is only able to get so close to an antelope because it is clearly something different from an antelope. Vampires, however, blend in to society. They can masquerade as human, and most are none the wiser. It’s also important to note that humanity is not an easy prey. When confronted with an enemy, humans are quick to come together and dispatch these enemies. Simply watch a small tribe of hunters take down elephants, lions, tigers, bears, or any other beast. Humanity doesn’t play the prey very well. We fight back, and we have numbers.
The vampire’s charisma, however, makes all of that moot. They blend in, passing for human, and then select a desirable prey and strip that victim away from the protection of society. They further strip the victim of the intuition and sense that might warn of danger. After all, the vampire is desirable, and not just physically. They possess grace, wit, and often wealth, all of which aid in their hunting. And like most predators, they are cunning and freely employ these attributes to become desirable to the victim, encouraging him or her to join with the vampire, frequently leading to sex, which we’ve already covered in enough detail.
Victorian literature may have played up the vampire’s charisma and sexuality as a reflection of the times, but the mythos clearly supports it as a trait reflective of the vampire’s true nature: a cunning predator.