On November 1 2021,, the Facebook page “I Fancy Fandoms” shared a meme, purportedly showing a screengrab of distinct Wikipedia entries entitled “List of vampires” and “List of fictional vampires”:
In what looked to be a Tumblr post by u/targent, a screenshot illustrated Google search results for “list of vampires,” without quotes. Of the 46 million results, the top two were “Lists of vampires — Wikipedia” and “List of fictional vampires — Wikipedia.”
Text underneath the Google screenshot read:
cant fucking sleep bc wikipedia has separate lists for vampires and for fictional vampires
A quick search indicated that the screenshot indeed originated with u/targent on Tumblr on March 11 2020:
In an attempt to reproduce the purported Wikipedia lists of vampires and fictional vampires, we also searched “list of vampires” without quotation marks. Wikipedia’s purported “List of fictional vampires” was not one of the results:
Undeterred, we manually visited wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_vampires, which redirected to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vampires. Then, we visited web.archive.org for saved copies of wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_vampires.
On March 21 2020, ten days after u/targent shared the “List of fictional vampires” screenshot to Tumblr, a copy of a Wikipedia entry by that title was archived, which validated the claim chronologically:
That URL was not archived again until November 9 2020, at which time the redirect was already in place. At the time, a disambiguation field stated:
For information on vampires, see Vampire. For a list of vampiric creatures of global folklore, see List of vampiric creatures in folklore. This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
We visited the live version of Wikipedia’s “List of fictional vampires” on November 3 2021, and the disambiguation field was partly intact. Toggling to the entry’s “Talk:List_of_vampires” page indicated that Wikipedia editors had quibbled about the fictional nature of vampires in at least two separate header sections dating back to 2009.
We attempted to retrieve the “Talk:List_of_vampires” entry via web.archive.org, but it did not appear to exist in archived format. As such, we were unable to pinpoint the point at which the “List of fictional vampires” entry was merged with the “List of vampires” entry; presumably the very popular March 2020 meme influenced the decision to redirect the “fictional vampires” page to the general “vampires” page.
As such, a screenshot of showing somebody stating they couldn’t sleep because Wikipedia has “separate lists for vampires and for fictional vampires” was both once-accurate and amusing, as archived Wikipedia entries indicated. Tumblr user targent observed the existence of discrete lists for “vampires” and “fictional vampires” on Wikipedia, and screenshots of that post spread virally. At some point between March 21 and November 9 2020, Wikipedia entries merged its list of fictional vampires with its list of vampires — but Wikipedia’s “List of fictional vampires” was archived 37 times, the earliest on December 7 2007.