BRITAIN’S OWN FREDRIC WERTHAM – THE GORBALS VAMPIRE
Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland
It was a children’s game that would garner headlines around the world and introduce some of the most anti-comics government legislation in the Western world.
Hundreds of young children in the Gorbals area of Glasgow were found running round a graveyard at night with knives and sticks hunting for a vampire with iron teeth, one September evening in 1954.
And when one policeman Alex Deeprose arrived, his report on the matter started a panic targetted at the influence of American horror comic books.
Of the seven foot vampire with iron teeth and a penchant for eating shooolboys there was no sign. But the legend of the Gorbal Vampire had somehow spread and this crowd of mini-Van Helsings were scouring the streets looking for him.
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I love this story – and , of course, it kicks up that old debate of how much media (be it papers, books, movies, music, comic books, tv etc) influences people’s actions – especially kids. I think I read somewhere else that there’s also the suggestion that it was the bible that influenced the kids to behave in such a manner – not the comic books – especially since the kids apparently had never seen the comic books that were said to have caused the kid’s behaviour.
What do you think of this? Are you going to try to catch the BBC radio program?
Join us in the forum to discuss!