By Krista Simmons at the Los Angeles Times: On the Trail of Vampires
Vampires have long been objects of fascination in history, literature and lore. With the Nov. 20 release of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” HBO’s “True Blood” and their countless imitators, Americans are welcoming vampires into their homes again. Though many consider Transylvania to be the lair of vampirism, there’s plenty of vampire culture right here. Whether you have just come out of the coffin or long thirsted for night life, these locations offer plenty of opportunities to explore the dark side.
Exeter, R.I.: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries in New England, many believed vampires were the source of the rampant transmission of tuberculosis. According to folklorist Michael Bell, author of “Food for the Dead,” there are at least 40 documented cases in which corpses were exhumed and their vital organs burned and stakes driven through the hearts in attempts to halt the alleged vampires from spreading the disease.
The most famous case of exhumation is that of Mercy Brown of Exeter, whose brother Edwin had contracted tuberculosis. Because of the cold temperatures and the fact that she had recently died, Mercy’s heart still contained blood that was not frozen or blackened. It was decided that she was a vampire, Edwin was forced to drink her blood, and Mercy’s vital organs were burned. H.P. Lovecraft, who’s buried in Providence’s Swan Point Cemetery, wrote about Mercy’s case in “The Shunned House.” It’s also said that Bram Stoker used Mercy as reference for “Dracula.”
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via DNA India: Vampire genre never goes out of vogue, expert says
The release of New Moon, the latest in the popular Twilight series and the recent comedy Cirque du Freak: The Vampire Assistant proves that the genre of vampire films and books is a trend that will never be out of vogue, says an expert.
Amy Smith, an English professor at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, who studies and writes about vampires in literature, has said that the vampire genre is a natural for the big screen.
“That’s because the films about the mythical undead creatures also share an ability that vampires have – they can take on many forms, from horror films to romantic dramas and even to goofball comedies. The vampire has really resonated in film and literature because the vampire is probably the most sinister and yet human-like evil creature in modern literature,” she said.
Smith, who teaches the popular course ‘Living Dead: Vampires in Film and Fiction’, added, “They look and act like humans, which allows them to live among us and trick us into becoming victims.”
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The story about the vampires in Rhode Island is really interesting. It’s nice to see vampire destinations other than Louisiana and Forks. And vampire classes at universities are getting more popular; I took one in college and more and more schools seem to be offering them. I agree that vampires never really go out of style, they just have high points; though now seems to be exceptionally high. I read Interview with the Vampire in 1999, and the only other person in my school who had read it was my best friend (I think that’s how we became friends, actually). I really enjoyed looking at vampires from an academic stand point, it makes you appreciate the genre.
What vampire spot do you want to visit? Would you take a vampire lit class?