Friday, November 28, 2014

Scary Story About the Burial of People in Poland to Prevent Vampires



(NEWSER) – To make sure certain people didn't rise from the grave to feast on the living, villagers in 17th- and 18th-century Poland buried them with sickles across their throats or rocks in their jaws, and researchers think they now know why.
According to a study published in PLoS ONE, the suspected vampires were not immigrants to the area but locals who probably perished in the cholera epidemics that swept the region at the time. Ancient lore says being the first to perish in an epidemic is one of the things that can turn a person into a vampire, study co-author Lesley Gregoricka tells LiveScience.
"People were up close and personal with death at this point, but didn't have a good way to explain what was happening," she says.
"People of the post-medieval period did not understand how disease was spread, and rather than a scientific explanation for these epidemics, cholera and the deaths that resulted from it were explained by the supernatural—in this case, vampires," says Gregoricka, a bioarchaeologist at the University of South Alabama, in a press release.
Dying a violent death or being an outsider also put one at risk of becoming a vampire, according to lore, but the bodies bore no signs of violence and testing revealed they were from the area. The sickles were in place to decapitate the body if it tried to rise, and rocks or bricks were placed to prevent them from feeding, the study says — though strangely enough, the "vampires" weren't segregated in the cemetery but were buried among other villagers.

Read the Best Vampire Short Stories for this time period.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination" at the British Libary


The British Library is doing what hundreds of other libraries around the world should be doing this time of year. It is hosting "Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination" that focus on the literary Gothic.

The exhibit contains rare manuscripts of fragments of the literary Goth over the past 250 years. It is running now until January 20, 2015 and sure to feature some of the scariest vampires stories ever penned in the English language.

If you are near London, you have to pay it a visit!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Vampire Story Set in France - Pepopukin in Corsica

Arthur Young (1741-1820)

What was the first vampire short story with a setting in France? In the English language it appears to be "Pepopukin in Corsica," published in 1826. It was in a British rag called The Stanley Tales. The author was only attributed to A.Y. and in The Best Vampire Stories anthology I edited, I give reasons why I think the author was Arthur Young who was an English writer that travelled extensively in France. He died in 1820, so it had to be published posthumously.

"Pepopukin in Corsica," was published for the first time in 175 years in BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Short Stories 1800-1849. It tells of scary vampires having claws and crushing bones. There is a nice review of the vampire tale over at the Taliesiin Vampire Blog.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Commentary on The Black Vampyre short story



There is a fine commentary on "The Black Vampyre" short story over at the Taliesin scary vampire blog: http://taliesinttlg.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/interesting-shorts-black-vampyre-legend.html that I included in The Best Vampire Stories anthology.

I liked it so much I left a comment. Check it out.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Who Was the First Englishman to Write a Vampire Short Story?



The first Englishman to write a vampire story was John Polidori. He was a physician and traveled with Lord Byron as his personal doctor. He was with Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley when they made their famous dare about who could write a supernatural story. Mary, of course, would go on to write Frankenstein and Percy had nightmares about his tale, as recounted in BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Short Stories 1800-1849. Lord Byron started a fragment that he never finished. Polidori wrote "The Vampyre" in 1819 and in it he included Lord Byron as the evil vampire Lord Ruthven after a bad falling out with Lord Byron. Polidori's story became one of the best vampire stories for the fist half of the 19th century. Now that is scary.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What was the First Vampire Story Set in Venice?


It is common for the setting of modern vampire stories and movies to be placed in the haunting city of Venice, Italy. With its Gothic palaces and watery landscape, Venice is perfect for those who wake at night and seek their prey. In 1836, however, only a handful of vampire stories had ever been written. That's when the popular French author Theophile Gautier wrote "Clarimonde" and published it in the French magazine La Morte Amoureuse. The tale is undeniable as one of the first vampire short stories and it was included in BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who was the first American to write a vampire story?


There has been much discussion about John Polidori, the young Italian doctor that travelled with Lord Byron and who wrote the first vampire short story in the English language. Polidori titled it "The Vampyre" and the story was published in 1819.

But who was the first American to write a vampire short story? That honor belongs to Robert Charles Sands, a lawyer and poet. His scary vampire story was titled "The Black Vampyre: A Legend of Saint Domingo" and it was published only a few months after Polidori's vampire story in 1819. "The Black Vampyre" is difficult to find. I spent time at UC San Diego spooling through microfiche and then copying the individual pages, which then had to be scanned into a computer. I included it in the award-winning BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849, along with a lengthy introduction about Sands and the interesting bond that joins these earliest vampire stories in the English language.