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Vampire breadcrumbs to the BBC

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Those of us who periodically write (or read) vampire related stories may be interested in a couple of recent BBC reports.

One is of a ‘vampire grave’ in Bulgaria containing several skeletons – the bodies appear to have been buried with metal stakes through their hearts.

Other similar graves have been found previously in Eastern Europe and, I believe, in Scotland and Ireland. From what I’ve read previously, metal stakes are unusual – at other sites wooden stakes have been used, as have heavy stones placed on bodies to pin them down, and postmortem decapitation. In some sites the bodies had stones placed in their mouths and the speculation is that this either prevented the spirit leaving the body, or prevented spirits taking possession of the body.

There are plenty of academic discussions of funerary rites and the handling of ‘dangerous’ bodies such as suspected vampires. It’s obviously a topic of interest to social scientists, historians, archaeologists and suchlike. A quick overview written for a popular audience is in the Orange County Review for 12 April 2007. I could point you to more scholarly sources but you’d need something like a JSTOR or ATHENS account to access most of it.

The other is of a ‘Victorian vampire slaying kit’ shortly to be auctioned in the north of England. Made in the late 1800s, it contains a crucifix, pistol, wooden stakes and mallet, along with glass bottles containing holy water, holy earth and garlic paste. It was possibly a ‘novelty item’ made as a result of the popularity of Stoker’s Dracula.

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Scam emails part 2

January 25, 2010 3 comments

Here’s another one. Done ages ago but rediscovered in the folder where I keep bits of trivia that might become useful at some far-off point when I write a new story (that at least is the fiction I tell myself). I think I modelled it after one of the ‘Eastern European women in search of marriage/visa’ type emails I got a lot of about a year ago. I also have some serious stuff to post about writing and publishing but it will have to wait for another day.

My dearest friend

I am sure you will recognise my name. I am Vlad Draculea, also known as Dracula, late Prince of Wallachia. Despite my reputation, power and wealth I find myself requiring of your assistance in a matter of some delicacy.

As Prince of Wallachia, a country that ceased to exist a little over a century ago, I am faced with some slight difficulties in modern society. There is an annoying yet persistent reliance on passports and other identity papers, and many of these documents rely on conventional human expectations. Even in order to access my own bank accounts, I must present myself as my own great-great-grandson. At one time, everybody knew who I was. Yet today, many of the population do not even recognise their own political representatives, while my very existence has become the stuff of myth and legend. I am too often taken to be merely, in your current terms, a perverse follower of what you call ‘cosplay’ or ‘live action roleplay’.

I therefore require a bride, a woman with all the appropriate ‘identities’ for this modern world. Marriage would legitimise my position, enabling me to obtain visas and other documents.

I have more than recovered from my brush with the tiresome so-called Professor van Helsing, and find myself with a certain notoriety thanks to that meddlesome scribbler Stoker – whose account of my death was, of course, a work of purest imagination. The popular following I have acquired now makes it important for me to step into the light (metaphorically speaking, though not literally) and resume my plan to establish a ‘night club’, for which purpose I propose to acquire the buildings and grounds of a certain disused abbey. Matters would be progressed through the offices of a firm of solicitors in Exeter. I would expect no less of my bride than that she join me in this venture, which should be both entertaining and profitable.

I will require my bride to possess the following attributes. She should be young, though of legal age to conduct business affairs. She should possess an appropriate ‘nationality’ or ‘citizenship’, as I believe it is now termed, to provide me with a right of residence in her country. She should be pretty, though not in a conventional way – the style you call ‘gothic’ is closest to the fashion of my own culture. She must be prepared to accept my unsocial hours. And she should be prepared to engage enthusiastically in sexual practices that might once have been regarded with dread and defined as perverse, though I believe these days (judging by your television programming) are considered no more than slightly unusual if not amusingly ‘quaint’.

Following a properly consummated marriage – by which I mean consummated according to my own heritage and tradition – I will be prepared to offer the greatest gift possible for any mortal. As my get, and from my own historical bloodline, my bride will receive the benefit of immortality.

Please always be assured of my most sanguine attention in this matter.

Yours in darkness,

Vlad Draculea

Categories: horror, humor Tags: , , , , , ,
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