Friday, 19 October 2012

Belated anniversary musings

Time flies. I just remembered that my blog's first anniversary has come and gone. You see, I started this blog on 20 September 2011 as an offshoot to my previous effort, Diary of an amateur vampirologist. Amazing. It's been more than a year, already.

You've probably noticed I haven't been updating as much of late. Life's been getting in the way. Also, few things have been inspiring me to write here. I don't see this blog as a 'job', so much as an outlet of expression. I only write about vampy things that interest me—and not much has been piquing my interest in the vampire world, lately. At least, not enough to write about.

For instance, I did wind up watching the Dark shadows remake—on DVD. It was as shite as I expected it to be. House of dark shadows (1970) is far-superior to Burton's airbrushed comedy-horror. See that, instead.

That's not to say I've been totally dormant. I've been active in my role as co-admin of The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society. The group's anniversary's coming up on 27 October. Come join us!

The thing that broke the dryspell was being tipped-off about the 30 October 2012 Jonathan Ferguson lecture. I'm genuinely excited by that. If I was anywhere near Leeds, I'd be there in a heartbeat! If you're able, check it out. 

Dr Leo Ruickbie's witchcraft blog
Ferguson wrote the brilliant 'To kill a vampire' article for Fortean Times, no. 288 (2012). Grab that issue (left) if you can. It features another excellent article, by Leo Ruickbie. Readers may recognise him as the author of A brief guide to the supernatural (2012).

A brief guide serves as a classic example to why you (ok, I) shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I was expecting a threadbare pop-culture treatment, but it's incredibly well-researched. Ruickbie certainly knows his stuff. I bought it along with a stack of other books in my latest 'book spree'. Stay tuned for a write-up on that.

Speaking of things to watch out for, my Amazon trawlings have upturned a cache of upcoming books I'm really enthused about. What did I find? Stay tuned for that, too!

I mentioned that not much had been interesting me in the vampire world of late, but there is something that caught my attention. Andrew M. Boylan recently interviewed Mark Devendorf and Mauricio Chernovetzky—who're responsible for an upcoming adaptation of J. Sheridan LeFanu's 'Carmilla', Styria.

There was a particular portion of the interview I found particularly intriguing:
T_ttlg: Your research tied suicide with vampirism… more specifically mass suicides. Could you tell us more about that?

MC: Yes, what Mark and I realized was that Vampirism not only occurred in the past, but it still happening today. Sociologists and psychologists have simply given it a more scientific name: "Suicide Clusters."

MD: These cases all follow a similar pattern: In a small community or town, one person dies or commits suicide. Soon another person, usually a friend or relative is haunted by the dead person until they fall ill or kill themselves. Soon, then the "infection" spreads until dozens are dead. Barring communicable diseases, the only explanation pre-modern villagers had was the supernatural notion they called "Vampirism." 
It sounds like a compelling theory and I'd love to read more on it, but I'd give it credence if suicides were a predominant characteristic of vampire cases. They're not. 

The pattern's similar, mind you—someone in the community or family dies; those visited by their 'ghost' die soon after. Repeat. 

But the victims don't kill themselves. They die soon shortly after visitation in circumstances similar to psychosomatic disorder.

Troll meme generator
Or, in the case of New England 'vampire' attacks, waste away from something 'suspiciously' sharing symptoms with tuberculosis—as tastefully rendered by this meme I just created (above). I hearby dedicate it to Michael E. Bell, author of the brilliant Food for the dead (2001).

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the members of this blog, my readers and casual browsers, alike. You guys make it worthwhile. Cheers!

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