Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Auld Lang Syne

I wish my readers a safe and Happy New Year. I'd also like to thank you for your readership, too—but it's time to end this thing.

The posts here have been sparse—nothing since I mentioned the round table discussion I took part in for Real Vampire Life, an independent e-zine. But I haven't been quiet: I've just been blogging elsewhere. Under the same blog name, too. The aim I established in this blog's instigation on September 20, 2011, hasn't changed.

Comments will be closed for this blog, but I'm not shutting this down completely. The blog will stay up. After all, there's a lotta good stuff here: 142 posts (including this one).

One of my favourites is my interview with Edward Meyer, Ripley Believe It or Not's Vice President of Exhibits and Archives. We discussed "antique" vampire killing kits. I didn't expect him to be so candid about their origins.

I say "antique" because they're not. There's no evidence vampire killing kits were produced during the 19th century and sold to travellers. I've written about them on this blog several times: 

I was particularly proud to see my posts on the subject from this blog and its predecessor, Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist, cited in an article by Jonathan Ferguson called "To Kill a Vampire," Fortean Times, no. 288 (2012). 
If you want to read more about the subject, check out Joe Nickell's Tracking the Man-Beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2011), pp. 125–9.

On a related note, I've also noticed a lotta hits for "Auguste Delagrange." His name turns up in association with vampire killing kits, because an image of his staked heart in a box has been circulating the 'net. No need to be alarmed, though: Delagrange didn't exist and the heart is only a prop.

Another popular subject's been the Nicolas Cage "vampire" picture. Remember that one? Back in 2011, an eBay seller claimed to have a photograph proving Nicolas Cage was a vampire because he had an old photograph that kinda looked like him. 
It probably goes without saying that the claim was a joke, but nonetheless, I covered that story—and its inevitable imitators—here:
I also unravelled the "Whitby Vampire" hoax—a story perpetuated by Sean "Vebjørn Hästehufvud" Manchester. His highly dubious claims about the Highgate Vampire aside, he also has a penchant for sockpuppetry and identity theft, attested by him ripping off my blog title, my spin-off Facebook group and its banner. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, eh? Not always.

On a lighter note, I've also had the chance to unravel a few other mysteries. For instance, I've long wondered who created this, one of my favourite vampire images:

Commentator "Little Socks" solved it for me. It's called Penanggalan and was painted by Chad Savage in 1994. He also answered some queries I had about it.

I've also delved into a supposed vampire investigation by the Duc de Richelieu—and been left wanting. Niels K. Petersen's commentary on it inspired a post, which I followed with another.

On the flipside, there's also stuff I've stumbled upon—which totally caught me off guard. For instance, I discovered that "undead"—a term virtually synonymous with vampires—existed long before Stoker supposedly coined it. And it initially didn't refer to vampires, either.

I was also surprised to discover a connection between the world's first murderer, Cain, and vampires that significantly predates Vampire: The Masquerade. I also came across a direct link between the plague and vampires, something I was previously skeptical of, due to lack of evidence. Both issues—as well as something linking vampires and bat metamorphosis—are covered here.

I've also been an advocate for certain people and books. I dealt with the theft of author Charles E. Butler's Dracula Facebook group. I used the post to promote a petition asking for it to be handed back to him. The imitative wasn't successful, but did lead to the creation of another popular Facebook group, "Count Dracula." I stepped in as administrator after Butler stepped down. As of this writing, it has 1,423 members.
I also ponied up money for a Kickstarter project: the publication of John W. Morehead and Kim Paffenroth's The Undead and Theology. That effort was much more successful: Pickwick Publications released it last year. It's available on Amazon.

I'd still love to see the papers from the Vampire (&) Science: A Trans-Disciplinary Conference held at Trinity College Dublin's School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies on April 20, 2012, published though. It truly is "The Book That Must Be."

There's so many other things I could cover, but New Year's Eve festivities await and I've gotta wrap this thing up. Thank you to my guest posters, Jane (part 1; part 2) and James Lyon. You both gave great reads.

Thank you, Peter Mario Kreuter for your patience and the brilliant interview you gave for this blog (part 1; part 2). It's great that writers like you are truly invigorating the field.

Last but not least, thank you commentators, correspondents, readers and followers. As much as I enjoy writing about this stuff in its own right, it's great to know you're out there, wending your way through my ramblings! Thank you. You're awesome.

Enjoy the New Year, everyone. I hope it bears good fruit. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir and don't forget to join me on my WordPress blog. Here's to many more adventures together. 
Peace out!

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