Vampires. I know, I know–I always seem to be talking about them here. Not the sparkly ones, not the infamous Count, not the myriad of angst-ridden near-vamps in recent science-fiction and paranormal TV. No, I’m fascinated by the vampires of history.
In a previous post here, I wrote about the vampire graves discovered in Český Krumlov (and dated to 1732). The “vampire debate” of the 1730s concerned an epidemic of this “vampirism,” borrowing from science and from folklore. For instance, according to some of the stories, vampire men would come back not only to attack the living, but to woo them. Ok, probably it doesn’t count as wooing, but a case documented around the same time claims that a woman’s deceased husband returned to impregnate her. Sound crazy? It did to the scientific community, who sent in physicians to try and sort it all out. The woman’s case was dismissed as a diseased imagination–but that doesn’t mean they weren’t taking vampires seriously.… Read the rest