Friday, June 11

Real Life New England Undead

While doing some research online yesterday for the article I wrote on flesh eating I came across a pretty interesting article. It is an interview with an author and folklorist named Michael E. Bell, PhD. He has conducted a study of some practices in the New England area from the 1800’s that touch on both vampirism and flesh eating.

Seems that, according to Bell, there are documented cases in New England and surrounding areas of families that believed their dead loved ones were a sort of vampire. They weren’t the traditional Hollywood fanged boogeymen – in fact, these vampires never left the grave. Instead they were able to drain the lifeforce of other family members from within their tomb.

In reality what happened was these families were hit with a bout of tuberculosis. One family member died, and another would get sick. In a mad search for an explanation, the family began to suspect that the dead family member was actually possessed by an evil spirit that still resided within its body. They would dig up the remains and cut it open looking for any signs of fresh blood. Often times they would cut the heart from the body and burn it – and then inexplicably feed the ashes, in water or medicine, to another family member that were sick.

Pretty interesting stuff, and just another reminder that truth is stranger than fiction. You can read the entire interview here:

And here is Michael Bell's website with detailed reports of some of these famalies

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