Vampire

Vampiric UFOs

Our guest columnist Richard H. Fay is back this week.  Undaunted by the fact that Halloween is past, he continues to give us his very well-researched take on the odd and the occult.  You can read his blog here, and we also recommend checking out his Zazzle Store.  

Vampiric UFOs

Disturbing tales of alien abductions already suggest that some of Earth’s extraterrestrial visitors may display a less-than-benevolent attitude toward mankind. However, certain reported encounters with dangerous craft and sinister entities hint at an even darker side to the complex and perplexing phenomenon of UFOs. Perhaps a few beings from beyond possess a thirst for blood comparable to that of the undead vampires of traditional lore. In these instances, humans aren’t the subjects of invasive examinations or weird experiments, they are merely prey.

Central and South America seems to be a hotbed of alleged encounters with vampiric UFOs (Guiley, 2005). Locals have dubbed the objects vampire lights, bugs, things, and perhaps most evocatively, chupa-chupas (Mendes, n.d.). Derived from the same root as the more familiar term chupacabra, chupa-chupa means “the sucker”, an apt description of the apparent thirst for blood exhibited by these particular extraterrestrials (Mendes, n.d.; Guiley, 2005).

Beginning in August 1977, reports from the Brazilian region of Pará, specifically the Amazonian island of Colares, related strange encounters with glowing vessels and potentially lethal beams of light. At first, witnesses described nothing more than illuminated flying machines similar to other UFOs spotted around the world. A fisherman taking an early morning walk along the beach saw an umbrella-shaped craft hovering four meters above the earth. One man spied airborne luminous spheres on two different occasions in two separate locations. A married couple spotted an intense orange light fly in from the direction of the ocean and vanish as it soared over the island’s interior. A carpenter and a fisherman both reported run-ins with peculiar glowing orbs. Locals feared these strange lights due to their habit of swooping low and skimming over the ground (Booth, n.d.).

Perhaps the fright the residents of Colares felt regarding their glowing visitors was not entirely unfounded, since the events took a decidedly bizarre and life-threatening turn. The objects acquired a new trait, and began flashing debilitating beams at select victims, causing sickness and even death. A total of thirty-five individuals suffered from mysterious ailments after encountering chupa-chupas on the island. Two died (Booth, n.d.).

Chupa-chupa victims complained of faintness and anemia, as if the lights had siphoned off a significant quantity of blood. Medical examinations showed that those attacked by these vampiric UFOs exhibited, among other symptoms, lesions like radiation burns to the face or torso and small punctures where the beams had struck their flesh. Many had lost about three-hundred milliliters of blood from the site of these tiny holes (Booth, n.d.). Tests confirmed an abnormal decrease of hemoglobin levels in their blood. And some chupa-chupa victims continued to suffer chronic health problems such as headaches, weakness, dizziness, and paranoia long after their initial encounter (Guiley, 2005).

In one instance, three women were attacked by a beam of light coming from a small UFO. The ray struck them in their breasts, and caused a sensation not unlike receiving an electric shock. All three felt an extreme nervous tension and unexplainable languor, seemingly brought on by exposure to the strange light (Booth, n.d.).

A Colares barber told an especially interesting story, one that only deepens the mystery surrounding the chupa-chupa phenomenon. Instead of bearing witness to the depredations of an alien device, he encountered a potentially harmful orb. The man claimed that ball of fire entered his home near the roof. It shot around the room and then drew near his right leg. As he watched it glide from one leg to the other, he began to feel sleepy and weak. Certain that the fireball was searching for a vein, the barber managed to yell for help. The orb disappeared (Booth, n.d.).

Although many who survived encounters with the Colares chupa-chupa described attacks by lights or coffin-shaped craft (Corrales, 2003), at least one victim claimed to have come face-to-face with a vampiric humanoid. Sleeping in her hammock one night, the witness was awakened by a bright green light coming through her window (Guiley, 2005). The light struck her on the left side of her chest, and she felt a terrible heat. The woman then caught glimpse of an umbrella-shaped object and a small-eyed being clad in tight-fitting green clothes holding a pistol-like device. The burning ray emanated from the apparent weapon (Booth, n.d.). Turning from green to red, the light seemed to perforate the woman’s skin like needles (Guiley, 2005). The victim felt as if blood had been drawn off by the beam. She suffered from migraines and weakness, and her health never fully recovered (Booth, n.d.).

Chupa-chupa activity in the Amazonian delta seems to have peaked in the late seventies, but attacks continued into the eighties. In 1981 a hunter fired his shotgun at an object that had trapped him in its paralyzing beam. A plantation worker suffered radiation burns after a chupa-chupa shot a ray through the roof of her home (Corrales, 2003). Bodies that appeared drained of blood were found in the Brazilian towns of Parnama, São Luis, and Belém. Ufologist Jacques Vallée links these deaths to the chupa-chupas (Guiley,2005). Even though attacks are reported with much less frequency today than during the height of the flap, they do still occur on occasion (Booth, n.d.).

Eventually, the Brazilian government became interested in the chupa-chupas. One ufologist, Daniel Rebisso Giese, claims that the Brazilian version of Project Blue Book, Operacao Plato, gathered quite a bit of photographic, video, and audio material pertaining to the phenomenon (Corrales, 2003). A report on the chupa-chupa flap allegedly contains two-thousand pages, five-hundred photographs, and sixteen hours of film (Mendes, n.d.). Military helicopters tried to pursue these vampiric devices, to no avail. And the Brazilian army may have discovered that even those not directly attacked by chupa-chupas could still suffer ill-effects, for nervous breakdowns and insanity plagued some of the soldiers assigned to Operacao Plato (Corrales, 2003).

No matter where you reside on this blue planet of ours, if you see mysterious lights in the night sky, don’t stick around to find out what they are. Never assume that all extraterrestrials visit Earth with good intentions in their alien hearts. You never know, they may just be chupa-chupas looking for blood to slake their thirst.

References:
Booth, B.J. (n.d.). “Brazilian Island of Colares – UFO Encounters of 1977”. UFO Casebook. Retrieved 26 July, 2008, from http://www.ufocasebook.com/colares1977.html.

Corrales, S. (2003). “Saucers and Soldiers? The Amazon Scenario Examined”. Rense.com. Retrieved 26 July, 2008, from http://www.rense.com/general33/ss.htm.

Guiley, R.E. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Checkmark Books.

Mendes, C. (n.d.). “Brazilian Air Force Admits Investigation on UFOs”. UFO Resource Center: UFORC News Service. Retrieved 26 July, 2008, from http://www.uforc.com/news021505/uforc_ufo-Br_Br-AF_UFO-investigation_1977-1978_012605.html.

 

(Article originally published in Hungur, Issue 7, All Souls’ Night 2008.)

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The Alp and the Schrattl

Our guest columnist Richard H. Fay, is back this week for his last topical post before Halloween (fear not, this series will continue after the 31st!).  You can read his blog here, and, since not only is he a notable historian of the occult but also a talented artist, we also recommend checking out his Zazzle Store.  

Alpe And Schrattl

According to traditional Germanic lore, strange creatures haunted the craggy peaks and shadowed vales of the European Alps. Some of these beings delighted in troubling humankind, using supernatural powers to harass and even prey upon vulnerable mortals. Certain examples of Alpine bogey, such as the Alp and its more dangerous and ghoulish sub-type the Schrattl, combined the traits of fairy, vampire, and sorcerer to become feared threats to those living in the shadows of the snow-capped mountains of central Europe. A few even exhibited a taste for blood reminiscent of the Slavic vampire.

Several different folkloric threads seem to have been woven together by Alpine storytellers in the creation of the tapestry of Alp lore. Originally, Alpe were conceived as magical metal-working dwarves, inhabitants of the dark places deep within the mountains (Rose, 1998). Later, Alpe evolved into bringers of nightmares and disease, beings with a penchant for sitting on the chests of unsuspecting sleepers to cause breathing troubles and bad dreams (Franklin, 2002). At times, Alpe sexually assaulted humans in the manner of incubi, and were even known to suck blood from the nipples of both sexes (Guiley, 2005). In addition to blood, Alpe also consumed milk and semen (Curran, 2005). In a motif echoed in the fairy lore of Europe’s Celtic fringe, Alpe occasionally knotted the hair of sleeping mortals and took nighttime joyrides on the backs of unprotected horses (Franklin, 2002).

The exact nature of the Alp often depended upon location, varying from place to place. In parts of Germany and Austria, the Alp manifested as a malignant revenant (Curran, 2005). In other parts of Germany, Alpe remained living dwarfs, albeit ones imbued with elemental powers (Curran, 2005). Certain tales told of Alpe appearing as vampiric butterflies released by the breath of the demonic horerczy (Guiley, 2005). In the Brocken and Herz Mountains, Alpe served witches, often spreading evil in the form of cats or voles (Curran, 2005). Under certain circumstances, living mortals could become Alpe, either through sinister sorcery or through a mother’s unforgiven sins (Curran, 2005). Regardless of appearance, whether it be pig, bird, cat, vole, or lecherous dog, each Alp in animal form typically wore a magical hat which granted it the ability to shape-shift and to render itself invisible (Guiley, 2005).

While some variations of the Alp undoubtedly displayed vampiric tendencies amongst their diverse range of disturbing traits, the Austrian Schrattl was a vampire in the truest sense, a revenant roaming Alpine nights in search of blood. Roused to a semblance of life while still interred in the grave, the animated corpse of the Schrattl would tear and gnaw at its funeral shroud until it devoured the winding cloths (Curran, 2005). The Schrattl then turned its hunger toward the bodies of those buried in nearby graves and launched attacks against its former family and friends (Curran, 2005). Not content with assaults against humans alone, the Schrattl assailed animals and property as well (Curran, 2005). Possessed of fearsome mental powers, the Schrattl could drive its potential victims and those it wished to control insane (Curran, 2005). Typical of vampires worldwide, the Schrattl also spread disease in its dreadful wake (Curran, 2005).

Germanic tellers of dark tales threw various strains of ancient belief into the pot to create the potentially deadly stew that was Alp lore. Witches, demons, sorcerers, dwarfs, fairies, and vampires all lent different attributes to the Alp hodge-podge. No matter the form the Alp took, dangerous dwarf or vampiric butterfly, ghoulish revenant or shape-shifting sorcerer, it could be a potent threat to human life and well-being. Although various Alpe may have thirsted for blood and other bodily fluids, the vampiric nature of these creatures expressed itself most strongly in the shroud-eating Schrattl. Powerful and extremely malignant, the Schrattl troubled all mortals it encountered during its nocturnal forays across the Alpine countryside.

 

References

Curran, Dr. Bob. (2005). Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the Night. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey: New Page Books.

Franklin, Anna. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies. London: Anova Books.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Checkmark Books.

Rose, Carol. (1998). Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

 

(Article originally published in Hungur, Issue 10, Walpurgisnacht 2010.)

Vampiric Creatures of Ancient Myth and Legend

As you can see, we’re in the spirit of October here at Classically Educated with the spirits being prevalent!  Our guest columnist Richard H. Fay, is back this week (you can see last week’s post about the connection between fairies and the dead, here) with yet another topical entry (for more vampire posts, we also recommend this article).  You can read his blog here, and we also recommend checking out his Zazzle Store.  

 

Lilith Stone Carving

Ever since mankind first imagined mythic threats alongside the mundane, creatures that feasted on the blood or life-force of humans haunted the long, dark night. Blood-sucking monsters, life-draining fiends, and the revenant dead featured in the myths and legends of many diverse cultures across the globe and throughout history. Even though the concept of the vampire as an animated corpse feeding on the blood of the living became most fully developed in medieval Eastern Europe (Curran, 2005, p. 33; Richardson, n.d.), the idea of strange and supernatural creatures sustaining themselves on human vitality goes back centuries.

The great-great grandmother of vampiric creatures in Western lore may have been the winged female entity known as Lilith. This spiteful demoness entered early Hebrew tradition through Mesopotamian mythology about beings such as Lilitu, a wind and storm spirit (Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 366). Lilith was either Adam’s first wife or became his lover after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Jealous of the fruits of marital unions and angry over God’s destruction of hundreds of her own demonic offspring, Lilith became the vampiric bane of women in childbirth and newborn babes (Guiley, 2005, p. 181; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 367.) She also sought sexual intercourse with lonely and vulnerable men, leaving her male victims exhausted or even dead after their night of sinful passion (Curran, 2006, p. 23). In an interesting parallel to vampire lore regarding the crucifix as a potent protection against the predatory undead, magic amulets and holy talismans could thwart Lilith’s unholy advances and infanticidal attacks (Guiley, 2005, p. 181; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 366).

According to the apocryphal text Testament of Solomon, King Solomon encountered and eventually controlled a vampiric, shape-shifting demon named Ornias. During the construction of Solomon’s Temple of Jerusalem, Ornias appeared every day at sunset to steal a portion of the wages, food, and very soul of the head workman’s boy. The lad wasted away as the demon drained his life by sucking on his thumb. Given a magical ring by the archangel Michael, Solomon subdued the demon and ordered him to cut stone for the temple. Terrified to touch iron tools, Ornias begged to be freed. Solomon then sought the aid of the archangel Uriel, who commanded the demon to obey. Once his work was completed, Ornias was delivered to Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons (Guiley, 2005, p. 223; Peterson, 1997).

Babylonian and Assyrian storytellers told tales of the revenant ekimmus. Individuals that died violent deaths or suffered improper burials would be denied entry into the underworld. Doomed to walk the Earth, ekimmus troubled mankind by wreaking misfortune and destruction upon the living. These restless souls could also possess mortal bodies and proved to be very difficult to exorcise (Guiley, 2005, p. 117).

Dracula First Edition

Ancient Greek mythology spoke of several blood-thirsty beasts and beings. Empusae, ghostly daughters of the goddess Hecate, frightened travellers to death and lured young men to bed to drain their life energies (Atsma, 2000, Empusa & Lamiae; Guiley, 2005, p. 117). Dark, grim-eyed keres, female death-spirits, hovered over battlefields to drink the blood of the wounded and dying. Some of the keres also personified plague and pestilence (Atsma, 2000).

The half-serpentine monster Lamia was yet another mythic beast that stalked the Grecian night. Once a mistress of the god Zeus, Lamia suffered a fell transformation at the hands of his jealous wife Hera. The goddess also destroyed all of Lamia’s children that arose from her illicit union with the lord of Olympus. Angered by her terrible fate, Lamia swore to kill the children of others. The lamiae became a class of female demons who stole newborns and seduced young men to feed on tender flesh and pure blood (Curran, 2006, p. 19; Guiley, 2005, p. 175; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 361).

The Greek dead did not always remain in their graves. Dead men were known to shout abuses, torment passers-by, attack descendants and former neighbours, and even seek sexual intercourse with their grieving spouses. The Greeks that crossed between the worlds of the dead and the living appeared not as wispy phantoms, but rather as corporeal revenants, fully capable of maiming or even killing those around them (Curran, 2006, p. 17).

The Romans adopted many of the same terrifying beings found in Greek mythology, but they also added a few nightmares of their own. Along with the erotic night terrors known as incubi and succubae, Romans feared encountering horrible striges, female avian monstrosities that drank blood and spread disease (Curran, 2006, p. 20). Possibly born through the metamorphosis of hags into dreadful birds of prey, striges possessed misshapen heads and plundering claws. Poisonous milk filled their ungainly breasts. According to certain accounts, striges would peck at infants to feed on their blood and bowels or cause illness by offering children their poisoned milk (Curran, 2006, p. 20; Guiley, 2005, p. 268; Simboli, 1921, p. 33). Carna, the goddess of door hinges, could chase them away with magical incantations and rituals involving an arbutus branch, “drugged” water, and a white thorn twig (Simboli, 1921, p. 33).

Ancient cultures created a host of foul entities that exhibited many of the characteristics found in more recent vampire lore. Lilith, Ornias, empusae, keres, Lamia, and striges all dined on the blood, flesh, or life force of hapless humans. Striges and keres were also associated with disease, a trait shared with later vampire traditions. Ekimmus and Greek revenants returned from the dead to wreak havoc upon the living. Furthermore, some of the devices effective against many of these marauding beings, such as holy symbols and charms, were similar to what might be found in a vampire hunter’s array of armaments. Although certain aspects involving their creation and appearance differed from those found in later vampire beliefs, ancient vampiric creatures were thought to be as much a threat to humanity as their more recent cousins.

 

References:

Atsma, A. J. (2000). Keres, in theoi greek mythology. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Keres.html

Atsma, A. J. (2000). Empusa and lamiae, in theoi greek mythology. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.theoi.come/Phasma/Empousai.html

Curran, B. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Cannot Rest in Peace. Franklin Lakes: The Career Press.

Guiley, R. E. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Checkmark Books.

Matthews, J., & Matthews, C. (2005). The Elemental Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z Guide of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Legend. London: HarperElement.

Peterson, J. H. (1997). The testament of Solomon (F. C. Conybeare, Trans.). In twilit grotto: Archives of western esoterica. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/testament.htm

Richardson, B. (n.d.). Vampires in myth and history. The vampire’s vault. Retrieved Feb 20, 2008, from
http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~vampire/vhist.html

Simboli, C. R. (1921). Disease-Spirits and Divine Cures Among the Greeks and Romans. New York: Columbia University. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://books.google.come/books?id=NvsHAAAAIAAJ

(Article originally published in Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht, 2008.)

Seminal Vampires

In A Glass Darkly

 

Of course, Bram Stoker is often cited (by everyone who isn’t a serious student of the genre) as the father of Vampire fiction.  With Stephanie Meyer’s popularity, I suspect that the group of people who aren’t experts but are giving their opinion anyway is pretty big.  Hell, for all I know, Meyer’s fans might think the genre started with Anne Rice…  or with Meyer herself, and that this Dracula guy is a character from one of her unpublished novels.

At the risk of adding another non-expert voice to the discussion, I will not attempt to trace the genesis of the vampire myth in eastern European folklore (there are people who have dedicated their lives to that.  Go read their work) but will simply limit myself to expressing my thoughts about an early exponent that I happened to stumble across in my readings.

I was never specifically planning to read Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darklybut it happened to be included in Easton Press’ Horror Library, which I had signed up for (as mentioned here before, I’m a sucker for pretty editions).  It’s from 1872, which means that it predates Dracula by over 20 years, and it contains at least one story,  “Carmilla” which foreshadows the sexual overtones of Stoker’s book but focused on a lesbian as opposed to heterosexual relationship.

Vampire tits - Sheridan Le Fanu Carmilla

Of course, in 1872, you couldn’t really make things too explicit, but savvy readers will have known what LeFanu was talking about.  In fact, the story (more of a novella than a short story) has been adapted several times for film, always with a view for its shock value.  There’s an excellent article dealing with the film versions here (slightly, not excessively, NSFW).

Despite its notoriety, Carmilla wasn’t, in my opinion, the most memorable story in the book.  That honor has to go to “The Room in the Dragon Volant“, another novella length tale where sexual innuendo and dark motivations combine in what is essentially a modern horror/thriller framed in a Victorian writing style.  It develops slowly, but is extremely satisfying once it does.  No vampires in it, though.

The rest of the book is composed of shorter tales, of which “Mr. Justice Harbottle”, a tale of divine retribution, is also better than “Carmilla” IMO.  Satisfying and brutal– everything one needs in a horror story!

So, without opining on things I have no first-hand knowledge of, I can safely state that, while Stoker might have popularized the form, the vampire story in English literature preceded him.  And LeFanu was much braver in the use of cutting-edge, controversial elements than Stoker would ever be.

All in all, a good book, especially for those who enjoy a good haunt.

 

The 2015 Post

Hand Emerging From Crypt

Our strangest (albeit most critically acclaimed) guest blogger, Baron H, is back from wherever he’s been hiding these last few months (we sincerely hope his explanation for his absence below isn’t indicative of reality).  Why he would bizarrely send us his New Year’s resolutions in March is likewise a mystery, but as we had no other piece planned for today we decided to run it anyway, and see whether our readers would suck it up or simply abandon the blog in droves.  For those new to Classically Educated, Baron Hieronymous is the net’s only undead blogger – he claims to be a vampire – and he gives etiquette advice with a particularly strange twist.  Of course, we think he’s just a deranged old coot out in the wilderness somewhere, but that doesn’t change the undeniable fact that he penned our most popular post ever.

Greetings and salutations,

There are various reasons for the fact that my first post of 2015 is in March as opposed to January.  The first two (minor reasons) have to do with the fact that a) we undead are in no hurry, so a couple of months is nothing to us and b) that I was in a relationship with a mortal that didn’t quite work out, so I lost a bit of time while I worked out the details of the feast I was going to throw in her honor; she was a hit with my friends, as was the garlic sauce she attended the dinner in.

The main reason, however, has nothing to do with that at all.  You see, I’ve been feeling a little guilty over the fact that many of my previous posts (here and here, for example) have specifically been aimed at explaining and clarifying everyday situations or historical trends.  I seem to have forgotten that my function, in death as it was in life, is not to be a force for good, but a force for evil.  I live in New York, after all, and have a reputation to maintain.

So, with that firmly in mind, I have decided to write my 2015 resolutions on the first days of March.  The reason for this is that all the people who made resolutions on New Year’s day have probably already broken them, so this will remind them that they are just worms with no discipline (I apologize to my zombie readers who might be offended at the mention of worms).

So, with no further ado, here are my resolutions for how to make the world a worse place in 2015.

1) Send in a script for a new reality show to the good folks at the networks.  This one will follow a group of schoolkids in the bible belt as they become progressively dumber and more confused as the battle for what is right and proper education rages on.  One day, they will be taught one thing, and the next, they will see the polar opposite.  This will definitely go on the air as the it will appeal to both conservatives and liberals.  Eventually the ratings will go through the roof, as the poor kids will wind up so confused and misguided that they will end up almost as stupid as the average TV audience.  And remember folks, an audience that can relate to the characters on the screen is an audience that won’t change channels!

2) Donate money to a cause run by fanatics, but stipulate that the gold (I don’t trust this newfangled paper currency) can only be used for PR and advertising.  What more could we want than another group of true believers with no sense of humor or capacity to understand the concept of “middle ground” with more money to get their vew across.  Perhaps some group that thinks indoor plumbing is an offense against the gods of native people might work.

3) No more giving werewolves bottes of Head & Shoulders for their birthday.  This is just mean, and the fun of it wore of a long time ago.

Pyramid Zombie

4) Hire a zombie to haunt the pyramids.  I’ve wanted to do this for ages, but with airport security the way it is, it was always tough to get zombies on airplanes.  But now, I hear they have Twitter in Egypt, so I’ll tweet for local candidates interested in the position.  And then I’ll wrap the winner in bandages, place him in a crypt and sit around watching CNN until the story comes on.

Borley Rectory - Most Haunted House in England

5)  Take a trip to Borley.  Haven’t been there in years, and the ghosts are starting to get unhappy with me.  Stakes and garlic have been mentioned in a couple of their more recent communiqués.

6)  No more eating garbagemen.  This is actually the one I’m mot likely to stick to.  These guys are tasty, easy to pick off the street and always do for a quick meal, but they give me gas.  Oh well, guess I’ll pop in to McDonald’s if I need a quick bite.

Like all resolutions, we’ll see how these go.  In the meantime, be good.

And if you aren’t good, please be certain to invite me along!

Regards,

H

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An Antidote to Saccharine Holiday Greetings

So, we were going to do the obligatory pre-holiday post, but Baron Hieronymous insisted that, by virtue of being our oldest staff member by quite a few centuries, he should be allowed to do the holiday post.  We were dead set against it until he ate one of our interns.  After that, it was amazing how quickly discretion became the better part of valor.  Also, from a business perspective, it would have been unwise to provoke our staff vampire into eliminating one of our permanent staffers (interns, of course, don’t count).

Baron H as Santa

Holiday Greetings,

New York, as always, has become a magical city in the holiday season.  Well, Manhattan below 112th street or so, anyway, and that’s all that I consider New York (this is a good way to find out if someone is worth speaking to: ask them what burroughs they consider to be part of the city – and eat the wrong answers).  The tree is up, the wind is blowing and the carolers…  Well, the carolers are fine, I guess, but they don’t come to my door any more, and haven’t since the fifties.  Whether this is because they have fixed spots around the city or whether word has gone around about my place, I’ve never bothered to find out.

Anyhow, the lack of carolers has turned into a bit of an issue because I had a couple of vampires over for dinner just after Christmas (they can’t come out of their boxes on Christmas because you never know when a maniac will chant a prayer at you or spray you with holy water), and had no fresh meat to give them.  I had to hire a group of mercenaries to kidnap a busload of Korean tourists.  Oriental food for the holiday season?  Well, one takes what one can get, and the vampires went away happy.  Also, I got to use the set of butcher’s knives that the Old Monster got me for Christmas – the OM may have her little quirks, but she certainly knows sharp objects!

So, before I go off to hunt for my New Years dinner – I’m thinking European cuisine this time (I can probably get it in the Park) – I’d like to remind you to point fireworks away from children (there’s more meat on grown humans), and remember to stay away from large buildings with spires, no matter how drunk you are.  Those places are unhealthy for the undead.

So have a happy or painful New Year (to each his or her own), and I’ll see you in 2015.

Hieronymous