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Vampires of New England Paperback – January 1, 2007
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Actually, if you want to be truly accurate about it, Rondina gathers several cases from the 1700s through the late 1800s in which people died of tuberculosis, then called consumption. When family members of the initial victim died, others sometimes believed that the initial victims had come back from the dead to suck the lives out of their family members. To get rid of the undead menaces, their bodies were dug up and disturbed, often with organs [heart and liver] removed, burned and fed to remaining family members. Though the term "vampire" was never associated by those who practiced this type of banishment, the practices clearly have much in common with the beliefs that other cultures have about vampires and their removal.
To such retold tales of undead tuberculosis victims, Rondina also adds some articles from late 19th-century New England newspapers that treat local customs around tubercular "vampires" and vampirism more generally. One of the coolest reprints is a modern  journal article where the authors argue persuasively that they have found physical evidence of a dead man whose grave was disturbed with "anti-vampire" rites.
If you can get past Rondina's overheated narration and his somewhat scattershot organization, what you have here is a scrapbook of primary sources and secondary interpretations about some little-known customs of 18th- and 19th-century New England. It is best read in tandem with Michael Bell's Food for the Dead, a more organized and scholarly treatment of the phenomenon.
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Has this author even been to Romania??Read more