I refuse to do something cliche llike cover the history of Hallowe’en. You want that done, I suggest buying “The Haunted History of Hallowe’en” from the History Channel.
As well, this column is being written in the very early morning here on October 31, 2005, because I was in DC for four nights straight partying it up. But we’re going on 15 months straight without a column missed, so I need to keep that record going. Plus, what’s a Hallowe’en without a Nyogtha, eh?
So this week I want to touch on something different and fitting for the Holiday.
In 1989 UCLA folklorist Norrine Dresser had her book, American Vampires published, which remains arguably the best book on the subject of Western Pop Culure’s take on vampires and vampirism and how many wildly different ways the concept is viewed, from Count Chocula to blood fetishists to vampyres.
In order to write the book she conducted a three different surveys. The first was a general Q&A about vampires which 574 people responded within the United States. 34 people outside of the country responded as well. The second survey involved sufferers of Porphyria, and the third involved a heavy analysis of hardcore vampire fans, including the editors of 22 independent journals/fanzines at the time.
Now, this book is nearly 20 years old. Since that time, we’ve had a ton of new films on the subject, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has come and gone from television screens, and the Internet has made it all the easier for blood fetishists, vampyres, psi-vamps and the like to meet. I mean in 1989, were YOU using the Internet? Know anyone who was? My point exactly.
So the American landscape has really changed since this monumental work was created. And I think with all the changes to technology and society since the late 1980’s, it’s time to do this topic again. And who better to do so than the only guy in their 20’s crazy enough to devote a large part of their free time to this level of folklore, eh?
Basically, it’s survey time people. I’ve modified (okay, really, REALLY changed) the original survey Ms. Dresser created. What I need from all of you the readers, and since I know there’s 7 digits worth of you reading this, I’d like to get 1000 responses to this. Fill out the survey HONESTLY. There is no right or wrong, and doing things like researching before filling out the data will skew the end results greatly. Your names will not be used publicly unless you request it. You can cut and paste the survey and fill in your answers, or just email me your responses. Once I’ve collected all the data, I can do a very long paper doing the statistical analysis of how the Vampire, and more specifically, the Western Vampire, has evolved not just through the centuries, but how it’s changed a great deal over the last 16 years.
What would be of even more help is sending the URL for this Nyogtha to others. Simply because I know my core audience is more educated on the topic thanks to reading these every bloody week. Send the link to friends, but it in your blog, whatever. All I can do is give you a hearty thanks in advance.
So ready? Let’s do this. And start flooding my bloody mailbox!
1. Do you believe it is possible that vampires exist as real entities? Yes or No?
2. If yes, please explain why. If no, please explain that answer as well.
3. How old were you when you first learned about vampires?
4. What was your first exposure to vampires?
5. Have you ever had a significant bond to something vampire related? An example would be becoming very attached to a book or film.
6. Describe the physical form of a vampire.
7. Where do vampires come from?
8. How does a vampire dress?
9. What does a vampire eat?
10. How does one become a vampire?
11. When would a vampire appear before a non vampire?
12. How do vampires differ from humans in what they are and are not capable of doing?
13. What is typical behavior for a vampire?
14. Are vampires intrinsically good or evil?
15. What do you think is the secret to vampires remaining a constant source of fascination to the general public for so long?
16. What are the weaknesses of a vampire?
17. How can you protect yourself against a vampire?
18. How does one kill a vampire?
19. What is your age?
20. Are you Male or Female?
21. What is your highest level of education completed?
22. Where were you born (city/state/country)?
23. Where did you grow up (city/state/country)?
24. Where do you currently reside? (city/state/country)?
Again, you can be as brief or verbose as you like. In the end, this will help not just myself, but folklorists and vampirologists around the world have a better (and more up to date) idea of how this archetype has continued to evolve in the public’s eye. And hey, you might just catch yourself being quoted (albeit anonymously) where the final project is published. And how cool is that? I still mark out when I see people citing Nyogtha or the VC in papers and books.
Sorry gang. No food sections or plugs this week. However, you can check out my review of Shining Force Neo
and stay tuned for my 100th video game review which will be up this week sometime. And the game? Call of Cthulhu. Fitting, isn’t it? Again, I know it’s short, but this column’s going to end up taking up shitloads of my free time in the near future. We’ll be back next week with some less monster based madness. After 5 weeks of specifically focusing on things that go bump in the night, I need a change of pace.
Good Night out there, whatever you are.