Jan. 20th, 2013

sorcerersupreme: (.hand model)
[personal profile] sorcerersupreme
[Stephen's in his usual dusty, poorly-lit kitchen. There's a kettle on the stove and several boxes of tea on the counter next to it. More immediately, he's floating (yes, floating) over the table which is covered, rather atypically, in notes and large. In addition to the notes, which are written in small, abysmally messy handwriting, the table seems like it might actually break (or at least bow) under the weight of several thick, academic-looking books with such titles as Epidemics of 19th Century New England, and The History of Tuberculosis. Only one title seems notably out of place. Somehow Vampires of Fact and Fiction just sticks in the mass of medical and historical texts.

The communicator itself must also be floating, at least from the angle of the video. Stephen eyes it before clearing his throat and assuming a passive, rehearsed sort of tone.]


There's a curiosity I've been pondering of late. You see, vampires and other similar creatures of the night are as old as time itself. Ironically, despite the realness of the threat, we've often, as a culture or multiple cultures, dismissed their presence a purely fictitious. Moreover, we've cheated ourselves by blaming any number of easily explained diseases on the presence of these predators. In actuality, of course, it was simply that the scientific or medical knowledge of the locals was lacking or insufficient.

One practice I am particularly and morbidly fascinated with, I have to say, is exhumation. The fact that often it out be the surviving family, neighbors, or clergy who would be the ones to well... Dig the accused vampire up and do whatever the local custom dictated to the body is, suffice it to say, impressive. My own experience with these creatures being unfortunately family related, I have to ask myself if I would have the fortitude, if I thought it might help.

... Tuberculosis was a common factor in vampirism, particularly in North America. It's ridiculous, of course, but I've always thought death by tuberculosis to be rather romantic, particularly in women. A lot of it had to do with the manner of dress back in that period and the inability of the lungs to properly develop. Yes, ridiculous... [His mustache quirks in a slightly rueful smile.] Naturally, I suppose Vivien Leigh falling victim to it didn't help my perception. She was never believed to be a vampire, though, from what I recall.

Other diseases which were linked to vampire scares both in America and in Europe were the bubonic plague, or Black Death, small pox, and typhus. Porphyria, a hereditary condition that often resulted anemia, mental instability and other neurological issues, loss of pigmentation in the skin, and photosensitivity has also been linked, but it's incredibly rare and I personally can't believe that it would've resulted in all that many exhumations. Moreover, as a hereditary illness, it wouldn't have been contagious like any of the other diseases I've listed, which each resulted in multiple historical epidemics. The anemia, photosensitivity, and loss of pigmentation however, do seem evocative of what we generally think of as vampire-traits, though, don't they?

Anyway, the long and short of this tirade-- And I apologize that it's become a tirade-- is that I wonder if our generation will have any great "vampire scares". You can take that literally, or perhaps in the broader sense. I wonder if there will be any great discoveries which change our perception of something we've previously considered to be a very reasonably explained phenomenon.

Oh, and before I let you go... Remember, it's flu season and we are overdue for another great epidemic. Don't forget to take your vitamins lest you die under mysterious circumstances and your loved ones are forced to burn and consume your heart. Stay healthy if only to spare them that.

[And with that Stephen nods politely and the feed cuts itself.]

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