Findings by the New York-based
Vampire Research Center indicate that about 1,000
vampires exist worldwide.
Halloween approaches, the work done by the VRC is of
more than casual interest.
The VRC founded in 1972 by the late Steve Kaplan,
studies legendary and contemporary vampirism. Kaplan
developed a questionnaire, reprinted at the end of this
column, which he sent to people claiming to be vampires.
Kaplan hoped to separate the real vampires from the
Another vampire scholar, the former VRC media director,
Joel Martin (he holds a similar title at the American
Parapsychology Institute) says that today`s vampires
keep a low profile, preferring large cities like
New York and
Los Angeles where they can blend into the crowd.
Vampires, according to Martin, are likely to be a
twenty-something single person and a loner with a pale
complexion who is secretive about his occupation.
Says Martin: “The vampire population is very fluid.
They move back and forth a lot.”
But warns Martin: “Don`t think Dracula when you think
vampire. While anyone would recognize Dracula, today`s
vampires are hard to spot.”
Dracula, a character based on the 15th
Century Romanian Vlad Tepes, aka
Vlad the Impaler, is an endless source of
fascination for his fans.
During the height of his power, 1456-1460, the Romanian
prince Vlad earned the nickname “Tepes” (impaler)
for his cruelty against his rivals, the Turks.
Prince Vlad dissuaded enemy armies from approaching by
“forests of the impaled“ where more than
20,000 Turks were impaled live on wooden stakes and left
But the Turks got even in 1477, when they ambushed Vlad
and decapitated him. (Kaplan sees significance in this;
only a stake through the heart or decapitation could
kill the fictional Dracula.)
After Halloween trick or treating, you might want to
rent the original 1931 film version of
Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.
From the sinister emphasis of
Lugosi`s first words, “I…am…Dracula…,” the
count fascinated and revolted moviegoers.
Lugosi`s Dracula portrayal, the deep, accent-punctuated
voice, his hypnotic come-to-me-and-stick-out-your-neck
eyes, the pointed pearly white fangs and the erotic
mannerisms, translated into control and power.
Dracula is the last word in vampires, of course.
But are there, as the VRC insists, really 1,000 others
roaming about? Halloween is the perfect time to find
As a public service to readers, I`m reprinting several
of the questions developed by the VRC. to make vampire
If your spouse`s behavior seems particularly peculiar,
or if your neighbor`s comings and goings are odder than
usual, give them—if you dare—this questionnaire.
single “Yes” answer to any question confirms your
Do you sleep in a
Does garlic repel
Did you grow adult
and baby sets of fangs?
swarm around you but never bite?
Do you prefer
candles to electric lights?
Do you consider
yourself a danger to the public?
Do you think you
Do you prefer to
stay indoors from dawn to dusk?
When you stare
into a mirror, is it blank?
Did you ever
fight over a victim with another vampire?
Your only hope is holy water or a crucifix. But you`ll
also need to move fast and have good luck.
Reflecting on the VRC
findings, I am quite certain that from time to time
during my travels to New York and Los Angeles, I have