View From Lodi, CA: On Halloween, Try This Vampire Questionnaire!

Findings by the New York-based

Vampire Research Center
indicate that about 1,000
vampires exist worldwide.

As

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
phonies.

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
creating

forests of the impaled
where more than
20,000 Turks were impaled live on wooden stakes and left
on display.

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
out.

As a public service to readers, I`m reprinting several
of the questions developed by the VRC. to make vampire
identification easier.

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.

A
single “Yes” answer to any question confirms your
worst fears. 

  1. Do you sleep in a
    coffin?
  2. Does garlic repel
    you?
  3. Did you grow adult
    and baby sets of fangs?
  4. Do mosquitoes
    swarm around you but never bite?
  5. Do you prefer
    candles to electric lights?
  6. Do you consider
    yourself a danger to the public?
  7. Do you think you
    are evil?
  8. Do you prefer to
    stay indoors from dawn to dusk?
  9. When you stare
    into a mirror, is it blank?
  10. 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.

Guzzardi comments:
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
met vampires.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.