Monday, July 11, 2011

Intriguing blogpost/podcast on The Vampires of Rhode Island (When we value superstition over science, we're savages.)

Jourdemayne: The Vampires of Rhode Island:

So, the eighteenth century inhabitants of Rhode Island witnessed an epidemic of a disease against which they were powerless, a disease that passed freely among family members. Death is contagious.

Without modern knowledge about decomposition, specific signs like liquid blood in the heart ‘living blood’ as it was called, were taken as an indication that the loved one hadn’t quite passed over to the other side. They remained in shadowy form, draining the life from those who remained.

Ingesting the blood or body of powerful enemy to placate it is an ancient and reasonably common ritual. Charlemagne even took the trouble to make it illegal, as it was a fairly common measure taken against witches. It’s an attempt at communion. Even established religions perform the same ritual today.

So somehow, maybe via French Hugenots, a meme passed from one community to another.

RT @DrRubidium 'Vampires' of Rhode Island: how a 19thC community reacted to disease in the absence of modern medical knowledge Jul 09 16:23:23 via TweetDeck
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