Monster Quest: Vampires in America
* www.imdb.com * August 6, 2008 * NR/Documentary * The History Channel * Creator: Doug Hajicek * Writer: Joe Danisi * Starring: Stan Bernard and Konstantinos * 45 minutes *
Monster Quest is a History Channel Documentary look into the strange and unknown creatures that are believed to be lurking in the shadows of time spotted around the world. In Season 2, Episode 11 they explore “Vampires in America”. Focusing on the 18th century Vampires scare in New England, focusing on vampire legends and graves in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the investigators excavate the purported grave of J.B. the Vampire and hunt for the vampiric Johnson children. They make the rational link that many purported vampires that were dug up and had their graves desecrated were indeed victims of consumption or tuberculosis. Hysteria and fear affecting the communities making it a widespread practice in New England as well as Europe. As they explore European influences, including Bram Stoker, Nostferatu, Elizabeth Bathery, and Mercy Brown. They then address modern day people who claim they are vampires. Testing the blood of a modern blood drinker as well as gauging energy exchange of a self-proclaimed energy vampire. The episode was captivating and interesting: Rating 4 stars out of 5.
The episode goes first to New England investigating the evidence of purported vampire graves in New England, specifically Connecticut and Rhode Island. In the late 1700′s the region involved plagues of a mysterious disease that was killing off thousands of people that got called “The Vampire Grasp”. Communities began blaming the dead, feeling vampires were rising from their graves and sucking the life out of their friends and families. Covering the definition of a Vampire, the show moves on to discuss vampires throughout the world from Kali, langsuir, and the European craze. The first location they visit is Griswald, Connecticut where in 1820 a man buried next to his wife and daughter was suspected of being a vampire. There were pattern of nails on the coffin scratchin in the date and his name as “J.B.” that becomes accidentally exposed by some children playing after an erosional mudslide in 1990. The State Archaeologist, Dr. Nicholas Bellatoni, excavates and examines the bodies found in the yard. He finds JB’s skull decapitated, rotated to face west, with his ribs broken into, and bones arranged as skull and crossbones pattern. It is believed he is suspected to be a vampire. There were no records as to who JB was. Question was why he was suspected to be a vampire.
He teamed up with Michael Bell, the author of “Food for the Dead” who is an anthropologist studying vampire legends for the last 40 years. They uncovered some 220 year old newspaper articles in Hartford, CT where a town clerk was making complaints of a foreign quack doctor who was pushing a cure involving the exhumation of a body that had a vine growing through the coffin, to cut the vines, take out the vital organs, and burn all the stuff to take care of the problem. The letter writer claims to have witnessed local citizen Isaac Johnson dig up his two children to perform the cure. They hunted high and low to no avail, except a maybe, as they discovered unmarked graves in the Johnson family cemetery plot with a electromagnetic
imaging Gem300 geophysics machine and are awaiting permission from the family (if any are still around) to discover whether or not these are the children and if they were treated in the grave as vampires.
They covered the tale of Elizabeth Bathery, the 16th century Blood countess who would murder her handmades and servants (over 650 of them) and bathe in their blood to make her younger. It was believed that it all started when one of her handmaidens accidentally got cut and splattered blood on the Countess. As the countess wiped away the blood she noticed her skin looked youthful and vibrant. The Countess became transfixed by blood from then on. There was however no evidence she drank their blood. Interviews with Katherine Ramsland, the author of “The Science of Vampires” and Konstantinos, the author of “Vampire: The Occult Truth” who shed their enlightenment on the history and discoveries. They said that stories like Katherine fueled current vampire legends and led to rampant desecration of corpses in order to vampire hunt and find cures for the curses.
Exploring the tale of Mercy Brown (1864-1884) and comparing her to J.B. Both victims of consumption and accused of being vampires. They explored the headstone of Simon Whipple Aldredge, a grave in the woods of Rhode Island, that said “even though consumption’s vampire grasp has siezed thy mortal’s frame” on the epitaph clearly connecting consumption with vampirism. Exploring people claiming to be vampires today, they talked briefly about the 1990′s case of Rod Ferril, the 16 year old student who claimed to be a 500 year old vampire named Fasago. He led a local vampire clan cult that would meet together in graveyards and pierce each other’s skin for a drink of blood. He then later drove with hisgirlfriend and clan members to Florida to brutally slay his girlfriend’s parents in November 1996. He burnt a V into each of the corpses as his mark. He believed he was supernatural and therefore beyond mortal law. He was caught, convicted, and is currently serving the life death penalty. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrom but not with any condition of clinical vampirism (where one has a delusion that they need blood in order to survive or remain healthy). Then they spoke of 17 year old Matthew Hardbin of North Wales who killed his 90 year old neighbour, cut out her heart, put it in a pan, and drank the blood as he believed he needed it to survive. They then ran a medical test on another self-proclaimed vampire, Joy Polous – who doesn’t hunt humans to get it, but rather is given the blood voluntarily. A Hematologist, Lawrence Oseas tests her blood for anemia and any other blood disorder that could cause her to believe she’s a vampire, and checks her blood sample for blood count, white/red, and inquires under her psychological state. He tests her blood through a hemiotology sample analyzer and doesn’t find any abnormalities. She is diagnosed as quite normal. They explore the image of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, who portrayed vampires as sleeping in creates or coffins. This was made up by Stoker. The film “Nosferatu” was looked at, and purported vampires had a sensitivity to light, even though no lore or legend supported that. It was obviously a cinematic creation. They also looked at how Stoker was influenced by Vlad the Impaler, Elizabeth Bathory, and oddly he had in his possession an article about Mercy Brown. They explored Psychic vampires, and studied Michelle Belanger, a self proclaimed energy vampire (also author of the Psychic Vampire Codex) who claimed she had to take human vital energy in order to survive. She did this of willing participants and allowed them to test energy exchange during one of these transfers. The high resolution thermal camera didn’t detect noticeable shifts, the high electrical tranfer unit gauge rates her normal, however with the trifield meter shows a magnetic field unexplained jump in energy when she was supposedly feeding from the host. A pretty thorough documentary.