Dealing with Vampires the New England Way

Nicholas C. Rossis

In early 19th century rural New England, there was little doubt about how to deal with vampires: you dug up the corpse, took head and limbs, and rearranged them on top of the ribs in the design of a skull and crossbones. That would stop the mischevious spirit from haunting the living.

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John Barber | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Smithsonian.com

Such was the fate that befell John Barber. And yet, as The Washington Post explains, John was no vampire. He was probably a hard-working farmer. Missing his top front teeth, he was no neck biter. He had a broken collar bone that had not healed right and an arthritic knee that may have made him limp, and he had died an awful death, probably from tuberculosis, which was so bad it had scarred his ribs.

Two hundred years later, he was destined to become the country’s only supposed “vampire” whose bones have been studied…

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