Vampire Alert: Don't Stick Your Neck Out

News that Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew is preparing a sequel to his famous ancestor's masterpiece got me thinking that it might be wise to talk with an expert. Scott Bowen is the author of The Vampire Survival Guide: How to Fight, and Win, Against the Undead (Skyhorse).
Vampire.jpegIt's an essential book in these dark times, and it's got a plastic cover that you can wipe clean -- no bloodstains! I spoke to Scott from his home.

RC: How many vampires have you personally killed?

Bowen: I've probably killed three. I don't go seek them out, but these are encounters that have occurred. I live in a woodsy part of Pennsylvania. [Note: May have said "Transylvania."] Things can get a little hairy out here.

RC: What are our gravest misconceptions about vampires?

Bowen: The biggest misconceptions come out of folklore attempts to repel them: using garlic, mustard seeds around your door, that sort of thing. Staking through the heart was originally just about trying to secure someone to the grave. My take is more about physically stopping them. Think about trying to rat-proof and bear-proof your home. The trick to killing vampires is either to decapitate them or cause massive damage to the heart. Fire works, too, but you can't really control it unless you have a flamethrower, which is just too dangerous.

RC: What should someone do if she discovers she's dating a vampire? Break it off right away or try to change him?

Bowen: It all depends on what a person scott bowen.jpgcan tolerate and the attitude of the vampire. There will be a number of vampires who will say, "I'll do my best to get along without killing people." But it's a difficult thing. Vampires are nocturnal, and they need blood. But there's only so much blood you can give. It would be a very, very stressful relationship.

RC: Do you see any hope for improving human-vampire relations improving?

Bowen: I do because in this post-post-structural age, we've come into a period of greater intercultural curiosity and open-mindedness, and we realize that you can't always clearly define enemies or friends.

RC: Is there anything to admire about vampires?

Bowen: Vampires have a very good sense of style because they live so long. They've seen so many fashions come and go.

RC: Are you surprised that vampires haven't received more attention in this year's presidential campaign?

Bowen: Well, with the economy and Iraq and Afghanistan, I think both candidates are afraid to talk about something that might make people say, "Hey, that's just crazy." And besides, this is really a local and state issue.

-- Ron Charles

By Ron Charles |  October 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Ron Charles
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