From Carlos

Native American Vampires?

With the success of Stephanie Meyer’s TWILIGHT books, and their film adaptations, the NATIVE LANGUAGES website received many questions about vampire mythology among Native American.  You can see their responses to the most common questions here.

apotampkin The Cold One



Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art at the Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, hosted a 2012 exhibition entitled “Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art.”  The exhibition explored “links between historic and contemporary Native American art.”  A review of the exhibit can be found here and information about the exhibition can be found at the museum’s website here.  The following image is of the work of Bob Haozous (born 1943), Chiricahua Apache; Wheel of Fortune, 2005; Steel and paint; 96 inches (diam.) (243.8 cm); Courtesy the artist; © Bob Haozous. Haozous_Wheel_of_Fortune


Mercy Brown: More about the New England Vampire Panic

In perhaps the most significant case from the 19th-century New England Vampire Panic, the body of Ms. Mercy Brown (victim of tuberculosis), aged 19, was exhumed and her heart was burned to ashes.  The ashes were then mixed with water and given to her brother as a cure for his own TB. From the Wikipedia entry on the case:  “The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident, which occurred in 1892, is one of the best documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation. The incident was part of the wider New England vampire panic. Several cases of consumption (tuberculosis) occurred in the family of George and Mary Brown, in Exeter, Rhode Island. Friends and neighbors believed that this was due to the influence of the undead. Two family members’ bodies were dug up, and, exhibiting the expected level of decomposition, were thought not to be the cause. Daughter Mercy, however, who was held in a freezer-like, above-ground vault, exhibited almost no decomposition. This was taken as confirmation that the undead were influencing the family to be sick. Mercy’s heart was burned, mixed with water and given to her brother Edwin, who was sick, to drink, in order to stop the influence of the undead. The young man died two months later.”  All of this as late as 1892!  Read more here.


The New England Vampire Panic

During the 19th century some citizens of New England thought that tuberculosis (consumption) was caused by the dead  sucking the life out of their surviving relatives.  In response, bodies of the dead were exhumed and their internal organs were burned.  One particular case involved Ms. Mercy Brown, 19.  Her body was exhumed, her heart burned.  The ashes of her heart were mixed with water and given to her brother as a cure for his own TB.  330px-MercyBrownGravestoneHe died anyway.  Read more about this here.

It’s time to learn about therianthropy

Therianthropy: Etymology

With the title SKIN OF THE WOLF it should come as no surprise that Sam Cabot’s new novel involves therianthropy, or shapeshifting. “The term ‘therianthropy’ comes from the Greek theríon [θηρίον], meaning ‘wild animal’ or ‘beast’; and anthrōpos [ἄνθρωπος], meaning ‘human being.’ It was used to refer to animal transformation folklore of Europe as early as 1901. Sometimes the term ‘zoanthropy’ is used instead. Therianthropy was used to describe spiritual beliefs in animal transformation in a 1915 Japanese publication, ‘A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era.’ One source, ‘The Human Predator,’ raises the possibility the term may have been used as early as the 16th century in criminal trials of suspected werewolves.”–from the Wikipedia page on the subject.  For the full text of the entry click hereHowlsnow.

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