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The History of Vampires in New Orleans

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#1
Skadi

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The History of Vampires in New Orleans
By Kalila K. Smith
New Orleans Paranormal & Occult Research Society, ©1996

....

In Louisiana, many families still practice a custom called "sitting upwith the dead". When a family member died, a relative or close familyfriend would stay with the body until it is placed into one of ourabove ground tombs or is buried. The body was never left unattended.There are many reasons given for this practice today; most commonlyrespect for the dead but, this tradition actually dates back to vampirefolklore in Eastern Europe. While sitting up with the deceased, thefriend or family member was watching for signs of paranormal activityi.e. if a cat was ever seen to jump over, walk across, or stand on topof the coffin; if a dog was seen to bark or growl at the coffin; or ifa horse shied from it, these were signs of impending vampirism. At thatpoint, steps would be taken to prevent the corpse from returning fromthe dead.

Ways to stop a vampire included burying the corpseface down and burying it at a crossroads. Often family members wouldplace a sickle around the neck, tie body parts together or mutilate thebody, usually by decapitation and placing the head at the bottom offeet. The most common remedy for impending vampirism was to drive astake into the corpse, decapitate it then burn the body to ashes. Thismethod was the only way to truly destroy the undead.

By the1700’s, these practices were going on all throughout Western Europe,particularly in France and Germany where many were migrating to NewOrleans. Believers insisted that vampires could have been smuggled overin ships with the settlers. The early French settlers brought overbrides from Europe who transferred their belongings in large woodencasket-like boxes. According to folklore, even though vampires preferthe night, they are not destroyed by daylight. It was common for thevampire to walk about during the day but they generally hunted and fedat night. They would not have needed to be smuggled in coffins in thehulls of ships. This idea is that of fictional writers such as BramStoker. More than likely, vampires would have entered the ships likeanyone else and blended in well with society.

If being amurderer, rapist, or other criminal element would predispose one tovampirism, it is easy to see how they would have become so prevalent inNew Orleans. The city started as a penal colony. All of the originalsettlers would have been predisposed to it! Once they blended in withthe mortals, they could easily feed on the population without raisingmuch suspicion. With people dying in great masses from diseases such asyellow fever, who’s going to notice another corpse here or there?

Posted Image

Nonetheless, our folklore has remained true to the casket girl theory. These womenwere housed and educated in the Ursuline Convent, located on Chartresand Ursulines Streets in the French Quarter. They were eventuallymarried off to the settlers in the city. It is believed by many thatthe original caskets of these brides are stored in the attic of theconvent and that the vampires still reside in them. The convent is nolonger a working convent but now is a repository for the archives ofthe archdiocese. Legend states that late at night one of the atticshutters will open and the vampires escape. They attack unsuspectingvictims, return and close the shutters before dawn. But is it more thana legend?

New Orleans has always had a high murder rate, notto mention, a lot of missing persons. The French Quarter has alwaysbeen a very mysterious and seductive place. Many a person hasmysteriously disappeared, many of whom were never known to have beenhere in the first place. Runaways commonly come to the French Quarterto hide out, as do people with "pasts." If no one knows you are here,how will they know if you should disappear? If you just "drifted in"people will assume you just "drifted out", as well. New Orleans’history is filled with vampire murders throughout time with the mostrecent occurring in 2003.

Vampires and Disease

Incertain areas of rural Louisiana, some plantations had the exteriorkeyholes turned upside down to prevent entry of the "undead". Unhappyspirits of the dead were believed to bring disease into households. Formany years, yellow fever epidemics were blamed on such "evil spirits".It is documented that early settlers in New Orleans would fire cannonsinto the air to repel these spirits. Plagues, as well as tuberculosis,in Europe were often blamed on vampirism. Tuberculosis patients oftencoughed up blood which caused doctors in the Middle Ages to believethat they had been ingesting blood; thus the belief that the diseasewas the product of a vampire bite. The word Nosferatu literally means"plague-carrier". Early cemeteries in Louisiana were often placed farfrom towns, many times at a cross roads, to discourage the spirits fromfinding their way home. Often these tactics were called "confusing thespirit".

Posted Image

Inmany cultures, vampirism is believed to be nothing more than aberrantbehavior resulting from adverse mental or physical conditions.Porphyria, a human blood disorder, is believed by many to be acondition that has resulted in many "diagnosed" Vampires. The patientsuffering from porphyria becomes extremely sensitive to light. Inaddition, skin lesions may develop, and the teeth become brown orreddish-brown in color. The gums recede giving the canine teeth a"fang-like" look.

Like the diabetic who replaces insulin withinjections, blood transfusions can be effective in reversing theeffects of porphyria. It is believed that in medieval Eastern Europe,nobleman may have been instructed by their physicians to drink blood toreverse the disorder. Because many royals had a tendency to marrywithin the same family, it is easy to see how recessive geneticdisorders such as porphyria may have been more prevalent among thenobility.

Whole Article


#2
Ibiza

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The History of Vampires in New Orleans
By Kalila K. Smith
New Orleans Paranormal & Occult Research Society, ©1996

....

In Louisiana, many families still practice a custom called "sitting upwith the dead". When a family member died, a relative or close familyfriend would stay with the body until it is placed into one of ourabove ground tombs or is buried. The body was never left unattended.There are many reasons given for this practice today; most commonlyrespect for the dead but, this tradition actually dates back to vampirefolklore in Eastern Europe. While sitting up with the deceased, thefriend or family member was watching for signs of paranormal activityi.e. if a cat was ever seen to jump over, walk across, or stand on topof the coffin; if a dog was seen to bark or growl at the coffin; or ifa horse shied from it, these were signs of impending vampirism. At thatpoint, steps would be taken to prevent the corpse from returning fromthe dead.

Ways to stop a vampire included burying the corpseface down and burying it at a crossroads. Often family members wouldplace a sickle around the neck, tie body parts together or mutilate thebody, usually by decapitation and placing the head at the bottom offeet. The most common remedy for impending vampirism was to drive astake into the corpse, decapitate it then burn the body to ashes. Thismethod was the only way to truly destroy the undead.

By the1700’s, these practices were going on all throughout Western Europe,particularly in France and Germany where many were migrating to NewOrleans. Believers insisted that vampires could have been smuggled overin ships with the settlers. The early French settlers brought overbrides from Europe who transferred their belongings in large woodencasket-like boxes. According to folklore, even though vampires preferthe night, they are not destroyed by daylight. It was common for thevampire to walk about during the day but they generally hunted and fedat night. They would not have needed to be smuggled in coffins in thehulls of ships. This idea is that of fictional writers such as BramStoker. More than likely, vampires would have entered the ships likeanyone else and blended in well with society.

If being amurderer, rapist, or other criminal element would predispose one tovampirism, it is easy to see how they would have become so prevalent inNew Orleans. The city started as a penal colony. All of the originalsettlers would have been predisposed to it! Once they blended in withthe mortals, they could easily feed on the population without raisingmuch suspicion. With people dying in great masses from diseases such asyellow fever, who’s going to notice another corpse here or there?

Posted Image

Nonetheless, our folklore has remained true to the casket girl theory. These womenwere housed and educated in the Ursuline Convent, located on Chartresand Ursulines Streets in the French Quarter. They were eventuallymarried off to the settlers in the city. It is believed by many thatthe original caskets of these brides are stored in the attic of theconvent and that the vampires still reside in them. The convent is nolonger a working convent but now is a repository for the archives ofthe archdiocese. Legend states that late at night one of the atticshutters will open and the vampires escape. They attack unsuspectingvictims, return and close the shutters before dawn. But is it more thana legend?

New Orleans has always had a high murder rate, notto mention, a lot of missing persons. The French Quarter has alwaysbeen a very mysterious and seductive place. Many a person hasmysteriously disappeared, many of whom were never known to have beenhere in the first place. Runaways commonly come to the French Quarterto hide out, as do people with "pasts." If no one knows you are here,how will they know if you should disappear? If you just "drifted in"people will assume you just "drifted out", as well. New Orleans’history is filled with vampire murders throughout time with the mostrecent occurring in 2003.

Vampires and Disease

Incertain areas of rural Louisiana, some plantations had the exteriorkeyholes turned upside down to prevent entry of the "undead". Unhappyspirits of the dead were believed to bring disease into households. Formany years, yellow fever epidemics were blamed on such "evil spirits".It is documented that early settlers in New Orleans would fire cannonsinto the air to repel these spirits. Plagues, as well as tuberculosis,in Europe were often blamed on vampirism. Tuberculosis patients oftencoughed up blood which caused doctors in the Middle Ages to believethat they had been ingesting blood; thus the belief that the diseasewas the product of a vampire bite. The word Nosferatu literally means"plague-carrier". Early cemeteries in Louisiana were often placed farfrom towns, many times at a cross roads, to discourage the spirits fromfinding their way home. Often these tactics were called "confusing thespirit".

Posted Image

Inmany cultures, vampirism is believed to be nothing more than aberrantbehavior resulting from adverse mental or physical conditions.Porphyria, a human blood disorder, is believed by many to be acondition that has resulted in many "diagnosed" Vampires. The patientsuffering from porphyria becomes extremely sensitive to light. Inaddition, skin lesions may develop, and the teeth become brown orreddish-brown in color. The gums recede giving the canine teeth a"fang-like" look.

Like the diabetic who replaces insulin withinjections, blood transfusions can be effective in reversing theeffects of porphyria. It is believed that in medieval Eastern Europe,nobleman may have been instructed by their physicians to drink blood toreverse the disorder. Because many royals had a tendency to marrywithin the same family, it is easy to see how recessive geneticdisorders such as porphyria may have been more prevalent among thenobility.

Whole Article



i know this isnt entirly on topic but you gave me a flash back, that first photo, didnt an old old old member use that claiming it to be her house o.0

Edited by Ibiza, 04 October 2009 - 01:28 AM.


#3
Skadi

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i know this isnt entirly on topic but you gave me a flash back, that first photo, didnt an old old old member use that claiming it to be her house o.0


I hope not.. :lol:

#4
Ibiza

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    -Vodka & Gin
    -Fire Poi, Fire Staff.
    -Collecting anything and everything with a "Cool Water" Scent.
    -And finally, lambs. I collect stuffed fucking lambs.

I hope not.. Posted Image



i hope the name isnt taboo,lol, but i think it was irish vamp who did, way way way back when. Like 5-6 years ago?
*investigates*

#5
loudsilence

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That was a very interesting article, thanks Skadi.

#6
Skadi

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I thought the bit about turning the exterior keyholes upside down was fascinating. How did they decide that would stop the "undead" from entering?