Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, but years before that novel made vampires famous, New England had its own famous living dead. The stories tell of dead relatives rising from the grave to haunt their family – even drink their blood. Townspeople would become so scared they would have the Mayor and Church approve an exhumation and beheading. And if the heart had blood in it – many freshly buried bodies did – they would burn the heart and the family would eat the ashes.
The cause for all this terror was a Tuberculosis epidemic that made bodies look like – from Smithsonian:
“The emaciated figure strikes one with terror,” reads one 18th-century description, “the forehead covered with drops of sweat; the cheeks painted with a livid crimson, the eyes sunk…the breath offensive, quick and laborious, and the cough so incessant as to scarce allow the wretched sufferer time to tell his complaints.” Indeed, symptoms “progressed in such a way that it seemed like something was draining the life and blood out of somebody.”
For country people in the pre-industrial area – with no scientific explanation – it could seem that someone was “feasting on the living tissue and blood.” Read the full story from Smithsonian Magazine:
The Great New England Vampire Panic
Continue reading The Great New England Vampire Panic
This week, several great white sharks were spotted off the coast of Chatham, Mass., and two more near Cape Cod were swimming just 30 feet from the shore. One of the sharks was measured at 12 to 15 feet.
The summer months induce a chain reaction for shark sightings: Warm ocean temperatures entice more gray seals to the New England shores, and with more seals come more sharks.
The sharks have been paying more attention to New England the past few years because of the larger concentrations of gray seals, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Researcher Greg Skomal said. The gray seal population off Cape Cod has grown from 10,000 to over 300,000 ever since environmental regulations were put in place to protect the seals.
The United States averages 16 shark attacks each year, with only one fatality every two years. According to the International Shark Attack File, you have a higher chance of being struck by lightning, which kills about 41 people a year.
Zimmerman said there hasn’t been a confirmed shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936.
More on this – Great White Sharks Return to Massachusetts Shores
Continue reading As environmental regulations boost seal populations in New England – great whites return as well