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OK, it’s not Halloween yet.  But when Sunday night comes, will the horrors in the darkened library tower come to life and flap their way between the bookcases and out into Cambridge alleyways? What horrors? Well, vampires, for a start. And not lean, mean and handsome ones either. 

Forget the haunted but handsome heroes of Twilight and Buffy the vampire slayer. These vampires have no redeeming features, and nineteenth century authors loved them that way.  There is blood and more blood,  an awful flapping Thing,  stifled screams of horror, a hideous head with – no, it’s too much. Read The Vampire Nemesis (Bristol: Arrowsmith, 1905)  yourself – but not over lunch. 

What can you do to escape the attentions of a vampire at your Halloween party? According to Modern vampirism – its dangers and how to avoid them (Harrogate: Talisman, 1904) you should avoid sleeping in the same room with people born between 21st June and 21st July (when apparently the influence of the moon is strongest), avoid meat and alcohol (vampires like them too) and  when entering rough areas of a city, “picture a white mist forming a dense shell around you”.  But if that sounds like too much effort, you could always stay in with a good book …

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