The Vampire’s Disease

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Book: Mercy: The Last NE Vampire | 0 comments

If you’ve read Mercy, you’ll know that tuberculosis was tightly linked to the vampire tradition as it existed in New England. Understandable. In this age of antibiotics, it’s hard to understand how frightening this illness must have been to witness. Imagine watching somebody wasting away, sometimes lingering for years, but almost never recovering. Imagine doctors (if they were honest) telling you that nothing could be done. Wouldn’t you be tempted to look for some sort of explanation, even if it was–supernatural?

To the right is a photograph of a young woman named Charlotte Bronson. It was taken around 1850. She could have been about Mercy’s age.

And below is a photo of Charlotte six years later, a few months before her death. She probably had tuberculosis. Easy enough to see how someone desperate for an explanation could think of her as a vampire’s victim.

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