Yikes! Vampires amongst us
Where vampires may be lurking in Tulsa.
Until just recently, the current phenomenon of vampire mania had passed me by. Vampire books, TV series, films — I wasn’t interested.
Or didn’t think I was until I saw an interview with Anne Rice, queen of the vampire literature, who said that all of us know real-life vampires. These are the people who try to suck us dry, she said. They drain us of our money, our time, our energy.
Uh, oh. I know several of those.
But what about fictional vampires? What is it about vampires that fascinates us? The thrill of being scared? The safe titillation of dancing with fear, evil, the supernatural or death? Whatever it is, it has been around a long time.
Dracula, the most famous vampire, was introduced in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker. In that book, Dracula cannot enter a house unless he has been invited. Which means the victims bring it on themselves.
Much vampire literature has an erotic edge to it. A person loses herself (or himself) entirely. She even, dare we say it, surrenders to another.
Current TV and movie vampires are the hot romantic heroes. They are usually handsome, sensual, impeccably dressed, wealthy and often conflicted by both lust and conscience. How seductive is that?
Still, Dracula was not the first vampire in literature. The concept appeared in the 1700s. Then, in 1819, came a vampire in a book inspired by the life of Lord Byron. And in 1872 a book was published about a lesbian vampire named Carmilla.
Some say that the vampire literature of the Victorian era is a veiled reference to disease, blood and death, especially of tuberculosis and syphilis, which were rampant at that time.
In 1979 in the United States, Deborah and James Howe introduced their popular “Bunnicula” series of children’s books. It features a vampire bunny that sucks the juice out of vegetables — maybe.
Now, the vampire genre has exploded with young adult fiction. Many vampire book authors are Oklahomans, or have set their books in Oklahoma. That’s what lured me to the genre.
I was standing in line at Borders when I overheard a teen girl talking on her cell phone to a friend about a book about a vampire school set in Tulsa. “No kidding,” she told her friend. “You can recognize places in Utica Square.”
Surely she didn’t mean the books by Richelle Mead about a vampire academy in Montana. I bought one of them, but it was so ghoulish, I could not finish it.
Neither was she talking about a vampire series by Tulsan Michele Bardsley, set in a town called Broken Heart, Okla. Isn’t that a perfect name for the home of a vampire?
Nor was she discussing Stephenie Meyer, the Mormon mother of three whose books about a vampire boyfriend have sold more than 25 million copies; the first of which has been released as the movie “Twilight.”
No, she was talking about Tulsa mother-daughter authors P.C. and Kristen Cast. Their rather lusty vampire series for young adults begins in Broken Arrow and moves to Tulsa, where the vampire finishing school has purchased — are you ready? — Cascia Hall. Near Utica Square.
The Cast books are the “House of Night” series, which I like a lot. The authors (P.C. is a former high school teacher) know something about teenagers, Oklahoma, Indians and cats. I certainly am not alone in liking the books. Last time I checked, their first four books had sold 4.5 million copies. That is equivalent to the entire population of Singapore. Or Alaska. Or, closer to home, 55 sold-out University of Oklahoma football stadiums.
Since the current vampire phenomenon is most popular in America and since our nation is notorious for our love of pets, I wondered if anyone had combined the two passions and created a vampire puppy or kitty. Sure enough, someone has.
For $8.99, you can buy a 10-inch talking vampire toy dog. Squeeze it and it says, “I’ve come to suck your blood.” How about snuggling up with that at bedtime?