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Then we would find him singing softly or whistling to himself, with all manner of woodland creatures around him--hedgehogs, little foxes, wild rabbits, marmots, squirrels, and such like. He would frequently bring these things home with him and insist on keeping them. This strange menagerie was the terror of poor Mlle Vonnaert's heart. He chose to live in a little room at the top of a turret; but which, instead of going upstairs, he chose to reach by means of a very tall chestnut-tree, through the window.

But in contradiction of all his, it was his custom to serve every Sunday Mass in the parish church, with hair nicely combed and with white surplice and red cassock. He looked as demure and tamed as possible. Then came the element of the divine. What an expression of ecstasy there was in those glorious eyes! Thus far I have not been speaking about the Vampire. However, let me begin with my narrative at last.

One day my father had to go to the neighbouring town--as he frequently had. This time he returned accompanied by a guest.

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The gentleman, he said, had missed his train, through the late arrival of another at our station, which was a junction, and he would therefore, as trains were not frequent in our parts, have had to wait there all night. He had joined in conversation with my father in the too-late-arriving train from the town: and had consequently accepted my father's invitation to stay the night at our house. But of course, you know, in those out-of-the-way parts we are almost patriarchal in our hospitality. He was announced under the name of Count Vardalek--the name being Hungarian. But he spoke German well enough: not with the monotonous accentuation of Hungarians, but rather, if anything, with a slight Slavonic intonation.

His voice was peculiarly soft and insinuating. We soon afterwards found that he could talk Polish, and Mlle Vonnaert vouched for his good French. Indeed he seemed to know all languages. But let me give my first impressions. He was rather tall with fair wavy hair, rather long, which accentuated a certain effeminacy about his smooth face. His figure had something--I cannot say what--serpentine about it. The features were refined; and he had long, slender, subtle, magnetic-looking hands, a somewhat long sinuous nose, a graceful mouth, and an attractive smile, which belied the intense sadness of the expression of the eyes.

When he arrived his eyes were half closed--indeed they were habitually so--so that I could not decide their colour.


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He looked worn and wearied. I could not possibly guess his age. Suddenly Gabriel burst into the room: a yellow butterfly was clinging to his hair. He was carrying in his arms a little squirrel.

Of course he was barelegged as usual. The stranger looked up at his approach; then I noticed his eves. They were green: they seemed to dilate and grow larger. Gabriel stood stock-still, with a startled look, like that of a bird fascinated by a serpent. But nevertheless he held out his hand to the newcomer Vardalek, taking his hand--I don't know why I noticed this trivial thing--pressed the pulse with his forefinger.

Suddenly Gabriel darted from the room and rushed upstairs, going to his turret-room this time by the staircase instead of the tree. I was in terror what the Count might think of him.

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Great was my relief when he came down in his velvet Sunday suit, and shoes and stockings. I combed his hair, and set him generally right. When the stranger came down to dinner his appearance had somewhat altered; he looked much younger. There was an elasticity of the skin, combined with a delicate complexion, rarely to be found in a man. Before, he had struck me as being very pale. Well, at dinner we were all charmed with him, especially my father. He seemed to be thoroughly acquainted with all my father's particular hobbies.

Once, when my father was relating some of his military experiences, he said something about a drummer-boy who was wounded in battle. His eyes opened completely again and dilated: this time with a particularly disagreeable expression, dull and dead, yet at the same time animated by some horrible excitement. But this was only momentary. The chief subject of his conversation with my father was about certain curious mystical books which my father had just lately picked up, and which he could not make out, but Vardalek seemed completely to understand.

At dessert-time my father asked him if he were in a great hurry to reach his destination: if not, would he not stay with us a little while: though our place was out of the way, he would find much that would interest him in his library. He answered, "I am in no hurry. I have no particular reason for going to that place at all, and if I can be of service to you in deciphering these books, I shall be only too glad. After dinner my father asked him if he played the piano. He said, "Yes, I can a little," and he sat down at the piano. Then he played a Hungarian csardas--wild, rhapsodic, wonderful.

Gabriel stood stock-still by the piano, his eyes dilated and fixed, his form quivering. Then he quickly fetched his fiddle and self-made xylophone, and did, actually alternating the instruments, render the same very well indeed. Vardalek looked at him, and said in a very sad voice, "Poor child! I could not understand why he should seem to commiserate instead of congratulate Gabriel on what certainly showed an extraordinary talent.

Gabriel was shy even as the wild animals who were tame to him. Never before had he taken to a stranger. Indeed, as a rule, if any stranger came to the house by any chance, he would hide himself, and I had to bring him up his food to the turret chamber. You may imagine what was my surprise when I saw him walking about hand in hand with Vardalek the next morning, in the garden, talking lively with him, and showing his collection of pet animals, which he had gathered from the woods, and for which we had had to fit up a regular zoological gardens.

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He seemed utterly under the domination of Vardalek. What surprised us was for otherwise we liked the stranger, especially for being kind to him that he seemed, though not noticeably at first--except perhaps to me, who noticed everything with regard to him--to be gradually losing his general health and vitality. He did not become pale as yet; but there was a certain languor about his movements which certainly there was by no means before. My father got more and more devoted to Count Vardalek.

He helped him in his studies: and my father would hardly allow him to go away, which he did sometimes--to Trieste, he said: he always came back, bringing us presents of strange Oriental jewellery or textures. I knew all kinds of people came to Trieste, Orientals included. Still, there was a strangeness and magnificence about these things which I was sure even then could not possibly have come from such a place as Trieste, memorable to me chiefly for its necktie shops. When Vardalek was away, Gabriel was continually asking for him and talking about him.

Then at the same time he seemed to regain his old vitality and spirits. Vardalek always returned looking much older, wan, and weary. Gabriel would rush to meet him, and kiss him on the mouth. Then he gave a slight shiver: and after a little while began to look quite young again. Things continued like this for some time. My father would not hear of Vardalek's going away permanently. He came to be an inmate of our house. I indeed, and Mlle Vonnaert also, could not help noticing what a difference there was altogether about Gabriel. But my father seemed totally blind to it.

One night I had gone downstairs to fetch something which I had left in the drawing-room. As I was going up again I passed Vardalek's room. He was playing on a piano, which had been specially put there for him, one of Chopin's nocturnes, very beautifully: I stopped, leaning on the banisters to listen. Something white appeared on the dark staircase. We believed in ghosts in our part. I was transfixed with terror, and clung to the ballisters.

What was my astonishment to see Gabriel walking slowly down the staircase, his eyes fixed as though in a trance! This terrified me even more than a ghost would. Could I believe my senses? Could that be Gabriel?


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  • I simply could not move. Gabriel, clad in his long white night-shirt, came downstairs and opened the door. He left it open. Vardalek still continued playing, but talked as he played. He said--this time speaking in Polish--Nie umiem wyrazic jak ciechi kocham--"My darling, I fain would spare thee: but thy life is my life, and I must live, I who would rather die.

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    Today's self-described vampires do not claim to be immortal or have superpowers. And they say they don't prey on strangers. They have willing donors, who often are friends or lovers. People who identify as vampires often meet at underground clubs, but "they're all over the place," said Ramsland. Being a vampire for Kiera is not a choice; she believes it's passed down genetically. Many say being honest about their "vampiric" nature can be a tricky balancing act. They don't really want to know, and I'm OK with that," said a freelance writer and mother of two who calls herself Sylvere.

    She lives on a quiet street in Kansas City and says she doesn't really discuss her vampirism with her 8-year-old son, at least, not yet. You need to know. Like Kiera, Sylvere, who likes to feed on creative energy, agreed to demonstrate her typical feeding. Sylvere put her hand on her husband's chest and bit him on the neck -- not hard enough to draw blood because she said she only needs the energy. It's not sexual necessarily," she said, "but it will often lead to something of a sexual nature just because we do have such an intimate bond between us. Some self-described vampires have formed councils and associations through which they network with one another.

    They say they are convinced they are different from the normal humans they call "mundanes" and hope one day medical science will find out why. All rights reserved. ABC News. Vampires Among Us. Trump says US 'will no longer deal with' UK ambassador who called him 'inept'. Pelosi invites US women's soccer team to Capitol amid uncertainty over Trump invite. Federal grand jury investigating former Trump inaugural vice chair: Sources.

    Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking: Indictment. Spacey accuser didn't report alleged assault for 15 months, contradicting prosecutors. Obamacare faces major court test with health benefits on the line. The potion was meant to heal him; instead, he died a few months later. Folklorist and Food for the Dead author Michael Bell estimates that there are 60 known examples of anti-vampire rituals in 18th- and 19th-century New England, and several others elsewhere in the country.

    These rituals were most common in eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island, says Brian Carroll , a history professor at Central Washington University who is writing a book on the subject. Because of this, he thinks the New England vampires were based on the German Nachzehrer. Bell, however, believes anti-vampire practices in New England came from many places and that the suspected New England vampires were actually more akin to Romanian vampires than the Nachzehrer. Whatever the source of these beliefs in New England, they were driven by the same social concerns as those before them: a fear of disease and a desire to contain it.

    This 16th-century skull was buried in Venice, Italy, with a brick in its mouth. The brick was likely meant to prevent the person from leaving the grave to eat people. During the vampire panic in New England, vampires were finding a new role in European books like The Vampyre , Carmilla , and Dracula , as well as in vampire-themed plays. Though drawn from folk legends and past vampire scares, these aristocratic, sexual vampires were more like the vampires we know today. In , Manchester told a TV news team that he planned to exercise the vampire on Friday the 13th.

    That night, hundreds of young people turned up at Highgate Cemetery to see him perform an exorcism which he ended up not doing.


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