Perhaps one of my greatest achievements in my “career” as a vampirologist was co-organising There Are Such Things! Vampire Studies Symposium 2015 with Dax “The Vampire Historian” Stokes, an event held at North Central Texas College, Corinth, TX, on October 31, 2015. We were both interviewed by local press in the lead-up to the symposium.
The event was significant for a number of reasons; not only was it my first trip to the United States, but also the first time I met my friend and colleague, Erin Chapman, in person. She shared her impressions of the symposium and discussed our Texan trip on my website, Vamped. We attended the symposium as the site’s sponsor representatives.
I suggested the event’s name, a homage to a line in Van Helsing’s (Edward Van Sloan) epilogue at the end of the original theatrical run of Dracula (1931), but later cut from the film:
Just a moment, ladies and gentlemen! A word before you go. We hope the memories of Dracula and Renfield won’t give you bad dreams, so just a word of reassurance. When you get home tonight, and the lights have been turned out, and you are afraid to look behind the curtains — and you dread to see a face appear at the window — why, just pull yourself together and remember that after all, there are such things! (my emphasis)
I also suggested and line-up, right down to the order they’d appear as each would represent a step in the evolution of vampire mythography. J. Gordon Melton, author of The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead would “introduce” the topic by providing a general overview of vampirology.
Thomas J. Garza (The Vampire in Slavic Cultures) would cover the Eastern European vampire, the wellspring of our modern vampire genre.
Michael Bell (Food of the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires) would discuss the vampire’s appearance in the New World, while Joseph Laycock (Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism) would talk about the vampire myth’s modern day incarnation; the “real vampire” community.
Stokes would then wrap it up in a nice little bow by considering what the future might hold for vampire studies. With only a few days to go till the symposium took place, Stokes invited me to field questions as a panelist. I was dreadfully nervous about the idea, but accepted his offer.
If you were unable to attend the event, that’s ok; it was filmed by students at the college. You can see the talks Melton, Garza, Bell and Laycock gave by following this link.
Unfortunately, footage of Stokes and I talking at the event was never released—which is why I’m glad Erin had the foresight to film the event too. Thanks to her efforts, I now present you with this “lost” footage which we uploaded to Vamped‘s YouTube channel:
The video leads with Stokes’ talk, “The Future of Vampire Studies: Stop Counting Seeds and Get Out There,” followed by me popping up to take audience questions for the Q & A Panel at the 8:23 mark. The other speakers answer questions, too.
- The Vampire Historian: https://thevampirehistorian.com/.
- We were both interviewed by local press: Tommy Cummings, “Here’s a Symposium You Can Sink Your Teeth into … and It’s All about Vampires,” GuideLive, September 22, 2015, accessed December 8, 2017, https://www.guidelive.com/fun-places-and-events/2015/09/22/symposium-can-sink-teeth-vampires. Saved link: https://web.archive.org/save/https://www.guidelive.com/fun-places-and-events/2015/09/22/symposium-can-sink-teeth-vampires.
- she shared her impressions of the symposium: Erin Chapman, “I Attended a Vampire Studies Symposium on Halloween. Here’s What I Learned,” Vamped, December 23, 2015, accessed December 7, 2017, http://vamped.org/2015/12/23/i-attended-a-vampire-studies-symposium-on-halloween-heres-what-i-learned/.
- discussed our Texan trip: Erin Chapman, “Trip to Texas: The Vampire Studies Symposium and More,” Vamped, April 9, 2016, accessed December 7, 2017, http://vamped.org/2016/04/09/trip-to-texas-the-vampire-studies-symposium-and-more/.
- but later cut from the film: For more info on the epilogue, see: “Dracula – Van Helsing Epilogue (Partially Found Scene of Universal Horror Movie; 1931),” The Lost Media Wiki, accessed December 8, 2017, http://lostmediawiki.com/Dracula_-_Van_Helsing_epilogue_(partially_found_scene_of_Universal_horror_movie;_1931). The Lost Media Wiki rendering of the line is “there are such things as vampires!,” which, if accurate, lacks a little punch!
- by following this link: Vampire Historian, “Vampire Studies Symposium,” video playlist, last updated December 13, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/playlistlist=PLRgwmRJLW6lGOtnEXKvzuKW7E0MWsVcG0.
- The video leads with Stokes’ talk: vampednetwork, “‘The Future of Vampire Studies: Stop Counting Seeds and Get Out There’ and Audience Q & A,” video, 28:07, December 6, 2017, accessed December 7, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J6xof0qQZk.
December 8, 2017:
- Dax Stokes clarified what happened with the original footage of our parts in the symposium: “Something ran out. Either his battery or film or something” (Facebook message to the author, December 8, 2017).