Paperback / softback
October 15, 2011
9780819571700
English
390
16 illus. 1 map. 2 tables.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.2 Pounds (US)
$23.95 USD, £17.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
January 1, 2014
9780819571717
English
16 illus. 1 map. 2 tables.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$18.99 USD, £13.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Food for the Dead

On the Trail of New England’s Vampires

For nineteenth-century New Englanders, "vampires" lurked behind tuberculosis. To try to rid their houses and communities from the scourge of the wasting disease, families sometimes relied on folk practices, including exhuming and consuming the bodies of the deceased. Author and folklorist Michael E. Bell spent twenty years pursuing stories of the vampire in New England. While writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Henry David Thoreau, and Amy Lowell drew on portions of these stories in their writings, Bell brings the actual practices to light for the first time. He shows that the belief in vampires was widespread, and, for some families, lasted well into the twentieth century. With humor, insight, and sympathy, he uncovers story upon story of dying men, women, and children who believed they were food for the dead. This Wesleyan paperback edition includes an extensive preface by the author unveiling some of the new cases he's learned about since Food for the Dead was first published in 2001.

About the Author

MICHAEL E. BELL was the consulting folklorist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission in Providence. He has served as a scholar or consultant on numerous projects for the media, particularly those concerned with folklore, folk art, oral history, and humanities programs for young adults. He splits his time between Pawtuxet Village, Rhode Island and McKinney, Texas.

Reviews

"A major contribution to the study of New England folk beliefs. . . . [H]is tales, stripped of Dracula's Eastern European trappings, give a deeper and more somber meaning to the overgrown fields and their enclosing stone fences, to the derelict farmhouses and their sagging barns, of rural New England."—Michael Kenney, Boston Globe

"A major contribution to the study of New England folk beliefs. . . . [H]is tales, stripped of Dracula's Eastern European trappings, give a deeper and more somber meaning to the overgrown fields and their enclosing stone fences, to the derelict farmhouses and their sagging barns, of rural New England."—Michael Kenney, Boston Globe

"Elegantly spun. . . . Filled with ghostly tales, glowing corpses, rearranged bones, visits to hidden graveyards, and references to . . . Robert Frost, H. P. Lovecraft, and Amy Lowell. . . . Bell reveals the powerful roots of folk ideas, the importance of community and prophetic dreams, the pull of legend and blood. . . . This is a marvelous book."—Sam Coale, Providence Journal

9780819571700 : food-for-the-dead-bell
Paperback / softback
390 Pages
$23.95 USD
9780819571717 : food-for-the-dead-bell
Electronic book text
$18.99 USD

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