It’s always exciting to welcome authors to the blog for the first time, so a big welcome to Marie Treanor, author of the Awakened By Blood paranormal romance series, who is a few days from publishing her 3rd book in that series, BLOOD ETERNAL (available on October 4th from Signet Eclipse). I haven’t had the opportunity to read this series yet, an oversight I hope to rectify very soon since the post below has me completely captivated by the character of Dr. Elizabeth Silkon and her investigation into the Vampire with Iron Teeth. Sounds good right? Want to know what’s even better? Marie is giving away a copy of BLOOD ETERNAL today too. See details below.
Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways
The Vampire with Iron Teeth by Dr. Elizabeth Silkon
So you want urban legends? One that relates to my home country of Scotland, perhaps? Involving vampires? I can do that. Urban legends and vampires happen to be specialties of mine. Let me explain.
My name is Elizabeth Silk. I was recently awarded my PhD for my thesis on historical superstitions. My main area of study was Eastern Europe, where vampire myths abound. Like the urban myths of today – you know: scary, creepy or otherwise downright unlikely events that happened to the friend of a friend’s cousin and just has to be passed on – these superstitions circulated wildly, and were passed on through generations like total fact.
My thesis traces many such local superstitions to their source, and discovers mundane reasons for most accusations of vampirism. In much the same way, I can trace one particular Scottish urban myth to its source.
Did you know that vampire legends weren’t limited to Eastern Europe? We had them in Scotland too – like the twelfth century monk of Melrose Abbey who rose from the dead and fed on the blood of the local nuns until one brave monk cut his head off. And back in the 1920s, there were rumors of vampire attacks in rural bothies (basic shelters where travelers can spend the night) – and this was before Bela Lugosi’s Dracula hit the silver screen!
In Eastern Europe, I traced many so-called vampires back to ordinary, if highly unpopular, living men and women. To accuse them of being vampires provided the excuse to kill them.
But my urban legend today is a little different. It doesn’t mention a vampire being killed. It doesn’t even name him. It comes from Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and despite the fact that it seems to have begun back in the 1950s, before most of the slums were torn down and the families scattered, you’ll still hear kids passing on the story today.
It centers on the Necropolis, an imposing Victorian graveyard populated by the late great and good of the city. In the 50s, a story began to spread among the largely deprived children who lived in nearby Gorbals, just across the river, that the Necropolis was haunted by a vampire with iron teeth, whom they claimed had taken and eaten some of their friends. Or at least friends’ friends, since that’s the way of urban myths! Whatever, the local children took to patrolling the graveyard at night to find the vampire and stop him.
So, typical urban myth so far. These days, despite a bit of vandalism in the Necropolis, the kids you encounter there are no longer vampire hunting, but some of them still repeat the old story. I began to investigate.
Iron teeth was a new one on me: it could relate to obvious metal fillings or false teeth, or even just to strong teeth. Glasgow’s dental hygiene standards were never great! I spoke to people who lived in the area in the fifties, most of whom remembered the stories. Two, who would have been teenagers in the fifties, actually claimed to be part of the vampire-hunting gang. And oddly, although this wasn’t part of the original legend, they both claimed that the vampire took one of their number during such a patrol. In fact, they gave me his name.
I’ll call him Jimmy, since I don’t want to upset his living family. When I checked on Jimmy, I discovered he’d died in 1954, aged thirteen – of acute anemia.
Yes, that stopped me in my tracks too. Was this human tragedy the grain of truth you occasionally find in superstitions and urban legends alike? At this point, I should tell you that I learned many things in Romania which I won’t go into here in case you have me committed. Suffice it to say, those things led me back to my source who’d given me Jimmy’s name. I’ll call my source Bill.
Bill’s an old man now – he’s seventy, but looks ninety. Although his mind wanders about in his past, it’s still clear as a bell. I asked him if he ever saw Jimmy again after the vampire took him. He said no – except in dreams. I pushed further. Once, he saw Jimmy sitting on the end of his bed in the darkness. Jimmy wanted Bill to go up to the Necropolis with him, but Bill was too scared. Jimmy looked really sad and left by the window. Another time, when he was about twenty, Bill saw Jimmy in Sauchiehall Street. Jimmy winked at him. He saw him again on the Citizens’ Theatre roof among the statues there. And once he saw him getting out of a police car. The policeman with him looked a trifle lethargic.
“Strange dreams,” Bill said to me sadly. “Especially the ones when I was awake. You shouldn’t dream while you’re walking up the street.”
In Romania, I’d learned many things. So I asked him, “How do you know you were dreaming?”
“Because I was fifteen, twenty, forty, sixty years old, whatever; and Jimmy was always thirteen.”
You think I’m making this up now, don’t you? Inventing an urban legend of my own? Well, I’m not; I’m a researcher, although much of my research doesn’t go into theses and books any more. I went looking for Jimmy, and I found him.
He still looks thirteen years old. He’s living in a bizarre, underground home beneath Glasgow Central Station, along with an older man who has good, strong teeth – two of which, long, pointed canines, are made not of iron, but of rather grubby gold.
You can read about what Elizabeth learned in Romania and her subsequent adventures, in Marie Treanor’s Awakened by Blood trilogy: Blood on Silk, Blood Sin and the upcoming Blood Eternal (4th October 2011).
About the author:
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy. Marie Treanor has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL. In the Awakened by Blood series, Marie is delighted to be able to bring together her long-standing loves of vampire stories and Gothic romance.
Want to read more from Marie Treanor
Giveaway provided by Marie Treanor via Bewitching Book Tours
One copy of BLOOD ETERNAL by Marie Treanor
Available on October 4, 2011 from Signet Eclipse
Secrets don’t disappear after seduction…
Elizabeth Silk is struggling to reconcile her passion for the vampire overlord Saloman and her allegiance to the vampire hunters. When a shocking vampire revolt calls Saloman away from her, she refuses to follow him.
To make matters worse, Saloman’s beloved cousin Luk has been found and awakened by one of his greatest enemies. Frenzied with bloodlust, Luk embarks on a killing spree and prepares to expose Saloman’s biggest vulnerability: Elizabeth.
But under Saloman’s regime, vampires have become less concerned with secrecy, no longer willing to hide their power. Rumors are swirling about attacks on humans. After Saloman joins forces with the vampire hunters to consolidate his power, Elizabeth begins to understand her role in the inevitable collision of the two worlds. She could bring resolution between vampires and humans—if she can manage to stay alive long enough to play both sides….
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**Don’t forget to visit Dark Faerie Tales today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Joan Francis Turner and a chance to win FRAIL**
About the author
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