I would pay good money to get an archaeological survey done of the Geist shop’s back yard. How sure is anyone that Timothy Demonbreun isn’t still there?

The Shunned Vampire House of Emerson’s Wife of Awesomeness!

All day, people! I have been waiting all day to tell you about this.

First, this guy wonders–and it turns out with reason!–if Emerson might have been concerned his wife was a vampire.

And then there’s a story all about the Great New England Vampire Epidemic. (NatGeo says “Panic” but please! Please.)

Scraping away soil with flat-edged shovels, and then brushes and bamboo picks, the archaeologist and his team worked through several feet of earth before reaching the top of the crypt. When Bellantoni lifted the first of the large, flat rocks that formed the roof, he uncovered the remains of a red-painted coffin and a pair of skeletal feet. They lay, he remembers, “in perfect anatomical position.” But when he raised the next stone, Bellantoni saw that the rest of the individual “had been com­pletely…rearranged.” The skeleton had been beheaded; skull and thighbones rested atop the ribs and vertebrae. “It looked like a skull-and-crossbones motif, a Jolly Roger. I’d never seen anything like it,” Bellantoni recalls.

Subsequent analysis showed that the beheading, along with other injuries, including rib fractures, occurred roughly five years after death. Somebody had also smashed the coffin.

The other skeletons in the gravel hillside were packaged for reburial, but not “J.B.,” as the 50ish male skeleton from the 1830s came to be called, because of the initials spelled out in brass tacks on his coffin lid. He was shipped to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Washington, D.C., for further study. Meanwhile, Bellantoni started networking. He invited archaeologists and historians to tour the excavation, soliciting theories. Simple vandalism seemed unlikely, as did robbery, because of the lack of valuables at the site.

Finally, one colleague asked: “Ever heard of the Jewett City vampires?”

And it just gets better from there! Seriously, I know you think there’s no way that the article can improve upon “Ever heard of the Jewett City vampires?” but it totally does.

And best of all, and applicable to our shared October adventure, the article even ties the vampire panic in with “The Shunned House.”


1. a. I wrote a huge piece for the Scene about a guy who’s been dead 200 years. I expected them to cut it down by like 2/3 because it is an enormous info dump. An interesting info dump, I think, but an info dump none the less. But no, they’re running the whole damn thing. Honestly, I can’t believe it. It’s so awesome.

1. b. But y’all, you should see how Jim Ridley turned it from something… well, like what I write. Very nerdy. To something that has a little interesting bite to it. The more I work with him, and really any of the guys over there, the more I think I need an editor. I do my best, you know? But I need someone who can tease out better stuff from that.

2. The part of the Sue Allen thing I wrote yesterday is not very long, but man, it took it out of me. It bugs me, because it’s so terrible for John, but I really feel like you need to see how his character arc goes, how there was not a single real hand out to him to help him his whole life (we can argue about William when/if the book ever comes out) and when help finally comes, it can’t do enough good for him fast enough to knock him off his terrible course. But it does mean that a character I was fond of before has a side to him that makes me feel a little ugh about him now.

3. I’m trying to strike a balance, too, because John, because of his peculiarities, is pretty omnisexual and though he gets helped by a woman and dicked over by a dude, I don’t want it to seem like that’s really because there’s something inherently wrong with liking a dude. I’m hoping that the dicking over is of a heterosexual enough nature, due to John’s boundary issues, that readers just roll with it. John will fuck anyone. He wants emotionally unavailable men to love him back because he has daddy issues. Poor John. Poor serial killing John. I keep having to keep that in mind. He’s kind of the bad guy.

4. It’s the 26th! “Allendale” starts in five days! What if it’s terrible?! Ha ha ha. Whew. Well, what can you do? I hope you’re ready, Gallatin!

5. Oh, one last thing. So, there was this story over at IO9 yesterday and I am pleased to report that John cannot accurately tell us what kind of time travel story he’s in because he only travels to the past once and he wasn’t paying that close of attention to what things were like before he left, so he doesn’t know if they’ve changed or not.

6. One last, last thing. So, I think the story mentioned in points 1a. and 1b will be out tomorrow.

Edited to add: Oh, crap, I forgot 7. Look at this madness! People really get advances like this? And then just don’t deliver? What the fuck? Publishing is weird.

A Phone Call with the Phillipses

My parents are in Michigan for a family reunion of all the still-living cousins on their mom’s side. This therefore involves a mini-reunion of my dad, mom, Uncle B., Aunt C., Aunt J., and Uncle G.–six people who I love dearly, but for some reason all want to talk at the same time on speaker phone. When I called this morning to get a better understanding of what they wanted last night, it was like talking to a circus. I don’t know how else to explain it.

My dad was attempting to offer me a clear explanation of what they needed me to do. My mom was just, I think, randomly saying my name. My uncle G. was laughing at my Aunt J. who was reading my Pith post aloud, I think, to me. My Uncle B. was simultaneously shouting clarifying things to me while, it became apparent, talking to one of his kids on his phone. My aunt C. was trying to do what I was advising them to do and reporting on whether it was working.

Thank the gods there were not iPhones back when my other two uncles and grandparents were alive or I swear, it’d just be calling up and talking to a wall of sound.

My brain just shuts down. It can’t figure out who to focus on or what they’re talking about or why it might be necessary for me.

Thank god, when I called my dad back, he was on the toilet. NEVER have I been so relieved to reach someone without the sense to, oh, you know, not take a call in the middle of going to the bathroom.

I said to him, “Oh my god, how are you holding up?”

And he said, “This is better than yesterday.”

Poor Dad! But I admit, I laughed long and hard when I got off the phone. It sounds like he needs to send about four people into the other room to play solitaire on the computer for a while. Ha.

Oh God, the Smell

Mrs. W. and I went for our walk, as we do, and we must have just missed a deer, but like seconds, because the whole back of the yard, both ours and the neighbor’s smelled so bad, like someone had just been spraying all over. And then, up on the road in big spots, just this overwhelming almost head-ache inducing smell of piss. I mean, you think cat piss is bad, it’s nothing compared to this.

By the time we came back, it had cleared away enough that my paltry human nose could no longer smell it, but oh my god.

It was kind of hilarious, but terrible, too.