By Russell Miller
Vampire killing kits have made their way into museums, private collections, family heirlooms, and even prestigious auction houses where they have sold for over $20,000. One such kit, on display at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Penn., contains a black-powder pistol with silver bullets, a wooden stake, a crucifix, garlic, and some kind of nasty-looking bottled serum with a syringe. Though reputed to have been the possession of a cautious vacationer of the 19th century, most of these “protective” travel kits didn’t pop up until the 1970s when vampire movies became popular.
Oddly Enough … Even though these cobbled-together attaches contained some genuine vintage components, they are nonetheless phony. Most “silver” bullets have been discovered to be made of pewter. Still, the lure of these kits is great enough that they continue to entice museum visitors and the curious, helping boost ticket sales.
A story is told in Hamburg about a young and superstitious couple who lived there in 1784. The wife, who was praying while kneeling in front of a stone statue of Death outside the church of the Augustin Friars, inadvertently caught her hood on the scythe blade, snapping off the tip. The piece of marble was later discovered by her husband. The husband, fearing the piece of stone blade was a harbinger of his wife’s death, took ill that day and died.
Oddly Enough … The young widow, being inconsolable over the swift loss of her husband, also died. They were buried in the same grave.
Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.