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Vampires & Werewolves / Open Lines

Date: 09-21-12
Host: George Noory
Guests: Varla Ventura, Open Lines

In the first half of the program, author Varla Ventura discussed vampires, werewolves, banshees, and other terrifying entities. Ventura credited John William Polidori's "The Vampyre," published 70 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula, for laying the basic framework for the vampire stories that followed. It was conceived on the same night as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein after a night spent listening to ghost stories at Lord Byron's house, she revealed, noting how the story reads like a clinical study of the vampiric personality. Ventura spoke briefly about psychic vampires and their first mention in the book House of the Vampire. She commented on contemporary vampire pop culture and how the vampire mythos has been transformed through modern books and movies. "I do think that if Dracula were to run into one of the characters from Twilight, he would probably put a stake through their heart," she joked.

Ventura turned next to werewolves, pointing out that 'lycanthropy' is an actual mental illness characterized by a patient's belief that he or she has been transformed into an animal. She traced the werewolf legend back several hundred years, speculating about their association with full moons and the folkloric roots of using silver items against them. Ventura said the definitive work on the topic of werewolves was done by Sabine Baring-Gould believed, a man best known for writing the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." She also talked about banshees, or Irish ghosts whose appearance portends death. They are usually the spirits of women who died tragically and often attach themselves to a family, passing from one generation to the next, Ventura noted. They do not cause death, only foretell of it, she added.

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During Open Lines, Bill in Tucson, Arizona, shared a strange experience he had while living in Ireland. He recalled being awakened late one night by what sounded like a horse stomping around the backyard, but saw nothing when he peered out the open bedroom window. Bill said he alerted his girlfriend, who curiously would not get up and approach the window. According to Bill, the next day at breakfast his girlfriend announced that her father had passed away in the night, a fact confirmed by her sister who had arrived that morning to tell her the news. She didn't come to the window because she believed the sound was a banshee come to announce her father's death, he explained. Crystal, a self-proclaimed real vampire from Butte, Montana, phoned in to correct the misconception that vampires are evil. Crystal also admitted to feeding on the blood of her boyfriend as well as the energy from storms and sex. Denise in Long Beach, California, told George about the time she was at a high school concert where numerous friends reported seeing and speaking to her—incidents she could not recall. The bizarre explanation came later that evening when Denise bumped into her mirror-image doppelganger in the restroom.

News segment guests: Ryan Mauro / Rhettman Mullis

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Endeavour's Final Flyby

Endeavour's Final Flyby

Earlier this week space shuttle Endeavour departed Florida's Kennedy Space Center on its way to Los Angeles, where it will parade through the streets on its way to the California Science Center. Piggy-backing on a Boeing 747, the 75-ton space ship flew past several landmarks, including the Texas state capitol in Austin, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the famous Hollywood sign. During its 20 years of service, Endeavor made 25 trips to space and circled the planet almost 4,700 times. Video and additional info at BBC News.

Photos by Coast listeners Gil Sau (left) and Herbert Ong (right).

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Friday September 21, 2012

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