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Archives Part II

Barrett in
daywalker garb
Q: If a vampire had sufficient ocular protection (say, special shades that were very dark and kept light from creeping in around the rims) could it actually move around in daylight?
Vern, Florence, South Carolina

A: A number of recent movies have suggested that vampires can cavort about in the daylight so long as they have a good pair of sunglasses and a layer of sunscreen. As with many things cinematic, it's just not true.

Vampires are very sensitive to all light, but the ultraviolet light emitted by the sun causes them special problems. Ultraviolet light that enters a vampire's eyes sets off a chain reaction in their brain that leads to violent convulsions. Vampire skin is also highly photosensitive; it becomes inflamed and blistered when exposed to ultraviolet light. The reaction is a more severe form of that found in people who suffer from lupus. Thus, for a vampire to go outside in the daylight, it would have to have sophisticated UV-blocking goggles over its eyes and UV-protective clothing over every inch of exposed skin. Both of which would make it rather conspicuous.

Speaking of which, in 1963, FVZA agents destroyed an elusive vampire pack at an abandoned ranch in the mountains outside of Los Angeles. Michael Barrett, the pack leader, was a former engineer and amateur inventor who continued his hobby after transformation. Barrett's dream was to join the ranks of the "daywalkers," the mythological vampires capable of going out in the daylight hours. To accomplish his goal, Barrett converted an abandoned barn into a workshop and set about creating prototypes of an outfit that would protect vampires from the sun's rays. Barrett thought of everything: he even created a battery-operated cooling system to keep him from overheating while wearing the outfit. The experiments were apparently a success: after the raid, FVZA agents found several Polaroids of Barrett walking around in the daylight in his suit. He remains the only vampire known to have braved the sun and survived.

Private vampire hunting firms
flourished in the late 70s, as this
1978 Yellow Pages ad shows
Q: A friend of mine says he works for the FVZA. He claims to have hunted vampires in Germany...with a friend who compensates his work in cash. I was hoping you might be able to verify his claim.
Amanda, Whereabouts Unknown

A: Although your friend's story sounds farfetched, there is little doubt that professional vampire and zombie hunters are still out there running their trade. Let me explain. While the FVZA was disbanded in 1975, the agency did not exactly cease to exist. Congress appropriated $300,000 a year for continuing education and training in vampire and zombie control, along with maintenance of equipment and office space. I was directly involved in this transition and conducted classes and seminars across the country for several years. In 1978, the appropriation was terminated.

After that, a number of former agents and trainees went into private practice. However, with vampires and zombies in rather scarce supply, most found it difficult to make a living. The business became even more tenuous when, after a series of accidental shootings, the government decided to stop licensing private companies to fight vampires and zombies.

Since then, there have been rumors of agents who travel the globe as mercenary vampire and zombie hunters. If these stories were proven to be true, it would not surprise me in the least. You see, after a lifetime of training and combat against the undead, it is extremely difficult for an agent to shut it down. I must admit, if someone came to me with a legitimate sighting, I would not hesitate to strap on my gear and investigate. In the meantime, I will continue to disseminate information. As the last generation of FVZA agents dies away, it is imperative that we maintain the vampire and zombie fighting arts and pass them on to the younger generation. That is part of the reason for this web site.

and Juliote
Q: Was there ever, or could there ever be, a vampire that was in love enough with someone to overcome its natural instincts and spare that person rather than turning them into a vampire?
Zabel Z., Independence, Missouri

A: The annals of vampire history do contain a small number of examples of vampires who spared loved ones from their affliction. The exact numbers are difficult to verify and most of the evidence is anecdotal.

A notable example happened in the Dark Ages and involved a French monk named Pierre Barthelme. One of the most brilliant men of his time, Barthelme was the head of the cathedral school at Sainte Chappelle in Paris. At the age of 30, he took in a student named Juliote le Brun and they became lovers, causing a scandal in the city. Juliote's father, a wealthy merchant, had his daughter installed in a convent and had Barthelme castrated and thrown into Paris' notorious Conciergerie prison. Despite his rather hopeless circumstances, Barthelme managed to have love letters smuggled to Juliote over the next year. In the winter of 1299, a year after Barthelme was imprisoned, a vampire outbreak swept through the prison and the former monk was bitten. The vampires overwhelmed prison guards and escaped; Barthelme, not yet transformed, slipped through the shadows of the city to the convent where Juliote was staying. She provided shelter and comfort to him during his transformation. When Barthelme awakened as a vampire, Juliote was sleeping. But he couldn't bring himself to feed off of her. He wrote her a letter describing his torment and then flung himself from the spire of the convent church.

Alas, Pierre Barthelme was a rare exception to the rule. In most cases, newly transformed vampires will make loved ones their first victims.

Q: Why haven't I heard about the FVZA before?
Amal Patel, Boston

A: I should be used to this question by now, yet it still pains me every time I hear it. Imagine if you had spent a good part of your life fighting alongside many brave men and women against vampires and zombies, only to have other people refer to you as part of a joke or a spoof. Personally, I find it a grievous injustice that the FVZA is not part of the public record. Hopefully, with this web site I can help correct that.

Of course, no matter what I say, there are many who will continue to doubt the existence of the FVZA. No hard feelings. I encourage you all to acquire knowledge, form your own opinions and defend them vigorously. Never accept what you are told, and always carry with you an adequate supply of skepticism.

Well, enough editorializing. Since the answer to this question requires some detail, I am publishing it as the Historical Tale, The FVZA Goes Undercover.

Albuquerque's Fang Club
Q: You have a severely warped conception of vampires. We aren't all bad...I know some of us are cruel and have done some horrible things, but there are some in every bunch...you don't see me out there hunting and killing mankind...have you ever thought about getting a vampire's side of the story? Anonymous

A: I have a great deal of sympathy for vampires. Most, after all, are victims. But I can't let that sympathy affect my vigilance. Once a person has turned, they must be destroyed with impunity. Rehabilitation is not an option. And keep in mind, vampirism is a disease, not a lifestyle choice. As for "getting a vampire's side of the story," I already have. Vampires must drink human blood, and will commit unspeakably violent acts to do so.

Vampire control has always been complicated by civilians who insist on romanticizing them. One reason I fear that a new vampire outbreak would spread quickly in today's world is that so many people would protect vampires and even willingly join their ranks. As an example, I point to a club called "Fang" that opened recently in Albuquerque not two miles from the former site of the FVZA Academy. The patrons at Fang make themselves up to resemble vampires, drink blood-red martinis and listen to nihilistic music. These types of establishments are popping up all over the place. It is appalling to me that people choose to celebrate vampirism. Sometimes I think it will take nothing less than another plague to show people the folly of their ways.

British VIB agents
sporting primitive
vampire protection
Q: What kind of agencies did other countries have to control vampires and zombies?
Nigel, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A: Perhaps because of the large number of attacks in London, England was the first country to organize a specialized vampire abatement force. In 1842, Prime Minister Robert Peel created the Vampire Investigative Bureau (VIB). Like the FVZA, the VIB was initially made up of a disproportionate number of convicts. The VIB had offices at Scotland Yard until 1963. The Spanish and French, with their extensive holdings in the tropics, were leaders in zombie abatement. Few people know that the French Foreign Legion was originally formed to put down a zombie outbreak in French Guiana.

Other countries relied on mercenaries for vampire and zombie control. In Japan, groups of samurai would visit embattled towns and offer their services, for a rather exorbitant fee. In Australia, the Commonwealth Special Investigation Branch, formed in 1886, lost an extraordinary 12,000 soldiers trying to rid their vast country of the undead. For information about Canadian vampire abatement, see the historical tale Fort Blood.

Q: Is it possible to be infected with the zombie and vampire viruses simultaneously?
Brent, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

A: Yes. A vampire can be infected with the zombie virus, but a zombie cannot be infected with the vampire virus, which explains the old saying that the zombie is the last stop on the Undead Express. Even if a vampire did bite a zombie, which to my knowledge has never happened, the zombie would not turn into a vampire.

A vampire infected with the zombie virus is known as a Vampirozombie and retains some of its vampiric characteristics, such as fangs and night vision. Vampirozombies were very rare, as most vampires knew to stay well away from their undead brethren.

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