Famous Cases | Historical Tales | Vampires | Zombies
The 1960s were a turbulent time in America. The country was divided over issues such as the Viet Nam War and civil rights, and even the FVZA was pulled into the vortex. This was never more evident than in 1968, when a tragic mishap in Philadelphia forever changed the FVZA's mode of operation.
Background: The great irony for FVZA Agents working in the 1960s was that, even as vampire numbers were at their lowest levels in Agency history, the job was more dangerous than ever. In a kind of Darwinian survival of the fittest, the remaining vampire packs proved to be resilient, smart and adaptive. To make matters worse, the rise of urban blight gave vampires an ample selection of abandoned buildings within which to hide. As these buildings were often side-by-side with inhabited structures, FVZA actions there carried with them a greater risk of civilian casualties
Incident: On June 23, 1968, a vampire pack infiltrated a street festival in the Italian neighborhood of South Philadelphia and killed three young women. Two nights later, the vampires mingled with a crowd leaving a rock concert at the Spectrum: the dismembered remains of five concertgoers were found in a dumpster the next day. The FVZA Philadelphia office dubbed the vampires the Chameleon Pack because of their knack for using disguises to blend into the crowd. Even by vampire standards, the Chameleon Pack was clever and ruthless. They always tore their victims apart so as to not leave witnesses, and they stayed one step ahead of the FVZA by constantly changing their hideouts. But their habit of hiding in plain sight at large outdoor events gave Philly investigators an idea.
|The Barkley Arms was|
gutted by fire
|The tragedy led to protests|
throughout the city
|For five days, the|
grilled the FVZA
Comments from Dr. Pecos: While I agree that mistakes were made in the assault on the Chameleon Pack, I still believe that the Wheeler Commission overreacted. We always ran into problems any time politicians tried to apply normal rules of law enforcement to exterminating the undead. Killing them is and always has been a messy business.
Was the FVZA a racist institution? Perhaps at one time, but during my years with the Agency, I never saw any evidence of racism. We identified threats, investigated, and carried out assaults without any regard to the skin color of those affected. If anyone was worthy of scorn, it was the media for devoting more attention to vampire outbreaks in upscale white communities.
Despite the awful tragedy at the Barkley Arms, this story has a happy ending thanks to a paragraph in the Wheeler legislation that gave the FVZA the right to use deadly force with impunity if they happened upon an attack in progress. Taking a cue from this wording, the Agency changed its focus to night-time surveillance and extermination. While this was considerably more dangerous than the traditional daytime assaults, it enabled the Agency to make an "end run" around the Wheeler requirements. And though each remaining vampire pack put up a ferocious battle, and the percentage of Agent casualties was higher than ever, the FVZA succeeded in making America vampire-free within the next ten years.