By Donna Howell and Nita Horn (excerpted from the bestselling book God’s Ghostbusters)
(NOTE: To avoid the confusion and awkward reading flow of an entire chapter written in first-person with the pronoun “we” [as there are two authors of this chapter], all references to the authors’ persons will be simply, “I.”)
Children, teens, and adults alike have flocked to the nearest book retailer upon the release of every Harry Potter volume since the character’s origin. At midnight, July 21, 2007, crowds large enough to justify the temporary installation of theme park line partitions throughout the inside of Barnes & Noble in Bend, Oregon lead all the way around the building and back and forth through the parking lot. Hundreds of fans stood in their wizard costumes, glasses, and the quintessential black lightning-bolt on their foreheads, chanting “Harry, Harry” and repeating well-known spells to their comrades while waiting in suspense to crack open the cover of J.K. Rowling’s final episode. It was a memorable night for a record-breaking number, who would return home to their cozy beds and couches, and dive, eagerly and open-mindedly, into the intoxicating world of incantations, witchcraft, wizardry, and magic.[i]
Friends and neighbors gathered in common interest of werewolves, vampires, and half-human, half-vampire hybrid offspring in the sensual, tantalizing, sexual-tension-inspiring Twilight series, the first volume of which was a proud winner of the Publisher’s Weekly “Best Children’s Book Award” and the School Library Journals “Best Books” in 2005.[ii] If you have somehow managed to miss all the posters, articles, sale banners, advertisements, press releases, promotions, and word-of-mouth exposures on this series, and you happen to be one of the very few who don’t have some immediate level of familiarity with the series merely by title, you will likely recognize it by the cover. The brilliant contrast of the black background with the pale, white hands holding the bright, red apple (admittedly said by Stephenie Meyer to represent the “forbidden fruit” of the Book of Genesis, symbolizing the “forbidden” relationship between main characters Bella [human] and Edward [vampire], similar to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Bella’s deliberate choice to partake of said “forbidden fruit” by choosing to be with Edward)[iii] is eye-grabbing, even amongst all other titles across the visually chaotic and colorfully competitive layout of your average local book retailer. The record-breaking opening day box office sales (on a regular Thursday night) for the latest movie to be released, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, was an eye-opening 24.2 million, reaching 178 million by the end of the July 4th holiday weekend (only second place in cinematic history for that weekend just under Spiderman 2).[iv]
And why not? What’s wrong with children and teens reading, dreaming, and filling their head with romanticized concepts about such content? Wouldn’t the life of a wizard, werewolf, demon hybrid, vampire, or vampire’s child be filled with excitement, festivity, romance, and fantasy? What’s wrong with that?
What One Generation Allows in Moderation, the Next Allows in Excess
The purpose of this entry will be to address the high disregard for the importance of traditional family values, and to help readers become aware of how far out of control some things in American culture have become in the last few decades.
Remember as you read on, that I am very aware that iconic role-models of bad or evil behavior have existed as far back in history as anyone can possibly calculate. This compilation of notes and facts has not been gathered to prove that evil never existed prior to our culture today. I would only like to bring to light that, until recently, most acts or obsessions of a strange or corrupt nature were not broadcast or carried out in public; contrarily, though they existed and were very real, they were considered shameful, and therefore happened behind closed doors. (Additionally, the details listed below represent the overall change in American culture from decade to decade as a whole;[v] they are not meant to classify each individual, family, or geographical area during that time.)
1900–1909: A New and Innocent Beginning
To make my point ultimately more clear, it is important to begin by taking a moment to reflect on what life was like prior to media influence, and then break down the behavioral patterns that crept into culture gradually as a result of radio, stage, and television.
At the start of the twentieth century, American culture reflected a wholesome, healthy, modest, and honest way of living.
Women flirted and showed their availability to a man of their interest by wearing a slightly more decorated hat with more provocative ornaments, such as wax cherries or peacock feathers. In an extreme situation, they might wear shoes where the buttonhooks only climbed ankle-high instead of the standard shin-length. They sometimes participated in “unladylike” activities such as riding a bicycle or working in the fields, though you would have only seen a woman in these cases wearing a ground-length skirt. Clothes for the family were handmade by mothers until their daughters were old enough to learn to stitch. Meals were prepared in the house, and served family style, on a spotless tablecloth.
Entertainment consisted of books, community events, and of course, visiting with family. Men and women knew, understood, and had time for their spouses, resulting in a mere 0.7 percent of divorce cases throughout the entire decade.[vi] People in the neighborhood baked pies for the elderly and visited them in person. Children often made their own games from fabric dolls, wooden planes and trains, and invented playful scenarios out of nothing more than their imagination and a few props. Public advertisements and posters often depicted delicate women posing with a bottled beverage or baking soda, small children sipping tea or holding flowers, and gentlemen shaking hands or building muscle with a miracle tonic.
From this decade came several notable book titles including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Call of the Wild, The Jungle, and Anne of Green Gables to name a few. Many early invention concepts were drawn during these years, and technological achievements included the typewriter, portable camera, alkaline battery, and probably most memorable was the first Ford vehicle (costing the consumer seven hundred and fifty dollars and reaching a top speed of twenty-eight miles per hour), and the Orville and Wilbur “Flying Machine.”
The country was founded on a belief in God. Schoolhouses would begin their day with a prayer. Business transactions were conducted between parties with an open consideration of “God’s will” in the matter. “May God bless you,” and similar sayings, were often heard in passing in the middle of town. People often couldn’t afford the time and travel arrangements it would take to attend church more than once per week, so Sunday church was an all-day meeting focused on the Lord’s good blessings and fellowship within the community. Members of the congregation prepared a large meal spread and carried it to church with them in the back of their wagons, laying it out on tables for all to share. These potlucks were a weekly event that lead to the solidified friendships and shared prayers between family, community, and friends. Everybody knew the names and faces of those in their area and relied on their neighbors for support and guidance in their daily lives, all the while visiting the sick, feeding and sheltering the needy, and most living in prayer and obedience to God.
1910–1919: A Decade of Promise and Unforeseen Loss
When looking back to this cluster of years, one’s mind is flooded with visions of loss, sadness, and death as the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic was followed shortly by the even more catastrophic beginning of World War I. There have been full volumes written on the incomprehensible impact that these two historical events had on the Western world, so to try and describe the changes to culture as a result of this era in time would be impossible in this chapter. Suffice it to say that more households and communities than we could ever possibly count suffered the loss of loved ones. Hearts cried out to God on lonely nights for husbands, fathers, and sons to return home safely from war, and communities traded their happy-go-lucky, whistling tunes in for somber, hopeful hymns of protection. The “Dear God, bless this food,” dinner prayer quickly became a prayer of survival in times of unfathomable misfortune. Headlines in local newspapers evolved into an everyday war and destruction update, with an ever-growing list of soldier’s names who would never see their wives, mothers, and children again.
Knees bent at the bedside at night.
Children developed a faith in God beyond their years.
America was united as one nation, under God.
When the war was over, and those who had survived were allowed to come home, praises were sung toward the heavens and thanks were given to a faithful God as families reunited, tearfully and gratefully.
1920–1929: The Roaring Twenties/The “Showbiz” Decade
The Roaring Twenties was a time of celebration, wealth, and excess, and it is an important decade for the purpose of this study.
Although many women outside the major cities continued to maintain more modest attire (and lifestyles) from years past, the fashion industry boomed (as a result of this eras deep increase in live stage productions and show business) with flapper dresses and other shocking apparel that allowed the entire arm, armpit, neckline, and almost the entire leg to show. Shoes no longer covered the ankle, and women bobbed their hair and took up smoking in public places. The average woman in the city wore makeup to accentuate (or completely fabricate) their facial features, living in the fantasies of the stars on the screen or stage. (Motion pictures were now being synchronized with sound.)
Entertainment exploded into daily life in the cities. Because of new exposure and advertising on the now-existing radio broadcasts, talent was being discovered and glorified nationwide. Musical performers were taking center stage, and dreams of fame and name-in-lights ignited in the hearts of youth. People laughed, dined, bought into many forms of artistic expression, and the economy thrived.
As a result of the merry, lighthearted, and carefree lifestyle that swept the nation during this “showbiz” era, a certain liberal and lurid behavior began to emerge. Cartoon pornography books called “Tijuana bibles” (drawings by mostly-unknown artists portraying popular cartoon characters, movie stars, and important political figures engaging in sexually explicit encounters) began their “under the table” circulation.[vii] A new awareness for the previously harder-to-find burlesque nightclubs and gentlemen’s clubs gave more opportunity for public temptation (although this kind of attraction did suffer some drawback in the ’20s during the prohibition). Both women and men became looser with their sexuality and more open-minded to having “relationships on the side” while married. Crimes of passion made headlines, and the divorce rate grew to 1.6 percent, ensuring more broken families than before.
On Black Thursday, October 24, 1929, the stock market began its historical crash, bringing countless numbers of people to an instant, penniless status, and heralding in the start of the Great Depression.
1930–1939: Seeking an Escape from Depression
Suicides, murders, and general acts of desperation were carried out as a result of the stock market crash. People ate from garbage cans on the street and considered themselves blessed to wrap a baby in nothing but a thin blanket with no clothes underneath. Farmlands dried up and were abandoned, adding to the wreckage of the Dust Bowl that spread like a disease across American soil. The overnight cutoff of vegetation, mixed with seemingly endless drought, led to a period of starvation that had never been seen before and hasn’t been seen since in the United States. Unemployment was at an all-time high. Fathers couldn’t find (or keep) jobs and mothers listened to children’s growling, empty bellies as they waited in lines outside shelters for hours for sometimes only a single crust of bread for the whole family to share. Daily life was hard and stressful, and once again, we found ourselves only surviving by the grace of God.
With many hurting and struggling to stay afloat in a time remembered as devastating and depressing, movies and radio started to play a larger role in daily lives. For some, this was merely a way to keep updated on the global crises and stock market fluctuations (and other current events). For others, it had become the escapist material that fed their souls with the kind of meat you couldn’t find in the best of butcher shops. With actual moving, speaking pictures on the television and thrilling tales of wonder and mystery on the radio, men, women, and children alike sighed, swooned, and felt their heart pummeling their throats with every cinematic or auditory adventure. Despite the troubles they faced, television and radio provided a cheap, wonderful diversion from the worst of times for those that had access.
As the economy slowly improved for some by the late ’30s, life gradually climbed out of the daily gloom and despair (though the Great Depression was not over for the country until the mid-’40s, and often individuals effected by this financial and economic collapse lived the rest of their life in futile attempts of climbing out). Women’s fashion broke away from the vaudeville style (mostly due to the elaborate and glamorous dresses worn by actresses on screen), and returned to lower hemlines for a time, though the fabrics were still suggestive, resembling that of nightwear and bedroom laces. Men’s fashion was also influenced by the entertainment industry. Gone were the days of strong, military-style or Edwardian clothing, and in its absence came floods of slick, debonair zoot suits (between the ’30s and ’40s), the kind likely to be seen on a Tommy-Gun-sporting, cigar-chewing, no-goodnik gangster in an action film, holding up a group of lawmen with the line, “You’ll neva get da money, see,” just before diving into the getaway car. Children’s playtime was still very innocent, though it had now begun to reflect imaginary games with plots similar to what they had heard or seen on television or radio.
Most American citizens still believed in, and prayed to, the Christian God for help and solace in times of need, but with the rise of hope for a better life through fantasies as depicted on television and in movies, there were those that traded time on their knees in prayer for a good show.
The First Cinematic Vampire
Noteworthy to this entry (aside from the glaring evidence that our country had already begun to fantasize about, and mirror the behavior of, fictitious characterizations from the media) is the first English-speaking, sound-synchronized film with a plot surrounding a vampire. The movie Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, was released into theaters in 1931. I could go on and on describing, in tedious detail, all the facts about this film that I have researched and the mind-boggling and hard-to-believe effects this (totally corny) movie had on Americans after its release, and compare those facts to those of modern day, but that is a book entirely by itself. To summarize:
When the film finally premiered at the Roxy Theatre in New York on Feb. 12, 1931, newspapers reported that members of the audiences fainted in shock at the horror on screen. This publicity…helped ensure people came to see the film, if for no other reason than curiosity. Dracula was a big gamble for a major Hollywood studio to undertake. In spite of the literary credentials of the source material, it was uncertain if an American audience was prepared for a serious full length supernatural chiller. Though America had been exposed to other chillers before…this was a horror story with no comic relief or trick ending that downplayed the supernatural.[viii]
In this one paragraph alone, we can see the following things:
- Americans in the 1930s were absolutely terrified to the point of fainting upon viewing Bela Lugosi’s vampire depiction on the big screen. (To the modern-day, twenty-first-century moviegoer, this seems downright silly.)
- Because frightening visuals on screen were in their infancy, the visual stimulation needed to activate fear within the imaginative human brain via the movie screen was also in its infancy. (Nobody in the movie business had yet been challenged to “raise the bar” of visual fear stimulation in the movies and make something “more frightening” than the other films had been, because there was not, as of yet, much basis of comparison.)
- The publicity of a “film so scary, people are fainting” stirred such a curiosity within people that it drove them to the theaters to see for themselves. (It has always been human nature to chase after a thrill.)
- It was uncertain that Americans were ready for something so scary. (When would we be “ready” for something so scary, and whose job is it to determine when we [as a country, population, individual, put whatever label you want on it] would be ready? The movies decided we were ready, so, ready or not, we “were ready.”)
- When the supernatural or paranormal is not “played down” by “comic relief” (or a Scooby Doo, kid-in-a-mask, “trick ending”), a further sense of fearful reality is implied in the plot of a film that sticks with the viewer, probably, in most cases, past the credits at the end of the film. If something ever scared me so bad that I had fainted as a result, I would likely carry it with me for a long time. (Now that it had been decided that the viewers of 1931 were ready for this level of stimulation, you can clearly see how, through a short online search of film history, it was quickly decided that they would soon be ready for the next level of visual fear stimulation that would “raise the bar” and require a movie to be “more frightening.” In later films, just as “frightening, yet comical” wasn’t enough stimulation until the comic relief was stripped from the plot in 1931, “frightening” by itself would someday no longer be enough stimulation for the human brain. Sex quickly became a requirement.)
While we are on the subject of the human brain, I would like to briefly share a piece of science with you:
The brain is not the unchanging organ that we might imagine. It not only goes on developing, changing and, in some tragic cases, eventually deteriorating with age, it is also substantially shaped by what we do to it and by the experience of daily life. When we say “shaped”, we’re not talking figuratively or metaphorically; we’re talking literally. At a microcellular level, the infinitely complex network of nerve cells that make up the constituent parts of the brain actually change in response to certain experiences and stimuli.
The brain, in other words, is malleable—not just in early childhood but right up to early adulthood, and, in certain instances, beyond. The surrounding environment has a huge impact both on the way our brains develop and how that brain is transformed into a unique human mind.[ix]
1940–1949: Seeking Distraction from World War II
The 1940s brought the end of the Great Depression (on a national level, not on an individual basis), and just as the world started to become an easier, cushier place to live again, World War II began. Again, Americans fell to their knees in prayer. Again, a time of extreme survival slapped our country (and many others) with a cold serving of hard-to-digest reality just as things started to look promising. Again, women and children cried out in loneliness for their husbands and fathers.
Again, we were a united nation, under God.
However, movies (and radio shows) became an even greater importance during this time. Such dramas as, In Which We Serve, Casablanca, and, The Way Ahead, gave a more momentous portrayal of war, taking seriously the trials military families would face, while offering hope and inspiration through their patriotic imagery of national unity and social cohesion within the context of war. Comedies such as Abbot and Costello’s Keep ’Em Flying and the Three Stooges’ Boobs in Arms brought humor, relief, and laughter to the constant and inescapable truth of the draft, with memorable quotes such as, “‘Greetings little shut-in. Don’t you weep or sigh. If you’re not out by Christmas, you’ll be out the Fourth of July!’ N’yuk n’yuk n’yuk!”[x] Radio programs featured such personalities as the Andrews Sisters, who brought many tired and weary soldiers (and Allied forces) through WWII with their swing and boogie-woogie-style “victory” songs. (These songs were aired and performed in person in Army, Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard bases, as well as war zones, hospitals, and munitions factories.)
The Big Screen—“Fantastical”? Raising the Bar?
If one was seeking to distract themselves from the subject of war and tragedy entirely, they may find it difficult to accomplish such a task with that subject being the first thing on everyone’s mind in any social situation in WWII. (How often since then have people become desperate with the circumstances of their life, sometimes merely out of boredom, and sought a temporary escape into a different life through fantasies on screen, radio, or in books? Isn’t that what we all do? You might even say, “That’s what they’re there for.” Hmm… Let’s continue.) Nonetheless, once again, the movie screen delivered. Not only was the still-young, revolutionary “world of media” a natural go-to for temporary happy-fixes (like a drug perhaps?), but something else started to happen around this time. To be brief: “The strictures of wartime also brought an interest in more fantastical subjects…including The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady…and films like Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Heaven Can Wait, I Married a Witch and Blithe Spirit… [Also produced during this time was] a series of atmospheric and influential…horror films, some of the more famous examples being Cat People, Isle of the Dead and The Body Snatcher”[xi] (bold added).
These titles above are only to name a few that resulted when the world needed a fantasy. However, since this list was already so conveniently provided by Wikipedia, let’s elaborate a little on what occurred here. Although some movies did exist from the earliest stages of film-making on the subject of bad behavior, the paranormal, and the supernatural, there is a significant increase in moviegoers’ interest in these subjects when the need to “escape” or become “distracted from” their everyday lives is desired. The more people “need” to fantasize, the more the industry responds by “raising the bar” of the purchased fantasy.
Suddenly, movies with strange or brooding plots or focus that would have been only minimally successful during happy times become hugely successful. (Such plots as the haunting spirits of dead wives [Blithe Spirit]; women who can’t be intimate with their partners because they may turn into half-human, half-feline hybrid species [Cat People]; cruel and pre-planned adultery and infidelity [The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady]; people visiting Hades to discuss their afterlife in the underworld [Heaven Can Wait]; ancient witches who were burned at the stake, and whose ashes were buried beneath a tree to imprison their evil spirits, coming back from the dead to marry and then torment the descendants of their original Salem-witch-trial-persecutors [I Married A Witch]; a surgeon who hires a cabman to dig up graves to provide him with fresh corpses for dissection [The Body Snatcher]; and people dying one by one as a deadly plague breaks out near the location of a vorvolakas, a kind of vampire [Isle of the Dead].)[xii]
Nobody can deny that the media began introducing more “fantastical” plots in comparison to previous decades around this time. The bar was raised. The people were hungry for a bigger, better escape, a heavier dose of the mental drug called “media,” and the fantasies delivered.
Still notable, however, is the representation of such material. Morally concerning ideas and implications could be brought very openly into a plot during the movies of that time, and yet there was nothing specifically alluring or glorified about the way it was represented. Monsters, vampires, creatures of the night, and weirdoes that dissected people were NOT attractive or sexy; nor were they just “confused” or “brooding” “good guys at the core.” (Also note that, usually, any seductive power they held over people was only by the supernatural powers they were given as said monster, not because they were seductive by nature; I have seen many “Come to me my dear” scenes where some bad guy wiggles his long, pointy fingers at a defenseless woman who follows his order against her will because she physically cannot stop herself. This is not the same “power” or “seduction” over someone being depicted in today’s modern vampire or monster flick.) “Sex scenes” began and ended with the simple candle blow-outs while the camera directed itself to a slow fade-out past the curtains and some campy, “I’ll see you in the morning Frank,” “Perhaps sooner than that, Darling,” conversation exchange, and then the movie blipped to the next day or “later that night,” skipping over the intimacy entirely. Scenes of graphic violence were implied, but the camera angles always switched just in time to divert from the impending neck-breaking or stab scene. Roles of bad behavior (supernatural or otherwise) almost always ended wherein the responsible party were made to face justice and punished for their wrong-doing by death, the justice system, or being given an ironic taste of their own medicine. The Christian God was never portrayed as less powerful as, or not effective against, the bad guys.
All in all, despite the evolution during this period of cinematic history, an overall respect for God, modesty, decency, and reserved behavior was still present in film.
1950–1959: The Crooners and Their “Mini-Me”s
Two words: Elvis. Monroe.
Parents weren’t crazy about the rock and roll singin’, hip-swingin’ “hound dog” at first. Yet, slowly over a period of years, through his charm and electric stage presence, parents could no longer continue to resist their teenager’s tireless requests for his albums and movies. In comparison to modern times, Elvis is nothing but a completely innocent, charming, and absolutely fun historical figure whose iconic paraphernalia surrounds such themes as soda shops, sock hops, and poodle skirts. At the peak of his popularity, though, there were mothers that covered their daughters’ eyes to “shield them” from the sinful, lustful, dance moves that he so shamelessly performed, all the while shakin’ to a worldly rock and roll beat. Teen girls wanted to date him and teen boys wanted to be him. Within only a few months of his first appearances in the media, little Elvis look-alikes popped up all over the place and lowered their voices, spoke with one lip crooked and hips loose, and ruled the school with each pomaded hair in the perfect “swoop.” (People still follow his influence today…years after his death. It just goes to show what a powerful influence on society can really become.)
For the more mature audiences, Monroe packed a wallop. If you were a woman, she either offended you with her ostentatious and brazen sexuality, or you donned a similar blonde, wavy ’do and thick eyeliner and spoke in seductive tones to “keep up with the times.” If you were a man, you likely found it almost impossible not to look (out of temptation or shear shock) when passing the famous subway-grating-blows-the-skirt-up photo that has become the staple image locked in our memories of the lethally flamboyant actress. Either way, she definitely had a strong impact on our culture and helped to set the standard that many celebrities would follow, therefore also influencing our country further. Her nude appearance in Playboy Magazine was only two years ahead of another well-known sexual icon: Bettie Page. (Bettie Page is considered to be one of the main role models behind today’s punk, gothic, and vintage fashion styles worn primarily by teens.)
The Latter Half of the Century
As we approach the later decades of the twentieth century, much less need be said about the steady change of culture, for two reasons: first, the general public has much more familiarity with the latter part of the century and the role the media played in culture; second, the pattern of people mirroring the media in fashion and behavior and becoming rapidly desensitized from one “shock” to the next in our culture as a result of the fantastical developments in the media has been well established by this point in the chapter. Let’s speed things up.
Bewitched and The Beatles
Probably the most eye-opening happenings in and around the ’60s to paint a clear picture of how much society really had changed were the show Bewitched, which single-handedly introduced the idea of a “good witch” (and an attractive one) and this famous quote by The Beatles’ member John Lennon, regarding their worldwide fame: “Christianity will go,” Lennon said. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now.”[xiii] Clearly, when a music group is “more popular than Jesus,” we have arrived at a time when the media has dominated the world beyond the wildest dreams of someone living in the potluck Sundays lifestyle at the beginning of the century. Granted, there were many religious groups and activists that rejected The Beatles after Lennon’s offensive statement, but the idea that a performer felt comfortable to say that in an interview tells a lot about what our country had become in comparison to what it was.
In 1973, we saw the release of The Exorcist, which was the forefather of countless other horror movie titles well-known for their blasphemous scenes and overall disregard for the power of God. Bela Lugosi (and his collaborators in the making of the Dracula depiction of 1931) chose not to make fangs a part of his Dracula costume. If you watch the movie from beginning to end, you will see this for yourself. His character is 100 percent the full-fledged granddaddy of all vampires, and yet he doesn’t even sport fangs. The moviemakers of 1931 evidently thought that the movie would be frightening and edgy enough without them. Were they correct in that assumption? I believe the fainting audiences would attest to that (as addressed earlier in this chapter). Now, here we are in 1973 (only a mere forty-two years later, a short time considering the fluctuation of an entire nation’s culture), where demon-possessed, twelve-year-old girl, Regan, is depicted as bathed in her own blood from stabbing herself between the legs with a crucifix while shouting an exclamation so blasphemous and vulgar (including the name of Jesus, Himself) that I can’t even include the words in this writing. When the girl’s mother tried to intervene on her daughter’s behalf, the possessed child grabbed her mother by the head and, with supernatural force, pressed her mother’s face into the bleeding area and then slapped her across the room, just before Regan turned her head 360 degrees to face her mother again and speak the following in a strong, male voice: “Do you know what she did? Your [expletive] daughter?”[xiv]
This time, not only did audiences faint at the shocking and frightening display, they vomited in the halls of the theater, tore at curtains, damaged doors, and even trampled the landscapes of nearby buildings. The following quote was taken directly off of the Warner Brothers website:
“My janitors are going bananas wiping up the vomit,” complains Frank Kveton, manager of the United Artists Cinema 150 in Oakbrook. Kenton [sic] also has had to replace doors and curtains damaged by unruly crowds, and even relandscape the McDonalds plaza a cross the street where moviegoers park their cars. “I’ve never seen anything like it in the 24 years I’ve been working in movie theaters,” says H. Robert Honahan, division manager at the ABC/Plitt theaters in Berkeley. “We’ve had two to five people faint here every day since this picture opened. More men than women pass out, and it usually happens in the evening performance, after the crucifix scene involving—”[xv]
I have intentionally cut off the quote above. The original quote included a term that does not need to be in this series for the reader to get the idea, especially since I already described the scene in focus. I only wish that I had the time and space to really address, at length, the effects the release of this movie had on American culture (and the spooky events that happened in association to the making, and premier, of this film). Yet, without digressing from the point, one can easily see that the movies once again decided we were ready for the next level of horror, and the bar was once again raised. (Despite this raising of the bar, however, The Exorcist is now simply a classic on the movie shelves with many others, as we wait with baited breath for the next thrill to once again exceed our expectations.)
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Where Will We Be in a Century from Now?
As shown above, since the start of the twentieth century, cultural evolution hasn’t stopped for anyone to take a breath. One shock after another after another has fallen into the archives of history, as the ever-steady desensitization of society has paved the way for the next gravely worrisome social issue to also evaporate into nothing but a memory of yesterday’s statistics. The greatest fears of concerned parents traveling to church in their covered wagons for potluck Sunday in the year 1900 would have seemed like nothing compared to the woman shielding her daughter’s eyes from the worldly and lustful dance moves of Elvis Presley. The modern-day father concerned about his self-proclaimed, thirteen-year-old vampire daughter only wishes he had Elvis’ hip-swingin’ to worry about.
Everything I have said up to this juncture, points to a very alarming phenomenon. Some readers may be aware of this, and others may not: Modern vampires exist, and they are seducing our youth. One search online will refer you to a cesspool of links and websites connecting you (or your daughter or son) to well-established vampire covens anywhere in the world.
Albeit, they don’t turn into bats or mist, they don’t “infect” humans with the soul-sucking bite on the neck as depicted in books and movies, and they aren’t afraid of garlic. However, they absolutely do drink human blood, wear fangs (permanent implants by a cosmetic dentist [or “fangsmith”], but they are often used to bite), hang out in places away from sunlight, sleep in coffins, and participate in dark rituals such as astral projection. Most importantly, they do acknowledge themselves (often quite openly) as vampires and are accepting new young recruits everyday with open arms.
When I first started to see actual cases of people claiming to be vampires, I originally thought it nothing more than a cliché gang of confused gothic kids trying to make a statement to society by wearing dark clothes and false fangs. However, as I searched online and read more information (available everywhere) about the modern vampire, I realized that, despite what reality may be for any one vampire on a case-by-case basis, many of them truly believe themselves to be a bona fide creature of the night. Donors, known among most vampire subcultures as “Swans,” are happy to join in a bloodletting encounter for the sanguinarius (blood-drinking) family by baring various body parts to razorblades, scalpels, and sharp teeth, but the most common is letting blood flow through a needle in the vein of the arm and into some kind of ritualistic wineglass for the vampire’s feeding.
In October of 2008, Tyra Banks invited several real vampires on her show[xvi] in an episode called “Vampires: Tyra Investigates the Vampire Culture.” (The episode is available online on several websites, including YouTube.)[xvii] After watching Don Henrie, also known among his circles as “The Emperor,” share details of his blood-drinking lifestyle with Tyra (and a clip was shown from his circle in which human blood was drained from the arm of a young girl and ingested by Don Henrie), I found myself rethinking my theory that vampires are a myth. A quick search online about real vampires rendered many videos and articles proving my suspicion about the “modern vampire” too true for comfort. “Like Dracula and other literary vampires, some traditions of modern vampires drink blood, either animal or human, although human is preferred. They claim they need blood to make up for a deficiency of proper energy processing within the body.”[xviii] Additionally, the majority of them are very young. Websites all over the internet reflect this. “The majority of modern vampires are teenagers and young adults…they tend to see vampires as ‘everything the young adult is not and everything they aspire to be,’ such as being ‘suave, sophisticated, certain of himself [or herself], rooted in history, poised to take the future with neither fear nor reluctance, self-possessed, sexual, powerful…not possessed by doubts, not burdened with conscience, cool and resourceful, supremely intelligent and, best of all, immortal’”[xix] (brackets in original).
Not only do they exist, but they are being very well excepted into society today; not only are they being excepted into society, they’re being glorified as celebrities! Real modern vampires are making guest appearances on talk shows, landing featured interviews in high-profile magazines, and developing flashy websites to give testimonials of their awakening experiences. Any young person lured in by the glamour of such media as Twilight and True Blood these days have an easy-access list of ways to find themselves a part of this ever-growing community.
They’re Hot—They’re Sexy—They’re Undead
It didn’t take an enormous amount of research to connect the vampire appeal to the subject of sex. “This focus on sex and sexuality stems from vampire literature. In fact, sexual attraction was the most frequent response in a survey conducted among a group of 574 college and high school participants, where the participants were asked what they found most appealing about vampires and vampire literature.”[xx]
The cover of the Rolling Stone Magazine September 2010 issue[xxi] made one of the strongest statements I have seen in a long time, and it accomplished such a task from every major newsstand in the country. The magazine hasn’t exactly been shy about its cover design in the past, having already released several previous issues with fully nude, strategically posed celebrities. However, this one had more than just the sex appeal. True Blood stars Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, and Alexander Skarsgård may not have known, or perhaps didn’t care, how many people would be affected by their stirring display. Happily, they tossed their clothing aside and hugged their nude bodies together, Moyer’s right hand cupping Paquin’s left breast, Skarsgård’s chest pressed into her other, suggesting among other things a ménage à trois and once again, strategic poses just barely obscuring genitalia from view. The nudity, by itself, was far more risqué than other nudes the magazine had featured before. The fact that the actors were dripping in what was characterized to be fresh, human blood added to the offense for many. “It’s the cover controversy some say goes one step too far… Fans of the series say the cover is an accurate reflection of the show…but E!’s Ryan Seacrest asks whether or not the stars have gone over the line. He points out Rolling Stone is not Hustler Magazine, and that’s concerning because kids can buy it in stores.”[xxii]
At the bottom/left of the cover, the words, “True Blood: They’re Hot—They’re Sexy—They’re Undead,” make very clear the popular connection between sex and vampirism. If, however, one had not yet arrived at that conclusion based on the cover alone, the article would be sure to fill in the blanks. “If we go from a base level, vampires create a hole in the neck where there wasn’t one before… It’s a de-virginization—breaking the hymen, creating blood and then drinking the virginal blood. And there’s something sharp, the fang, which is probing and penetrating and moving into it. So that’s pretty sexy. I think that makes vampires attractive.”[xxiii] (Other forms of sexual deviation within the show, too graphic to describe in this series and which would shock many parents, is pushed way past the limits of decency in many of the television series including werewolf gang rape scenes, necrophilia, intercourse while blood-feeding, etc.)
Join Us… We’re a Family…
Assuming that you don’t already have real vampire acquaintances to ask, think back to every depiction of vampires you have ever seen, heard, or read. Notice how they almost always talk about the “family”? I can’t think of a single flick in history where the leader or recruiting vampire character didn’t lure the victim in at some point in the story by appealing to their sense of need for a tight family setting. Like a gang, vampire “families” stick together. You pick on one, you pick on the family. For the real vampires in the twenty-first century, often coming from broken or estranged families themselves, they are all the more willing to listen to, be there for, be close to, and welcome in the new family member. In a world where even a family with the best intentions to know one another is still going here, running there, talking on the phone, texting, checking email, etc., a feeling of separation can still manifest itself, especially for the youth who have influences all around them and don’t always feel that their family will understand the way a group of dark, brooding people will who are extending the open ear and hand of friendship.
Speaking from personal experience (author Donna Howell, in this case), my family was extremely close my entire life. I went through a period around the time of the sixth or seventh grade where I truly believed that none of them understood me. I fantasized several times about running away. Now that I am an adult, I look back, and I’m being perfectly honest when I say that I only felt alone because I was bored, a little more mature and analytical than the average kid so my friends often didn’t think like I did, I sought after a bigger thrill than the typical afternoon at home, and the friends I did have had the bad habit of getting together and sharing their depressing, adolescent “nobody understands me, I think I’ll eat worms” routine, which rubs off on the most sincere of youth after a while. At this time and in my area, the go-to for kids who felt alone and disconnected from their family was the Wicca and New Age circles. Thank God (literally) that when I was welcomed by them with open arms and befriended by them, I thanked them for their friendship, but something in my gut (which I believe to be the deep instillation of biblical teachings all those one-on-one days from my parents) told me to keep them at a distance. Parents: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut 6:6–7, bold added).
Interview with a Vampire
During the research for this entry, I stumbled upon many social websites for real vampires to meet and mingle online. Desperate for the real story from the night crawlers themselves, I invited several chat opportunities with young “vamps.” From the beginning, I was honest with them, letting them know that I was researching the change in American culture, and that I was not a vampire. One after another, I chatted with people who claimed to be between the ages of twelve and thirty, and who had stories ranging anywhere from “I was bit on the neck and I have no soul” to “I’m regular, just like you, but I drink blood.” Although their stories varied intensely (some were raised in a Christian church by Christian parents and attended church regularly and others had parents who practiced witchcraft and drank blood at the dinner table), one thing remained the same case after case: they felt rejected or misunderstood by family and/or society, and felt welcomed by “friends” into their darker lives and new “families.”
I asked many of them what the appeal had been for them prior to their initiation, and that list was consistent in each case and dead-on accurate to my suspicions. Other than the obvious draw of sharing your misunderstood life with those that understand and have dark secrets and problems of their own, the following things were attractive: Today’s modern vampire has no shame and answers to no one. Vampires have gone from being inferior, damned, subhuman creatures of the night hunted by mad mobs with pitchforks to superior beings who no longer have to hide. They’re macho. They’re cool. They’re envied by many young people. They’re faster, stronger, and physically perfect, shedding away the mortal imperfections of their days as a human, not sharing in the weaknesses that mankind suffers for merely being mortal such as cancer, sickness, loss of loved ones, and here’s a biggie, imperfect bodies. (Whether it’s true or not, many of the stories I heard from these chat sessions, and several of the online testimonies on vampire sites, claimed that after they discovered what they were meant to be and officially became a vampire, they lost all their weight or their cancer disappeared or they believe they truly “became immortal,” etc. If they are giving themselves over to dark influences, the changes they face after their initiation doesn’t surprise me at all. They are dealing with powerful, deceptive forces that can mimic miracles.)
More frightening than anything else, there was the perk of obtaining eternal life without accountability to God (everlasting life without a SAVIOR?).
Because online chat isn’t the utmost reliable and verifiable way of gathering truthful details and facts, I will not spend a lot of time regaling all of the conversations I had (most of which were webcam friendly, so I could see the young gothic on my end, though I chose to keep my webcam off). However, one girl in particular (we’ll call her “Vamp”), age twenty-seven, looked very normal to me. She was a pretty, thin brunette with a natural, no-fangs smile and no makeup, and whose desk and living room were decorated with pink flowers and posters of Broadway musicals. If I had met this girl in public, I would have never been able to tell she was a self-proclaimed vampire. Open-minded to telling me anything I wanted to know (and less vulgar than many others had been), in a four-hour chat session, I discovered that she was ten years old when her “awakening” took place.
Her whole life prior had been “haunted” by the spirits of dead people or lost souls of the spirit world (which she can still see and hear). She told me that she hung out with another girl down the road who seemed like a normal girl. She liked to play with dolls and stuffed animals. One night when she was spending the night with said friend, the girl started acting very strange and mature, “like a forty-year-old woman all of a sudden or something.” Friend approached her, gave her a hug, and told her she was “one of the few.” Awestruck and captivated by Friend’s odd and “strangely calming” behavior, Vamp hugged Friend and remained still. A sharp pain surged in her shoulder, caused by a stab with a knitting needle. Instead of freaking out, Vamp waited patiently while Friend drank her blood. Vamp said, “After that, I don’t really remember what happened. I just woke up the next morning and I had a strange, new sensitivity to blood. I can smell it on other humans, and it makes it very hard to be close to people.”
As the conversation continued, she shared with me that when she was a little girl, she tried to “get help” with the “hauntings” she had been having, but nobody would believe her and she eventually started talking back, initially in an attempt to rid herself of these spirits, but eventually to help them when they no longer posed a threat to her life. “I had read several books about helping those poor souls stuck in the afterlife, and I figured I may as well be useful, ya know?” Her family was terribly dysfunctional and she never felt close to anyone, and when she tried to gain assistance from a local church, they welcomed her until she shared a few secrets with a woman at the church, and then they “cast me out and the demons with me. That’s what they said. I was ‘possessed.’ I have never believed I’m possessed though. I just hear and see things.” After her “awakening,” she left her family almost completely, and they didn’t stop her. At the age of ten, she basically lived with this other family who didn’t fear her spiritual-world contact, and drank blood from them and their “Black Swan” donors on a regular basis.
When Vamp met her husband, she didn’t know him for long before she decided to level with him and tell him she was a vampire. When I asked whether that was appealing to him or not, she explained that “at first, he didn’t know how to react, but then on one of our earlier dates, we got together and watched a bunch of vampire movies and after a while he started looking at me differently from across the couch. The first time I drank from him, it was very sexual.” They have been married for several years now, and she drinks from him regularly (he is not a vampire).
I asked if she needed human blood to live, and she seemed honest enough: “No, that’s all the make-believe stuff you hear about in the movies. I need it to get through the day, but I wouldn’t starve to death without it. If I go two or three weeks without human blood, I have absolutely no energy. Blood is like coffee or an energy drink. Shortly after drinking, I perk back up to my normal self and I can accomplish things again, but also, there’s something spiritually gratifying about the feeding. Sometimes it’s the drinking in itself that I need, not so much the effects of the blood.” To clarify, I asked her about all the other movie-related clichés. She confirmed that real modern vampires do not turn into bats or mist or have magical powers over other people, and “the biting on the neck thing is just a corny deal. Some do it for the thrill or the closeness, but there is no infectious bite that converts an unwilling person into a vampire. We’re not immortal and we’re not afraid of crosses and all that garbage. We are just regular, human people with unique needs.” However, like many others, she did reveal that her awakening led to the ability to smell blood in other humans, and she suddenly noticed that she sunburns very easily (once again, changes that do not surprise me when you open yourself up to dark influences).
Lastly, as I was wrapping things up, I asked her if she would have ever “awakened” another person the way she had been awakened at the age of ten by her neighbor. She answered, “No, certainly not. I would wait until they were at least sixteen. Then, if I sensed they were one of us, I would ask them if they wanted to be awakened. If they did, I would awaken them, but only then.” When asked if she was happy she had been “awakened,” she merely said, “No. I would give anything in the world to be normal right now. I don’t want to hear spirits anymore, and although I enjoy drinking blood, I wish I could feel I had more of a choice. Espresso tastes better anyway, haha. Seriously though, I’m miserable being who I am right now, and my [vampire] family is, too. I can’t think of any one of us that have ever been happy. It’s too late for us now, though.”
I wish someone would have responded to Vamp’s cries for help early on, but as Keith Green so articulately put it in his song, “The world is sleeping in the dark / that the Church just can’t fight / ’cause it’s asleep / in the light.”[xxiv] Some readers might be thinking that because this was merely a chat session, Vamp could have made this whole thing up. Possibly so. Yet, for all she knew, I could have been a sixteen-year-old girl looking to be “awakened” myself, and she was giving me all kinds of tips on how to go about it. Whether her story was 100 percent true or not, this girl (poor girl if her story is true) represents a predator online that your family can easily meet for free. No registration required.
They are out there.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO:
Blood Is Currency in the Spiritual World
When Christ instructed His disciples at the Last Supper to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood in “remembrance” of Him, He used bread and wine, not actual flesh and blood. Getting straight to the point, why would He do that? Jesus, in the testimony of His ultimately sacrificial death, could have easily opened a vein and tore small pieces of flesh and given His disciples real blood to drink and flesh to eat. It was nothing in comparison to the amount of blood and flesh He would willingly lose upon being flogged and hung on the cross in the hours to come, and He knew that.
In Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:12, Romans 3:24, and dozens of other places in the New Testament we are told that Christ, through the shedding of His blood, “redeemed” us (same meaning of word “redemption” in Old Testament). This is the Greek word apolytrōsis and it means to purchase or pay a ransom, thus His blood was the currency used to pay a necessary price. Strong’s Greek Concordance describes this word as meaning: 1) a releasing effected by payment of ransom; 2) redemption, deliverance; and 3) liberation procured by the payment of a ransom. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible addresses Galatians 3:13 (“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…”) and shows how it had a specific meaning of “purchase” as opposed to a general meaning of “purchase” otherwise used in the Bible:
Christ hath redeemed us—The word used here ἐξηγόρασεν exēgorasen is not that which is usually employed in the New Testament to denote redemption. That word is λυτρόω lutroō. The difference between them mainly is, that the word used here more usually relates to a purchase of any kind; the other is used strictly with reference to a ransom. The word used here is more general in its meaning; the other is strictly appropriated to a ransom. This distinction is not observable here, however, and the word used here is employed in the proper sense of redeem. It occurs in the New Testament only in this place, and in Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5. It properly means, to purchase, to buy up; and then to purchase anyone, to redeem, to set free. Here it means, that Christ had purchased, or set us free from the curse of the Law, by his being made a curse for us. On the meaning of the words redeem and ransom, see my notes at Romans 3:25; Isaiah 43:3, note; compare 2 Corinthians 5:21.[xxv]
BLOOD EQUALS CURRENCY IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. The antithesis then would be any way by which occultism uses blood for making an oath or otherwise securing favor with the dark side. We are commanded not to partake of the lifeblood: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:4); “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood” (Leviticus 17:10–12).
When vampires drink of real lifeblood, what exactly are they “purchasing”? This kind of partaking of blood is a blatant demonization of the Holy Communion at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, where “spiritually” we partake of his body and blood. When a young guy or girl, mesmerized by the human/vampire relationship in stories like Twilight, partake of the blood (or donate blood) in a real setting, do they even think of such things?
Candy Blood Bags and Bottles of “Human Blood” Beverages
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). On an immediate level, this verse makes a strong parenting calculation. A secondary point in the verse is also clear: Whatever you “train” your child to be when they’re young is likely what they will be when they grow up. Even if you do not have children of your own, you are, right now, an influence on somebody who is watching what you do, and what you support. In addition to turning your cell phone off once in a while and KNOWING YOUR FAMILY (and friends), you have a duty to be careful of how loosely you handle certain potentially dangerous things of this world. A candy blood bag or a bottle of “human blood” beverage, available right this minute in candy stores and shopping malls all across the United States, inspires a number of different reactions. Of course, many just scoff and say it’s gross. Others say it’s just a harmless toy. Perhaps today, that might be all it is. I think it’s quite alarming and disgusting to be honest. As you can see by the information given in the first half of this chapter, what is harmless yesterday is tomorrow’s out-of-control reality.
Where do you draw the line between too overprotective and too open-minded? So much depends on the person in question and your relationship to them. Balance and prayerful consideration is needed in each case, and at the risk of sounding redundant, knowing and being involved with those important to you is the key to keeping balance. Clearly, most people will still grow up to be healthy, regular adults if they watched the Count on Sesame Street as a child counting cookies on a plate with the Cookie Monster and Big Bird. However, buying a candy blood bag for a child to go home to their bedrooms, snip the tip off, put their plastic vampire fangs in, and fantasize while the fake blood drips slowly from the pretend IV bag into their mouth, is different. If you “train” your child in the ways of healthy eating and fitness, it’s less likely that you will be “training” tomorrow’s couch potato. If you “train” your child in the ways of the vampire, what do you think they will become? Even if their infatuation with vampires fades and reveals itself (thank goodness) to be nothing more than a kick they were on, by supporting that “kick,” you have given their next unhealthy phase a major boost. You may not stand in public with picket signs and point a judgmental finger at others for what they do (trust me, there’s enough of that going around right now), but even if you do it quietly and one-on-one with your family, think twice about what you allow in your house (monitor your internet!) and around your children, and remember that your values and balance will be inherited to a large degree. You always have the right to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15b).
Living in Missouri, I see the Amish quite frequently. Interested in their lives (and appreciative of their outstanding hand-made furniture), I did some reading on them.
In the book, The Amish In Their Own Words: Amish Writings from 25 Years of Family Life Magazine,[xxvi] compiled by Brad Igou, the beliefs and traditions of the Amish are explained. One who reads this whole book will see that, collectively, Amish beliefs are widely misunderstood. Overall, it’s not the surface-level “electricity and colorful clothing is sinful” summary that most people quickly proclaim. It’s more the fact that if they strictly maintain order and tradition within their communities and forbid the use of modern technology, keeping only to modestly covering clothing in tasteful or natural colors, etc., they will preserve godliness and space between their community and the temptations of this world. It might seem silly or perhaps a little “overboard” to most people who see them struggling to compete for the road in their covered wagons on a hot day while we cruise in our air-conditioned cars, but essentially, it makes sense. We have become the world they will never be a part of, and if they allow a light bulb today, it will be a TV tomorrow, because what one generation allows in moderation, the next allows in excess.
In a world without television or movies, no beepers or texts interrupting their dinner, no internet, no porn, no young girls letting their “goods” hang out the bottom of a miniskirt, etc., all the while handing down the skills of raising crops, sewing, caring for livestock, etc. (which also results in almost all of their time spent with the family, Amish community, and in service to God), let me ask you this: How many Amish vampires do you know?
Get involved. Know your children and family, and get to know the children in your community. When I (Donna Howell) had my baby dedicated, the pastor first challenged us, the parents, then he challenged himself, promising to help my husband and I raise this baby in the ways of the Lord and to be there for him when he feels misunderstood or needs help, and then he challenged the congregation to all be responsible for that one child’s soul…
You have a place in someone’s heart and a responsibility to them to try as hard as you can to know them, accept them, love them, and truly be there for them when they need you (and not by wagging a finger of judgment at them when they’re down). The love of Christ is stronger than any other force on this Earth… Satan is after our youth and those who are hurting and looking for a hand to hold, but he cannot cross the barrier of Christ’s blood.
UP NEXT: The Blood is the Life
[i] Donna Howell was personally present at Barnes & Noble late that night to purchase a book and saw the crowds for herself.
[ii] “Twilight (novel),” Wikipedia, last modified June 27, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_(novel).
[iv] Nikki Finke, “‘ECLIPSE’ KEEPS BREAKING RECORDS: Twilight Saga Threequel Sets Best Ever Wednesday Opening of $68.5M; Thursday $24.2M; Six-Day July Fourth Holiday Estimated at $178M; Twi-Hards Mob Theaters in U.S., Canada, Overseas,” Deadline.com, July 1, 2010, http://www.deadline.com/2010/07/first-record-eclipse-opens-to-biggest-domestic-release-in-hollywood-history/.
[v] Unless otherwise noted, research on the decades and lifestyles from this chapter came from Wikipedia, specifically the following pages: “1900s (decade),” “1910s,” “1920s,” “1930s,” “1940s,” “1950s,” “1960s,” “1970s,” “1980s,” “1990s,” and from general online searches regarding life during each specific era. Any direct quotations or statistics are otherwise referenced.
[vi] “Marriages and Divorces, 1900–2008,” Information Please® Database, 2008, http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005044.html.
[vii] “Tijuana bible,” Wikipedia, last modified May 28, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tijuana_bibles.
[viii] “Dracula (1931 film),” Wikipedia, last modified June 16, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula_(1931_film).
[ix] Susan Greenfield, “Modern Technology is Changing the Way Our Brains Work, Says Neuroscientist,” MailOnline.com, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-565207/Modern-technology-changing-way-brains-work-says-neuroscientist.html.
[x] “Boobs in Arms,” Wikipedia, last modified March 10, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boobs_in_Arms.
[xi] “History of film,” Wikipedia, last modified June 18, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_film.
[xii] Movie summaries found on The Internet Movie Database (IMBd), accessed June 27, 2011, http://www.imdb.com.
[xiii] “More popular than Jesus,” Wikipedia, last modified June 24, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_popular_than_Jesus.
[xiv] William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin, (Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 1973), DVD.
[xv] “True Stories,” Warner Bros., http://theexorcist.warnerbros.com/cmp/truebottom.html.
[xvi] “Vampires!” The Tyra Show, October 31, 2008, http://tyrashow.warnerbros.com/2008/10/fridays_show_vampires.php.
[xvii] Episode posted on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKjSnmJd2Q8.
[xviii] “Vampire lifestyle,” Wikipedia, last modified June 21, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_lifestyle.
[xxi] Photo by Matthew Rolston for RollingStone.com: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/photos/theyre-hot-theyre-sexy-theyre-undead-20100817/true-blood-52377762.
[xxii] “Rolling Stone’s ‘True Blood’ Cover: Too Much?” Newsy Multisource Video News Analysis video, 2:38, August 10, 2010, http://www.newsy.com/videos/rolling-stone-s-true-blood-cover-too-much/.
[xxiii] Jessica Derschowitz, “‘True Blood’ Rolling Stone Cover Story Talks Vampire Sex,” CBS News, August 18, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-20013981-10391698.html.
[xxiv] Keith Green, “Asleep in the Light,” No Compromise, produced by instrumentalist Bill Maxwell, recorded in 1978, 4:26 (Brentwood, TN: Sparrow Records, 1978).
[xxv] “Galatians 3:13,” Online Parallel Bible, accessed June 27, 2011, http://bible.cc/galatians/3-13.htm.
[xxvi] The Amish In Their Own Words: Amish Writings from 25 Years of Family Life Magazine, compiled by Brad Igou (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 1999).