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Paul Bibeau – Sundays With Vlad

Posted by demonik on June 18, 2008

Paul Bibeau – Sundays With Vlad (Constable, 2008)

[image]

Cover design and illustration by JoeRoberts.co.uk

From Pennsylvania to Transylvania. One Man’s Quest to Live in the World of the Undead

MEET COUNT DRACULA AND ALL HIS CRAZY CHILDREN

As if visiting the dentally challenged lord of the night’s castle weren’t enough, vampire enthusiast Paul Bibeau digs through Bram Stoker’s original manuscript, meets with the president of the Dracula Fan Club and even marches in the Transylvania Day Parade as a giant garlic bulb – all part of his quest to reach the stone-cold heart of vampiredom.

From the moment his older sister jumped him, baring her glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, Paul Bibeau was hooked. You could say this traumatic childhood experience scarred him for life – he began to develop an ever-deepening obsession with the Undead. Years later, his fixation led him to revise his honeymoon plans, persuading his unsuspecting wife to take a trip to Wallachia, Romania and the legendary lair of Dracula – the towering castle of Vlad the Impaler.

Clutching his guidebook like a bible, Bibeau sets off on an alarming but comic journey into the dark history of his hero.

Wasn’t sure where to put this on the forum as it’s tagged ‘Travel’, but it features a Dracula obsessive, reflects on the Ceausescu and ‘the Prez’  tyrannies and hauls in several vampire scene *ahem* “personalities” for interrogation (if they’re anything like the one’s of my acquaintance, the challenge is to get them to talk about something, ANYTHING other than themselves for ten seconds), so I guess it warrants a plug on Vault and besides, I like the retro cover a lot!

Three chapters in , and it all becomes clear. Mr. Bibeau’s travelogue is the latest in a fairly recent tradition that includes Rosemary Guiley’s Vampires Among Us, Norine Dresser’s American Vampires, MS Carol Page’s incendiary Blood Lust, Tony Thorpe’s Children Of The Night, Arlene ‘Bite Me!’ Russo’s *ahem* “disappointing” Vampire Nation and Kathleen Ramsland’s Piercing The Darkness – books which purport to make sense of the vampire subculture and often provide details of the author’s expeditions to Transylvania, New York, Whitby and (for the more adventurous) a fetish club.

Autumn 1999 and the honeymooning Paul and Anne Bibeau are being questioned by machine gun-toting guards at Bucharest airport. How did it come to this? Paul traces it back to his childhood and the day his big sister crawled from out of his dresser wearing glow-in-the-dark fangs. The experience sent him off on one and he’s never really come back.

He ain’t exactly Ripton Torn but I think many Vault people will recognise something of themselves in Mr. Bibeau. He was the weird kid at school, obsessed with all things monsters and the Leonard Nimoy hosted In Search Of “documentaries”: He’d ransack the local library for books on the supernatural (“factual”, preferably as he found horror fiction boring). A few years down the line he took the vampire in folklore for his independent study course and hosted a slide-show on his very topic in the same building. After college he took a job on a West Point (Virginia) newspaper, became an amateur ghost hunter and investigated unexplained phenomena, etc., etc. …. and then he proposed to a drop dead smart lawyer who looks nice in her business suits.

In the circumstances, a Honeymoon in Vlad country was inevitable

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