The mention of secret societies is nothing new when perusing the pages of newspapers past, but this article in the Alexandria Gazette from May 3, 1892 introduced me to an unfamiliar organization: the Vampires. According to the article the club was created in April, just a few weeks after the famous Mercy Brown “vampire” exhumation in Rhode Island. Whether or not these “non-superstitious theatrical” types based any of their tongue-in-cheek titles, recipes, or rituals on the Rhode Island-based vampire hysteria, I’m not sure, but I do know that this death watch sounded like my kind of party.
I haven’t been able to find any additional information on the group, so I don’t know if they only had one gathering or if they met monthly until they had partied at every New York hotel (as stated in the last sentence of the article). Part of me hopes that somewhere people are still congregating in the shadows under the symbol of a bat grasping a human skull feasting on “headstone croquettes” and sipping “vampire’s blood” from illuminated loving cups while a Cross Bones band plays in the background.