Tuberculosis As A Lethal Disease

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Tuberculosis, also known as “consumption” was a lethal disease that started spreading rapidly from family to family in parts of New England in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, not much was known about the disease in those times, leading people to start to suspect that vampires were the cause of the deaths. In an effort to protect their families and community, some people resorted to old-folk remedies, rooted from Europe. They exhumed the bodies of deceased relatives who died of consumption and checked to see if they had “fresh,” circulating, liquid blood in their hearts, which would indicate that the deceased had become a vampire. They believed that one of the relatives was not completely dead and was “draining” the life of his living relatives by stealing their blood and essentially placing it in his own corpse’s heart. In order to stop further spread of the disease, once it is discovered which of the deceased had become a vampire, the corpse’s vital organs such as his heart and lungs are removed and burned to ashes. Burning the heart to ashes fastens the drying of the fresh, liquid blood, which kills the vampire for good in the process. Additionally, many believed that consuming the vampire’s burned ashes acts as a cure for the living relatives that are infected with consumption (Bell 124-140).
Dracula, written by Bram Stoker in the end of the 19th century, is known by many as the most influential vampire novel to ever be written. Dracula introduces the vampire Count
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