Just in time for Halloween, Texas' vampire scholars will descend upon the North Central Texas College's Corinth campus for a Vampires Studies Symposium 2015 on Oct. 31.
Kinda sounds like they'll turn into bats and fly into Corinth. But, no, they'll be taking mortal transportation and be traveling from Texas venues by daylight.
It's open to the public. Symposium goers will hear five lectures and small group discussions over lunch, presumably without garlic.
The speakers are a who's-who of vampire experts:
• Dr. J. Gordon Melton of Baylor University, author of The Vampire Book: the Encyclopedia of the Undead (1994; 1999; 2011) and The Vampire in Folklore, History, Literature, Film and Television: A Comprehensive Bibliography (2015), compiled with Alysa Hornick.
• Dr. Thomas Garza, professor of Slavic Languages at the University of Texas, and editor of The Vampire in Slavic Cultures (2009).
• Dr. Michael Bell, folklorist and author of Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (2001).
• Dr. Joseph Laycock, philosophy professor at Texas State University and author of Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism (2009).
• Dax Stokes, librarian at North Central Texas College and host of The Vampire Historian podcast.
Stokes joined forces with Anthony Hogg of Vamped.org, a comprehensive site on the studies of vampires, to organize the symposium.
Stokes got the idea after meeting with two of the speakers over spring break.
"Once we realized that there were several vampire scholars in Texas, we thought we should have some kind of Texas conference," Stokes said.
Hogg, who wanted to broaden the focus on vampirology, came up with the name and suggested the speakers and their order of appearance.
"Each speaker represents a step in the development of vampire knowledge," he said.
Stokes and Hogg discussed the symposium in a Q&A format:
Q. Is there a general feeling at your symposium that vampires actually exist?
Hogg: "That depends on the audience attending and what the speakers' personal views are. Are people coming to be convinced that vampires exist, to learn something new about them or both? We'll see."
Stokes: "All of the speakers at this symposium are academics, each specializing in different fields. For the most part, though, we study vampires in folklore, literature, and pop culture. One of the talks, though, will be about what we call the vampire community, which describes several different types of people that would identify themselves as modern-day vampires. But, belief in the immortal vampire of folklore and pop culture is not really something that you will find at this conference."
Q: Would opinions be swayed by what will be gleamed from all these experts?
Hogg: "The consensus opinion would be that vampire studies is a living, thriving and organic field, incorporating a variety of disciplines. The vampire evolves in public consciousness; it never sits still for too long. It's adaptable. I'm sure every attendee will take away something they never knew before. There's something for everyone."
Stokes: "For the most part, this symposium is covering the vampire in folklore, history, and academic scholarship. There is sometimes a divisive line between vampire scholars, or vampirologists, and the vampire community. Perhaps a better understanding among these groups of each other might arise from this conference."
Q: And last, will most of this symposium convene during daylight hours, so that vampires will not impact the symposium? Or is that a myth?
Stokes: The vampire of folklore was not affected by sunlight. The vampire of fiction can trace its allergy to sunlight to the film Nosferatu starring Max Schreck.
Hogg: The vampires' fear of sunlight was handed down to us from 1922's Nosferatu (the entire movie is embedded below), so I'm afraid it's a myth -- but better to be safe than sorry!
Register now for $20. After Oct. 1, registration is $25. Leave your stakes at home.