Man Arrested for ‘Vampire’ Attack Shines Light on Pop Culture

Category: Offbeat / Aug 18, 2011 9:18PM EDT
As reported by MSNBC, a 19-year-old man is awaiting psychiatric evaluation after being arrested in Texas for breaking into a woman’s apartment and trying to suck her blood. Galveston police have reported that, Lyle Monroe Bensley, forced his way into the woman’s residence and proceeded to make growling and hissing noises as he repeatedly hit and bit the victim as she lay in her bed. When the police found him in a nearby parking lot, he was stripped down to his boxer shorts, laden with tattoos and piercings, and according to Galveston Police Captain Jeff Heyse, he claimed he was a 500- year-old vampire who was in need of his blood fix. The woman, who has not been identified and had no affiliation with Bensley, lives near the suspect and was able to escape the attack unharmed. The alleged ‘vampire’ attacker is currently being held at the Galveston County Jail on a $40,000 bond, charged with home burglary with intent to commit a felony. Vampire mythology and folklore, popularized since the 18th century, may actually date back to prehistoric times. According to historians, while the folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe featured creatures ranging in appearance from nearly human to rotting corpses, it was John Polidori’s novel, The Vampyre, published in 1819, that really set the trend, giving life to the archetype of the charismatic and sophisticated vampire. Just a few decades later, vampirism would find itself propelled into the mainstream with the release of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula.” More recently, vampirism has exploded onto the modern pop-culture scene and has almost become the revised version of the superhero or anti-hero as some would call it. The lore has been dramatized and romanticized, but at this point it’s understandable how it could certainly be criticized. As noted by MSNBC, when it comes to vampire related criminal activity, Bensley is not alone. In 1996, a 16-year-old youth in Kentucky, obsessed with vampirism, drafted three other impressionable teens to help him kill the parents of his ex-girlfriend. And two years later, a man in San Francisco, claiming to be a 2000-year-old vampire was arrested for slashing the necks of four homeless people and killing one of them. Vampire groups out there do indeed exist and real blood drinking among normal everyday humans has become far from fiction. So, at this point, any way you bite it, there is a very tangible connection between lore and life creeping its way onto the scene which is likely to become more pronounced in the future as the younger generation grows into the next defining generation all loaded up with steady diet of vampire fever. How it plays out remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, when life imitates art and someone’s apartment gets broken into due to some twisted belief that has no relation to reality, something is definitely not right.