Vampires are the topic of Historical Society program

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Oct. 18, 2011
State Archeologist Nick Bellantoni, shown here on a field mission with one of his graduate students, will be discussing Early Vampire Folklore in New England at Hebron Historical Society's October 27 meeting. Contributed photo. - Contributed Photo

On Thursday, Oct. 27, just in time for Halloween, State Archeologist Dr. Nick Bellantoni will speak on “Vampire Folk Belief in Historic New England” at the Hebron Historical Society’s meeting. Bellatoni has been the state archaeologist since 1988, and is an adjunct faculty member of the anthropology department at UConn. He is known for, among other things, his study of the skull of Adolf Hitler, in which he questioned the long-held belief that Hitler committed suicide.

In 1990, a couple of very surprised young boys discovered two skulls at the site of a new gravel quarry in eastern Connecticut. Bellantoni and others were called in to investigate what turned out to be a forgotten Colonial family cemetery. One grave in particular caught their eye. Someone had arranged the burial in an unusual way. This led to further investigation involving archaeology, forensics, genealogy and folklore that produced the theory that the cause for the oddity in the burial was the belief that its occupant was a vampire.  Vampire folklore was rampant in New England from 1780 to the 1890s, and a combination of disciplines helps archaeologists today discover more about this period in New England history.

Bellantoni will supplement his talk with pictures and slides and conclude with an interactive discussion with the audience.  This is a family-friendly presentation.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to the public,” said Hebron Historical Society President Donna McCalla. “We’ve been on the wait list to have Dr. Bellatoni come for a year.”

The meeting, which is always free to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hebron’s Old Town Hall, just east of the intersection of Routes 66 and 85.  Public overflow parking is available across the street at Century 21.  Light refreshments will be served, and donations to support the Society’s educational and restoration efforts will be gratefully accepted. 

For additional information, please contact Program Chair Louise Casarella at 860-643-9288.

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