The Monster Mash

Megan points us to this wonderfully absurd Skeptical Inquirer article in which a couple of physicists engage in some semi-serious examination of the science and statistics underlying pop-culture myths about ghosts, zombies, and vampires. In particular, I enjoyed the vampire section, which argued that, if vampires converted everyone they bit and fed once per month, the vampire population would grow exponentially, shooting up from 1 to about a half a billion (currently about 1/13th of the world’s population according to the world population clock) in approximately two and a half years.

Scary! What I wonder about is the political reaction. Would we see increased funding for anti-vampire drugs? Would vampires become second-class citizens? Would some fraction of the populace argue that vampirism was “natural” and therefore something to be tolerated, even celebrated? Would there be vampire unions? Would Slate publish counter-intuitive pro-vampire pieces (headline: “Bite Me”)? Would Hitchens declare vampirism to be a “detestable, malignant force for evil—but no more destructive, on net, than the two thousand ghastly years of menace and malevolence we call Christianity”? Would hawkish wings of the major political parties declare a War on Vampires? One can hope, if only for the rhetoric that would surely follow.

“And thus, it is with both shock and determination that I propose a new national effort to thwart this grave, existential threat. The war on terror is not yet fully behind us, but a new war, one that makes the sinister promise to transform our society as no one has ever imagined, is upon us. Yes, I am speaking of the War on Vampires. It is a war against evil, but it is not like any war this nation has ever fought before, because it is also a war against our own. Not long ago, our enemies in this battle were like us, living among us, brother and sister, mother and father, friend and neighbor. But make no mistake. They must now be stopped.”

I should note here that one of the wackier, and more enjoyable and outlandish, b-movies I’ve seen in recent years was Night Watch, a Russian movie about (what else) a bureaucracy set up to regulate various occult figures, mostly vampires.