In the early weeks of 1912 a monster stalked the bayous of southern Louisiana.
The first sign that something was wrong were the disappearances. Over the years more than a few people had gone for a walk outside of town, wandered off the road, and vanished into thin air. Tragic, yes, but not unexpected given the confusing and unpredictable nature of the swamps. The latest cases were different, people who had spent their whole lives in the backwoods making a living from hunting, fishing, and farming. Still, folks didn't think too much of it.
Then the first bodies were found, not in a ditch or floating in a stream, but in their homes. It took a while to even figure out how many people had been killed because the parts from so many bodies were jumbled up. Once everything was sorted out, and even hard men were brought low by that job, five people were dead. Someone had walked into the house, slaughtered everyone, and then dismembered their bodies with a very, very sharp axe.
A week later they did it again, this time in a town 26 miles down the road. Two weeks after that they walked in to a house over 40 miles away and did the exact same thing.
The monster's name was Auguste Delagrange, and the killing didn't stop until a priest and a voodoo man drove a stake through his heart.
Yeah, it's a terribly melodramatic way to start a post, but one of the reasons I'm so happy with this project is the back story built into it. That introduction? It's all absolutely true except for the last line.
Here's the final presentation for the mummified vampire heart. The box is solid oak, finger jointed, and probably dates back to the 1940's. When I bought it at an antique shop it had a ragged leather handle and was covered in paint stains, so I'm guessing it was originally a toolbox or artists supply box. The plaque is an antique oak picture frame. The entire box has been aged with the tinted wax treatment I discussed yesterday.
Inside we have the dessicated ticker of the unfortunate Mr. Delagrange and the stake that did him in, resting on a bed of period appropriate excelsior made from real wood shavings. I liked the contrast provided by the light colored excelsior so I didn't apply any distressing.
The stake is my idea of what a real vampire killer would use. Something with the slim profile and sharp point of a dagger designed to slip between the ribs of the chest cavity. Those big honking garden stakes you see in most vampire killing kits drive me crazy. You would have to expend way too much effort to crack through the ribs because the points are so shallow and broad. This stake is another antique- a pattern 1, World War 1 tent stake turned on a lathe from solid oak. The typewritten note on the inside of the lid explains the history of the heart.
If you've always wanted to own a little piece of vampiric history you'll be happy to learn that the mummified vampire heart and all it's accoutrements are available on Ebay, just in time for the holidays.