[Daily article] May 22: Vampire

A vampire is a being from folklore who subsists on the blood or life
essence of the living. In European folklore, vampires were shroud-
wearing undead beings who often visited loved ones and caused mischief
in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. Before the
early 19th century, they were described as bloated and of ruddy or dark
countenance, markedly different from today’s gaunt, pale vampire. The
term vampire was popularised in the West in the early 18th century,
after vampire legends from oral traditions of ethnic groups of the
Balkans and Eastern Europe were recorded and published. The charismatic
and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the
publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori; the story was highly
successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early
19th century. The modern basis of the vampire legend comes from Bram
Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, considered the quintessential vampire
novel. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre,
still popular in the 21st century.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1826:

HMS Beagle departed on her first voyage from Plymouth for a
hydrographic survey of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions of
South America.

1897:

The first Blackwall Tunnel (construction pictured) under the
River Thames was opened to improve commerce and trade in the East End of
London.

1915:

California’s Lassen Peak violently erupted, the only volcanic
eruption in the contiguous U.S. in the 20th century until Mount St.
Helens erupted in 1980.

1972:

Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka, adopted a new
constitution, and officially became a republic.

1987:

During Hindu–Muslim rioting in Meerut, India, 19 members of
the Provincial Armed Constabulary allegedly massacred 42 Muslims and
dumped their bodies in water canals.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

tram:
1. (Australia, Britain, rail transport) A passenger vehicle for public use
that runs on tracks in the road (called a streetcar in North America).
2. A similar vehicle for carrying materials.
3. (US, rail transport) A people mover.
4. (US) An aerial cable car.
5. (US) A train with wheels that runs on a road; a trackless train. […]

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to
the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with
yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we
replace it with words and ideas and abstractions — such as merit, such
as past, present, and future — our direct, spontaneous experience of
the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment. We
identify, label, and interpret our surroundings as abstract concepts,
quite separate from another concept, which is our own separate identity
and ego.  
–Peter Matthiessen

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