Welcome to the official home of the Boston Vampire mystery. Here you will find all the resources you need to satiate your thirst for this most gruesome of American legends. Read about the mysterious “vampire killings” that sparked the myth, and the ensuing vampire mania that swept Boston. Follow the string of events that led to the arrest, trial and disappearance of Isaac Pasternak, and his eventual immortality as the face of the Boston Vampire.
This macabre tragedy has inspired many creative endeavors over the years, including two movies, various fiction and nonfiction books, and even a new comic book series. Here you will find a complete list of all media featuring Isaac Pasternak. So have fun as you explore the history of Americas’ most famous vampire.
It sounds just like something out of a horror novel; corpses drained of blood, an invisible killer, a city caught in the grip of fear and driven mad by unknown forces. But all of these were actual elements in the “vampire killings”, one of the most bizarre and notorious mysteries to ever haunt American history.
What set the Boston Vampire apart from other famous killing sprees was how strangely eager people were to accept the most unearthly explanation as the likeliest. Unlike Jack the ripper, which had most people concentrating on a real live criminal, the vampire killings actually had people believing it was just that; the work of a vampire.
The press threw fuel on the fire, publishing highly sensationalized reports that exaggerated the facts and featured testimonies from less than reliable sources. Fiction rose to the challenge as well, with a wave of gothic horror stories flooding magazines and book stores, bringing the entire affair to the level of a craze.
Why was this? If one looks at the cultural circumstances of the times, it makes perfect sense. Old world superstitions were still quite common back in 1900, and Boston being one of the largest centers of European immigration made for a melting pot of different peoples, each with their own time honored beliefs and bizarre legends. A killer with a profile such as this, who also seemed to possess inhuman abilities, had many reaching for their garlic and crucifixes.
The 1900’s was also the golden age of gothic literature, and the later part of the century saw the creation of Dracula , which was at the height of its popularity in America just as the Boston Vampire story struck. To read the same sort of terrifying tale in the headlines that they were used to getting in fiction set readers imaginations on fire. The vampire killings sparked its very own horror craze right when horror fiction was at its strongest, amplifying what was already a worldwide phenomenon.
Despite thorough investigation by the police, virtually none of the suspects in the vampire murders could be considered strong ones. Even the case against Isaac Pasternak was weak, and would have been almost entirely unfounded if not for the notion of a supernatural threat. Pasternak had traits that could be considered “vampiric”, but not murderous.
The fact that people back then chose to treat this case as the work of a fantastical monster rather than a real person, along with the still unsolved deaths, is what continues to keep this tale fresh in the minds of the curious.