Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Ghouls and Vampires (not what you might think!)


How auspicious that this Wednesday's slang-o-rama post falls on Halloween! However, BEWARE... in the mid-1800s, ghouls and vampires were not the neighborhood kids in costume, demanding treats, nor were they beings from beyond, come to haunt the living...

Noooooooooo. Not even close.

Instead, the 1859 Vocabulum; or The Rogue's Lexicon by George W. Matsell provides these equally scary (but very different) definitions...
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GHOULS. Fellows who watch assignation-houses, and follow females that come out of them to their homes and then threaten to expose them to their husbands, relatives, or friends, if they refuse to give them not only money, but also the use of their bodies. 
VAMPIRE. A man who lives by extorting money from men and women whom they have seen coming out of or going into houses of assignation. 

Boo! ... Can you say "entrapment?"
(Caricature of notorious New Orleans prostitute Emma Johnson, from "The Mascot", 21 May 1892. Johnson is depicted in a window with a fan, with tentacles reaching out to the sidewalk entrapping passers by, including men, an old man, an adolsecent boy, and a young woman. By Staff of "The Mascot", New Orleans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)


So, back then, if a ghoul or vampire were to come knocking at your door, demanding that you (shall we say) "pay up," I'm afraid a chocolate bar or Jolly Roger would not suffice...

Wishing you all a cozy Halloween, with any visitors claiming to be ghouls and vampires restricted to those in costume and preferably under ten years of age.



3 comments:

Liz V. said...

Happy Halloween!

(Refraining from comment on post--at least until I've had coffee.)

Ann Parker said...

Happy Halloween to you, too, Liz! Coffee is an all-day beverage for me. :-)

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