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Child Vampire Hunters Caused Comic Censorship

krou (1027572) writes | more than 3 years ago

Censorship 0

krou (1027572) writes "The BBC has an interesting story of events that took place in 1954 Scotland that eerily echo recent debates regarding video games. On the 23 September 1954, 'Hundreds of children aged from four to 14, some of them armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling' a local graveyard, telling a bemused police officer who went to investigate, that they were 'hunting a 7ft tall vampire with iron teeth who had already kidnapped and eaten two local boys.' The children returned to the graveyard for several nights. Soon, the so-called 'Gorbals Vampire' became subject of a media frenzy, and they began to search for the origins of the urban legend. Sure enough, 'blame was quickly laid at the door of American comic books with chilling titles such as Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror, whose graphic images of terrifying monsters were becoming increasingly popular among Scottish youngsters.' Despite a few dissenting academics pointing out that no vampires matching the description given ever appeared in these books (and that a monster with iron teeth actually appears in the Bible and a poem taught in local schools), the moral panic resulted in a media and political frenzy calling for an end to children's minds becoming 'polluted' by 'terrifying and corrupt' comics. The end result was the introduction of the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 which banned the sale of material with 'incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature' to minors. Looking back it would seem that the urban legend actually arose from "Chinese-whispers" in a school playground, and also from local parents who threatened naughty children that 'the Iron Man' would come for them. In the end, 'The story of the Gorbals Vampire had been a gift to the unlikely alliance of teachers, communists and Christians who had their own individual reasons for crusading against the corrupting influence of American comics'."
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