Hunting for the Vampire of Barcelona
At the turn of the 20th century, Enriqueta Martí—a woman from the witchcraft-steeped countryside of Cataluña—came to Barcelona. Like many of the poor rural immigrants flooding into Barcelona at the time, she found that the Catalan capital was less “Pearl of the Mediterranean” and more “City of Death.” This didn’t bother her, though, because it was in Barcelona that she became her country’s answer to Jack the Ripper, luring children back to her house, killing them, and then drinking their blood.
Fast forward a century and Marc Pastor, a CSI detective based in Barcelona, finds himself working on a case involving another female serial killer. In his spare time, he writes Barcelona Shadows, a retelling of Martí’s diabolical career redolent of Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and David Peace. Already a bestseller in Spain, the book has just been published in English. I caught up with Marc for a trip back to the dark alleys of the Barcelona slums.
VICE: Hi, Marc. When exactly is your book set?
Marc Pastor: It’s in 1912. Barcelona is leaving its rural past behind and becoming a modern city. There is the biggest casino in Europe, which was an amazing amusement park with a rollercoaster. There’s a lot of poverty. People are living in the streets and there’s a lot of sickness. This is where Enriqueta appears, where she rises up. A woman. She is a female killer, which is very unusual because 99 percent of serial killers are men. It’s a dark and creepy city with a dark and creepy serial killer.
And Enriqueta came onto this scene from the countryside, to work as a servant in a house?
Actually, as a whore.
I was about to say: she swiftly becomes a prostitute. How quickly does she start to kill people, and can you tell me about her methods?
We don’t know exactly how many people or children she killed. That’s part of the myth. Jack the Ripper had five victims, but you don’t know how many victims Enriqueta had. She was arrested in 1912, but she went to Mallorca in 1901 for three months and had to come back because people wanted to kill her. So you can imagine she was murdering people and children for 12 years, at least. I met a lot of people after publishing the book who told me, “My grandma was a victim of Enriqueta,” or, “My grandmother-in-law was one of the people Enriqueta tried to kidnap.” They showed me pictures. She tried to kidnap a lot of people. One woman told me her grandmother-in-law was approached by a woman who tried to give her candy and told her to come with her.
Interview with the Vampire Who Sells Our Friends Weed
I first heard about Spookhaus (or Bruce Campbell) when I was on tour a few weeks ago. Our driver said he had bought weed off of this guy in Vancouver who was a real vampire. Obviously I was intrigued. Anytime I hear about someone that eccentric in my beautiful boring city I get really excited. When I found out that Spookhaus allegedly sleeps in a coffin, I was sold. Spookhaus isn’t just a normal vampire, he’s a personality. He makes music, comic books called Satan Clause, and even busks around town. And just like Manson, he has a gaggle of female vocalists, which he calls “The Witches of Spookhaus,” while he calls himself “The Artist of Darkness.”
Hungry to explore the depths Spookhaus’s craziness, I was excited when he invited me over to his place for some wine. I brought my friend Kate along to the interview to take photos, but I also wanted a witness just in case things got weird. We arrived at his apartment when the sun was still out. I called Bruce to let him know we were there and suddenly a man appeared at the door wearing a black cloak and a kitschy skeleton mask. He waved, opened the door, and escorted us inside. Being the bubbly, optimistic girl she is, Kate tried to introduce herself, but the masked man stayed silent as we entered a red elevator. Then the masked guy pulled out a dead rat from his pocket and held it up for me, still saying nothing. I laughed, because what else was I going to do? This was funny, but as we verged on almost six minutes with no words, I started to question if being sexually molested by a vampire was something I could actually get into. Spookhaus’s dark blue-lit apartment was more like a museum of horror with stacks of movies and posters of iconic vampires on every wall. And there was leather, lots of black leather. When we got good inside of Spookhaus’s place, the masked man finally revealed himself. It was Spookhaus in the flesh! He poured us some wine in goblets and we sat down to chat.
VICE: How does a vampire end up in Vancouver?
Spookhaus: I was born in France. My father was a major in the Air Force. He was an engineer, a strict professional, but he had all his training in the military. I lived on bases all over Canada and Europe. Have you heard the expression military brats? We’re so constricted and oppressed, so we tend to turn out pretty wild. I found an outlet. The horror thing is my outlet.
How did you get into all this?
Horror is very anti-establishment. It always has been. My parents hated taking me to see horror movies when I was a kid because they were real B movies and my parents thought it was junk, drive-in stuff. When I was a kid I begged for a cape and fangs to wear to school. It wasn’t an obsessive thing. I just liked it. Remember when I freaked you out a bit when you arrived? It’s just that kind of stuff. I got a rush from it. Horror movies got me so excited and I felt empowered, especially as a kid. I wasn’t scared. I was fascinated. The fact that my parents and sisters didn’t like it, made it even better. Just like a drug, like heroin.