Media Speculation About “Vampire/Werewolf” Murder Suspect Spreading “Cult” Fears?

So, here’s CBS News headline:

Fla. murder suspect claims she’s part vampire, part werewolf

The Real Ghostbusters: Vampire/Werewolf Hybrid

Possible Facebook photo of suspect?

We’re off to a fun start. Without even reading beyond the headline, it is the kind of story that generates the morbid interest of folks around the globe.

Now here’s the lead:

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A Florida teenager is behind bars as an accessory to the brutal murder of 16-year-old Jacob Hendershot. But that may not be the most shocking part of the crime – Stephanie Pistey says she believes she’s part vampire and part werewolf.

Well, for my part, kids killing other kids will always keep a high shock value (lest I become disturbingly cynical and world-weary), however, I understand the need for playing up the lurid, bizarre angle of a confessed vampire-werewolf hybrid.

Stephanie Pistey ... not Stephenie Meyer

Stephanie Pistey ... not Stephenie Meyer

Then again, maybe Stephanie Pistey does also. In a blog post for the News Herald in Panama City, S. Brady Calhoun writes in the succinctly titled “She’s not a vampire”:

The News Herald’s Chris Olwell reported that, “In interviews with police, Pistey has said she was involved in the occult and the ritualistic killing of a cat. She’s talked about raising the dead. She alluded to the possibility she and the other suspects in the case would cut one another on their necks and “mimic the actions of a vampire,” according to Chief Charles Sweatt.”

Detective Aaron Wilson told Olwell that all this talk is just a ruse, a play at getting an insanity defense.

So, there’s the possibility that this is a simple ruse that the defendant may be using in an attempt to mitigate her punishment. This is on top of the other possibility that she’s just plain batshit crazy. The third option is that this is the beginning of another, more insidious threat!

CBS News:

Police have previously speculated that there may be more to the case. They say the murder suspects may have been involved in a vampire cult, WTSP reports, and Pistey’s claims to vampiredom appear to give credence to the idea.

Credence? No, really, it doesn’t do that at all. It’s really just RAMPANT SPECULATION ON THE PART OF THE WRITER!

I don’t like typing with the caps lock on, Casey Glynn. See what you made me do?

Oh, and NBC2, which has the video interview with the next target on the CW’s Supernatural:

“Vampire cult” blamed for teen’s murder

Thanks, local television news! You never fail to lay the hyperbolic smackdowns! Let’s start another “Satanic panic” as it worked so well for the West Memphis Three. Shall we start polluting the jury pool right now, or do you think we should just work over the local pastors to prejudice their “flocks” on Sunday?

Let’s bring this back to the realm of sanity: this is a terrible story about a kid being murdered by other kids, for still unknown reasons. One of the accessories decided to blab to local news that she was a vampire/werewolf even going so far as to admit it sounds crazy. Her Facebook posts, as seen on the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, seem to depict a person with little appreciation for her currently dire circumstances (lending weight to her delusional status). Vampires and werewolves, in terms of the popular definitions of the supernatural creatures, do not exist. “Vampire cults” is a code word for “scary teens we can’t understand”.

Let’s let the investigation sort itself out before wild media speculation incites citizens to turn back the clock and start burning Dungeons & Dragons books or Beatles records.


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