Finding Vellutini: How I Tracked Down the Editor of the Journal of Vampirology

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Various issues. I received several issues of the Journal of Vampirology on April 6, 2016. The journal was published and edited by John L. Vellutini from 1984–1990. Picture: Erin Chapman.

On April 23, 2015 Vamped’s editor, Anthony Hogg, introduced me to the work of John L. Vellutini in a Facebook conversation:

Anthony Hogg
i’ll give you one idea i’d love someone to work out
what happened to John L. Vellutini?

Erin Chapman
[…]
who is that?

Anthony Hogg
Between 1984 and 1990, John L. Vellutini published the “Journal of Vampirology”
He stopped it because he said he was sick
But he seems to have just vanished

Erin Chapman
did he die?

Anthony Hogg
No one knows what happened to him
I’m guessing that’s what happened, but no one can give me a firm answer
Even the folk who used to collect his journal

This piqued my interest enough to start an investigation for two reasons: the challenge to find a “missing” person and to satisfy Anthony’s curiosity.

Vellutini’s presence online was limited mostly to chatter on forums where people were asking about him. But eventually, I found his name mentioned in an online obituary. I cross-referenced the city name, San Francisco, with a PO box address for Vellutini from an archived vampire website and the cities were a match. This provided me with a starting point for my next step.

When conducting investigations or tracking down people, I am usually successful with popular social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. In this case, I tried Facebook first. The search was easy because when I looked for “John Vellutini,” only 4 profiles came up and one was in San Francisco. I again cross-referenced some other names from the obituary with his friends list to confirm his identity.

I reached out to Vellutini on Facebook. After a couple of weeks I’d received no reply so tried contacting a few people on his friend’s list to see if I could get in touch with him. A fruitful lead panned out when I messaged his friend, Steve Fenton—who turned out to be co-editor of Monster!, a horror-themed magazine.

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Front cover of Monster! (September 2015). John L. Vellutini contributed the feature article. Picture: Amazon

Fenton confirmed that his friend was, indeed, the same Vellutini who’d published Journal of Vampirology. Fenton mentioned that his magazine had just published a forty-five page article written by Vellutni in the September 2015 issue called “Ties That Bind: The Pocong & Other Creepy Creatures in Contemporary Indonesian Horror Cinema.”

I immediately purchased the issue on Amazon to see if Vellutini was still writing about vampires after all these years. I am happy to report he is.

Fenton put me in touch with Vellutini via email. I asked Vellutini and if he would be interested in doing an interview for Vamped. He agreed and the ball was finally in motion. I was excited to find out what he had been doing all these years.

Anthony, being a veteran fan of Vellutini’s work, put together an amazing set of questions that I sent off to John on March 13, 2016.

Vellutini mentioned he still had copies of a few issues of his journals and kindly offered to mail me some.

The package that arrived on April 6, 2016 exceeded my expectations. I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present that day. I actually did FaceTime with Anthony so he could see everything that was included.

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Bonus goodies. The package I received from Vellutini on April 6, 2016, not only included the journal issues at the head of this article, but these extra items too. Picture: Erin Chapman.

To me, things like this are important little pieces of history that should be preserved. John helped shape the field of vampirology with his journal and I think it’s time for his work to be brought back from the undead.

I received the responses to our questions on May 29, 2016. Finally, over a year from my original discussion with Anthony, Vamped can now answer the question that has been plaguing vampire academics and Anthony for years: what happened to the John?

Stay tuned for the answer in our exclusive interview.

Notes: 

  1. an online obituary: I am declining to reproduce it for privacy reasons.
  2. archived vampire website: “Vampyre Resources,” The House of the Andromeda, n.d., accessed April 23, 2015, http://www.oocities.org/~ladysilvereyes/vampyres/resources.html. archive.is link: https://archive.is/UrYam.

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