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A vampire is a being from folklore who subsists on the blood or life essence of the living. In European folklore, vampires were shroud-wearing undead beings who often visited loved ones and caused mischief in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. Before the early 19th century, they were described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance, markedly different from today's gaunt, pale vampire. The term vampire was popularised in the West in the early 18th century, after vampire legends from oral traditions of ethnic groups of the Balkans and Eastern Europe were recorded and published. The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century. The modern basis of the vampire legend comes from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, considered the quintessential vampire novel. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century. (Full article...)

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Male ochre-collared piculet
Ochre-collared piculet

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Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

On this day...

May 22: Victoria Day in Canada (2017)

Blackwall Tunnel under construction, 1895
Blackwall Tunnel under construction, 1895

Richard Wagner (b. 1813) · Augusta, Lady Gregory (d. 1932) · Myrtle Bachelder (d. 1997)

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Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane

The fourth season of the American animated comedy series Family Guy marked the show's return after a three-year hiatus. Due to low ratings, Fox cancelled the series after the conclusion of its third season in 2002. Increasing DVD sales and the popularity of its reruns on the Adult Swim network convinced Fox to revive the program, the first time a TV series was brought back on the basis of its DVD sales. The season, consisting of thirty episodes, premiered on May 1, 2005, and ran until May 21, 2006. The season's final three episodes, edited for content in broadcast form, were originally produced as a single standalone film called Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, which was released on DVD on September 27, 2005. Critical reception for the season was mostly positive. Two episodes from season four were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program. (Full list...)

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Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle. The seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, it is the mother church of the diocese and contains the bishop's throne (cathedra). It was built between 1175 and 1490, replacing an earlier church built on the same site in 705. The cathedral's architecture is entirely Gothic and mostly in the Early English style of the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The cathedral is a Grade I listed building.

Photograph: David Iliff

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