The Skeleton Count, or The Vampire Mistress

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The Skeleton Count, or The Vampire Mistress (1828) by Elizabeth Caroline Grey is alleged by anthologist Peter Haining to be the first vampire story written and published by a woman.[1] Haining claims that it was first published in the English weekly paper The Casket in 1828 (no relation to other magazines of the same name) and that a collector brought him the only known copy of the story.[citation needed] No other editors have included the story in collections of vampire tales, and the provenance of the tale is suspect.[citation needed] Haining has espoused controversial literary positions before, most recently involving the alleged historicity of the popular penny dreadful "[Sweeney Todd]]." [2]

Grey, a prolific author of so-called "silver fork" novels for women, is an unlikely author of such a story and many stories of the type have been falsely attributed to her. [3] Until hard evidence is forthcoming, her authorship is at best unproven. It is nearly impossible to verify[clarification needed] that the piece appeared in The Casket, a penny press paper originally published by George Cowie and William Strange (1827-1829) and revived by Cowie as The New Casket (1831-1833).[4]


  1. ^ Peter Haining. The Vampire Omnibus. Orion mass market paperback (July 17, 1995). ISBN 978-1-85797-684-7
  2. ^ Oliver Duff (3 January 2006). "Sweeney Todd: fact or fiction?". The Independent. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. 
  3. ^ The Elizabeth Caroline Grey Hoax, John Adcock, Yesterday's Papers, June 24, 2010
  4. ^ Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor, ed. (2009). Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism. London: Academia Press and the British Library. p. 149. ISBN 9780712350396.