With the crisis of my father’s recent illness and the minor drama of my own, I feel like I’ve been way out of touch the last two weeks. It’s time get back into the flow of things. I thought little census whacking for Halloween would ease my way back into writing. So I went hunting for Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins, Witches and Pumpkins.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the incidence of Vampires is extremely low in the United States. In 1880, four Vampires: Otto; Jean; Julianne; and Mary, all in their twenties, were living in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They claimed to be actors. In 1870, there was just one Vampire in the United States, 26 year-old machinist George Vampire. Of course he lived in New York City. What happened to these five Vampires in the 20th century? Were they forced to leave or did they on their own just pull out up stakes and leave?
According to the World Names Profiler (WNP), Germany and the United States have the greatest incidence of Vampires in the world. Germany’s statistic is 0.04 per million, while in the U.S., the figure is 0.01 Vampires per million people. Regionally, the American Vampires are located in Oklahoma, according to the WNP. The Sooner state has a Vampire index of 1.04 per million. With a 2008 estimated population of 3,640,000 or so, there would be about four Vampires in Oklahoma. I found in public records three listings in Lawton, Oklahoma, for Madonna Vampire. Unfortunately for her, there are at least thirty people named Buffy in Oklahoma presently.
Nearly all the Zombies in the census records turned out to be mis-transcriptions of other names. The WNP reports no Zombies in the United States. Public records reviews show about 14 Zombies in various places around the country.
Kraft Ghost of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and Leonard Ghost of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, both listed on the 1790 federal census appear to be the first two Ghosts in America. But in the 1900 census, the number of Ghosts expands exponentially. Most of these “new” Ghosts are Native Americans in the upper Midwest. The WNP indicates a Ghost index of 18.29 per million in South Dakota and 3.37 per million in Nebraska. South Dakota’s estimated 2008 population was 804,000, which would yield about 15 Ghosts. Public records reveal about 17 Ghosts in South Dakota (when obvious duplicates are eliminated).
Nebraska’s estimated population is about 1.8 million, suggesting something a bit more than six Ghosts. I was able to find only one Ghost in Nebraska in public records. The rest seem to have vanished.
And how about Pennsylvania where it seems to have begun for Ghosts in America? WNP’s Pennsylvania Ghost index is 2.58 per million. That would mean about 32 Ghosts presently among Pennsylvania’s estimated 12.45 million folks. I was able to identify 25 Ghosts in Pennsylvania public records after eliminating duplicates and two entries which appeared to refer to religious organizations.
Apparently, the first Ghoul in America was 66 year-old Christian Ghoul of Maryland, a German immigrant. He appears on the 1870 census. Few other Ghouls seem to have been counted until the 1900 census, where like the Ghosts, the Ghouls grew rapidly in number. And like the Ghosts, most of the “new” Ghouls were Indians, living primarily in Tehama County, California.
When it comes to Ghouls, the United States doesn’t even register in the WNP top ten. (Number one is France, with a Ghoul incidence of 4.59 per million; Switzerland is a distant second at 1.92 per million, supporting evidence that the Gauls may be the most Ghoulish people on Earth). (Hey, I just report the facts!)
Within in the U.S., however, Ghouls seem to be concentrated around Las Vegas and Chicago, at least according to the WNP. Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, and Will County, Illinois, adjacent to Chicago, were the only two counties in which the WNP found any Ghouls at all. Curiously, public records show no Ghouls in Nevada and six in the Chicago area. Overall, public records indicate something more than 100 Ghouls in America presently, with perhaps as many as 10% of those in California. This is the biggest disparity I’ve ever seen between WNP data and public records. [The WNP's FAQs state: "All our names and location data are derived from publicly available telephone directories or national electoral registers, sourced for the period 2000-2005."]
A man named Goblin was first in recorded in New York City in the 1850 census. In 1860 there was still just one Goblin on the census and that was 14-year-old Lucinda Goblin who lived with the Davenport household in Columbia, Missouri. But just 10 years later, the 1870 census showed that three fourths of the (four) Goblins in the USA lived in North Carolina. By 1900 however, the number of Goblins in America had increased nearly eight-fold to a total of 33, to be found in every region of the country.
Globally, the number of Goblins in the U.S. doesn’t make the slightest statistical ripple, using WNP data. Number one is France, again, with 0.2 Goblins per million. The United Kingdom is far, far, behind with 0.02 per million.
We all know the history of Witch hunts in America. Surprisingly enough however only one Witch appears on the 1790 census and that would be Peter Witch of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (just what is it with Pennsylvania and Lancaster in particular?). There was also a Witch in Rutledge County, Alabama, in 1790. By 1900, Witches were routinely enumerated in the census all over the country. Sadly, two of them were little boys: Jacob Witch, 10 years old, and his brother, Henry Witch five years old, who were apparently in an orphanage in Las Galinas, Marin County, California.
Turns out that there are far more Witches in the U.K. and Canada than in the USA (the only countries reporting any Witches at all). The British Witch population (0.5 per million) is concentrated in Newport (Casnewydd), Wales, and the southwest jurisdictions of North Somerset, Bath and Northeast Somerset, as well as the City of Bristol. There are also a few Witches in Surrey.
According to WNP, Manitoba’s Witch frequency of 2.93 per million accounts for the whole of Canada’s 0.23 per million Witch index. Manitoba has an estimated population of 1.2 million; all of Canada consists of 31.6 million people. Mathematically, that does not work out. Unfortunately the WNP provincial map of Manitoba gives no further details.
The U.S. Witch frequency is a comparatively minuscule 0.04 per million. WNP finds Witches concentrated in Dickinson County, Kansas, and Howard County, Maryland. A public records search reveals about twelve Witches in the USA (eliminating commercial enterprises like plumbing and construction ["Ditch Witch"] and fast food restaurants [Fish Witch"]). None of the Witches were found in Kansas and of the two in Maryland, neither was in Howard County.
John Pumpkin appears as the only one of his surname on the 1820 census. He lived in Fayette Count, Kentucky. Virtually no other Pumpkins are found in the census until 1880. In that year, Pumpkins were concentrated in two areas of the country: Fresno County, California, and Greene County, Georgia. The latter jurisdiction included a young lady, 15 years old, named Etta Pumpkin. Following a pattern that we’ve seen before, the 1900 census showed a huge increase in the number of Pumpkins in America. Again this had to do with the number of Native Americans enumerated on the census in that year. The Indian Pumpkins were primarily on reservations in the upper Midwest. By 1910, however, they were concentrated in Madera County, California, and Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Pumpkins included one Mary Pumpkin Gritts.
The WNP data shows the expected distribution of Pumpkins in the USA based on historical data. South Dakota, Montana, and Oklahoma are leading Pumpkin states, based presumably on the frequency of the name among Indians.
Other “Important” News
While I was whacking away on Halloween themes, I started wondering about some other things. Not only did I find unexpected discrepancies with the usually reliable World Names Profiler, but I also now have reason to question the competence of the Census Bureau, whose data report not a single Fool, Clown, or Jackass has ever been enumerated in Washington, D.C.
October 31, 2009 Saturday at 6:24 pm