Public Health Notice,
At the turn of the Nineteenth Century, a growing, increasingly urban population, along with rising immigration, contributed to a spike in vampire numbers. In a widely-published 1905 vampire study, FVZA scientists estimated the worldwide vampire population at one million.
The vampire population boom forced world leaders to take drastic measures to try and slow the spread of the plague. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt ordered a curfew in every city and town in the country. At dusk across the land, curfew sirens rang out as children ran in from their play and cities fell dark. The curfew was economically devastating for restaurants, theaters, bars and nightclubs, and led to a mini-Depression. President Roosevelt also authorized an emergency vampire relief fund, with most of the money going to the FVZA to hire more people and upgrade their equipment. In addition, every branch of the Armed Forces was called into service to help the Agency.
London's Battersea Station,
the end of the line for
thousands of vampires
Large cities were hardest hit by the vampire explosion. Early each morning in London, boatmen would make their way west along the fog-shrouded Thames, stopping at various wharfs to pick up vampires that had been destroyed the night before. The sight of a withered old boatman slipping silently through the fog, his boat heaped with vampire corpses, was one of the indelible impressions of the day. Eventually, the vampire corpses would be brought to the Battersea power station for incineration. At its peak, Battersea station was burning over one-hundred vampires a day.
Bombay's Old Quarter
before it was burned
to the ground
Other cities took more dramatic steps to combat the rise in vampirism. In Bombay, India, the city's old quarter, with its narrow streets and numerous homeless people, had become a a breeding ground for vampires. When extermination efforts by British troops did little to stem the problem, the Viceroy ordered the area burned to the ground. Thousands were displaced, and a precious historical neighborhood was gone forever. Not surprisingly, vampire fighting became a valued trade: mercenary vampire fighters roamed the globe, demanding top fees for their services.
FVZA Agents take down
While vampires took thousands of victims between 1900 and 1910, their psychological toll on the public may have been even worse. Innocent people were gunned down as panic and paranoia reigned. Some enterprising Americans tried to leaven the stress by opening illegal bars and clubs known as "Curfew-Busters." The locations of these establishments changed often to keep away from the prying eyes of the FVZA.
In general, attempts to skirt the law were the exception and not the rule. Most people in the U.S. honored the curfew, forcing blood-starved vampires to become more brazen, and in the process, more vulnerable. After reaching a peak in 1905, the vampire population stabilized somewhat, before growing again through the Great Depression and the war, until science trotted out its greatest weapon: the vampire vaccine.