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Can someone (including Stephen) clear up the Glick/Barlow scenario? *SPOILERS*

Discussion in ''Salem's Lot' started by MattManochio, May 27, 2014.

  1. Lily Sawyer

    Lily Sawyer B-dazzled

    Vampire Lite. More charm, less filling. Er, you know what I mean.
  2. Lets Rock

    Lets Rock .. still breathing...

    Modern vampires - if so inclined you can build them homes families educations careers (& probably have them abducted by aliens) in Sims games
    blunthead and xkittyx like this.
  3. ShaunN

    ShaunN Member

    Hi! I've been very interested in this question myself and I joined this board specifically so I could write this reply.

    I disagree with the explanation that many people on this thread have accepted for this problem - i.e., that Barlow was somehow in 'Salem's Lot to attack Danny. I have an alternative explanation that, I think, fits more neatly with the evidence, though it also is an explanation that leaves a great deal unexplained.

    The first point is that I don't believe that Danny was bitten at all, by any vampire In the version of the book that I have (copyright 1975) there is absolutely no mention of Danny having puncture marks anywhere on his body. This is pretty clear because, when Danny returns home in confusion after being attacked in the woods, he quickly becomes very ill. The doctors are looking for an explanation for his anemia but none is found. If Danny came back home with fang marks somewhere on his body that certainly would have been spotted and pursued as an explanation for his sickness. For example, someone would have suggested a snake bite or some other external source for this illness caused by the bite. The fact that puncture wounds are never mentioned clearly means, I think, that there were none.

    So, if that is the case, how did Danny become a vampire? I think that his is the one example in the book of the vampirism infection spreading through supernatural means other than directly from vampire to victim. I think that the ritual that Straker used to make Salem's Lot an acceptable hunting ground for Barlow had two components: one was to use Ralphie as a human sacrifice. Ralphie is eviscerated and offered up to Barlow's master, if we go by the book that Susan and Mark found in the Marsten house. But something was also done to Danny as part of the same ritual, though at an earlier stage. He was infected with the vampire virus and left to begin Barlow's work. Throughout the book there is the comparison of vampirism to an infection (most notably when Cody disinfects his wound and uses the tetanus shot to protect him from turning) and it is quite possible that there were other ways to spread it besides direct vampire-human conduct. The book suggests that the vampires are a form of demon and that vampirism is demonic possession. Perhaps the ritual partly involved summoning a minor vampire demon and putting it in Danny.

    The second part of the argument is that I think it is clear that Barlow was in that box that the men picked up at the dock. The effect that the box has on the movers is proof enough of that. The overwhelming fear etc. is something only associated with Barlow's presence. Remember that, throughout the book, people feel very differently when Barlow is present vs. when he is absent - the obvious example being that Mark immediately knows that Barlow is gone when the men first go to the Marsten House to attack Barlow and find Susan instead. So, Barlow is in the box and, given what we know of the need for the ritual, I think that is the first time that he enters the Lot, even though Hubie Marsten had begun preparing the Lot for him many years before. (As an aside, I think it is really interesting that Marsten commits a murder and suicide in his house with the specific goal of making it unhallowed ground and, therefore, safe for Barlow).

    Again, the ritual here is important. I think that the book implies strongly that vampires cannot travel freely. Barlow cannot enter Salem's Lot at all until Straker performs the ritual. Another example of this tie to a geographically specific area is, I think, the answer to the question of why vampires have not overrun all of southern Maine. The other vampires of Salem's Lot cannot, apparently, leave the vicinity of the Lot. That is their "ancestral earth" if you will and they cannot travel freely without that earth being with them. In the King story "The Night Flyer" there is an allusion to this - the NF uses his plane as a coffin and has the hold filled with his ancestral earth. Of course, one could argue (as some have) that this story suggests Barlow could have entered the Lot, bitten Danny, then returned to his coffin in some nearby location. But I think that for him to function anywhere, he needed that ritual to make it possible. The ritual is an indication that he had to get the permission/acquiescence of a higher (lower?) power if he was going to enter a new area. Maybe only vampires of Barlow's status needed such permission, but I think that the ritual here is key. And, again, the evidence is that Danny was not bitten.

    I have not read King's "Dark Tower" series where, I understand, he lays out a lot more information about the nature of vampires in his universe. I am basing my comments entirely on what is in "Salem's Lot." So, it is possible that a clearer explanation of the ritual and what it means/how it works is found elsewhere. It is also possible (likely?) that Stephen modified the rules of his universe as it developed. For example, I understand that Type One vampires like Barlow are supposed to be hideously deformed. Barlow was not deformed and I have not read an explanation of that discrepancy. Did he hypnotize everyone into seeing him as very human looking when he really was not? That seems a waste of energy and something that he surely would not have continued when he was struggling with Ben in his coffin.

    Anyway, that's my answer to the question. Hope it makes sense to people.
  4. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    Welcome to the boards, Shaun! Hang around and keep posting. :)
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  5. bobledrew

    bobledrew Inveterate yammerer

    I just discovered this thread. Gonna have to go back to the book and re-visit to see if I can poke any holes in ShaunN's (welcome!) theory.

    I did want to address the question raised some time ago about King echoing Orlok / Nosferatu as part of the book, however: in interviews and critical analysis, King and others have noted that the novel is very much an homage to all of the tropes of vampire fiction. So it makes perfect sense to see an echo of Nosferatu in there.
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  6. bobledrew

    bobledrew Inveterate yammerer

    I think there's a problem with an assumption. Having reread the section, I don't think it's clear at all that it's Straker who takes Ralphie Glick; I think it's Barlow, and that he's already there.

    And I think that Barlow isn't in the boxes the movers bring to the Marsten House; he's already installed himself there. That's why they see the items of Ralphie's clothing, and then hear a noise that sends them running -- it's Barlow, likely still hungry.

    If Ralphie becomes a vampire, then it's a simple matter to see him become the means by which Danny becomes one -- he comes back to visit his brother.
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  7. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    I agree with ShaunN on this. When I read the book I never got the idea Ralph ever became a vampire. They only mention (repeatedly) that he is a sacrifice. For this I see a "black mass" sacrifice, with his heart being offered to a dark god. Perhaps his soul is damned because of this. But he remains a human. And he remains completely dead.

    Besides the focus on the actual sacrifice made of him, if he were a vampire, as well, he would have been featured as much as Danny was. So I was surprised when I read so many people saw him as infected, as well.

    Danny becoming a vampire thanks to the ritual itself is also a good explanation.
    kingricefan, Doc Creed and Neesy like this.
  8. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    I have to go with the OP and Shaun--it's perfectly clear that Straker is sacrificing Ralphie in order to prepare the way for Barlow, who is in the tall crate without stamps. The moving men sense his presence--they're uneasy and feel like they're being watched--and they see the 'bundle of clothes' (Ralphie's body) in the Marsten House's basement. In that way--the sense of unease, even though the vampire is at that time immobile--the story hearkens back to Dracula.

    I don't, however, think Danny became a vampire by any other means than Barlow 'visiting' him. Mrs. Glick's marks are described as being a shadow under her jawline, and Mr. Glick just feels a tender spot, like a shaving nick. That indicates to me that a vampire bite isn't necessarily going to be twin punctures, KWIM? I have a 9 year old boy (between Danny and Ralphie's ages), and at any given time he has a plethora of bruises and small scabs/cuts. It's a condition of being an active kid. So any small scratches, scrapes, etc. wouldn't likely be remarked upon by a doctor or coroner.

    Nah. Barlow got Danny and Ralphie was sacrificed; gutted and dismembered, likely, in order to clear the way for Barlow. His death 'deconsecrated' the town, if that makes sense.

    I can't count how many times I've read this book--lol. My daughter is laughing at me right now because I'm quoting as I write :) Now I want to read it again, and Dracula (as I pulled it off the shelf to be sure I wasn't talking out my nether regions about that one--have only read it twice).
  9. ShaunN

    ShaunN Member

    Hi! Interesting points. My copy of "'Salem's Lot" is in transit at the moment, so I can't check up some of Skimom's points about how the vampire attack marks appeared on the other Glicks, but I'll get back to that when I get my copy.

    I think that most of us can agree that Barlow was in the coffin/box that the movers picked up. The question is whether he was already stalking SL before the movers got the box and if he was returned to the box to wait to be picked up. I don't think that this can really be resolved based on the evidence of the book. I think that there is one flaw in my theory that Danny was infected by the ritual and it is this: just before the boys are captured, Ralphie tells Danny that he saw eyes in the forest watching them. That does suggest they were captured by a vampire since, presumably, Straker does not have eyes that would be visible in the dark. However, I think it is clear that it is Straker who performs the ritual that sacrifices Ralphie and it could be that Straker was, in fact, not fully human (he is fantastically strong, after all) so the glowing eyes might belong to him.

    For me, I just have a problem with the idea of Barlow running around SL at night and then racing back to some warehouse (how far away?) to get back into his coffin before dark. I think that so much was done to prepare SL for Barlow's presence that the ritual had to be fundamentally important to him getting there. After all, Hubie Marsten had been getting the place ready decades before Barlow arrived and the book even talks about the possibility that Hubie was sacrificing young boys -presumably also as part of the preparation for Barlow - in the years before he murdered his wife and killed himself. The sacrifice of Ralphie could well have been the last step in a much longer process. Again, it is apparent that Barlow just could not get up and move from Europe to SL - a great deal had to be done to make the place hospitable for him. This does not preclude the possibility that, at this late stage in the preparations, he was able to visit SL briefly, but this is not clear.

    I understand Skimom's point about little boys always having scratches/bruises. Given that Danny had just gotten back from being attacked/wandering in the woods, it is likely he had many such bruises. But I still feel that the Drs would have examined him for this and at least noted any such marks, given that the cause of his illness was unknown. It should be in their notes, at least as a clue for us readers. So, based on this, I'm still willing to hold to the idea that Danny was turned by the ritual, not by Barlow. Again, however, I admit that the evidence on this is not conclusive. If it was a vampire that captured Ralphie and Danny, then it must have been Barlow and Danny's conversion becomes much simpler to explain.

    One thing: does the moving man see Ralphie's body in the cellar or just the remains of his clothing? Again, I need to re-read this section. My sense was always that he just saw clothing, maybe with blood on it, but he recognized what it meant. But I could be wrong.

    Finally, one last point on the whole "why does Barlow need a ritual" question. Barlow needs to satisfy his master, before he can move into SL; that is clearly stated. However, there is also the possibility that the ritual gives him special abilities that other vampires don't have; it allows him to "claim" the town, so to speak. I'm thinking here of his ability to enter the Petrie house without an invitation. I always thought that was an interesting point, given that it was so well-established in the book that vampires needed an invitation to get in. Yet Barlow smashes his way into the house. I always assumed that was because Barlow was such a powerful vampire that the usual rules did not apply to him, and that may well be the case. But it is interesting to wonder if the ritual (and the preparation that came before it) gave him proprietary rights to SL that other vampires did not have.

    One last comment: I think that one of the more effective moments of the story was Barlow's letter to the vampire hunters, wherein he identifies them all by name and makes it very apparent that he has been spying on all of them. I found that really interesting; to think that all of the main characters, at various times, were probably really close to Barlow himself but had no awareness of it. Maybe I'm wrong and Barlow was having other people spy for him, but I think it is a lot creepier to imagine he was doing it himself.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
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  10. kingricefan

    kingricefan All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.

    Does anyone remember that it was not Ralphie who was the original sacrifice before Barlow came to the Lot. There was a dog that was disemboweled and placed at the top of a gate (was it the cemetary gates?) in the beginning of the book, after Straker first got to the Lot. That was the original desecration of the hallowed' ground that made it possible for Barlow to enter the Lot. Straker killed Ralphie, not Barlow. That murder was done inside the Marsten house, probably in the basement, hence the boy's clothes lying around in plain site.
  11. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    Yes the dog was the first sacrifice. I thought it was Straker getting things ready for Barlow. And then there was Mike getting all vibes in the graveyard.
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  12. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    Yeah, the dog was first, but Straker killed Ralphie. From pg 85 of the HB copy of 'Salem's Lot:

    In Harmony Hill Cemetery a dark figure stood meditatively inside the gate, waiting for the turn of time. When he spoke, the voice was soft and cultured.
    "Oh my father, favor me now. Lord of Flies, favor me now. Now I bring you spoiled meat and reeking flesh. I have made sacrifice for your favor. With my left hand I bring it. Make a sign for me on this ground, consecrated in your name. I wait for a sign to begin your work."
    The voice died away. A wind had sprung up, gentle, bringing with it the sigh and whisper of leafy branches and grasses and a whiff of carrion from the dump up the road.
    There was no sound but that brought on the breeze. The figure stood silent and thoughtful for a time. Then it stooped and stood with the figure of a child in his arms.
    "I bring you this."
    It became unspeakable.

    This is spoken in creepy but clear English. Barlow speaks with an old-world tempo and inflection, and his words are not arranged in typical English patterns. Examples of Barlow's speech pattern are best when he 'meets' Dud and in his letter to the Scooby Gang.

    I guess it might be construed as Barlow doing the killing, but Barlow was in the tall box that was delivered to the house, which didn't happen until the next chapter (5). I deduce that Barlow was in the crate first because of the sense of menace Royal and Hank felt: "There was something about the box that he didn't like. It was more than the lack of a customs stamp. An indefinable something." That box scares the sit out of them. I can't see all that menace (there's a lot more to it than I'm quoting) coming from dirt in a box. Plus, if it was his native soil, where has Barlow been sleeping?

    When they are moving it onto the truck: They tipped the box, and something shifted heavily inside. Following that is the rigamarole about moving the box downstairs, then Hank having to go back and seeing at the very least Ralphie's clothes. It suggests he saw something else, too, but trails off and then Hank bolts out of there.

    We first meet Barlow in chapter 6, when he takes Dud, but he obviously was around after Ralphie (because Danny dies in the previous chapter).

    Only Mr. King knows for sure, of course :)
  13. ShaunN

    ShaunN Member

    I would not characterize the dog's killing as a "sacrifice," at least not in the same sense as Ralphie. In the book, someone (I think it's Matt Burke) asserts that Straker probably saw the dog by chance and killed it because it had the special markings over its eyes that could drive a vampire away. I don't know how important this was - it's amusing to think of Barlow running away from an otherwise ordinary dog - but it doesn't seem that this was planned or part of a ritual. Straker just saw a potential problem for his master and eliminated it. I don't think that killing the dog desecrated the ground. On the other hand, Straker did sacrifice Ralphie inside the cemetery as well (not inside the house), and that may have had the effect of desecrating that ground. Again, it would depend on the ritual, I suppose.

    This comes back to one of my original points - I would love to know a lot more about that ritual and its meaning and effect. Did it desecrate all of SL? (Except for the explicitly holy ground, like the churches) Was it just a way to appease Satan, so that Barlow could move freely? Other people have mentioned how King's original SL story plays into this as the area was already the site of unholy events, but I don't think any of that comes out in the book.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  14. ShaunN

    ShaunN Member

    I agree that it was Straker who sacrificed Ralphie in that scene that you quote. However, I admit that I believe that because I don't think that Barlow was yet able to enter SL without the ritual. I don't think that the passage you cite necessarily proves that it was Straker. It could well be that the phrases used in the ritual are, themselves, ritualized words (though why they would be in English is a good question) so the phrasing may not mean much. I agree with everything else you wrote.
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  15. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    I was looking for the exact quote about the dog's white eyes:

    Matt is the one who says these words. Something I found interesting when reading them again now is that this theory of what happened to the dog (which I see as the truth, as these types of deductions turn out to be), is that it reaffirms that Straker was the one preparing everything in the town. This sounds to me as another indicator that Barlow was not in 'salem's Lot at the time.

    And I found these words a few lines afterwards, which are funny when seen in the light of the current topic (not that I would listen to them anyway).

  16. Aericanwizard

    Aericanwizard Well-Known Member

    One thing that I really enjoyed about 'Salem's lot (and which I'm sure was part of Mr. King's homage to Dracula), is just how much the main characters don't know about Barlow. Even when we get a conclusion, it comes in the form of speculation (such as the previous post about "Straker must have spotted it..."). There is very little in the way of certainty, which heightens the tension. We don't even really know what Straker is. There is conflicting information about him being a "human thrall", but possessing "super-human strength" (I'm going from memory, here; for the record, I was pretty convinced he was human).

    Based on the later scenes regarding the power of faith, I find it fascinating that Straker (or someone) had to do all this work to prepare the town for Barlow. Does that mean that Barlow believed in the power of this ritual?

    Long days and pleasant nights.
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  17. Bobarobbob1

    Bobarobbob1 Active Member

    The dog was killed because of its eyes. Not as the desecration sacrifice.
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  18. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

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  19. count chocula

    count chocula Member

    On pages 360-61 Kings says that Straker bled Danny Glick first and Barlow took over later. Ralphie Glick was just plain gone, I presume offered to Satan, Barlow's master. In the expanded version with the deleted scenes, Danny Glick does in fact have puncture marks and one Doctor is puzzled by their disappearance after he dies.

    One thing that I do find curious though: according to King, Danny Glick died on Sept. 24th at 1:00am, and was buried Sept. 28th (...on Sunday?!!!). All the other vampires rise after the first night and start feasting. How was it that Danny remained dormant for four days? He attacks Mike Ryerson after the funeral, but if he were up and about before that, he would no doubt have gone after his parents yet they were okay until after the funeral. Even Dr. Cody noted that Danny was the only one with a marker, all the others "just disappeared into thin air."

    It's almost like King had the mini-story written for Danny Glick first and couldn't quite work in the details after that. The time frame for the original version is all wrong too: by Monday, Oct. 6th it's almost over but that doesn't make sense given the 4 to 5 day survival rate for the victims after being bitten.
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  20. Lee9900

    Lee9900 Deleted User

    Hmmm if I may....

    Maybe the thing that was in the crate was the thing that was in that National Geographic box put away under the stairs at that university that broke free and killed Wilma in the Creepshow segment "The Crate".
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