This has bothered me for 40 years *spoilers*

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Apr 17, 2015
Yes, but why was Matt Burke so upset that he invited Mike in?
And it’s in this that I think we find the answer to the mystery.

When Matt is telling his story to Susan at his house, he says:

“…And something has me worried…rather badly worried. According to the old literature, a vampire cannot simply walk into a man’s house and suck his blood. No. He has to be invited. But Mike Ryerson invited Danny Glick in last night.
And I invited Mike myself!
(Chapter 9, Section 5)​

This establishes that when a vampire is invited in, it doesn't have to be by the owner or a permanent resident of the house. Anyone who is invited in can extend an invitation to a vampire. (It’s like when you throw a party and people you invite decide to invite other people to come. Vampires have no consideration.)

So based on this, once Mark invited Danny Glick in, Danny could, in turn, invite Barlow. I don’t know whether Danny actually had to be in the house to issue the invitation, but he could have easily slipped into the house when the family was away and formally invited Barlow in. Once that happened, Barlow could enter at will, which is what he did.

Matt realized that he had to revoke his invitation to Mike and once he did so, Mike left. As Mark was able to drive Danny away with the cross, he probably didn't realize that his invitation would allow Danny to return.

I conclude that we do not have a plot hole here.


Active Member
Sep 28, 2015
New England
I don't buy the invitation by proxy theory. I think that A: King messed up and didn't explain it. or B: He did it on purpose as further homage to Dracula. What neither of those explanations explains is how Danny Glick was able to get into the McDougall household and turn baby Randall. And don't tell me the 10 month old baby invited him into the house.

count chocula

Oct 6, 2015
When Danny Glick visits Mike Ryerson at Matthew Burke's house, he takes off the latch lock windows which Ben Mears noted would be almost impossible to remove from the inside. Mike invited Danny in and Danny removed the window frame. They saw it lying on the grass later on.

I think that's what happened to the McDougall baby. The baby "didn't even struggle when Danny slipped in and sank his teeth in his neck," as King puts it. Once Danny had hypnotized the baby and received permission of entry, he removed the window frame. The book gives me the impression that baby Randall would have loved to revenge himself on worthless parents, especially the beating mother Sandy.

count chocula

Oct 6, 2015
I think the priest was the key to Barlow's entry and that he would bring darkness with him despite his good intentions. Barlow represents much more than a vampire to the priest as his ultimate master is Satan. This is what Fr. Callahan is really wrestling with, good vs. evil.

Although I like the explanation you gave I have one problem with it: It's true Matthew Burke had a guest who invited Danny Glick in but Mike Ryerson wasn't a vampire at the time. Consider Susan Norton: after she becomes a vampire she visits her mother but still has to be invited in, pages 353-354. I don't think vampires have the power to invite other vampires just based on this. Susan Norton can't even invite herself into a house she once lived in!

I'll bet King just screwed up. His time frame is off for the whole story even though it's one of my favorites and I read it every Fall.


New Member
Nov 19, 2015
I just finished reading the book and this has been driving me absolutely mad. While well informed, I don't believe any of the theories here and I doubt it was a screw up as it's the same thing that happened in Dracula. It's definitely an homage to Dracula and quite possibly some greater power shared by "Master Vampires" of sufficient age and strength.

I don't know why I waited 41 years before I started reading King books but I'm hooked!

count chocula

Oct 6, 2015
Barlow can do whatever in my opinion. He doesn't need any invites. That is a good question though. He broke through the window and not the door, so maybe that is relevant too.
I don't think Salem's Lot is only about vampires though. I read Stephen King's forward and why he says he wrote the book but it sounds like that's what he'd like some people to believe...

Mr. Gray Robert

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2015
Dallas, Texas
Thank you. I love reading and I love talking about books and writers. I don't do social media. I'm not on facebook or twitter or any of the others. I don't belong to any message board sites but this one and only joined after much agonizing about it. But I decided to try it simply because I love books. And I think King is as good an author as the US has ever produced. I don't mean by that that I endorse everything in all of his books. I can do without sex scenes and I try to avoid cussing, but I also realize that the world is full of things of which I don't approve and I have to live here and deal with it. But that caveat aside, I think King's writing is of a piece with our historical best (Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, Chandler, etc.). I remember arguing with people in the 80s about King. They considered him a pulp fiction lightweight and I saw much more in his books than that. I saw characters drawn true to life. I saw shadings in them that felt real. Good and evil. And most importantly, I saw that he took evil and good seriously. That they were real to him and that his characters had to make choices about which side they stood on - often at the ultimate cost. That always attracted me because I believe that's true of life and I've tried to live that way.

Here here!! Very well said my lady!! :)


New Member
Feb 5, 2016
How did Barlow get into the Petries' house? He would have had to have been invited in at some point or he couldn't have broken in in the book. Did Uncle Stevie and his editors goof, or did the part where we learn who invited Barlow in at some time get edited out?
I think the answer is in the context, Barlow says it himself moments later when he tells father Callahan "you could have vanquished me...", he wasn't invited in, yes, but he was vulnerable, and also he doesn't bite anyone, he crushes skulls or infests the priest's mouth...


Speed Reader
Sep 3, 2016
Yesterday's low temp in Caribou (actual, not wind chill) was -15F(-25C)and the high was -2F(-18C). Tonight it's expected to get to -22F(-30C). Here in Bangor it was only -13F(-25) and a high of 10F (-12C)yesterday. This time of year that moose would be skating across the lake. ;-D
hey, that's where my sister was born (caribou). based on this weather report, i'm damn glad we didn't stay there lol


Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2016
Just finished the book tonight. I wanted to throw my two cents in on this. Sooooo read through the thread and I think some of us are reaching to fill this particular plothole. It is an inconsistency. Yes, he retconned in the Dark Towers books technically. But back when it was first published it certainly was plot-holey and still is if you haven't read the DT books. I'm not judging, still was a fine piece of reading! :D

It was only his second published novel and his first with such a huge small town type cast.

An inconsistency or two isn't unusual. It can be quite hard to keep track of everything when you write sometimes and the bigger the story the more tracks it has. :)

Book is still great!

Joseph Burdette

Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2018
West Virginia
Mark invited Danny Glick in earlier and never took back the invite. This doesn't seem to help Susan, but maybe Barlow had some way of riding that way in. Maybe Barlow's rage was strong enough to over power the pain of whatever punishment a vampire takes from entering uninvited. I have wondered about this as well, it never ruined the story for me and made for one of the best moments in the book.
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