Thursday, December 22, 2011
Interview with Nessa Harcanu, a 400 Year-Old Vampire
Bob Anderson: Ms. Harcanu, it was very nice of you to invite us to do the interview in your lovely apartment.
Nessa Harcanu: You may call me Nessa.
Bob Anderson: I don't mean to offend you, but you're a beautiful woman. Aside from a slight paleness, I would never know that you were a vampire.
Nessa Harcanu: Why should I be offended when you tell me that you think I am beautiful.
Bob Anderson: hmmm um.
Nessa Harcanu: (she laughs) I am sorry, this is being filmed for a national audience. I should not please you. During my long existence, I have seen many trends come and go. I do not mean to belittle the movement towards equality in America and Western nations. The movement towards equality for women has taken up and down road over the centuries. When I was alive, and working a farm with my husband, he treated me as an equal. Of course, he was the man of the house, but on a day-to-day basis, he never took me for granted or spoke down to me.
Bob Anderson: It would be interesting just to to do an interview regarding feminist issues. Obviously, you have a unique perspective that would interest many women..
Nessa Harcanu: In what ways do you see my perspective as unique?
Bob Anderson: You were born over four hundred years ago. You must have had many different relationships with men and women as society has evolved over during that time.You had to deal with a variety of social conventions in different countries and different societies.
Nessa Harcanu: A beautiful woman can always make our own conventions, especially if she's wealthy. Men who talked down to me were less offensive than those who were obsequious in their pitiful efforts to seduce me. (She laughs) I must apologize. I do not mean to make light of your questions. You make one assumption that I must challenge.
Bob Anderson: Which one is that?
Nessa Harcanu: your assumption that society has evolved over the centuries is not necessarily true. While there are no more slaves, and serfs, and peasants, and people have guaranteed rights and freedoms in Western societies, people continue to interact with the same basic needs and desires. Greed and fear have not changed nor have love and compassion. Excuse me. I am going off on a tangent. Go ahead with your questions please.
Bob Anderson: In Frank's novel -
Nessa Harcanu: I am sorry to interrupt, but I must clarify misconceptions about Frank's so-called novel. It was intended to be a biography, but Frank yielded to pressure from the publisher and made it into a novel. Frank artistically touched up portions of my life. However, almost everything in the so-called novel actually happened.
Bob Anderson: Were you angry with me when he did as the publisher requested?
Nessa Harcanu: of course I was. My biological functions changed when I was made into a vampire. My emotions remained the same. (She pauses) I did not stay angry for long. Frank is very precious to me and I would never punish you emotionally as many women due to their husbands or partners.
Bob Anderson: you mentioned being wealthy. Did you really find a sack of gold coins resting next to a man who had died of the new bionic plague?
Nessa Harcanu: I just told you that the book was true in its portrayal of my life. (Pause) yes, the sack of gold was lying next to the corpulent, piggish face man who had died of the plague. Even in death, he had his hands wrapped around it. Peasants and farmers lived on next to nothing, while the rich ate until they develop gout or clog their arteries with so much cholesterol they died at an early age. The gold coins became precious because they enabled me to rejoin society and not let alone. Even though I have been wealthy for a long time, I never forgotten my life as a peasant farmer. We live in the wealthiest country on the planet and yet so many people go without proper nourishment. (Pause) I did not mean to get off on a personal tangent.
Bob Anderson: It's fascinating to hear perspectives on society and life in general. Can we go back and talk about how you became wealthy.
Nessa Harcanu: The book described how that came about. Is there something you're trying to learn?
Bob Anderson: Well, the book describes you're getting the money to Jewish merchants and bankers and trusting that they would keep your money safe, and even increase your wealth. What made you trust them?
Nessa Harcanu: initially, I asked discreet questions. When it became obvious that the people I dealt with were completely trustworthy, I didn't bother with the details. Jewish people, and Jewish merchants and bankers in particular, had to be scrupulously honest. They perpetually live under the threat of arrest or even death so they did not dare to cheat anyone. They were honest in all their dealings with outsiders and their family members.
Bob Anderson: I'd like to talk about your art collection if we could.
Nessa Harcanu: That would be fine.
Bob Anderson: I've been told that you have original paintings by Renoir, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, and several paintings by van Gogh.
Nessa Harcanu: I knew almost all of the Impressionists. As indicated in the book, I gave them money when they were starving you bought their paintings when no one else would. I have kept only a few and give them the rest to museums in Europe in this country.,