My informant, JD, is a undergraduate student at Arizona State University. He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. His family is American and he was born somewhere in California, but his family moved to Arizona shortly after his birth.
My informant (JD) and I (AT) are friends, after meeting online through a mutual friend during the pandemic. I asked him if he had any folklore to share.
JD: “So when my dad was hiking the Grand Canyon and it was like 3AM in the morning and he had his headlight on… He saw a dude walk past him without a headlamp on and the dude was like REALLY pale and he was kind of like staggering about and… he didn’t look at him or say anything and my dad was overall kind of creeped out about the guy.”
AT: “When did your dad tell you this story?”
JD: “Uhh… He just said it to me after his trip. In my kitchen, I think.”
JD: “I think it’s kind of weird. One thing he did say is-just jokingly, I guess, that it might’ve been a vampire or something but he was getting vampire vibes from the dude.”
I think it’s interesting how grim situations can be made light by comparing them to pre-existing myths and legends, such as those of vampires in this case. I don’t believe its my place to say whether or not the informant’s father’s encounter with this forest wanderer was a vampire encounter or not. But if theoretically it wasn’t a vampire encounter, then this could have been a meeting with someone who is potentially lost, mentally ill, or otherwise seriously unwell, and potentially dangerous, but the father is able to change the narrative into a humorous and mythical encounter by mentioning the possibility of the person being a vampire, thus recontextualizing the original grim and bleak encounter into a more fantastical, funny, and spooky story.