Interview with the Vampire Episode 3: Who Is Raglan James?

Through innate psychic ability, and a touch of psychosis, Raglan James can switch bodies with other people. After an elusive connection in Miami, Raglan “screwed up his courage” to approach Lestat in Paris. The nerve, indeed. The immortal vampire is affronted by the “little mortal bastard,” as Lestat calls Raglan, who has stalked him “like some cheap vampire-hunter in a bad movie, with no respect for the mysterious at all.” But the meeting reveals a deeper mystery, a message the vampire needs to decipher.

David Talbot is the Superior General of the Talamasca, the secret organization which has been investigating paranormal phenomena since the Middle Ages in Rice’s works. Though he is not, at least yet, in Interview with the Vampire, the character may appear in AMC’s Talamasca series. The group, introduced in the 1988 novel Queen of the Damned, keeps both the vampires and the Mayfair witches under surveillance. In The Body Thief, the vampire and the aging scholar discuss the possibilities of body switching, referencing H. P. Lovecraft’s 1933 short story, “The Thing on the Doorstep,” and Eyes of the Mummy by author Robert Bloch.

David does not believe in the practical application of consciousness trading, telling Lestat: “When it happens, we call it possession. It’s a psychic accident! The soul of a dead person takes over a living body; a spirit possessing a human being; it has to be persuaded to let go. Living people don’t go around doing it deliberately and in concerted agreement.”

Of course, Lestat being who he is, the more Talbot warns him not to consider an offer, the greater the temptation becomes. This brings us to the “thief” part of the Body Thief. Raglan is a conman and a kleptomaniac. Everything he owns is either stolen or coerced. He loves to steal. It’s gotten him everything he could want, including a kind of immortality. It’s also gotten Raglan a few things he could do without, like prison time, and expulsion from the Talamasca.

“’They kicked me out of it,” Raglan confirms in the book. “’They accused me of using my powers for gain. What else is there, Monsieur de Lioncourt? What do you use your powers for, if not for gain?” But what would profit even a vampire to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul?

Raglan plans to remain in Lestat’s godlike immortal body permanently, and sticks the vampire in a body dying of pneumonia. It’s a shell game, like the one he’d pulled on a tall, handsome young  inmate of a mental institution years before. Raglan had been dying of cancer, and conned the man in a bait and switch.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.