Carlisle Cullen was the son of an Anglican pastor. He was born sometime in the 1640s in London, England during a time of religious and political upheaval. Carlisle's father and other pastors led hunts for werewolves, witches, and vampires, claiming that they were attempting to rid the world of evil and sin. Many a time, however, these groups would end up killing innocent citizens. As his father aged, Carlisle was put in charge of the raids after these creatures. He was less at ease about killing as his father was, but he was intelligent enough to find a real coven of vampires inhabiting the sewers of London. Carlisle led the hunt after these vampires, and in the chaos that ensued, he was attacked and left bleeding in the street by a vampire. Knowing what his father would do, Carlisle hid himself in a potato cellar for his painful transformation, emerging three days later as a vampire. Carlisle was repelled and horrified by what he had become, and tried various ways of killing himself, including starvation, drowning, and jumping off cliffs. Eventually he was so desperate for blood that while he was hiding in a cave in a forest he attacked and fed on a herd of passing deer. He found that he could survive off animal blood and he considered this much more humane than drinking the blood of a human, there by killing them.
Carlisle found new life in this fact and over the course of about two centuries was able to perfect his ability to resist the bloodlust caused by the scent of human blood. During these two centuries, Carlisle studied at night, becoming a "nighttime patron of the arts." As a result of his meticulous studying, Carlisle was able to become a brilliant doctor. Carlisle was studying in Italy when he stumbled across a coven of ancient vampires called the Volturi that included three vampires named Aro, Marcus, and Caius. They were much more educated and refined vampires than those living in the sewers of London, but still drank human blood. While they attempted to convert Carlisle to his natural food source, their attempts were unsuccessful. Carlisle then moved on to the New World; there, he ended up working night shifts in a Chicago hospital during the Spanish influenza epidemic. During this epidemic, Carlisle encountered a dying woman named Elizabeth Masen. Her son, Edward, was dying of influenza as well. Elizabeth begged Carlisle to do anything within his power to save her son as she lay dying. Out of loneliness, and armed with the knowledge that Edward was alone in the world, he changed him and Edward became his companion.
Carlisle and Esme CullenNot long after, in 1921, Carlisle and Edward moved to Wisconsin, where Carlisle treated Esme after a failed suicide attempt spurred by the loss of her child. Carlisle felt compelled to save her life, having already treated her for a broken leg in her adolescence, and changed her as well. They soon fell in love and married.
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