Indeed there are and where real actual vampires in history, or at least those people accused of being vampires, we have brought you here a few case histories with the help of Rob Brautigam, our friend at International Vampire. You can find their site listed on the contacts page.

The cases on this page where researched, authored and copywrited in 1999 by Mr. Rob Brautigam of the group International Vampires, you will find the link to his site in the Shops and Contacts Page. We thank him for allowing us to reprint his findings here.

A special thank you to our good friend, Vampirologist Mr. John Link for his research on the BerBerlangs which he has copywrited as of 2000.

The Case Studies:

THE SOURCE:
This story is found in René Crozet's 'La France Ensorcelée', which has been published by Éditions de Gergovie, 1993. It can also be found in the 'Guide de l'Auvergne Mystérieuse', which was published by Éditions Tchou, Paris, 1989.
THE CASE:
In 12th century France there appears to have been a Countess who lived in an old castle called the Chateau de Deux-Forts. The story goes as follows:

One night, when the Countess was preparing herself to go to bed, she discovered a strange brownish spot somewhere on her belly. She ordered her servants to scrub it off, first with cold water, then with hot water. But no matter how hard they tried, the spot could not be removed. The next morning, much to the Countess' annoyance, the ugly spot was still there. If anything, it looked as if it had grown a little larger. A medical man was summoned to come to the castle. He examined the Countess and had a good long look at the spot. He shook his head, cleared his throat, and solemnly declared that the lady was suffering from leprosy. On hearing this unwelcome news, the Countess grabbed the doctor's arm and hissed in his ear that she would order her servants to skin him alive if he would fail to find a cure for her disease.






Perhaps it was this threat that inspired the desperate physician to suggest the following remedy. There was only one thing, the doctor said, that could cure the Countess from her terrible infliction. One way only to get rid of her leprosy. She had to bathe herself in fresh human blood. And so she did ...

From that day on, children started to disappear throughout the region. And pretty soon it was whispered in the villages of the Valley of the Sioule that the Countess of Deux-Forts was an evil ogre who ate little children. Guillaume VIII, the Count of Auvergne, decided to report the disturbing rumors to the king, and so did the clerical authority of Clermont.

An investigation revealed the bloody crimes of the Countess. It was soon to be followed by her trial. The doctor and all the servants were duly hanged. The Countess was sentenced to be 'quartered' with the help of four horses. Afterwards a stone cross was erected to mark the place of the execution. And, in case you'd go to France, the place where it all has happened can still be seen today.
It is called: 'la Croix de Male Mort'.

PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
Obviously, this story has very little to do with the traditional undead vampire. But I kind of like it, because it is the sort of tale that sounds like it might be based on facts. Apart from that, I do have a side interest in blood related superstitions. I also happen to be the person who is in control of these pages. Therefore, I could not resist including this bit.
 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
If this tale is true, then there must be other material that can be found about it. We could check out if there really has been such a castle. It could still be there, or there might be a ruin left or something, like the stone cross that is mentioned. There may be books or documents, court records and all. It would be nice if we could put a name and a date on the Countess. There may even be a portrait to be found of her.
 
 
THE CASE:
 
In Breslaw, one of the chief towns of Silesia, on Friday, September 20th in 1591, a shoemaker killed himself by cutting his throat with a knife. His relatives tried to hide his act by washing the corpse and covering him with linen in such a manner that the priest was fooled into thinking that the man had died of some sort of disease. So the dead man was buried with the usual religious ceremony, despite his 'crime'. Within six weeks, however, rumors started circulating that the shoemaker had killed himself.

The relatives were questioned by the authorities and soon confessed to their deed, claiming that 'it was uncertain but that he might be slain by some external mishap, or, if by himself, in some irresistible fit of frenzy or madness'. While the Council was still deliberating on what action they should take, the widow was making loud complaints against the malicious liars who were accusing her husband, and she made such a lot of noise about it, threatening to complain to the Emperor himself, that the Council was beginning to feel intimidated and were contemplating to leave the case alone. At the same time, however, new rumors started circulating. The dead man had come back from the grave.

'Those that were asleep it terrified with horrible visions; those that were waking it would strike, pull or press, lying heavy upon them like an Ephialtes: so that there were perpetual complaints every morning of their last night's rest through the whole town.'

The dead man's friends tried to ridicule and suppress these rumors. But things were getting worse and worse. At nightfall, people started worrying and hastened home to hide inside their houses. Not that it did them much good.

'For this terrible apparition would sometimes stand by their bed-sides, sometimes cast itself upon the midst of their beds, would lie close to them and pinch them, that not only blue marks, but plain impression of the fingers would be upon sundry parts of their bodies in the morning'.

Even when groups of men were gathering together for safety, the dead man might suddenly appear , beat up some of those who were present, and then disappear again. Things were so getting out of hand that the authorities had no other option than to disinter the corpse. And so, on April 18th, 1592, the grave was reopened, with the town's Magistrates present.

'His body was found entire, not at all putrid, no ill smell about him saving the mustiness of the Grave-cloths, his joints limber and flexible, as in those who are alive, his skin only flaccid, but a more fresh grown in the room of it, the wound of his throat gaping, but no gear nor corruption in it ...'

The corpse was kept unburied until the 24th and lots of people came to see it. Then it was buried under the Gallows, but this did not improve the situation. The dead man's attacks became more violent, and he had now started to visit his relatives as well. So this time it was his widow who went to the Magistrate and told him that she no longer objected to taking action against her dead husband.

On May the 7th they dug up the body and found that he had grown 'more sensibly fleshy' since his previous interment. They cut off the head, legs and arms of the corpse, and - through the back - cut out his heart, which looked as fresh as the heart of a newly killed calf. They burned the various parts, gathered the ashes in a sack, and poured the ashes into the river. After that, the dead man was never seen again.

But we are also told how one of the dead man's servants reappeared after her death. Sometimes in the shape of a woman, at other times as a dog, a cat, a hen or a goat. Interesting detail : at one point this undead servant was scared off by someone who crossed herself and called upon the name of Jesus. After the corpse had been burnt, she was never seen again.

 
PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
The part about the shoemaker sounds as if most of it could have happened, although we can only speculate as to what exactly is behind the tales of the vampire's reappearance. The stories about the servant turning herself into all sorts of demonic animals, sound just like the kind of tall tales that might start circulating under a group of people whose imagination is being fed by hysterical fear.
 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
Start by finding Summers' version and compare it to mine. Never take anyone's word for it, and always try to find the real sources. Therefore, also find Henry More's original text and compare it to Summers'. And after that, try to find More's source. See if there are any archives, in Breslau or in other places, that have additional material on the case.
 
 
THE SOURCE:
 
The first mention of this case, as far as I have been able to establish, can be found in volume II of a book that has been written by Dom Augustin Calmet (1672-1757). This important vampire study was published in 1751 in Paris.
And the title of the second volume is:
'Dissertation sur les Revenants en Corps, les Excommuniés,
Les Oupirs ou Vampires, Brucolaques, etc.' [1751].
For a start, I will give you a rough translation of Dom Calmet's story:
 
THE CASE:
 
'A priest told me, not so long ago, that while he was traveling through Moravia, he was invited by Mr. Jeanin, the Canon of the Cathedral of Olmuz, to accompany him to his village, called Liebava, where he was officially being sent by the Council of the Bishop to investigate the case of a certain well known vampire, which had caused much disorder in the village of Liebava, a couple of years ago. A trial was kept, witnesses were heard, the rules of ordinary justice were kept. The witnesses declared that an important man who had lived in Liebava had often disturbed the living of the village during the night, that he had left the churchyard and had appeared in several houses, about 3 to 4 years earlier.

That those painful visits had come to an end because a Hungarian stranger who was passing through the village, had told them that he would put an end to the appearances of the vampire. To keep his promise, he climbed on top of the tower of the church and waited to see the moment on which the vampire left from its grave, leaving behind the shroud in which he had been buried, after which he went on to the village to disturb the villagers. The Hungarian, who had seen the vampire leave its grave, immediately climbed down from the tower, grabbed the vampire's shroud and took it back with him to the top of the tower.

When the vampire came back from his round and could not find his cloths, he shouted at the Hungarian, who signaled that if he wanted his shroud back, he should come and get it. The vampire started climbing up, but the Hungarian threw him off the ladder and cut off his head with a spade. That was the end of the tragedy.

The person who told me this story had seen nothing. Nor he, nor the Canon who was sent to investigate. They only heard the report of the local villagers, who were very ignorant, very superstitious, very gullible and prejudiced on the subject of vampirism.'

 
PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
Obviously, Dom Calmet seems to think that this is an absurd story. The whole story sounds too much like some sort of fairy tale. Although, of course, we can not totally exclude the possibility that it may be founded on things that have really happened, some time, somewhere.

Talking of fairy tales, there is a ballad which has been written by Goethe, which is called' 'Der Todtentanz'. Its plot shows a remarkable similarity to the story from Liebava:

A watchman on top of a church tower looks down on the churchyard at midnight. He sees how the dead are leaving their tombs. They take off their shrouds and join in a 'Dance of the Dead'. The watchman sneaks down, steals one of the shrouds and climbs back up. After the dance, all the dead put on their shrouds and go back to their graves. Except for the one whose shroud has been stolen. The dead man can not enter the church, because it is covered with metal crucifixes. So he starts climbing the tower wall. When he has almost reached the top, the tower clock strikes one. The witching hour is over and the dead man falls down, much to the relief of the watchman.

 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
It would be interesting to find out where Goethe has found the inspiration for his ballad. An easy (and possible) explanation could be that he has read Calmet's book. At the same time, it is not unthinkable, that the story is older than that, and that it has inspired both Goethe and the villagers of Liebava.
We could try to find out if the old church tower still exists. If not, perhaps its image can still be found on a painting or sketch or something. There could be an Episcopal archive in Olmuz which might have the original reports of Canon Jeanin.
 
 
THE SOURCE:
 
Robert Ambelain: 'Le Vampirisme - de la Légende au réel'
Éditions Robert Laffont, Paris, 1977.

According to Mr. Ambelain this is supposed to be an official report, delivered by Surgeon-Major Jozsef Faredi-Tamarzski to the Imperial Military Commission of Belgrade, October 1732.
 
THE CASE:
 
In July 1732, Jozsef Faredi-Tamarzski, under orders from the Prince of Wurtemberg, was sent to the village of Radojevo to investigate the death of eleven villagers, who had all died in January and February of that year. According to the people of Radojevo, they were the victims of a vampire called Miloch. During his life, this Miloch had the reputation of being some sort of a sorcerer. The fact that he kept a bird which he had learned to talk, plus the fact that he had captured and tamed a wild wolf, which he then kept as a pet, seemed to confirm his magic powers.

Faredi-Tamarzski made an attempt to convince the villagers that vampires did not exist. But after several discussions he came to the conclusion that they were not going to listen to his arguments. He therefore decided to exhume a few of the corpses. They started by digging up Miloch, who had been buried some 15 months ago. When they had removed the earth and lifted up the wooden board that covered the dead man, Miloch's corpse looked completely intact. But his eyes were wide open now, despite the fact that his widow had closed them after his death. A slow but steady trickle of blood was coming from his mouth. Blood was also found on the wooden board beneath the corpse, and likewise on the earth beneath that.

Because the villagers insisted on it, Faredi-Tamarzski ordered the corpse to be staked. After that, fearing that they might dig up the vampire again after his departure, he had the corpse covered with unslaked lime before closing the grave again.

By interrogating the relatives of the 11 victims, the doctor learned that most of them had died in 6 to 10 days by simply wasting away. During the night they had horrible nightmares and a couple of them had two bluish marks on their neck. So Faredi-Tamarzski decided to also open up the graves of the victims.

Eight of them looked like decent corpses that were properly decomposing. Two of them looked well preserved, though the arm and legs were stiff and could not be moved. And the last one, a woman, looked as if she was only sleeping. Her members were perfectly flexible. Faredi-Tamarzski declares that those three looked suspicious enough to him, so he permitted the villagers to give them the same treatment as the first vampire. Despite these measures, the villagers were still of the opinion that the vampires should be cremated.

 
PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
At first sight, this looks very much like similar cases from that period. What worries me here is the source. I have read more of Mr. Ambelain's books, and although much of his material is serious enough, there are places where it definitely looks as if he is deliberately trying to confuse his readers with a mixture of facts and fiction. I am not suggesting that he is making it all up, but personally I'd like to see mention of this elsewhere before I'd be willing to accept that it is an authentic case.
 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
At least we have a date, a name and a place, which should be more than sufficient to try and find further material about this case.
 
 
THE SOURCE:
 
This story comes from a book by Hermann Schreiber: 'Es spukt in Deutschland', which was published in 1975 by the Arena Verlag in Würzburg. And Schreiber informs us that he has found this history in no. 40 of the 'Vossischen Zeitung', of 1755.
 
THE CASE:
 
In 1753, in the village of Hermsdorf, a woman died. During her lifetime, everyone had known her as the 'Tyroler Doktorin'. She had cured lots of people with the help of the mysterious potions that she brewed at home. When the 'Doctor' realized that her life was coming to an end, she called her husband to her bedside. He had to promise her that, after her death, he would make sure that her head was cut off before her corpse was buried. Furthermore, she made him swear that under no circumstance would she be buried in the Catholic churchyard.

After she had died, her husband found that he did not have the stomach to carry out the gruesome task that his late wife had put upon him. To make things worse, the local priest came around and to remind him of the fact that it were only the most depraved sinners who would bury their wives elsewhere. Well, you know how things go. Frau Doktorin, much against her wish, ended up resting in the Catholic Churchyard, and of course her head was still firmly attached to her neck and shoulders.

Fortunately for us, the story did not end there. It did not take long before strange stories started circulating. There were rumors that the 'Tyroler Doktorin' had come back from the grave as a vampire. The guilty husband had started drinking after the death of his wife. And one night, when he was very drunk, he told his terrible secret to his drinking companions in the local inn.

The next day, the whole village had heard the story, and it did not take long before the authorities had heard about it too. And thus, in 1755, the grave of the Doktorin was opened. Another thirty corpses, who were also suspected of having become vampires, were dug up as well. Ten of the corpses turned out to be in a pretty sorry state, so it was obvious that they could not be vampires. But the vampire hunters had better luck with the other ones.

Twenty-one corpses, which included the Tyroler Doktorin, looked remarkably fresh, so there could be little doubt that they were vampires. The undead monsters were staked, after which they were cremated.

 
PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
This definitely sounds like the kind of story that may really have happened. Possibly with a heavy dose of hysteria embellishing the tale.
 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
For a start, we have the name and date of the newspaper, which will be worth checking out. In the second place, with the exhumation of no less than 31 corpses, this looks like a major case. There should be further documentary proof somewhere, especially since the authorities are said to have been involved.
 
 
THE SOURCE:
 
The following case also comes from book by Hermann Schreiber: 'Es spukt in Deutschland', which was published in 1975 by the Arena Verlag in Würzburg. And Schreiber indicates that he in turn has found the material about this case in volume XIII of the 'Oppenhoffschen Sammlung' of the 'Königlichen Obertribunals'.
 
THE CASE:
 
The following history took place in a part of Poland which at the time was German territory. There, on 5 February 1870, in the town of Kantrzyno, a man called Franz von Poblocki died. On von Poblocki's death certificate it said 'Auszehrung' (consumption) as the cause of death. Franz von Poblocki, who appears to have been a man of some importance, was buried in the family grave in the churchyard of Roslasin. Within a fortnight, on 18 February 1870, von Poblocki's son Anton died, a victim of 'Galoppierende Schwindsucht'.

And while Anton's corpse was still waiting to be buried, some of the other family members were beginning to suffer from health problems as well. All of the patients complained about horrible nightmares. The family gathered to discuss the situation. They soon came to the conclusion that old Franz had become a vampire. So they hired a local vampire expert, a man called Johann Dzigielski. This vampire hunter decided to decapitate the corpse of son Anton, so that the vampire victim could be buried with his head between his legs.

After having taken care of the son, Dzigielski went to the churchyard where he tried to bribe the undertaker to dig up old Poblocki, so that he could be decapitated as well. The undertaker, however, would not hear of such a thing and went straight to Father Block, the local priest, who quickly wrote a letter to the Poblocki family, warning them that he was not going to tolerate any vampire hunting in his churchyard. Easy for him to say, because, unlike the Poblocki's, the priest was not likely to become the victim of the vampire. Therefore, the Poblocki family decided to ignore the priest's threats and go on with their plans. That night they dug up old Franz and Dzigielski made sure that the vampire was properly taken care of.

When the meddlesome priest found out about this, he notified the authorities. And so the vampire hunters had to go on trial. The unfortunate Dzigielski received a four month sentence, but the influential Poblocki family appealed to a higher court. They pleaded that their lives had been in danger and that they had only acted out of self-defense. The judges admitted that they had a point. Consequently, on 15 May 1872, all the charges against the vampire hunters were dropped.

 
PERSONAL COMMENTS:
 
This one definitely looks like it might turn out to be an authentic case. So it would be interesting to see if we could find further material about it.
 
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP:
 
We have quite a bit of information to go on. We have been given names and dates and places. We have a court case of which there appear to be records. Also, the von Poblocki family are said to have been influential. So it would be strange if they have disappeared without leaving a trace.
 
 
THE BERBERLANGS OF CAYAGAN SULU
by John Link
 
This information comes from book 'Oddities' by Rupert T. Gould. Gould's account was based on a paper printed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, Vol. LXV, 1896. The paper was written by an explorer named Ethelbert Forbes Skertchley. According to Skertchley the Berberlangs 'are ghouls who must eat human flesh occasionally or they would die ... When they feel a craving for a meal of human flesh they go away into the grass and having carefully hidden their bodies, hold their breaths and fall into a trance. Their astral bodies are then liberated ... They fly away, and entering a house, make their way into the body of one of the inhabitants and feed on his entrails.'

'The Berberlangs may be heard coming, as they make a moaning noise, which is loud at a distance and dies away to a feeble moan as they approach. When they are near you, the sound of their wings may be heard, and the flashing lights of their eyes can be seen dancing like fireflies in the dark.'

 

 
According to Skertchley the Berberlangs always go by contraries and are never where they appear to be. Apparently the moaning noise is to signal to each other and going by contraries is to confuse the prey. Skertchley's account states that the Berberlangs are believed to dig up fresh bodies from their graves to devour the entrails. He states that 'The Berberlangs are in the habit of putting out food for strangers which has the appearance of curried fish but is in reality human flesh. If a person were to eat it his soul would be destroyed and he would become a Berberlang. If however, it is sprinkled with lime juice it will resume its normal appearance.'

Here Skertchley seems to be repeating a local belief. He also gives an account of his personal experiences while attempting to investigate the Berberlangs. Skertchley encountered the Berberlangs on Cayagan Sulu, an island in the Philippines. According to Skertchley the natives of Cayagan Sulu lived in fear of the Berberlangs.

The natives considered the coconut pearl, a small opal which is sometimes found inside a coconut, to be the best protection from the Berberlangs. As soon as a native is old enough he starts searching for a coconut pearl. According to the belief, the coconut pearl is only protection for the person who found it. If its owner gives it away it loses its luster and dies.

 

 
The natives also regarded lime juice as protection, sort of like holy water. Skertchley describes how the natives will sprinkle lime juice on the blade of a kris. A kris is a knife with a curved blade, that is used for harvesting. The native will then slice with the kris in the air around him in the opposite direction from where he hears the moaning and sees the flashing eyes. This is to ward off astral Berberlangs.
 

 
Skertchley tells this story of his encounter with the Berberlangs.

He approached the Berberlang village when he was warned not to because the Berberlangs were out hunting. He describes the sounds and sights of their approach. He describes how they entered the house of his friend Hassan. Skertchley believed that Hassan owned a coconut pearl. The next day Skertchley visited Hassan and found him dead with a look of terror on his face. (So much for the effectiveness of the coconut pearl!!)

 

 
Skertchley describes the Berberlangs as having eyes that resemble a cat, that is having a pupil like a slit. He seems to have been repeating something he was told. Skertchley doesn't seem to have actually seen the Berberlangs. Anyone who had gone close enough to a Berberlang to have seen the pupils of his eyes is not likely to have lived to tell about it. The idea behind this is the lycanthropic nature of the Berberlang's condition.

Skertchley describes the Berberlangs as living on ordinary food and only needing to feed on human flesh occasionally. He describes them as living in huts of the usual native type, but closed up as to not let in the light. He describes the Berberlang village deserted with basins of steaming rice left as if the inhabitants had to leave in a hurry when they knew their location had been discovered. Apparently the Berberlangs had to leave when the location of their village was no longer secret.

The language spoken by the Berberlangs is believed to be Tagalog or Illicano.

 

 
There is a book titled 'Malay Magic' by Skeat which, although it has little to say about the Berberlangs, it has some folklore and information relating to them.
 

 

As ever,

Catherene Nightpoe

 

 
The next class in the series is the Supernatural Vampire.
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Supernatural Vampires
   
     1.  Introduction 14. Myths Continued
     2.  Classical Vampires 15. Native American Vampire Myth
     3.  Inheritor Vampires 16. The Prophecies
     4.  The Night Timers 17. The Knights Templar
     5.  Genetic Vampires 18. Historical Vampires
     6.  Psi - Vampires 19. Supernatural Vampires
     7.  Bloodists 20. Fictional Vampires
     8.  The Medical Reality 21. El Chupacabra
     9.  Real Hunters 22. The F.A.Q. Page
    10. Real Predators 23. Acknowledgments & Credits
    11. Sexual Vampires 24. The Teacher's Lounge
    12. The Parent's Page 25.  En Español ~ Introducción
    13. Myth Origins 26. The Vampire Shop @ Amazon
       
     
 
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