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Step 6--"Living" Vampires

Welcome to the page dedicated to all "living" vampires-- those notorious from past accounts, and those that still wander the earth today.

Minor Historical Vampires

The Shepherd of Blow

In the village of Blow, there was once a shepherd, who died for unknown reasons. Several days after his burial, he took to reappearing in his village and tormenting the people there. Anyone on whom he visited would die within 8 days. His case would be unremarkable, but for what happened next. Tired of his nightly ravishes, the villagers took the body from the grave-- finding it, of course, to be in a vampire state-- and they staked it through the heart and put it back in the grave. That night, the shepherd was again seen, and even angrier and more vicious than before. He now carried the stake in his hand, and he taunted that the stake made a good weapon to defend himself against the village dogs. The frightened people disinterred the body again and had it burned, finally ending the shepherd's deadly spree.

Arnod Paole (Arnold Paul)

In 1727 a young soldier, by the name of Arnod Paole, returned home to a village near Belgrade, after completing his service. He had enough money to but some land and a house, and though he was a wonderful neighbor, his social skills were a little less than desireable, as he always had an air of sorrow about him. He finally fell in love with a neighbor girl and they married, though his melencholia still persisted. His wife finally managed to get the reason for his saddness out of him. Arnod admitted to her that while on duty one night, in a far town, he was attacked by a creature who bit him and tried to drain his blood. He managed to fight the thing off until dawn, when the body fell lifeless and he was able to stake and burn the body to ashes. Before doing so he drank a small amount of the vampire's blood, but being unfamiliar with the local territory, he was unable to find the vampire's grave to extract adn consume the dirt from it. Arnod told his wife that he was fearful, since he had not competed the ritual, that he would become a vampire upon his death.

Not long after his confession, a loaded wagon of hay fell on Arnod one day in the field and crushed him to death. About a month after his burial, townspeople reported seeing Arnod wandering around the village, and those whom he came in direct contact with died within a few days. After ceaseless nightly attacks, the villagers decided to raise Arnod's body. His case was made unique in that government officials were called out to inspect the body and an official report was made of it. In attendance at the public exhumation were two military surgeons. When the sexton finally raised the coffin and pried open the lid, they found Arnod's body, in the ground some 40 days, fresh and in a vampiric state. The sexton exclaimed over the fresh blood at his mouth, "Ah, you didn't wipe your mouth after last night's work." A young attendant of the surgeons fainted at the sight. Arnod's body, however, was staked and burned to ash, the ashes being replaced in the grave. Several others who were have believed to have died from Arnod's attack were also exhumed and similarly reduced to ash.

However, the nightly attacks resumed some five years later, and another official investigation was conducted and many more graves were open, some being in a vampire state and others being in a normal state of decomposition. Burning the suspected vampires, and returning the others to their graves, the vamprie plague finally ceased once and for all. The report given by witnesses-- military surgeons, ang various officals-- was sent to the highest authorities and still remains intact to this day.

Peter Plogojowitz

Ten years after the death of one Peter Plogojowitz, his village in Hungary reported seeing Peter wandering the streets by night. In some instances, he came into people's houses and choked them, causing them to die in less than 24 hours. Even the widow Plogojowitz reported that her deceased husband had appeared to her, demanding his shoes. The villagers asked the local military officials for permission to disinter the body. Though reluctant, they ageed. One officer and a minister were present at the exhumation, upon which they found Peter's body intact, despite his being dead for a decade. His body was staked-- a great amount of fresh blood flowing from it-- and burnt to ash, wherein the deaths in the village ceased.

Aswid and Asmund

From Book 2 of the Eyrbyggia Saga, Icelandic-- There were once two great Icelandic warriors, Aswid and Asmund. They were not only the greatest of generals, but they were also blood brothers. One of them suggested, as they grew older, that they should make a death pact-- that when one of them died, the other would go to the grave with his friend. They both agreed to this and swore on their blood.

It came to pass that Aswid grew ill and died. All of the people mourned, and there was many days of funeral rites and feasting, to commemerate the fallen hero. True to his oath, Asmund followed his friend to the grave, despite the protests of other close friends and advisors. Asmund was sealed alive in the tomb with the body of his friend and many other tributes to entertain the dead in the afterlife, such as food, horses, Aswid's favorite dog and weapons.

Before Asmund had decided how best to kill himself, Aswid awoke from his death sleep. Rising as a vampire, he first consumed the body of his dog, then of the horses. He then turned his attention on his friend, and attacked him with a demonic fury. Taking up a sword, Aswid fought off his former friend.

Some three hundred years later, several daring young men set off to the tomb of the famous warriors. Despite warnings of the tomb being haunted, and of the religious implications of disturbing the dead, the brave young men went to the grave and opened it. Hearing sounds of struggle, one man volunteered to go down into the tomb. Lowering him on a rope, he went down to investigate. The friends called to him after several minutes, then were met by a great tug on the rope. They pulled the rope up, only to find an old-fashioned armored warrior at the end of it. Trying to catch his breath, Asmund told them of the story of Aswid rising as a vampire and trying to kill him. He had been fighting for his life for three hundred years, and had succeded only when the young man had appeared, offering a distraction. With that, he fell over dead. The young men, realizing the bravery of the warrior Asmund, buried him in the tomb with full honor, their companion beside him. They took the decapitated body of Aswid out and burned it, scattering his ashes to the wind.

Major Historical Vampires

"It is much better for you to be feared than to be loved."
--Machiavelli

Vlad Tepes, Dracula, Vlad the Impaler

Vlad Dracula was born in Wallachia, admist a tumultuous, dark period for Eastern Europe. The smaller countries warred interally between a ruling family line and the line of the aristocrats that very much determined what the kings would do, and who would be on the throne. Outside the countries they warred amongst each other, always forming tenative treaties and marraige alliances, only to be broken for better ones with former enemies. Above all the Church ruled, and each king was held accountable to the religion and to the Byzantine Emperor. Add to this the threat of invasion from the Ottoman Turks, and you have a really nasty time.

Vlad Dracula was born the second son of Vlad Dracul and an unknown woman. Because of a lack of documentation (either through it being lost, or just never being recorded), the date of Dracula's birth is unknown, but by looking at the earliest records written by Drakul, mentioning his second son, scholars have dated Vlad Dracula's birth to be between 1429 and 1437. Mircea, the eldest, and Vlad were probably full brothers, born of the same woman. The third son of Dracul, Radu, was born of a different woman. Two other brother, Vlad the Monk and Mircea, were born of yet another woman, or possibly two different women, most likely Dracul's mistresses. Only the eldest Mircea, Vlad Dracula and Radu were officially recognized by their father and considered as legitimate heirs to the throne their father worked so hard to obtain.

Vlad Dracul's policy for his country seemed to be preserving peace and independence. Though from a Christian sect that swore to uphold Christian allies over any pagans, Vlad Dracul tried very hard to keep the peace with his southern neighbors, the much stronger Turks. Vlad was very reluctant and hesitant to give aid to any of his Christian neighbors. In one instance, when he could no longer afford to overlook his Christian brethren, he was forced to break treaty with the Turks. Afterward he was obligated to send his children (either through his own idea of keeping peace, or the Turks'), Dracula, 12 or 13, and Radu, about 9, to the Turks as hostages. Dracul would not dare break any more treaties with the Turks for fear of them retaliating against the children.

Dracula spent nearly four years in Turkish captivity, although most of it was probably not spent in a jail cell. While there Dracula learned the Turkish language, finished his education and learned Turkish methods for welfare. Later on, when Vlad Dracul broke another treaty with the Turks, the boys' stay became harsher. Radu, weaker in nature, most likely ended up in the Sultan's harem, and later became a favorite of the Sultan. Vlad was kept solely as a prisoner, as he was more rebellious. It is here that most scholars think Dracula learned his brutal ways. He certainly got his inclination towards impaling from the Turks, as well as, most likely, a deep abiding hatred for his father who sent him there, and his brother Mircea, who was allowed to stay at their father's side, out of harm's way.

In 1447 Dracul's enemies among the Christians finally caught up with him. Hunyady of Hungary attacked Vlad Dracul's castle in Tirgoviste. Mircea was captured by enemy boyars (noblemen) who buried him alive. Vlad Dracul was chased down to marshes near the town and was slain. He was buried, apparently, in an unmarked grave, which has never been found.

Vladislav II was put in charage of Transylvania following the death of Vlad Drakul. Meanwhile, Dracula had been placed in the Turkish amy, and was rapidly gaining experience as a commander. During an upset of power in October 1448, Dracula, with the help of his Turkish forces, marched into Transylvania and took over his father's throne. This is his first reigning period. Little is known about this time, as it lasted less than two months, but it is very likely that Dracula took revenge on any of the boyars he could find who had been instrumental in his father and brother's death. By Decemeber Vladislav was able to regroup and he pushed back into Transylvania, forcing Dracula back to his Turk allies.

Defeated, Dracula eventually made his way to Moldavia, where he stayed and fought alongside his cousin, Stephen the Great. When Stephen's father, the king, was assinated, the two young men went to Wallachia, and threw themselves on the mercy of Hunyady, who had taken over the Wallachian province after Vladislav's defeat. After a second exile to Moldavia, then a return to Wallachia, Dracula was given some command of the Hungarian-Wallachian army. Not long after, the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Turks, Hunyady died from the plague, and Dracula took his loyal boyars and Wallachians and killed Vladislav, removing all obstacles to his throne. On September 6, 1456 Dracula took an oath of loyalty to the Hungarian king, followed by a tribute to a Turkish envoy. Dracula's second reign had begun.

(This section is still under construction. I will have the rest of Vlad's life up here... eventually. I've got all of eternity, right?)

Coming next: Elizabeth Bathory

Vlad Tepes information provided by:
Dracula: A Biography of Vlad the Impaler, 1431-1476
By: Radu Florescu and Raymond T. McNally
Hawthorn Publishers
New York, ©1973

Other information provided by:
The History of Vampires
(Previously published as The Book of Vampires)
By: Dudley Wright
Dorset Press
New York, ©1993

The above picture was taken by myself. Jerpoint Abbey. The Abbey originally boasted a town of Jerpoint, but it was abandoned in the 17th century. Thomastown is the nearest town to the Abbey now, at 2km or 1.3 miles (uphill both ways). Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. © September 2001.

Celtic spacer bar reproduced with kind permission from: Karen Nicholas--Celtic Web Art

Links

Elizabeth Bathory
Vlad and how he tortured

You are on: Step 6

Dictionary/Terms | Step 1, The History of Eastern Europe | Step 2, Pre-Vampire Entities | Step 3, Vampire Creation Myths | Step 4, How Vampires Are Made | Step 5, Vampire Folklore | Step 7, Medical Information | Step 8, Vampire Names | Step 9, Vampires in Modern Culture | Step 10A, Vampire Book Reviews | Step 10B, Vampire Movie Reviews | Essays | The End | Home