Vampires That Time Forgot #3

Here are a couple of forgotten ‘true’ news reports about historical bloodsuckers…

A Family of Vampires

Baron de Gostovsky was a haunted man. The landowner from Sabousz near modern day Gdansk believed his family were vampires, so on his death bed in 1887, he requested that before burial, his head should be cut off. This was a service he had himself performed on his wife after her death. The Baron is quoted as saying:

‘We are a family of vampires and if this precaution be not taken we can find no repose in the grave, but come back and bring misfortune to our children.’[i]

When the Baron died, his eldest son complied with his request, and the Baron was buried with his decapitated head. However, a few days later the son began to feel ill, and suspected that his father being a vampire was somehow connected with this.

He returned to his father’s grave, and dug up the casket. Breaking it open, he turned the body over and hurled the head into a nearby field.

He was given two weeks in prison for disturbing the dead, but presumably avoided becoming one of the undead…

A Belgrade Vampire

In February 1888, police in Belgrade came across the body of a man who looked as if he had frozen to death in the street where he lay. Efforts to revive him proved fruitless and he was pronounced dead. The police arranged for a coffin to be brought, and the body was placed inside and taken in a carriage to the cemetery.[ii]

As the driver whipped his horses through the icy Belgrade streets, he was sure that he could hear noises coming from the coffin. There was a belief held by many in Serbia at that time, that a man who dies suddenly might return as a vampire, and this filled the driver with a great deal on unease.

As soon as he arrived at the cemetery, the driver told the priest he was convinced he had heard something unnatural coming from his carriage. The priest and a few others came to see for themselves, and they too heard a banging and scratching coming from the coffin. The priest and his companions fled in terror.

The desperate driver jumped back into his carriage and set off at a furious pace to the nearest police station, and all the while the banging and scratching from the coffin grew louder and louder.

The police wasted no time in forcing the coffin open, revealing a man who was very much alive, despite being very weak. He was also extremely displeased that he had almost been buried alive and that his remonstrances had been ignored for so long.

The gentleman revealed that he had been on a boozy night out, and was so drunk that he had passed out on the street. The journey in the carriage had jolted him back to consciousness, and he found himself in a coffin about to be buried alive, which would have been the worst hangover ever.

A. R. Tilburne to accompany “Return of the Undead” by OTIS ADELBERT KLINE and FRANK BELKNAP LONG for Weird Tales Volume 36 Number 12 (1943-07)

[i] ‘A family of vampires’, Congleton and Macclesfield Mercury and Cheshire General Advertiser, 12 March 1887, p.5

[ii] ‘Vampire superstition’, Witney Gazette and West Oxfordshire Advertiser, 18 February 1888

Published by Paul Weatherhead

Author of Weird Calderdale, musician and songwriter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: