By: Stephen Phillips

Black and White Gothic Etching of Demons

Vampires are just myth right? Well for many villages over the last few centuries, the lines between myth and fact have become blurred. While in most cases, these “Vampires” where just victims of plagues or disease that the medical community just didn’t understand, and combined with other people succumbing to the disease and mass hysteria amongst town folks, these accounts may be exaggerated. But maybe their is some truth buried in these myths and stories of real life people thought to be Vampires. Here are just some of the real life historcial accounts of people accused of being Vampires.

Mercy Brown – United States – 1892

The Mercy Brown Vampire incident is perhaps the most famous Vampire story to come out of the New World. In 1892, in Rhode Island the family of George and Mary Brown fell victims to Tuberculosis. Not much was known about Tuberculosis at the time and many believed the disease to be linked to Vampires since a family member would die and slowly the rest of the family would grow ill and eventually die. This was the case with the Mercy Brown incident.

After numerous Brown family members died and became ill, it was thought that one of the deceased was in fact a Vampire. Locals demanded the bodies of the deceased be exhumed so they inspect for a Vampire. The first two victims in the family had decomposed as expected, but daughter Mercy Brown was said to be in pristine condition and hence a Vampire. Her heart was then removed from her body, burned and mixed with water to be given to her sick brother Edwin to drink thinking it would end the Vampire curse. It did not, and Edwin died two months later.

It turns out that Mercy Brown was buried in an above ground crypt that basically acted as a freezer and preserved her corpse, but the myth of her being cursed helped perpetuate the Vampire myth in the New England area for years to come.

Petar Blagojevich – Serbia – 1725

Petar Blagojevich was a simple peasant living in the Serbian village of Kisilova who suddenly died in 1725. Shortly after he died, nine other villagers became sick and died within 24 hours of becoming sick. Each victim made claims of Blagojevich coming to them the night before and throttling them before they died. Blagojevich’s widow also made claims of him visiting and demanding items such as his shoes. Terrorized she ended up moving to another village.

The townspeople becoming consumed with fear demanded that a member of their local government and a priest assist them in digging up the grave of Petar Blagojevich to which they found his body looking fresh, with blood exuding from his mouth and ears. Deciding he was in fact a Vampire, the townspeople proceed to stake and burn the body of Petar Blagojevich.

Arnold Paole – Serbia – 1726

Shortly after the Petar Blagojevich incident another Serbian, Arnold Paole also known as Arnont Paule, was an outlaw living in Serbia in the 1700’s. He claimed to have met a Vampire who he insisted was plaguing him. Vampire folklore in the area stated that in order to cleanse yourself of a Vampire you needed to eat the soil from their grave and cover yourself in their blood which he claimed to have done.

Sometime after that, Arnold Paole died when he broke his neck falling from a haywagon. 20 to 30 days after Paole died, four people began complaining of Arnold Paole terrorizing them and those same four people ended up mysteriously dying shortly after. This of course freaked everyone out and his grave was ordered to be dug up and opened by the authorities. After opening the grave, they found it covered in blood and Paole’s corpse, still looking fresh had blood coming out of his eyes, ears and nose. Thus confirming their suspicions that Paole was in fact a Vampire, they drove a steak through his heart and burned his body. They then dug up the bodies of the other four victims and did the same to end any threat of vampirism.

Tyroler Doktorin – Germany – 1753

In 1753 in the town of Hermsdorf, (Now a part of Berlin) Germany, lived a medicine woman that became know as Tyroler Doktorin. She would brew mysterious potions in her home and was known to cure many of the townsfolk. Fearing that her life was close to over, she instructed her husband to cut off her head when she died and to make sure she was not buried in a Catholic cemetery.

Shortly thereafter Tyroler Doktorin did infect pass away. Her husband though could not go through with his promise and due to social stigma could not bury his wife anywhere except a Catholic cemetery.

After her death, rumours in the town began to swell that Tyroler Doktorin was a Vampire and had returned from the grave. Two years later in 1755, her husband who took to heavy drinking after her death ended up telling his wife’s final wishes to some friends at the local tavern. By morning the entire village knew of her final wishes and hysteria ensued. Her grave as well as 30 other graves of people who were suspected of being Vampires were ordered to be exhumed. 10 of the corpses dug up where decayed, but the other 20, including Tyroler Doktorin’s still looked fresh and where in turn staked though the heart and their bodies burned.

Vlad III – Romania – Mid 1400’s

Vlad III, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, or as he is more famously known, Count Dracula is perhaps the most popular real life figure that was a Vampire, except……. Vlad III was never considered to be a Vampire.

A member of “The Order of The Dragon”Vlad was entrusted with protecting Christianity in the Wallachia region of Transylvanian, whose main enemy were the Ottoman Turks whom he fought with mass amounts of cruelty and extreme prejudice.

Vlad III was known to torture his victims in a violent and brutal manner such as roasting children only to feed them to their mothers. He prided himself on executing his victims by impaling them on large wooden stakes.

Although he had a sadistic appetite for blood and violence, it wasn’t until the 1890’s when writer Bram Stoker used the historical back story of Vlad III and created the modern Vampire myth of Count Dracula that we know today.

No one quite knows how Vlad III died, but legend has it that the Turks beheaded him and sent the head back to Constantinople as a trophy and proof of his death, so even if he was a real life Vampire, his beheading would have ended the curse.

So are these historical accounts of Vampires living amongst us or are they accounts of folklore breeding hysteria met with trying to explain diseases and plagues that people from the past couldn’t begin to comprehend? Hopefully you will never find out. But next time something goes bump in the night, it could just be Arnold Paole or Tyroler Doktorin.

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