The Original Source

May 7, 2009 at 1:56 am (Classical Vampire Literature, Vampires around the World) (, )

People have been writing about vampires for centuries. The first
written records were eyewitness accounts of vampire infestations.
The first use of the word vampire or vampyre to appear in the
English papers was in 1732 in a report of the story of Arnold
Paole.

Arnold Paole, or Arnont Paule was a Serbian peasant who
reportedly became a vampire after his death in 1726 and caused
four deaths in his village. The villagers exhumed the bodies,
staked and burned them. Five years later, 10 more people
died in a short period of time. When the villagers asked for
help, the Austrian government sent two military doctors, Glaser
and Flückinger, to investigate the case. The outbreak was blamed
on two women who mentioned having contact
with vampires, one had eaten meat supposedly killed by the previous vampires and the other had used vampire blood to protect herself from vampires.

The Austrian officials eventually dug up the bodies of the
victims and reported finding bodies that didn’t seem to have
decomposed, with fresh blood at their mouths, that groaned when
staked. They staked and burned the victims.

Their reports were later widely published. Along with a
similar report of another Serbian Peter Plogojowitz, who
supposedly killed nine villagers in 1725.

You can find an English version of the reports at
http://www.dagonbytes.com/vampires/history/arnoldpaul.htm and
http://www.dagonbytes.com/vampires/history/plogojowitz.htm

Today we understand the signs that the superstitious thought as
proof of vampirism were merely part of the natural decomposition
process. But the reports were taken as concrete proof that
vampires actually existed and fear spread across Europe to
England.

The image of the vampire was a dark, ruddy complexion, long hair
and nails, wearing a shroud, coming from the grave to attack
those nearest and dearest. Throughout the 18th century, when
there were unexplained multiple deaths, fear of vampires like
fear of witches started episodes of mass hysteria.

It was not long before writers began using the terrifying images
of the blood thirsty vampire.

Tomorrow, the first vampire stories.

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