~The views and opinions expressed here are of the blog author and not necessarily of CCAPSG as a whole~

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We at CCAPSG have been very blessed to know Allen and his team Eidolon Paranormal in South Australia. We are lucky enough to be allowed to post his piece on Vampires here on the blog.

The Hunt for Vampires: Mythology or Reality?

Allen Tiller

Vampires have seen a resurgence in the public arena over the past couple of decades, with books, movies and TV shows all gaining pop-culture status, think of such titles as “An Interview With A Vampire”, “True Blood”, “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Twilight saga”, “Blade”, and most recently “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”.

Vampires have never been too far out of the imagination since Bram Stoker released his novel, “Dracula” in 1897 and it caught a wave of popularity through Victorian Britain. Although it wasn’t the first to feature a Vampire, Polidori's “ The Vampyre” in 1819, followed by an 1847 “penny dreadful” [1] series titled “Varney The Vampire” by James Rymer which also featured a wealthy aristocrat vampire.

Pre-dating these noted Authors is a poem entitled “The Vampire” in 1748 by German, Heinrich August Ossenfelder.

The folklore of vampires goes back much further than Victorian Era Britain, much further than 1847 as well. Vampire folklore stems from as far back as Greek mythology, but the modern era folklore stems from the early 17th century in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The first documented written case can be attributed to Croatia's “Jure Grando” in 1656. Jure Grando was known locally as a “Strigoi” in the local dialect, which translate to Vampire in modern terms, he was beheaded by locals in 1672.

There is also a biblical reference to a “vampire like creature” in the “Testament of Solomon”

The sexual predatory nature of modern vampires is true to the mythology of the Serbian, Bulgarian and Belarusian legends, where vampires were said to come back and have intercourse with their former lovers, or in some regions, deflower virgins.

In Romania vampires were said to bite their victims over their heart or between their eyes, instead of via the neck.

In Hungary, during the inquisition in the 12th century, many notes can be found referring to Vampires. It was noted that the Hungarians could trace their vampire folklore back to the period of 895, when they first made contact with the Turkish in the European region.

Recently in the news we saw a story out of Bulgaria relating to two skeletons found with iron stakes embedded in their chests.

Whilst not an unusual find in Bulgaria the countries National History Museum Head, Bozhidar Dimitrov is quoted as saying:

“These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th century. “

"These people were believed to be evil while they were alive, and it was believed that they would become vampires once they are dead, continuing to torment people. “

Staking an undead being through the heart isn’t really going to kill it, since, well, it's already dead! Right?

Well, actually, the point of staking through the heart was never to kill a vampire, beheading was for death, the stake through the heart was nail the soul and body of the dead into the coffin or grave so it could no longer walk at night spreading evil.

It is written that to stake the body to the grave it must be done with one single heavy blow, most often done with a wooden mallet. Only one blow is allowed, as a second blow would awaken the vampire. Once the Vampire is securely staked to the grave, it's head must be removed to kill it.

Vampire Hunting started in the very place the folklore sprung from, Eastern Europe. Many techniques were used to kill the vampires, including beheading, burnings.

It wasn’t until a wave of Vampire stories spread through to Western Europe that vampire hunting became a somewhat “professional” past-time.


A “Vampire Killing Kit” was sold by Professor Ernst Blomberg in the later half of the 19th century. This kit included the following listed items:

A pistol and its accoutrements
A quantity of the finest silver bullets
Powdered flowers of garlic
Flour of Brimstone
A Syringe
A wooden Crucifix
Holy water
Prof. Blombergs New Serum

The kit contained a large bottle of Holy Water, small bottle containing the Professors “anti-vampire” serum, and garlic juices that were put inside the silver bullets, it also contained a small bottle of sulphur powder, which the smell off was thought to ward of Vampires.

The kit also included a crucifix made of copper and wood, various blessed medals, a small vial of salts and a copy of a book written in1819 titled “Histoire des Fantomes et des Demons” by Gabrielle de Paban

Sotheby's Auction House, one of the longest standing and best respected Antiquity dealers in the world states on their website about the authenticity of the Professor Blombergs kit the following :

“Professor Ernst Blomberg reportedly assembled his kits in the nineteenth century. Many experts, however, believe that his kits were assembled in the early twentieth century in response to the interest in vampires sparked by the popularity of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' published in 1897.”

There is much debate whether or not Professor Blomberg actually existed and if the “Vampire Killing Kits” are a genuine item from the era, this website has a listing of some of the kits found around the globe and some sold on ebay over the past few years: http://spookylandcrypt.webs.com/blomberg.html

Vampire Hunting kit currently housed in the Mercer Museum Pensylvania USA.

The Mercer Museum Kit

From the attached interior label:

This box contains the items considered necessary, for the protection of persons who travel into certain little-known countries of Eastern Europe, where the population is plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently.

The items enclosed are as follows...

(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements

(2) Silver bullets

(3) An ivory crucifix

(4) Powdered flour of garlic

(5) Wooden stake

(6) Professor Blomberg's New Serum

Parts of this kit have proven to be made around 1945, including the paper and the magnifying glass, but all the instruments inside the case have been “date tested” as genuine artefacts from the 1800's by the Mercer Museum.

The Vampire hunting kits shown here, although real, were probably not used as much more than a novelty or talking point. This does not mean some were not used by serious vampire hunters, although it is more likely that the hunter of the era, much like the Ghost Hunters of our era, refined their kits to only instruments they deemed necessary to their hunt.

A heavy box full of various instruments would be a burden to carry and inaccessible in a fast paced situation such as a vampire attack.

So what would a vampire hunter carry as a necessity?

Vampire Hunters would of most likely carried a bag that contained wooden stakes and a mallet, a sword or axe (for beheading, but also for making new stakes) and other religious items relating to their personal faith, it is highly unlikely they would have carried large boxes of equipment, as this would slow them down on their journey and also decrease their agility if set upon by the vampire they are hunting.

It is also suggested that some vampire hunters in the Baltic region used metal stakes instead of wood to be sure the stake wouldn’t break and to make it easier to “break through” the ribs of the body.

Modern Vampire Hunters

Most people in this day and age see vampires as entertainment in movies and literature, but for some the threat is still very real.

In 2007, a Serbian vampire hunter entered the crypt of former Serbian President Slobodan “The Butcher Of The Balkans” Milsovic and drove a hawthorn stake through his heart. [2]

The Vampire Hunter, Miroslav Milsovic, was quoted as saying;

“"Entering the Milosevic vault and driving a hawthorn stake through the grave was my duty carried out in the name of the Pozarevac Resistance. I wanted to do it painlessly, without conflict with the people who would be at the grave on the day of the anniversary. After I drove the stake through the grave I presented myself at the police station and made a statement to the chief."

By staking the former Presidents body “Milosevic is no longer an Undead "vlkoslak" able to haunt his home town”.

In Eastern Europe, Vampires are more than just a sparkly gentlemen with an English accent on the silver screen, they are an evil still feared to be walking amongst the living, killing and feeding as they please...and as long as there is the fear of vampires, there will be the vampire hunters, waiting in the shadows for their next kill.

Below are various photos of “vampire hunting Kits” from around the world, including sets found in national museums and “Ripley's: believe it or not” museums.

[1] “Penny Dreadful” is a cheaply made pamphlet distributed as a kind “serial” circa 1850, (a precursor to comic books). “Varney The Vampire” was later published in a complete book form


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