Croatia is a country that believes in legends to this day, so it is not difficult to believe that the elders of some communities still hold much sway on the way certain issues are dealt with.
The story is said to have happened in 1936 in the region of Varazdin – specifically in the village of Kneginec. It is recounted in “Le Vampirisme – de la légende au réel” [vampirism – from legend to reality] by Robert Ambelain.
Suspicious things would happen in the area from time to time, with rather big intervals of time in between – therefore the legends and ways of cleansing the purge were passed on from father to son.
That is why, despite both the authorities and the clerics being against vampire superstitions, grave inspections were still practiced by the elders.
A number of young men and women had become the victims of a mysterious disease. Several died within a few weeks, others within two or three months at most. All of the victims had on their throats one or two bluish marks. Some of the victims would wake up during the night after suffering from horrible nightmares but this happened during the first couple of nights.
After that they would just slowly fade away, supposedly because of a corpse that had been buried in the Castle of Herdody in Varazdin!
In “Les Vampires” by Jean-Paul Bourre we are given a theory about the vampire that might have been responsible. Le points to the identity of the supposed vampire as Barbara of Cillei. The ritual for getting rid of the presence took place in the ruins of Varazdin, performed by an orthodox priest of the Oriental Church [Croatia is of orthodox religion, not catholic]. It is said that the haunting stopped after that.
NOTE: In a footnote, Ambelain adds: “This legend has perhaps inspired Sheridan LeFanu for his episode about the hidden tomb of Mircalla von Karnstein.”