The story is retold by many authors so you may find slightly different versions all over the internet. The account is based on a 14th century Bohemian report and the events are said to have happened in 1345.
It is in that year that the wife of a potter died before she could be put on trial for suspicion of being a witch. The townsfolk decided to bury her at a crossroad since it was the custom at that time.
But she did not find peace and started to leave her grave at night, appearing to many people under various forms [beasts] and attacking them.
When her grave was opened it was discovered that she had eaten half her shroud so she was labeled a vampire and staked through the heart.
Enraged by this she pulled out the stake and started to use it as a weapon in her more vicious prowls in the night. More people were killed and the villagers decided to cremate her.
Only after she was burned to ashes did the attacks stop!
It is said that a whirlwind was seen at the place where the corpse had been cremated.
Among the papers that cover these happenings I mention: Erasmus Francisci`s “Der Höllische Proteus” ; “The Vampire, His Kith and Kin” by Montague Summers ; “The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead” by J. Gordon Melton; “Vampires” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and many many others!
NOTE: You may find the name of the village written as Lewin. On a Czech map you will find it as Levin.
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† Vampire Accounts
This case is said to have first appeared in “Magia Posthuma” by Charles Ferdinand de Schertz published in 1704. The events happened a lot earlier and were traced back to the 1300s with the original tale being signed by a monk named Neplach (1332- 1368) and we are given the approximate year as 1336.
A shepherd named Myslata from the village of Blow [close to the town of Kadam – in Bohemia] had returned from the grave and was calling out the name of several of the villagers. All those he summoned would die in 8 days.
When the peasants of Blow disinterred the corpse of this shepherd and fixed it in the ground using a stake the corpse made fun of them thanking them for giving him a stick to keep away the dogs.
He left his grave again and frightened several people by his presence; strangled them worse than he had done before.
It was decided to transport him out of the village to be burned.
While the corpse was being delivered on a cart to the cremation pyre, the legs of the corpse drew in as if it were alive. When the corpse was tossed onto the pyre, someone immediately plunged a stake into it and blood gushed forth.
After the corpse was cremated, peace returned to the vicinity.
Since a PDF of ”Magia Posthuma” is rather impossible to find allow me to add that the case can also be found in “Dissertation sur les Revenants en Corps, les Excommuniés, Les Oupirs ou Vampires, Brucolaques, etc.” [Treatise on Reverants, Vampires and Warewolfs] by Dom Augustin Calmet from 1751.
Now then… where to start with my little analysis? I suppose by now you are all familiar with the ~Superstitions~ so let`s get to it 😀
First there is the belief – common in Europe – that if an undead calls out your name you are the next to follow him to the grave. In some regions it was believed that you would need to answer the call to be the next on the list.
Usually when dealing with a vampire people tend to use the old “stake through the heart” trick but there are also variations on this. Like in this case, a larger pole would be used to fix the corpse to the ground in the belief that it wouldn`t be able to crawl out of its grave anymore.
The more unusual part is the description of the behavior the vampire supposedly exhibited: first it mocked the people that staked him and then it started moving “as if it was still alive” on the way to the burning spot outside the village.
I believe that this may be the result of oral embellishment since these details weren`t present in the original text belonging to Neplach.
I`d really love to hear your thoughts on the matter…
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† Vampire Accounts