The Joyful Corpse
by Charles Baudelaire
Slowly, luxuriously, I will hollow a deep grave,
With my own hands, in rich black snail-frequented soil,
And lay me down, forspent with that voluptuous toil,
And go to sleep, as happy as a shark in the wave.
No funeral for me, no sepulcher, no hymns;
Rather than beg for pity when alive, God knows,
I have lain sick and shelterless, and let the crows
Stab to their hearts’ content at my lean festering limbs.
O worms! my small black comrades without ears or eyes,
Taste now for once a mortal who lies down in bliss.
O blithe materialists! O vermin of my last bed!
Come, march remorselessly through me. Come, and devise
Some curious new torment, if you can, for this
Old body without soul and deader than the dead.
† Short Stories
||Name: Tracey Wigginton
Born – 1965 / Deceased – ****
Number of victims: 1
Accomplices: Lisa Ptaschinski, Kim Jervis and Tracey Waugh
Tracey Wigginton, born in Australia in 1965, is a murderer who achieved notoriety for killing a man in 1989, supposedly in order to drink his blood.
On the evening of October 20, 1989 a middle-aged council worker, Edward Baldock  was on his way home after drinking in a local pub with his friends. He was approached by a vehicle with 4 women inside: Tracey Wigginton, her lover, Lisa Ptaschinski, along with 2 female friends, Kim Jervis and Tracey Waugh.
Taking advantage of the state of his intoxication, one of the women, lured him into their car and they drove to a secluded area of the park pretexting that they needed intimacy for sexual activities.
What followed was a gruesome attack that left the man with so many stab wounds to the back and chest, that he was virtually decapitated. There were 27 stab wounds reported.
His body was discovered early next morning by members of the public.
Found in one of the victims shoes was a cash card bearing the name of Tracey Wigginton. This led to the early arrest of all four women.
The story may seam normal to this point but the trial revealed something unexpected.
Initially the investigators believed that the lack of blood found in the corpse was due to the numerous serious wounds he had, but Wigginton admitted not only to killing the man, but also to drinking his blood!
She went on proclaiming herself a vampire and said she hadn`t been feeding on normal aliments for years. She would procure porc and beef blood from the butcher to sustain her cravings.
On quite a number of occasions Wigginton`s lover, Lisa Ptaschinski, said she would slit her wrists so that Wigginton could drink her blood. Based on her obsession for human blood, all 4 women schemed up a plan to kill an innocent victim in order for Tracey Wigginton to have her craving of blood satisfied.
It was this information elicited by police as well as their confessions in the interest of the occult and vampires which led to this homicide being referred to as “The Vampire Murder”.
Tracey Wigginton and Lisa Ptaschinski were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
The other 2 women involved were originally sentenced to 18 years jail for manslaughter [later reduced to 12 years] but Tracey Waugh was later acquitted after her defense argued she had played no active role in the murder and had tried to stop Jervis from taking part.
Her parole application was accepted in 2012 and she is currently free.
† Vampiric Murderers
Although not the first work to present this kind of character, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker was the first novel to truly have success
The creative process wasn`t a spontaneous one, as many would imagine. It took decades to complete the novel, Stoker spending a great deal of time documenting in the British libraries.
The myths may have left their mark on Count Dracula – the character, but the notion of an aristocratic-vampire is a huge step forward! It became the first vampire character that managed to sneak in the collective subconscious, influencing even to this day.
Although Stoker’s vampire summarizes all available superstitions [up to that time], the character in itself brings a new and exciting twist: the undead is of noble origin and retains the title of Count.
The author thus creates a huge gap between the aristocrat Dracula represents and the corpses leaving their tombs at night to feed. The latter behaved more like the zombies in voodoo culture, while Dracula is endowed with intelligence and has other interests outside the “running” after blood.
The Count is able to plan the journey and even counterstrike some obstacles, avoiding difficult situations throughout the story and especially he allows for an evil character to be exposed by the [first] hunter: Van Helsing.
Even his image is a special one. He seems to be endowed in order to seduce his victims.
Traditional vampires used their powers to subdue victims, but Dracula is shown as a courtly gentleman, with good quality clothing – even manages to mimic life for a few days as his lawyer visits him to sign the contract for buying the future home in England.
The general image of a vampire is supposed to be complete with a shroud and / or semi-decomposed clothes, unkempt appearance [hair disheveled, broken nails because of numerous exits from the tomb] and blood – incriminating evidence around the mouth of any vampire.
We rarely find dialogues in the old stories, but we can not put too much emphasis on this because there weren`t so many writers [of short stories and novels] that focused on these issues ahead of Stoker. The classic poems present scenes of vampires and their victims [almost always undead relatives or lovers] without much dialog.
In the legends who inspired Bram Stoker, the vampire is a creature of darkness that shows a lot of negative aspects – that Irish has introduced in the description of Dracula. Associated with the shadows and night, the Church used the vampire to incite fear and it was considered a servant of the devil; the vampire was “kept out of the world by the light of God” during the day.
Unlike other mythological creatures, the vampire did not have duality before the changes made by Stoker! While in other cases demons behaved like normal people while the sun was in the sky [often taking the appearance of a member of the community], and after nightfall their monstrous side would manifest, the vampire spend the day in the cemetery, more precisely in its grave. The night was dedicated to hunting!
Stoker changed certain elements without changing the nature of his character.
Like other vampires, Dracula cann`t move during the day, but neither is he trapped in the cemetery. His coffin travels without major issues from Transylvania all the way to Britain -he even uses of his powers to subdue the will of the crew and changes the environment to his liking [causes fog and storm during the trip]. No other vampire before Dracula was so strong and had so many supernatural powers.
His duality occurs at nightfall, when he is both the courteous aristocrat who commands respect, and bloody and scary vampire, bringing more of an animal.
† Count Dracula
In the region of the Pyrénées between Tardets and Oloron, we can find a castle, nowadays in ruins, with the name of “Château du Vampire”.
There used to live a young aristocrat – Sir Lahonce – who had married a beautiful shepherd girl, named Marguerite.
The legend concerning the couple is presented in “Les Cimetières” by Paul Sébillot  and a larger version can be found in “Les Légendes des Pyrénées” by Ernest de Garay from 1857.
The two lovers have a tragic encounter in the forest. Marguerite – sickened with love [because of her not knowing if the nobleman has feeling for her] in the first part of the legend, seams to regain her straight for a while.
Lahonce on the other hand becomes paler and weaker by the day and the girl flees to his bedside to tend to him.
When she returns to the cottage she shares with her old mother she is not alone. She falls to the same illness as her lover before her and the mother is desperate to recognize the specter of Lahonce feeding on Marguerite as she sleeps.
When she tried to warn her daughter about the trap she was walking in, the poor woman was considered mad and that is how Marguerite made the trip back to the castle and awaited her wedding day – growing sicker by the night.
On her wedding night, when she was about to fall asleep around midnight, the girl heard outside [in the courtyard] a sinister howling.
She pretended to sleep and saw her husband, troubled and excited, go to the window saying: “I’m coming, I’m coming!”
He went out and returned 2 hours later, as cold as a corpse. The same happened the second night and the third as well.
The young woman followed him and saw him entering a cemetery, where, accompanied by a black dog, he went to a fresh grave.
She then saw her husband and the dog at the open grave eating a corpse. Disgusted by the scene she rushed to her chambers and climbed in bed just in time to pretend she was asleep when the vampire returned.
Sensing she was too cold to have been in bed for all the time he was away Lahonce tried to start a conversation but his young wife was too frightened to play pretend.
The next day she wanted to go see her mother thinking that the old woman would know what to advise her but the vampire told her that he will summon her mother to the castle.
Using the shadows of the night and disguised as to trick her trust, the undead got the truth out of his bride and in turned killed her.
That night he and his dog feasted on her flesh.
๑۞๑ Related: ๑۞๑
In the Middle Ages men relied on superstition to protect themselves against nocturnal visits from the creatures of the night.
The most common way to keep a vampire at bay requires the use of either garlic or vervain. Because it was believed that the powerful smell of these plants would keep the undead away, such chains were hang on windows and doors.
In some European regions we also find a subclass – the “living vampires” – people that would most certainly return as vampires after death. Basically those that were marked from during their lifetime.
To test them, the priests came up with a new ritual during mass – they would pass out baskets with garlic and keep an eye to see who refused it.
In time more and more theories as to the origin of a vampire arouse. And with them, questions as to what signs can be seen in the people that were to become vampires after death.
It is so that they came to believe that one may turn into a vampire if:
– if a black cat or dog jumped over the corpse
– if a big shadow fell on it
– if the deceased had any signs from birth [tail, red mark] or if he has since birth teeth, hair, 2 hearts or one extra nipple.
– if someone was born at midnight during a full moon
– if the infant died before baptism
– if one was cursed by a witch
– if the burial rituals weren`t followed to the letter
– if death occurred as a result of a vampire attack
– if one was killed but not avenged [the murderer wasn`t found or for some reason wasn`t punished]
– if one killed himself [special means were needed for the burial because he died in sin therefore there wasn`t room for redemption]
In old England, suicides were buried in a crossroad.
But the strangest superstitions were related to the way people that were suspected of turning into vampires were buried.
Keep in mind that this was a time when medicine practically wasn`t invented yet and desperate people were susceptible to manipulation by rumors.
– the corpses were buried backwards, in hope that if the awoke as vampires and they tried to dug themselves up, they would end up burying themselves deeper.
– wooden sticks were placed around the grave so that the vampire might pierce himself on them
– the body was wrapped up in rugs to diminish the mobility [in some regions the hands and feet were bound]
– large and heavy stones were placed above the grave
– sometimes the corpse was decapitated, chopped up or burn to ash and scattered in swamps
๑۞๑ Related: ๑۞๑
† Vampire Accounts