Friday, 30 December 2011

This year's harvest

On the penultimate day of 2011 it is time to sit down with a glass of wine - in this case a Romanian Rosso di Vallachia - and list some of the books that the year brought.

The scope of the vampire debate requires an investigation on its own, Martin Pott wrote in 1992 in his book on the early German Enlightenment's critique of superstion, Aufklärung und Aberglaube ('Die Breite der damaligen Diskussion würde eine eignene Untersuchung erfordern'), and although Klaus Hamberger's books in some respects provided that investigation, I think it is only in recent years that some researchers have tried to follow up on Pott's suggestion.

Fortunately, Pott's own book was reprinted by De Gruyter this year, and is now available as either a hardcover book (at the bottom in the photo) or a pdf file for € 89.95. A more detailed discussion of the meaning of the superstition and its role in the German intellectual climate in the late 17th and early 18th century you will probably not be able to find elsewhere. Only a few pages are devoted to the vampire debate, hence his comment on the scope of it, but parts of that investigation can be found in other books published this year.

This is certainly the case of Anja Lauper's Die "phantastische Seuche": Episoden des Vampirismus im 18. Jahrhundert, which analyses the discourse of the 18th century debate on vampires, but it can also be said of some papers in the collection from the conference in Vienna in 2009, Vampirismus und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie edited by Christoph Augustynowicz and Ursula Reber, cf. the list of contents.

The Slavic and Greek roots of the vampire are particularly dealt with in both Daniela Soloviova-Horville's Les Vampires: Du folklore slave à la littérature occidentale and the recent Italian Prima di Dracula: Archeologia del vampiro by Tommaso Braccini.

But also some more general works on the topic are worth noting. I have chosen to include the Swedish book, Vampyrernas historia by Katarina Harrison Lindbergh, because it is a commendable example of a more modern and in some, although not all, aspects reasonably up to date study of the subject. I have mentioned it in a post on supposed evidence of revenants and vampires in archaeology, because she includes some considerations on this subject, but I should add that most of the book concerns the fictional vampire.

Finally, Vampyrologie für Bibliothekare: Eine kulturwissenschaftliche Lektüre des Vampirs, by Eric W. Steinhauer, is an enjoyable little book on vampires, books and libraries, acknowledging the vampire as both a historical and cultural phenomenon.

The sad thing about this list is that, unfortunately, apart from my own contribution to Vampirismus und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie, none of these books are written in English. Maybe I have overlooked a book in English, but so far it is still necessary to acquire some skills in other languages, in particular German, to keep up with recent research.

Where English language research, however, is strong, is in the field of the fictional vampire, and some of us are probably curious to see the forthcoming book by Elizabeth Miller and Dacre Stoker: The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker which contains a recently found notebook written by Bram Stoker between 1871 and 1881. It  will no doubt give us some insights into the creative mind that created the vampiric count Dracula, but if you are interested in the historical background, you will profit from acquiring some of the aforementioned books in German, French and Italian.

A shared treasure

A year ago, or perhaps earlier than that, I put this image onto the right hand column of this blog to show my support of Wikipedia. Although one must be cautious in trusting everything on this online dictionary, it has in its various incarnations and languages (Danish, English, German, Czech etc.) over the years been an invaluable source for information for me, and I have frequently referred to it in my blog posts.

Like most of us, I have myself grown used to using various online services for free, although frequently that also involves dealing with annoying ads. In reality, we pay a lot of money to some companies, whereas others we more or less take for granted. However, someone has to pay for the servers and salaries required to keep a service like Wikipedia online, and if it should stay free of commercial content, it is up to some of us users to consider contributing a small amount.

One example of Wikipedia's strengths could be the German entries on well-known authors of 18th century books on vampires like Michael Ranft, Johann Christoph Pohl, Johann Heinrich Zopf, Otto von Graben zum Stein, and Johann Christoph Harenberg. And, of course, you can also find background information on contemporary thinking in the entries on e.g. Wolffianism and Christian Thomasius, cf. the English entries on Wolff and Thomasius.

The quality of entries differ (that, unfortunately, is also the case of some professional dictionaries), but at least you get a starting point, whereas not many years ago, and especially in my own youthful interest in the subject, the above mentioned names were but names. Back then I thought that it would be interesting to contact the university in Leipzig to find out more about some of these people. Now, Wikipedia (and other resources) provides you with a headstart from your pc, tablet or phone!

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Readers residing in or visiting Switzerland, may wish to go to Chateau Chillon, famous for its literary connections, to attend the exhibition Witch-hunting in the Pays de Vaud, from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

'The Pays de Vaud was the site of major witch-hunts between the 15th and the 17th centuries. During this period, there were more than 2'000 death sentences!

On a larger scale, Switzerland within the current borders if the time holds not only the record for the longest-lasting repression of witchcraft but also for the largest number of people persecuted fro this crime, in relation to the population. In almost three centuries, 5,000 people were accused and 3,500 of them were put to death, mainly by fire, with 60 - 70% being women.

Chillon Castle was an important detention centre for individuals suspected of witchcraft, either when awaiting trail or carrying out their sentence. During the term of the Bernese bailiff, Nicolas de Watteville, from 1595 to 1601, some forty-odd people were executed at Chillon, La Tour-de-Peilz and Vevey. And 27 more in 1613! Their Excellencies of Bern noted «with regret and sadness» «the extent to which the negation of God and submission to the evil spirit was growing among our subjects in the Romand (French-speaking) country».

Given these facts, the renowned Vaudois fortress is an apt location for this exhibition. Based on documents primarily related to Chillon, then to the region (Riviera-Vaud-Western Switzerland), the exhibition highlights this little known facet of Vaudois history.

The purpose of the museography and the catalogue is not to make people shudder – although shudder one does when contemplating the terrible suffering the poor souls had to undergo. Through texts and images, the exhibition illustrates a portrait of simple madness, madness that at times leads to making pacts with the Devil and, on the other side of the coin, the madness of the inquisitors who could consider a hollow tooth housing for an impure spirit!'

Accompanying the exhibition, a series of films is screened by the Swiss cinemateque Sorciers and sorcières au cinéma, which includes several well-known films somehow related to the subject, even featuring Mario Bava's vampire film, La Maschera del Demonio.

Not included is Otakar Vávra's Czech Kladivo na carodejnice from 1970. Known in English as The Witches' Hammer and in German as Hexenjagd, it is the interesting and at the same time unpleasant story of the witch hunter Heinrich Franz Boblig's infamous persecution of supposed witches in Groß-Ullersdorf (Velké Losiny) in Northern Moravia in the 1680's. Worth watching in its own right, and no doubt the persecution resembles the paranoia people may have experienced on that side of the Iron Curtain, the film is also interesting because it is set in the vicinity of the areas where incidents of magia posthuma were encountered (and only a few years before von Schertz published his book on the subject). So you may imagine that some of the persons involved may at other times have heard of or dealt with corpses suspected of harming the living...

The film is available on DVD in Germany and in the USA, but it can currently be watched in toto on youtube with English subtitles.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Brothers Grimm commemorated

Gerald Axelrod, author of Im Reich von Dracula and Die Geheimnisse der Blutgräfin Elisabeth Bathory, two well-written and richly illustrated books on Vlad Tepes and Elisabeth Bathory respectively, is preparing yet another lavishly illustrated book, this time on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm: Die fantastische Welt der Brüder Grimm: Entlang der Deutschen Märchenstrasse. The book will be published by Stürtz in May 2012 to commemorate the two hundred anniversary of the first volume of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmärchen.

The book's photos are taken along the Fairy Tale Route (Märchenstraße) that was created in Germany in 1975. According to the route's web site, it 'stretches over 600 km from Hanau near Frankfurt in the south to Bremen in the north, meandering through the towns and cities where the Brothers Grimm lived and worked, connecting the places and landscapes of their collected fairy tales into a route of wonders. The Fairy Tale Route offers culture and history, enchanting medieval towns of half-timbered houses, castles and fortresses, museums and art galleries, concerts and theatres - a charming blend of traditional town life, urban atmosphere and local folklore crafts.'

Axelrod's photos from his Dracula book, by the way, once again grace a calendar, also available from Stürtz.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Christmas Card

With the above look at part of a postcard from Freihermersdorf, I wish readers of this blog a merry christmas.

This was the site of the exhumation and cremation of several bodies suspected of posthumous magic in the winter of 1754-55. When news of the events arrived in Vienna, the court of Maria Theresa sent two prominents physicians, Wabst and Gasser, to investigate. Their report on this and similar incidents in the vicinity of Olomouc (Olmütz) led to Gerard van Swieten's famous commentaries on vampirism and the Empress' proscription of the superstitious handling of corpses.

Some years ago I spent a lot of time perusing texts and maps to locate Herm(er)sdorf. At the time not an easy task, because texts tend to only mention an approximate position, and there are more than one place that has been called something like Hermersdorf. Unfortunately, this uncertainty is also found in as recent a work as Anja Lauper's Die phantastische Seuche. Lauper follows Heiko Haumann'a opinion that Hermersdorf must be Temenice, today a part of Šumperk (in German Mährisch Schönberg) in Northern Moravia.

Haumann actually just states his opinion in a note ('Bei Hermesdorf handelt es sich vermutlich um ein Dorf bei Mährisch-Schönberg, das Heute Temenice heißt und mit Sumperk zusammengewachsen ist), adding that the research was done by Thomas Bürgisser. (Zeitschrift für Siebenbürgische Landeskunde 28 (2005) 1, p. 8)

Bernard Unterholzner, on the other hand, in his paper on the incident in Vampirismus und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie, clearly identifies Hermersdorf as Svobodné Hermanice: 'Bei dem Ort in Oberschlesien, nahe der mährischen Grenze, handelte es sich um das heutige Svobodné Hermanice, das rund zehn Kilometer westlich von Opava liegt.' (p. 91)

Suffice it to say, it can be proved beyond doubt that Hermersdorf was Svobodné Hermanice, later on known as Freihermersdorf. In fact, if you look at other villages and towns associated with incidents of posthumous magic in the areas near Olomouc/Olmütz and Bruntál/Freudenthal, many of them are situated within a relatively small part of present day Poland and Czech Republic. E.g. just some ten kilometers to the North East you find Velké Heraltice (Groß Herrlitz), and some fifty kilometers to the South West Moravsky Beroun (Bärn) that I recently mentioned in a post on the term vampertione infecta. Both sites of the exhumation and destruction of bodies suspected of harming the living.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Elisabeth Bathory and Vlad Tepes in Austria

If you have read their books on Elisabeth Bathory and Vlad Tepes, or if you are just curious to know more about those two historical persons, you might plan to visit Austria next Summer for a tour of Ritterburg Lockenhaus or Burg Forchtenstein hosted by Gerald Axelrod and Liane Angelico. See their website for more information.

You can also watch a couple of videos on their Dracula and Bathory tours.

Vanished Kingdoms

'All my life, I have been intrigued by the gap between appearances and reality. Things are never quite what they seem.' Anyone used to the popular conception of vampires who is getting interested in the historical background of the phenomenon, will probably agree. As well as is the case of many other subjects.

The fictional vampire and gothic tale to a large extent relies on a mythical landscape of names, places and concepts, in general a curious concoction of fact and fiction. Transsilvania, the German names of towns in the area, Styria etc. etc., all places that may conjure up some kind of association or picture in our imaginations, often on a background created by British or American filmmakers with only a passing knowledge of the reality behind those names.

But our concept of our past is, as Norman Davies addresses in the quote, generally biased towards understanding the past in terms of e.g. current boundaries and concepts. 'Whether consciously or not, they [authors and publishers of history books] are seeking the roots of the present, thereby putting themselves in danger of reading history backwards.' This affects what he calls 'our mental maps', which are 'thus inevitably deformed. Our brains can only form a picture from the data that circulates at any given time; and the available data is created by present-day powers, by prevailing powers and by accepted wisdom. If we continue to neglect other ares of the past, the blank spaces in our mind are reinforced, and we pile more and more knowledge into those compartments of which we are already aware. Partial knowledge becomes ever more partial, and ignorance becomes self-perpetuating.'

For someone attempting to make some sense of all the information about vampires, shroud eating corpses, posthumous magic etc., it is necessary to get at least a rudimentary understanding of the geography and history of the areas where things happened or were debated. Although living not so far from Central Europe, Moravia, Bohemia, Silesia, Galicia, or even Serbia are names whose significance in European history is rarely discussed here. And, as Norman Davies notes, it can be hard to find literature on the subject, and the focus is typically on the past hundred years or so.

So, Norman Davies' book, Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-forgotten Europe, recently published by Allen Lane, sounds like an interesting read. According to a review in The Telegraph,

'For anyone wanting to understand the ongoing influence which these “disappeared states” still exert on their present-day successors, there could hardly be a better place to turn than Norman Davies’s encyclopedic new book. Its author, who made his name as a historian of Poland (where his fame is not far behind that of the late Polish pope), has a broad and luminous erudition, and he uses it to shed light on whole swathes of the European past – from the early medieval Kingdom of Alt Clud (a large rock in Scotland’s Western Isles) in the far west, to Byzantium (now the western side of Istanbul), that final outpost of Europe on the Bosporus. (---)

Davies is keenly observant of how modern-day European nations choose to conduct this dialogue between these multiple pasts and the present: in particular, the way they use their institutions of collective memory – museums, monuments, memorial days – “to keep in touch with the past, and sometimes to reconstruct it systematically”.

Much can hang on the answers. Does modern-day Muslim Turkey, with an eye to future membership of the European Union, for instance, choose to “own” the period when it was the Christian capital of the Roman world? Or does it instead look to become top dog in the Muslim world, playing up its Islamic past and effectively disowning the Christian centuries before the Muslim conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453? Davies’s alertness to these implications makes his book a must for anyone with a serious interest in Europe’s present-day international relations.

Better still, however, is to savour this book in the manner that its length (a hefty 830 pages) and range permits. Take it with you to read the relevant chapter en route to your next European destination – whether to familiar Florence, once capital of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Etruria (now comprehensively forgotten by the Italians), or to rather less tourist-friendly Minsk. There are few better ways of coming to an understanding of the multilayered splendours and horrors of Europe’s past than through the pages of this wise, humane and unfailingly engaging book.'

The vanished kingdoms discussed in the book are: Tolosa, Alt Clud, Burgundia, Aragon, Litva, Byzantion, Borussia, Sabaudia, Galicia, Etruria, Rosenau, Tsernagora, Rusyn, Éire, and CCCP. Can you honestly say, you had heard about all of them before now?

According to The Economist: 'All across Europe ghosts will bless [Norman Davies] for telling their long-forgotten stories.' See also the review in The Independent.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Vampirism and magia posthuma

So the papers from the conference on vampirism and magia posthuma arranged by Christoph Augustynowicz and Ursula Reber at the University of Vienna in the Summer of 2009 have finally been published. I received the book yesterday, Vampirismus und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie published by Lit Verlag. As little information on the book is mentioned on various web sites, I will list the contents:

  • Vorwort by Augustynowicz and Reber
  • Hans Richard Brittnacher: Blut. Grundsätzliche Bemerkungen zur Erfolgsgeschichte des Vampirs
  • Hagen Schaub: Beweist ein archäologischer Fund den Wiedergängerglauben? Kamen Südosteurops Vampire über österreichische Berichte bis nach Nordhessen?
  • Marco Frenchowski: Die Unverweslichkeit der Heiligen und Vampire: Eine Studie über Kulturelle Ambivalenz
  • Vlado Vlacic: Militärberichte und Vampirmythos
  • Bernhard Unterholzner: Vampire im Habsburgerreich, Schlagzeilen in Preußen. Wie Mythen zu politischen Druckmitteln werden
  • Oliver Hepp: Vom Aberglauben hin zur "magischen Würckung" der Einbildung. Michael Ranffts Tractat von dem Kauen und Schmatzen der Todten in Gräbern
  • Christian Reiter: Der Vampyr-Aberglaube und die Militärärzte
  • Thomas M. Bohn: Das Gespenst von Lublau. Michael Kaspereks/Kaspareks Verwandlung vom Wiedergänger zum Blutsauger
  • Clemens Ruthner: Ärzte am offenen (Text-)Grab. Zur Literarisierung von Flückingers Vampirismus-Protokoll (1732) bei Mayo (1846) und Kock (1998)
  • Christoph Augustynowicz: Von Branntweinmaßen, Klöstern und Waisenhäusern oder Galizien langes 19. Jahrhundert und Vampir-Motive
  • Christa A. Tuczay: Alb- Buhlteufel - Vampirin und die Geschlechter- und Traumtheorien des 19. Jahrhunderts
  • Peter Mario Kreuter: Er steht sogar im MERIAN. Zum vampiresken Verwaltungsschriftgut des 18. Jahrhunderts aus dem Hofkammerarchiv
  • Ursula Reber: Vampirmaschinen | Engelscharen. Diskursive Reihen und Knoten
  • Niels K. Petersen: Magia Posthuma. A Weblog Approach to the History of Central and Eastern European Vampire Cases of the 18th Century
  • Anhang: Farbabbildungen
  • Biographien

I am looking forward to reading it, and I expect to write a bit about this and some other books that have been published this year. I am sorry to say that - as usual - the most important books published this year  are not written in English. At least as far as I am aware of.

Vampirismus und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie is available at just € 19.90 from the publisher and various online booksellers like e.g. German Amazon. Do note that it is also listed under the alternative title Vampirglaube und magia posthuma im Diskurs der Habsburgermonarchie.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


That not everyone with an interest in the subject of vampires is enthusiastic about the Twilight phenomenon, is a fact clearly stated by Mark Benecke in a recent interview about the 'vampire subculture', where he remarks that: 'Die Leute, die denken sie wären Vampire, die haben «Twilight» nicht gesehen.', The people who think they are vampires haven't seen Twilight.

Personally, I did work my way through the first film, but must admit that I had to press fast forward to get through the next two. But then, I doubt that I belong to the target audience of those books and films...

Well-known vampire expert, Peter Mario Kreuter is being interviewed by Anthony Hogg on his Vampirologist blog. In the first installment Kreuter tells how he first got interested in vampires, a road that curiously begins with an interest in this blogger's native country, Denmark: 'Danish history fascinates me...'

Apropos of Kreuter, he contributed a paper to a book on Theophrastus Paracelsus that was published last year, Paracelsus im Kontext der Wissenschaften seiner Zeit: Kultur- und mentalitätsgeschichtliche Annäherungen. The paper (Paracelsus und die deutsche Sprache. Nebst Anmerkungen zur deutsch-lateinischen Mischsprache temporibus Theophrasti et Lutheri) concerns the language of Paracelsus, which is apparently usually critized, but Kreuter has another view on the matter.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The World of the Undead according to Marigny

An interview (in French) with Jean Marigny has just been published here. Marigny has penned a few books on the subject of vampires, including the popular Sang pour Sang which has been published in English as Vampires: The World of the Undead:

'En 1992, j’ai dirigé un colloque sur les vampires à Cerisy-la-Salle dans la Manche. Le centre étant très connu, les éditions Gallimard m’ont contacté pour me proposer de faire un livre sur les vampires dans la superbe collection « Découvertes ». Le but de l’opération était de publier ce livre en janvier 1993, au moment de la sortie du Dracula de Coppola. J’ai travaillé d’arrache-pied pour tenir le délai, et lorsque le livre est sorti, il a eu un énorme succès, à ma grande surprise, ce qui m’a valu d’être invité sur les principales chaînes de radio et de télé. Cela m’a permis aussi d’acquérir, dans ce domaine, une certaine notoriété.'

Marigny's most recent book on vampires is the fully illustrated Vampire: De la légende au Mythe moderne which was published by Éditions de la Martinière in November.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

An important exception

I recently mentioned Paul Barber's preface to the second edition of his Vampires, Burial & Death, as well as Rob Brautigam's Shroudeater site in another post. Paul Barber calls attention to that web site, while mentioning that 'theories sometimes crowd out the facts, especially on the Internet,' adding in a footnote:

'An important exception is Rob Brautigam, whose site ( contains a valuable collection of material from many countries over many years. Brautigam has gone to great trouble to verify sources in the accounts he publishes there, some of which have evolved in moving from one book to the next. In one case (that of William Doggett) he demonstrates that a vampire was eventually inserted into a story that originally wasn't about vampires at all.' (p. v-vi)

Brautigam recently updated the site with a large number of 'cases', this time including an index by place name instead of by country alone, even indicating alternative names for various places.

I have only taken a brief look at some of the new entries. One of them concerns Marienburg and is placed in Poland. Curiously, Montague Summers in The Vampire in Europe refers this to Tyrol:

'In his chronicle under the year 1343 Sebastian Moelers relates that during a terrible visitation of the Black Death cases of vampirism were numerous in the Tyrol, and the Benedictine abbey of Marienberg was much infested, one at least of the monks, Dom Steino von Netten, being commonly reputed to have been slain by a vampire.' (p. 160)

As is sometimes the case, the original source text is not easy to locate online, in this case Sebastian Möler's Prussian chronicle. Brautigam refers to a book from 1837 that clearly places the occurrence in Lauenburg (today Lębork), and not Marienburg (today Malbork), both near Danzig (Gdansk) in Northern Poland. I found a bit on it on p. 53-4 in Reinhold Cramer's Geschichte der Lande Lauenburg und Bütow (1858) (see below), which clearly shows that this has to do with a dead person's corpse that keeps turning up outside the grave, until it is forced to stay there by being punished with a sword and reminded of an oath taken by the deceased while alive. As such, it is certainly farfetched to claim that it is an example of a vampire per se. Unfortunately, Montague Summers's vampiric version set in Tyrol must be considered a figment of his (or charitably, perhaps someone else's) imagination, as Brother (not Dom) Steino von Retten died from the epidemic illness that he tried to flee, not because he had been 'slain by a vampire.'

As Cramer says, this story is so wonderful that it sounds more like a fairy tale than a true story, but must be considered one of the stories concerning Medieval miracula mortuorum that are recounted by various authors, including Dom Calmet.

Those interested in factual background information may find it worth taking a look at the appendices in Cramer's book.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mastication in Italian

Initially written in Latin, then translated into German and expanded by the author, and some 250 years later translated into French, and published in a modern German edition, Michael Ranft's De masticatione mortuorum in tumulis was published in Italian earlier this year by LibriPerduti as Diceria del Vampiro. It is accompanied by texts by Gabriele Ferrero and Dario Spada.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Vampertione infecta

I have always found it strange how various 'black metal' bands take up names and quotes from all sorts of literature on e.g. vampires and posthumous magic for their band names and song titles, cf. this post. According to the Wikipedia entry on Black Metal,

'The most common and founding lyrical theme is opposition to Christianity and other organized religions. As part of this, many artists write lyrics that could be seen to promote atheism, antitheism, paganism or Satanism. The hostility of many secular or pagan black metal artists is in some way linked to the Christianization of their countries. Other oft-explored themes are depression, nihilism, misanthropy, death and other dark topics. However, over time, many black metal artists have begun to focus more on topics like the seasons (particularly winter), nature, mythology, folklore, philosophy and fantasy.'

Certainly not to my own taste in music and aesthetics, it is curious to find that sometimes searches on the internet directly lead to web sites about black metal bands. One such search concerned the phrase 'vampertione infecta', which has been used as a song title by Italian metal band Riul Doamnei. The phrase is probably mainly known to people with a special interest in Moravian magia posthuma, as it supposedly appears in an 18th century parish register of deaths in Moravia or the North East of present day Czech Republic.

At least, so Christian d'Elvert claimed when writing about vampires and posthumous magic in 1859, see e.g. Die Wiedergänger von Bärn/Mähren 1662-1740 or this recent entry on Rob Brautigam's Shroudeater site, quoting an entry from the parish register of Bärn, present day Moravsky Beroun:

'Anno 1725 den 28. Februar ist Anna des seligen Andreas Berge, gewesene Ehewirtin verschieden, ihres Alters 48 Jahr, hat keine Ruhe in der Erden gehabt, Vampertione infecta, und ist letztlich verbrannt worden.'

In English: A.D. 1725 on February 28, Anna, the widow of the blessed Andreas Berge, deceased at the age of 48. She found no peace in the earth, Vampertione infecta, and was finally cremated.

Klaus Hamberger notes the word 'Vampertione' when commenting on the incident in his Mortuus non mordet: 'Das Fremdwort in der Eintragung zum 28. 2. 1725 verweist gleichwohl auf einen bemerkenswerten Bruch.' (p. 77) So I have always been somewhat intrigued by the term, and when I had the chance, I looked for it in the original (as shown below), and - to my eyes - there is no trace of the infection!

So, one might wonder how those two Latin words ended up among d'Elvert's otherwise reasonably reliable passages from the parish register. Just as one may wonder what 'Vampertione' was supposed to mean.

At face value this is clearly an example of the burning of a corpse suspected of posthumous magic that appears to have been relatively common in those parts during the 17th and 18th centuries. The entry in the parish register contains no description of how people determined that she should have found no rest in the grave. For that reason it seems farfetched to talk of a vampire per se. Still, as we know, the term 'vampire' was quickly linked to various kinds of revenants and (supposedly) uncorrupted corpses. For that reason, Gregor Wolny had no qualms using the term when mentioning the examples of posthumous magic in Bärn in his Die Markgraffschaft Mähren topographisch, statistisch und historisch geshildert from 1839, as shown in the excerpt at the bottom of this post.

Looking at the reproduction of the text above, even as shown here, I think you can see that there is a difference in the shade of the ink from the first to the last sentence, but the style of writing looks similar. Clearly, the last sentence was added later, as one would expect. Unfortunately, we know nothing of what happened in between, only that it apparently did not involve 'Vampertione infecta' ...

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