Sunday, 31 August 2008

Die sogenannte Werke des Teufels auf den Erdboden

The copy of the 1752 translation of Calmet's book on revenants, Gelehrte Verhandlung der Materi von Erscheinungen der Geisten, und denen Wampiren in Ungarn, Mähren etc. in the collections of the Danish Royal Library is bound with another book: Die sogenannte Werke des Teufels auf den Erdboden published anonymously in Freyburg in 1751. Part 12 of this book deals with 'vampires or so-called blood suckers, and whether they are to be considered the work of the Devil'. I actually put a scan of the opening page of this part in a previous post.

It contains some of the well-known reports on vampires: Those from Kisiljevo and Medvedja, as well as the letter from Kottwitz, in which he poses a question concerning the nature of the phenomena observed in the Serbian vampire cases ('Weiln man hier nun ein ungemeines Wunder daraus macht, als unterstehe mich Dero Particular-Meynung mir gehorsamst auszubitten, ob solches etwas sympathetisches, teuflisches oder astralischer Geister Wirkung sey.') that the anonymous author himself answers by concluding that there is nothing supernatural in the stories about vampires. They are rather to be understood as a combination of natural causes as well as the imagination of the villagers involved.

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