Extract on vampires from ‘The Travels of Three Gentleman’ 1733 (published 1745)

The Harleian Miscellany

This extract is from

‘The Travels of Three English Gentlemen, from Venice to Hamburgh, being the grand Tour of Germany, in the Year 1734. MS Never before published. A Journey from Goritia to Laubach, or Lubianz, the Metropolis of Carniola’

which was first published as part of the Harleian Miscellany collection in The Harleain Miscellany 1745

Extract is taken from pages 348-9

‘We must not omit Observing here, that our Landlord seemed to pay some Regard to what Baron Valvasor has related of the Vampyres, said to infest some Parts of this Country. These Vampyres are supposed to be the Bodies of deceased Persons, animated by evil Spirits, which come out of the Graves, in the Night-time, suck the Blood of many of the Living, and thereby destroy them. Such a Notion will, probably, be looked upon as fabulous and exploded, by many People in England; however, it is not only countenanced by Baron Valvasor, and many Carnioleze Noblemen, Gentlemen, &c. as we were informed, but likewise actually embraced by some Writers of good Authority. M. Jo. Henr. Zopfus, Director of the Gymnasium of Essen, a Person of great Erudition, has published a Dissertation upon them, which is extremely learned and curious, from whence we shall beg Leave to transcribe the following Paragraph: “The Vampyres, which come out of the Graves in the Night-time, rush upon People sleeping in their Beds, suck out all their Blood, and destroy them. They attack Men, Women, and Children, sparing neither Age nor Sex. The People attacked by them complain of Suffocation, and a great Interception of Spirits; after which, they soon expire. Some of them, being asked, at the Point of Death, what is the Matter with them, say they suffer in the Manner just related from People lately dead, or rather the Spectres of those People; upon which, their Bodies, from the Description given of them, by the sick Person, being dug out of the Graves, appear in all Parts, as the Nostrils, Cheeks, Breast, Mouth, &c turgid and full of Blood. Their Countenances are fresh and ruddy; and their Nails, as well as Hair, very much grown. And, though they have been much longer dead than many other Bodies, which are perfectly putrified, not the least Mark of Corruption is visible upon them. Those who are destroyed by them, after their Death, become Vampyres, so that, to prevent so spreading an Evil, it is found requisite to drive a Stake through the dead Body, from whence, on this Occasion, the Blood flows as if the Person was alive. Sometimes the Body is dug out of the Grave, and burnt to Ashes; upon which, all Disturbances cease. The Hungarians call these Spectres Pamgri, and the Servians Vampyres; but the Etymon, or Reason of these Names, is not known.” Vid. Dissert. De Vampyris Serviensibus Quam Suprem. Numin. Auspic. Praesid. M. Joan. Henr. Zopfio Gymnas. Assind. Direct. Publice defend. C. p. 6, 7. DUISBURGE ad RHENUM, Typis JOHANNIS SAS, Academiae Typographi, Anno MDCCXXXIII.

These Spectres are reported to have infested several Districts of Servia, and the Bannat of Temeswaer, in the Year 1725, and for seven or eight Years afterwards, particularly those of Mevadia, or Meadia, and Parakin, near the Morava. In 1732, we had a Relation of some of their Feats in the Neighbourhood of Cassovia; and the publick Prints took Notice of the Tragedies, they acted in the Bannat of Temeswaer, in the Year 1738. Father Gabriel Rzaczynski, in his Natural History of the Kingdom of Poland, and the great Duchy of Lithuania, published at Sendomir, in 1721, affirms, that in Russia, Poland, and the great Dutchy of Lithuania, dead Bodies, actuated by infernal Spirits, sometimes enter People’s Houses in the Night, fall upon Men, Women, and Children, and attempt to suffocate them; and that of such Diabolical Facts his Countrymen have several very authentic Relations. The Poles call a Man’s Body thus informed Upier, and that of a Woman Upierzyca, i.e. a winged or feathered Creature; which Name seems to be deduced from the surprising Lightness and Activity of these incarnate Demons. If we remember right, an Account of them also, from Poland, is to be met with in some of the Newspapers for 1693, perfectly agreeing with those of the Servian Vampyres given us by M. Zopsius. In Fine, the Notion of such pestiferous Beings has prevailed from Time immemorial over a great Part of Hungary, Servia, Carniola, Poland, &c. as is evinced by several Authors in Conjunction with the aforesaid M. Zopsius. To which we shall beg Leave to add, that the ancient Greeks also seem to have been firmly persuaded, that dead Bodies were sometimes acted by evil Spirits, as appears from a Fragment of Phlegon. Neither is this Opinion, however it may be ridiculed by many People, altogether without Foundation; since the Supreme Being may make wicked Spirits his Instruments of Punishment here, as well as Plagues, Wars, Famines, &c. and, that he actually has done so, is sufficiently apparent from Scripture, to omit what has been said on this Head by some of the most eminent profane Authors.’

Published by SamHirst

This started off as a story blog to share the little fictions that I like to write but it's turned into something a bit more Goth! I'm Dr Sam Hirst and I research the Gothic, theology and romance and at the moment I'm doing free Gothic classes online! We also have readalongs, watchalongs and reading groups. And I post fun little Gothic bits when I have the chance. Find me on twitter @RomGothSam

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