Breslau Vampire

Breslau Vampire is the name given to the unnamed vampire that terrorized Breslau Germany during the year 1591-1592.  The Breslau Vampire show some signs associated with the Old Hag Syndrome also known as sleep paralysis.

The story began on September 20, 1951.  A rich shoemaker slit his throat with no reason that surprised his family and the whole town.  At first his sister and his wife decided to conceal the truth since suicide on that time is considered a disgrace for the family.  They said to the villagers that the reason for his death is stroke and they forbade anyone from seeing his remains.  They maintain a full secrecy of the said event by hiring a woman to clean any visible wound caused by his suicide.  When they were finally able to place the corpse inside the coffin, they invited a priest to see the body, the priest did not suspect anything since the woman did a good job in hiding his wounds.  After 3 days, the family presented a grandiose funeral service befitting the rich.

After sometime, the villagers came to know about the suicide.  They do not want to believe the nasty rumors in the beginning but it grew bigger and bigger until the city council grew interest on the case.  The city council visited the house and investigates on the issue.  But the family is keen to hide the truth, they made more lies by saying that the shoemaker stumbled and fell on a sharp rock that eventually caused his death.  But despite of their efforts to cover the real reason, the rumors about his death continued.  The city council then decided to exhume the shoemaker’s body but the widow pleads alongside with her friends.

During that time, a ghost of a man was reportedly appearing on random houses, creating unbearable noise, causing nightmares and abusing them.  The news about the ghost became so persistent that the family decided to go to the court and complain about the people desecrating the dead man’s name.

The sighting of the ghost increase, some of them reported that the dead man can be seen walking on daylight.  Some account about this can be found in the Prussian folklore:

“The ones most bothered were those who wanted to restafter heavy work; often it came to their bed, often it actuallylay down in it and was like to smother the people.Indeed, it squeezed them so hard that—not withoutastonishment—people could see the marks left by its fingers,so that one could easily judge the so-called stroke.In this manner, the people, who were fearful in any case,became yet more fearful, so that they did not remainlonger in their houses, but sought more secure places.Most of them, not secure in their bedchamber, stayed inthe rooms, after bringing many others in, so that their fearwas dispersed by the crowd. Nonetheless, although theyall waked with burning lights, the ghost came anyway.Often everyone saw it, but often just a few, of whom italways harassed some.”

After 8 months, the council decided to exhume the body in front of the public.  The date of exhumation was April 18, 1592.  Based on the account and it stated:
 “In the opened grave they found the body complete andundamaged by decay, but blown up like a drum, exceptthat nothing was changed and the limbs all still hungtogether. They were—which was remarkable—not stiffened,like those of other dead people, but one could movethem easily. On his feet the skin had peeled away, andanother had grown, much purer and stronger than thefirst, and as almost all sorcerers are marked on an out-ofthe-way place, so that one does not notice it easily, so didhe have on his big toe a mole like a rose. No one knew themeaning of this. There was also no stench to be noticed,except that the cloths in which he was wrapped had arepulsive smell. The wound in his throat gaped open andwas reddish and not changed in the slightest.”

The corpse of the shoemaker was guarded day and night, the villagers made sure that someone is watching the corpse.  At morning, people will flock around the corpse to see it.  But the exhumation of the body did nothing to stop the vampire’s attack.  Nothing seems to be working; they buried it under the gallows but the attacks of the vampire intensified.  Finally the wife admitted the true nature of her husband’s death. And as recounted on Montague Summers:

Wherefore the seventh of May he was again digged up,and it was observable, that he was grown more sensiblyfleshy since his last interment. To be short, they cut offthe Head, Arms, and Legs of the Corps, and opening hisBack, took out his Heart, which was as fresh and intire[sic] as in a Calf new kill’d. These, together with his Body,they put on a pile of wood, and burnt them to Ashes,which they carefully sweeping together, and putting intoa Sack (that none might get them for wicked uses) pouredthem into the River, after which the Spectrum was neverseen more.

The rich man’s maid who also succumbed to death after him returned from the dead and attacked the other servants during night time.  They also claimed that the spirit of the maid assumed the appearance of a goat or a cat.  The attack ceases after they exhume and burn the body.


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