German vampire: Nachzehrer

Nachzehrer is derived from the German word nach which means afterwards and zehrer meaning devouring energy.  It is a part of the German folklore which is also popular in the Silesia region and Bavaria.  Though they are under the family of the vampire, the nachzehrer exhibits a ghoul like behavior.  They do not suck the blood of the living; hence they prefer to devour the flesh of the corpse.

Based on the legend, the bite of this creature cannot turn you into a nachzehrer.  This creature was created after someone commit suicide or due to accidents.  They also believe that this creature is responsible for a massive death when a plague happens in a certain area.  The locals believed that the first person who died due to the plague is believed to be this vampire creature.  There is also a tradition of removing the name tag on the clothes of the dead one.  If the family forget to remove the name of the person in his clothing before his burial then he is likely to become a nachzehrer.

It is also believed that the nachzehrer would completely devour its former flesh when waking up, the more they feed on their corpse, the faster that the health of the family will deteriorate.  In the Vampire Encyclopedia which is written by Bunson Matthew, a different belief on nachzehrer was presented.  It states:
 “Some Kashubes believed that the Nachzehrer would leave its grave, shapeshifting into the form of a pig, and pay a visit to their family members to feast on their blood. In addition, the Nachzehrer was able to ascend to a church belfry to ring the bells, bringing death to anyone who hears them. Another lesser known ability of the Nachzehrer is the power it had to bring death by causing its shadow to fall upon someone. Those hunting the Nachzehrer in the graveyard would listen for grunting sounds that it would make while it munched on its grave clothes.” 
This kind of belief was recorded in Venice where a skeleton of a woman was found with a brick between his teeth to prevent her from eating her shrouds.  It was believed that the woman was the first one to die on the plague and was blamed for being a nachzehrer.

They said that a nachzehrer can be identified when its left eye is open when you opened the casket.


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