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The Source:

Gigi Ciuncanu :
"O gorjeanca a infipt un cui in inima concubinului mort"
Ziua, 24 November, 1998

The Case:

The police of Gorj are looking for a 35-year-old woman called Vasilica Popescu from the village of Barbatesti. She is being suspected of the desecration of a corpse. After the death of her partner, the 47-year-old Tudor Manda, the woman had put a 15cm long nail through the heart of the corpse. She claimed that this was an old custom in the village because there always is the risk that the heart starts beating again. And that when he had been alive, her partner himself had put nails into hearts more than once. The police of Barbatesti denies this and claims that Vasilica Popescu is the only one who is being investigated in this case.

The Date:

The only date we have is the date on which this newspaper article was published: 24 November 1998.

The Place:

There is a Barbatesti, but that is near the Moldavian border and definitely not in the district Gorj, which is located in the South of Romania, in Oltenia where all these modern cases appear to take place. I supposed that it had to be a very tiny village that is part of a larger community. But then I found it somewhere between Craiova and Targo Jiu. It is indeed a community of several villages, as I expected. But it looks like Barbatesti is the main one. Which in my view implies that the happenings may have taken place in any of these villages.

Personal Comments:

The Romanian newspapers are a great source for cases like this. There are all kinds of articles and news items that have to do with the vampire superstitions and practices. I have read dozens and dozens of articles about people being arrested for this kind of thing, and being taken to court and given jail sentences or large fines.

Possible Follow-Up:

There is probably more to be found about this case. It will indoubtedly have had a mention in other newspapers There may have been a trial, which again would have been picked up and covered by the media. So the Romanian newspaper archives seems like a good place to start.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009
Photo taken from an old Romanian postcard from my collection.

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