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The Sources:

Montague Summers :
"The Vampire in Europe" [1929]
reprinted by University Books, New York, USA, 1968

Adrien Cremene:
"Mythologie du Vampire en Roumanie"
Editions du Rocher, Monaco, 1981.

The Case:

Both Montague Summers and Adrien Cremene give us translations of this story, which they have found in N.I. Dumitrascu's "Strigoi - din credintele, datinile si povestirile poporului roman, vol.XXXVIII", published in Bucharest in 1927.

"In the village of Cusmir members of a certain family started to die, one after another. Soon they suspected that an old man, who had been dead for a long time, was causing these deaths. It was decided to investigate. When they opened the grave, they found him sitting up in the Turkish manner, with a very red face. He had also eaten the greatest part of his shroud. When the villagers tried to take him out of his grave, he put up a fight. The villagers beat him up, but soon discovered that it was not possible to cut him with a knife. They then took an axe and a sickle. This time they succeeded to cut out a part of his heart and his liver, which they burnt. The ashes were gathered, mixed with water, and given as medication to those who were ill. This is the only way in which those victims can be cured."

The Date:

Sadly, we are given no date for this interesting case. The only thing we know for certain is that it must have happened before 1927. But - according to Agnes Murgoci - things seem to have taken place a few decades earlier, some time around the beginning of the 20th Century. In case you are wondering, Agnes Murgoci is the author of an article called "The Vampire in Roumania", which appeared in the magazine "Folk-Lore" in December 1926.

The Place:

Cusmir (spelled Cujmir on my map) can be found in the South of the Romanian district Mehedinti, very close to the Bulgarian border.

Personal Comments:

Even though we haven't been given an awful lot of information, this is quite an interesting case. It demonstrates the superstition that vampires can not be cut open with a knife. It is necessary to use a sickle. We also find here the superstition that the victims of the vampire must be cured by feeding them the ashes of the heart and liver of the vampire.

Possible Follow-Up:

The obvious... Find and check all mentioned sources and see if any further information can be found in there.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009

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