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The Sources:

Ilknur Grün, Gereon Schäfer & Dominik Groß:
"Medizinische Versorgung und Gesundheitsverhalten in den 'donauschwäbischen' Siedlungsgebieten Banat und Sathmar im vormaligen Ungarn (1700-1918)"

in: Dominik Groß, Axel Karenberg (Hrsg.)
"Medizingeschichte im Rheinland"
Kassel University Press, Kassel, 2009

The Case:

"Schuld an der Pest sollten Vampire sein, wiederkehrende Tote, die dem Dorf Verderben brachten. Als im September 1739 in Fenlak [im banatisch-transsylvanischen Bergland] neue Pestfälle vorkamen, schob der Chirurg dies dem Umstand zu, dass die Einwohner auf dem Pestfriedhof Kleider ausgruben. Es handelte sich aber nicht um Leichenfledderei, sondern vermutlich sollten Vampire ausgegraben und durch eine 'zweite Tötung'unschädlich gemacht werden."

which more or less translates into:

"The cause of the plague were thought to be vampires, returning dead people, who brought misery to the village. When, in September 1739 in Fenlak (in the mountainland of the Transylvanian Banat) there were new cases of the plague, the Surgeon attributed this to the fact that the villagers were digging up clothes in the plague cemetery. However, they were not robbing the dead, but it seems more likely that they were digging up vampires to render them harmless by 'killing them for the second time'."

The Date:

The events are reported to have taken place in 1739.

The Place:

Fenlak, which was also known as Felnak or Fönlak, is now called Felnac and can be found a little to the West of Arad, not too far from the Hungarian border.

Possible Follow-Up:

Before you start searching for the book and article mentioned above, I will give you some additional information: the authors are quoting from Erich Lammert's "Die Krankheit mit denen Beülen", which was published in "Neuer Weg", Bucharest, 1978.

© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed March 2012

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