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The Source:

Hermann Schreiber:
"Es spukt in Deutschland"
Arena Verlag, Würzburg, Germany, 1975

And Herman Schreiber informs us that he has found the story in no.40 of the "Vossischen Zeitung", dated 1755.

The Case:

In 1753, in the village of Hermsdorf, a woman died. During her lifetime, everyone had known her as the "Tyroler Doktorin". She had cured lots of people with the help of the mysterious potions that she brewed at home. When the "Doctor" realised that her life was coming to an end, she called her husband to her bedside. He had to promise her that, after her death, he would make sure that her head was cut off before her corpse was buried. Furthermore, she made him swear that under no circumstance would she be buried in the Catholic churchyard. After she had died, her husband found that he did not have the stomach to carry out the gruesome task that his late wife had put upon him. To make things worse, the local priest came around to remind him of the fact that it were only the most depraved sinners who would bury their wives elsewhere. Well, you know how things go. Frau Doktorin, much against her wish, ended up resting in the Catholic Churchyard, and of course her head was still firmly attached to her neck and shoulders.

Fortunately for us, the story does not end there. It did not take long before strange stories started circulating. There were rumours that the "Tyroler Doktorin" had come back from the grave as a vampire. The guilty husband had started drinking after the death of his wife. And one night, when he was very drunk, he told his terrible secret to his drinking companions in the local inn. The next day, the whole village had heard the story, and it did not take long before the authorities had heard about it too. And thus, in 1755, the grave of the Doktorin was opened. Another thirty corpses, who were also suspected of having become vampires, were dug up as well. Ten of the corpses turned out to be in a pretty sorry state, so it was obvious that they could not be vampires. But the vampire hunters had better luck with the other ones. Twenty-one corpses, which included the Tyroler Doktorin, looked remarkably fresh, so there could be little doubt that they were vampires. The undead monsters were staked, after which they were cremated.

The Date:

We are given a couple of dates: 1753 for the death of the vampire, and 1755 as the date of the vampire's destruction.

The Place:

Schreiber gives us a couple of good hints as to where we can expect to find Hermsdorf. It is said to be a place in Schlesien, close to the town Troppau. In the meantime I found that Troppau appears to have been renamed to Opava, and it is situated in the Czech Republic, close to the Polish border. Here is a link to Opava:  http://www.opava-city.cz/ 

Personal Comments:

This definitely sounds like the kind of story that may really have happened.

Possible Follow-Up:

For a start, we have the name and date of the newspaper, which will be worth checking out. In the second place, with the exhumation of no less than 31 corpses, this looks like a major case. There should be further documentary proof somewhere, especially since the authorities are said to have been involved.

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009
Links last checked 22 September 2008

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