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The Source:

Gabrielis Rzaczynski:
"Historia Naturalis Curiosa Regni Polonae, Magniducatis Litvaniae, Annexarumq; Provinciarum, etc."
Collegii Soc. Jesu, Sandomir, 1721

Stefan Hock:
"Die Vampirsagen - und ihre Verwertung in der deutschen Literatur" [1900]
reprint: M.Munteanu, Ed.Geheimes Wissen, 2006

The Case:

When I first made this page, I took the first version at hand, which happened to be the one in Hock's "Die Vampirsagen - und ihre Verwertung in der deutschen Literatur". This is what Hock had to report:

"Rzazyiiski [sic] führt unter vielen andern Historien schon aus dem Jahre 1624 die Geschichte einer Upierzyca (weiblicher Vampir) an, welche bei Krakau viele Leute ins Grab nachzog. Ihr Leichnam wurde blutrot im Grabe gefunden, das Leichentuch im Munde; beim Anstoßen des Kopfes floss Blut."

which more or less translates into:

"Rzazyiiski tells among many other stories the history of an Upierzyca (female vampire) that already in 1624 near Cracow pulled many people into the grave. Inside the grave, her corpse was found as red as blood, her shroud was in her mouth; when the head was touched, blood was flowing."

It looks like a rather compact version of the facts, so I will now also give you the original version as well. Please note that I have replaced the long "s" (which looks like an "f" without the crossbar) by a normal "s". Here is what Rzaczynski has to say:

"Singulare exemplum cruentationis adduco ex M.S.S. praetermissis similibus plurimis, Clepardiae ad Cracoviam, an. 1624 in Februario, mulierem mortuam ac tumulatum, brevi alia in eadem domo est secuta, simul cum puero. Missi a Magistratu Medici ac Chirurgi, qui an aliqua signa non adessent pestis observarent, sed nulla deprehenderunt. Moritur rursus faemina in alio loco, etiam sine ullo indicio pestilentiae. Conclusum est igitur, per maleficam fieri hanc stragem hominum. Ergo consilio inito, mortuae primo cadaver essoditur, quod ad terram conversum, a capite ad umbilicum, totum rubeum ac mandens linteamina invenitur. Igitur pala praemunita acuto ferro seperatur caput a cadavere, ante tres septimanas sepulto, unde medius fere congius sanguinis recentis effluxerat. Ita hominibus jam jam periclitantibus est restituta securitas."

The Date:

Hock has given us 1624 as the year of the happenings. Rzaczynski also informs us that they took place in the month of February.

The Place:

"Cracovia" or "Cracow" being one of the larger places of Poland, it won't be hard to find. It's somewhere South, in the middle, towards the Slovakian border. Rzaczynski also seems to mention the name of the village (?), part of town (?): "Clepardiae".

Personal Comments:

Despite the fact that it isn't much of a story, of course it makes a nice change to encounter a real Shroudeater. And again we can see how these stories change over the years. Hock mentions an "Upierzyca", wheras Rzaczynski simply refers to "a dead woman". I know... I have been doing just the same, every time I stick the "vampire" label on something that technically speaking is not a proper vampire. But, hey, it has become such an ill-defined label that you can stick it on almost anything.

Possible Follow-Up:

First find a copy of Hock's book, preferably the original rather than a reprint. Then go find Hock's source, i.e. Gabriel Rzaczynski's "Historia naturalis curiosa regni Poloniae". I haven't even tried to look up the location that Rzaczynski gives us, so here's your chance to show us just how clever you are.

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

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