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The Source:

Dom Augustin Calmet [1672-1757] :
"Dissertation sur les Revenants en Corps, les Excommuniés, Les Oupirs ou Vampires, Brucolaques, etc." [1751]
Debure l'Aîné, Paris, 1751 - Volume II

According to Dom Calmet, this story can be found in Ricaut's study about the Greek Church. And (again according to Dom Calmet) Ricaut tells us that he has heard the story from a monk called Sophrones, who was well-known and respected in the Turkish town of Smyrna (nowadays called Izmir).

The Case:

I will quote Dom Calmet:

"A man who had died on the island of Milos, and who had been excommunicated for something that he had done in the Peleponesos, was buried without any ceremony in the unconsecrated earth of a place outside his village. His parents and friends were very unhappy about the situation. And the people of the island were frightened every night by apparitions that they attributed to the unfortunate dead man.

They opened the grave and found his body intact, with veins that were full of blood. After some discussion, the monks were of the opinion that the corps should be dismembered, cut into pieces and then boiled in wine, for that was their usual way of treating with revenants.

But the parents of the dead man begged them not to touch the corpse. While they travelled to Constantinople to ask the Patriarch absolution for their son, the corpse was put in the church, where daily masses were celebrated, and where prayers were said for the dead man's soul. One day, during the mass, a loud noise came from the coffin. When the coffin was opened it was found that the dead man's corpse had corrupted as if it had been dead for seven years. It turned out that this had happened at the precise moment when the Patriarch had signed the dead man's absolution."

The Date:

Sadly, no date is given. But we do know that it must have taken place before the publication of Dom Calmet's book in 1751. Anyway, let us try to find out when the Chevalier Ricaut published his book about the Greek Church. That should at least give us another indication on when this story is supposed to have taken place.

The Place:

Milos is an island which can be found somewhere between the Greek capital Athens and the island of Crete. Its name became known to the world when - sometime during the 19th Century - the famous statue of Aphrodite (better know as "The Venus of Milos") was found there. Here are a couple of links to Milos: www.travel-to-milos.com , www.milosvenus.gr and www.milos-island.gr

Personal Comments:

Although there does not seem to be an awful lot of information for us to follow up upon, this is an interesting case as it clearly illustrates the remarkable notion that excommunication can create vampires.

Possible Follow-Up:

Obviously you should check to see what Dom Calmet has written. Even more important, let us find out what the Chevalier Ricaut has written in his book about the Greek Church.

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009
Links last checked 9 July 2007

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