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The Source:

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

That is where I found it. And Adrien Cremene informs us that he himself has found this case in Gh. F. Ciauseanu's "Superstitiile Poporului Român" (1914).

The Case:

In 1837, correspondence took place between the protopope of the Romanian village Plasii de Jos and his bishop. A number of these letters, fell into the hands of C. N. Matescu, who published them in the magazine "Luminatorul". They were reprinted in Ciauseanu's "Superstitiile Poporului Român". Which is where Adrien Cremene found them.

In his first letters the protopope complains about the people from his parish, who are accursed sinners. Again and again they dig up his churchyard to hammer stakes through corpses, despite the fact that they have been warned that this is a most wicked and un-Christian sin in the eyes of the Church. Despite his threats and warnings, they also leave the disinterred corpses out in the open. The bishop asks for more precise details. In his reply, the protopope comes up with the following accusations:

In the village of Ocolestii de Jos the following crimes had been committed.

1. A certain Ion Dorobanstu had opened the grave of Balasa, the daughter of Paraschiv .
2. A certain Ion Butsu, who was said to be a Boyar from a noble family, had opened the grave of Marin Oană.
3. Again Ion Dorobantsu, this time together with Ion Butsu and his cousin Stan, had opened the grave of Constandin, the son of Utsa Văduva.
4. Then the same three sinners had opened the grave of Manea, the son of Mateiescu.
5. And finally, Ion Butsu and his cousin Stan, had opened the grave of Ion, the son of Stancu Giubega.

The protopope once again complains in the strongest terms about those "wicked sinners" who do not listen to a word he says, who "just get themselves drunk and then come to his churchyard with spades and stakes" to do their destructive deeds.

The bishop in turn now complains to the authorities. The sinners are all arrested and put in jail for three days, "on water and bread". As to others who had assisted with these crimes, all men were beaten with a cane for 50 times. Everyone was warned that they'd receive double that punishment if they were ever caught again.

The Date:

The protopope's first letter is dated 10 September 1837.

The Place:

Several places are named. There is Ocolestii de Jos, which is where the "vampires" were executed. The district is said to be Vălcea. The authorities who punished the criminals came from Cernele and Oltet. Obviously, the district is not hard to find. As to Ocolestii de Jos, it must be somewhere in the mountain area between Craiova and Ramnicu Valcea.

Possible Follow-Up:

Try to get copies of Adrien Cremene's sources: 1. Ciauseanu's "Superstitiile Poporului Român". 2. The magazine "Luminatorul". 3. The letters (which may still be in some archive or library or something).

© 2011 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed February 2011

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