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The Source:

F.S. Knipscheer:
"Bijgeloof uit alle Tijden"
Hollandia Drukkerij, Baarn, Netherlands, no date.

The Case:

In Volume IV, on p.43, of Knipscheer's book about Superstition, we can find the following bit:

"Dat dit bijgeloof nog niet uit de wereld is verdwenen leert een bericht uit het "Dagblad van Bukarest" van 17 Mei 1905 :

- In de gemeente Prejam in het district Vilcea hebben onbekende daders het lijk van een voor korten tijd gestorven dertienjarigen knaap opgegraven en het lichaam in een aangrenzend bosch verbrand. De halfverbrande beenderen en enige flarden van het lijkgewaad werden later door gerechtsdienaars gevonden, waardoor de daad ontdekt werd. Men meent dat deze daad is verricht door bloedverwanten van den overleden knaap, om den vampier te beletten dat hij de oorzaak zou zijn van den dood van andere leden van het gezin, die spoedig na zijne begrafenis door eene zware ziekte bezocht waren - ".


Knipscheer informs us that he is quoting from a daily newspaper from Bucharest dated 17 May 1905. For your convenience, and in view of the sad fact that there still seem to be one or two people in this world who pretend not to understand my native language, I will translate his story:

"In the community of Prejam, in the district of Vilcea, unknown perpetrators have disinterred the corpse of a thirteen year old boy that has recently died, and have cremated the body in an adjoining forest. Later, the half burnt bones and some pieces of the shroud were found by the police so the deed was discovered. It is thought that it has been the work of relatives of the deceased boy, to prevent the vampire of causing the dead of other members of the family, who had become seriously ill soon after his burial."

The Date:

For what it is worth, we have been given the date of the newspaper article: 17 May 1905. In the meantime (see below) we have found that this should be 1902.

The Place:

Prejam is said to be in the Vilcea district. So spending a couple of hours examining Romanian maps would seem to be a pretty good start for this investigation.

And then we found this:

In the meantime I have found another mention of this case in Bernhard Stern's "Medizin, Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der Türkey - mit Berücksichtigung der moslemischen Nachbarländer und der ehemaligen Vasallenstaaten". This is what Schmidt tells us:

"Das Bukarester Tagblatt berichtete in der Nummer vom 17. Mai 1902 unter der Spitzmarke „Ein schrecklicher Aberglaube" folgendes: In der Gemeinde Prejam im Distrikte Vilcea haben unbekannte Thäter den Leichnam eines vor kurzem verstorbenen 13 jährigen Knaben ausgegraben und den Körper in einem an das Dorf grenzenden Walde auf einem Roste zu Asche verbrannt. Die verbrannten Gebeine des Knaben sowie Fetzen von den Kleidern, mit denen er begraben worden war, wurden dann später von der Gendarmerie aufgefunden und gaben zur Entdeckung der That Anlass. Wie man glaubt, wurde die That von Familienangehörigen des Verstorbenen verübt, um den Vampyr zu verhindern, auch den Tod anderer Mitglieder der Familie herbeizuführen, welche gleich nach dem Ableben des Knaben schwer erkrankt waren."

Now we have a little problem here: Knipscheer has the case take place in 1905, whereas Schmidt puts it under 1902. Schmidt's book having been published in 1903 I think we can forget about the 1905.

Possible Follow-Up:

Why don't you start by finding and reading Schmidt's opus which does list a number of interesting cases.And then you can try to find the original newspaper item.

The police are mentioned. So it seems more than likely that there may have been official reports about the case. Do they still exist ? Can we find them ? I am not going to tell you. For you, there is only one way of finding it out.

© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 17 February 2012

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