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The Source:

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

That is where I found the story. And Hermann Schreiber indicates that he has found the material about this case in volume XIII of the "Oppenhoffschen Sammlung" of the "Königlichen Obertribunal".

The Case:

The following history took place in a part of Poland which at the time was German territory. There, on 5 February 1870, in the town of Kantrzyno, a man called Franz von Poblocki died. On von Poblocki's death certificate it said "Auszehrung" (consumption) as the cause of death. Franz von Poblocki, who appears to have been a man of some importance, was buried in the family grave in the churchyard of Roslasin. Within a fortnight, on 18 February 1870, von Poblocki's son Anton died, a victim of "Galoppierende Schwindsucht". And while Anton's corpse was still waiting to be buried, some of the other family members were beginning to suffer from health problems as well. All of the patients complained about horrible nightmares. The family gathered to discuss the situation. They soon came to the conclusion that old Franz had become a vampire. So they hired a local vampire expert, a man called Johann Dzigielski. This vampire hunter decided to decapitate the corpse of son Anton, so that the vampire victim could be buried with his head between his legs. After having taken care of the son, Dzigielski went to the churchyard where he tried to bribe the undertaker to dig up old Poblocki, so that he could be decapitated as well. The undertaker, however, would not hear of such a thing and went straight to Father Block, the local priest, who quickly wrote a letter to the Poblocki family, warning them that he was not going to tolerate any vampire hunting in his churchyard. Easy for him to say, because, unlike the Poblocki's, the priest was not likely to become the victim of the vampire. Therefore, the Poblocki family decided to ignore the priest's threats and go on with their plans. That night they dug up old Franz and Dzigielski made sure that the vampire was properly taken care of. When the meddlesome priest found out about this, he notified the authorities. And so the vampire hunters had to go on trial. The unfortunate Dzigielski received a four month sentence, but the influential Poblocki family appealed to a higher court. They pleaded that their lives had been in danger and that they had only acted out of self-defence. The judges admitted that they had a point. Consequently, on 15 May 1872, all the charges against the vampire hunters were dropped.

The Date:

We are given a couple of exact and useful dates here. 5 February 1870 for the death of Herr Franz, 18 February 1870 for the death of his son Anton, and 15 May 1872 for the final trial.

The Place:

Schreiber gives us the location where Franz von Poblocki used to live as "the village Kantrzyno, Kreis Neustadt an der Rheda" and also the location of the churchyard: "Roslasin, im pommerschen Kreis Lauenburg". At the time when this case took place this was German territory. Nowadays it is all part of Poland. It was not hard to find some of these places on an old German map. By comparing them to a modern map of Poland, I discovered that Lauenburg is now called Lebork.
Here is a link to Lebork:  http://www.lebork.pl/ 
I also found Neustadt, and - judging by its location - the present town of Wejherowo could well be it. Then I had a bit of good luck. In an old book called "Die Norddeutschen Moore" I found a more detailed map of "das Lebamoor". On it, somewhere between Lauenburg and Neustadt, I found Roslasin. It has now been renamed to Rozlazino.

Personal Comments:

This one definitely looks like it might turn out to be an authentic case. So it would be interesting to see if we could find further material about it.

Possible Follow-Up:

We have quite a bit of information to go on. We have been given names and dates and places. We have a court case of which there appear to be records. Also, the von Poblocki family are said to have been influential. So it would be strange if they have disappeared without leaving a trace.

Reactions:

One of our visitors, Shawn P. Rosler, took the trouble to do a search on the von Poblocki name and came up with a Bavarian site that mentions someone with this name. And thus he has now established the following two facts:
1. Von Poblocki is a real name. 2. The name von Poblocki does still exist.
Thank you very much, Shawn.
And I received another message from someone informing me that she was a member of the von Poblocki family.
Thank you, Venita.

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

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