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Vampires Ukraina

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Berdichev
Ditkowce
Ivanovka
Kluczow
Odessa
Reusch-Lemberg
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Tichij Chutorj
Ukraina
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The Sources:

Robert Ambelain :
"Le Vampirisme - de la légende au réel" [1977]
Robert Laffont, Paris, France, 1977

The Case:

Ambelain informs us that he has his story from a student called Nicolas C. This, more or less, is what Ambelain has to report:

In 1911, Nicolas had successfully finished his studies, and decided to go on a vacation. So he went to stay with some relatives who lived in a small and quiet village somewhere in the Ukraina. After a long journey he arrived and was surprised to find the village streets full of commotion and excitement. When he asked his relatives about this, they told him that, only a few days ago, people had destroyed a vampire in the village churchyard.

During the last couple of weeks several young girls had been experiencing all kinds of trouble during the night. All of them had complained about an invisible creature that lay on top of them so that they could not breathe and had almost died of suffocation. Some of them said that they had seen a couple of small lights that looked a bit like eyes. And when they woke up in the morning they all found that they had strange blue marks on their necks.

It did not take the villagers long to figure out that these nocturnal phenomena could only be the work of a vampire. They knew that if they were caught trying to execute a vampire, they could get themselves into serious trouble with the law. But by some "lucky coincidence" the two local policemen decided to go to another village for a couple of days. No sooner had they left the village, or half the population rushed to the churchyard. People started running around, looking for suspect graves. They soon decided that the most promising one would be the grave of an old sorcerer who had died about a month before.

The grave was opened, the lid was torn off the coffin, and - yes - the corpse was found to look much too healthy. The dead man's eyes, which had been closed after his death, were now open wide. The clean white shroud that had been put around him was now covered in blood. There could be no doubt that the dead man was a vampire !

The gravedigger hammered a wooden stake through the heart of the undead corpse, and everyone agreed that its blood looked much too fresh. After the vampire had been staked through the heart, the corpse was cremated. The glowing ashes were thrown into the grave and then covered up with dirt. After these measures, the mysterious nocturnal phenomena ceased completely.

The Date:

In this respect we can consider ourselves lucky. We are told that the story is supposed to date back to 1911. That is reasonably precise (and good enough for me) for something that is reported to have happened about a century ago.

The Place:

Here we have less luck. The Ukraina is a rather large area, and it would have made life much easier for us if our two informants, student Nicolas and Robert Ambelain, had given us the name of their "small and quiet village". Then again, life ain't easy.

Personal Comments:

The story is not unlike hundreds of others. It could be authentic. It could easily have been made up. So it all depends on our sources. Now so far and in lack of further evidence, our only witness is Robert Ambelain. To me the late Mr. Ambelain is a bit of a puzzle. He has written many books about the occult and appears to have been highly respected in certain circles, and rather active within a number of mysterious, sometimes secretive organisations. Is this sufficient to make him a trustworthy witness ? I don't know. Read his books. Check him out. And make your own judgement.

Possible Follow-Up:

It will be hard to learn more about this case, supposing that it ever happened. But it is always possible to give it a try. You could go to the Ukraina and see what you can find in libraries and archives, concentrating on the year of 1911. You can try to find books and articles on Ukrainian folklore and funeral customs. You never know what else you may find.

However, be aware of the fact that the Ukraina and its people have gone through lots of sad and serious trouble and misery since the year of 1911. So it does not seem impossible that much of their historical records have gone up in flames.

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009

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