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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

The Case:

I will give you Dom Calmet's original text and then do a rough translation.

"A Warsovie, un Prêtre ayant commandé à un Sellier de lui faire une bride pour son cheval, mourut auparavant que la bride fût faite; & comme il étoit de ceux que l'on nomme Vampires en Pologne, il sortit de son tombeau habillé comme on a coutume d'inhumer les Ecclésiastiques, prit son cheval à l'écurie, monta dessus, & fut à la vue de tout Warsovie à la boutique du Sellier, où d'abord il ne trouva que la femme qui fut fort effrayée, & appela son mari, qui vint; & ce Prêtre lui ayant demandé sa bride, il lui répondit: Mais vous êtes mort, Mr.le curé; à quoi il répondit: je te vas faire voir que non, & en même tems le frappa de telle sorte, que le pauvre Sellier mourut quelques jours après, & le Prêtre retourna en son tombeau."

"In Warsaw, a Priest, who had ordered a Saddle-maker to make some new reigns for his horse, died before the reigns were finished, and as he was one of those they call vampires in Poland, he left his grave wearing the kind of clothes that are traditional to bury dead clergymen in, took his horse from his house at the church, got on to it, and in full view of the whole of Warsaw rode to the Saddle-maker's workshop, where he found the Saddle-maker's wife who was terribly afraid and called her husband, who came and this Priest asked for his reigns, and he answered: But you are dead, Mr. Priest; on which he answered: I am going to show you that I am not, and at the same time beat him up with such force that the poor Saddle-maker died a few days later, and the Priest went back to his grave."

The Date:

Sadly, no date is given for this shall we say remarkable event that I would gladly have witnessed, so all we can say is that the case must have taken place somewhere before the publication of Calmet's book in 1751.

The Place:

Warsaw being the capital of Poland it should not be hard to find on any map of Europe or Poland.

Personal Comments:

I admit that this tale sounds like the script for a low-budget Spaghetti Vampire film, but hey, it is no one less than Dom Calmet who is our source, which sounds good enough for me to include it in our list of European vampire cases. Dom Calmet, about whom Voltaire writes: "...the reverend father dom Augustin Calmet, priest, benedictine of the congregation of Saint-Vannes and of Saint-Hidulphe, abbot of Sénone, an abbey with an income of a hundred thousand livres...".

Possible Follow-Up:

First of all, find Dom Calmet's version and see if it has further information. Then see if you can find this Polish tale mentioned elsewhere.

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

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