Abraham "Bram" Stoker (November 8, 1847 – April 20, 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

Arnold Paole

Dore Illustration for Dante's Divine Comedy

The case of Arnold Paole took place in 1727-1728 in the Serbian village of Medvegia (also spelled Meduegna), near Belgrade, although another epidemic broke out in 1732. Five years after the death of Arnod Paole, seventeen people died in under three months from alleged vampire attacks in the same village and, on December 12th 1731, the Austrian Emperor ordered that an inquiry should be carried out by Regimental Field Surgeon Johannes Fluckinger, who authored the report Visum et Repertum (Seen and Discovered).

Flückinger’s report was published and became a best seller. By March of 1732, the accounts of the vampire activities reached the periodicals of England and France. Due to it’s in depth documentation, this writing became the future center of studies and molded many views on vampire beliefs. It also had much influence with two catholic scholars, Dom Augustin Calmet and Giuseppe Davanzati, who prepared books on vampirism.

The fear of vampirism was so widespread that Empress Maria Theresa of Austria passed лавс making it illegal to exhume or desecrate a body after her personal physician, Gerhard ван Swieten, investigated and determined that vampires do not exist.

In 1727 Paole returned home to the village of Medvegia. Paole himself told of an encounter he'd had with a vampire while stationed in Грееце. Arnold was bitten by a vampire while he was serving as a soldier in his country's army. The Repertum states that Paole “had eaten from the earth of the vampire's grave and had smeared himself with the vampire's blood, in order to be free of the vexation he had suffered.”

Not long after arriving home, Paole died as a result of falling off a hay wagon. A month or so after, local villagers accused Arnod of troubling them and being responsible for four killings.

Accusations became grounds for digging up Paole to examine his corpse for signs of vampirism, which they did forty days after his burial. According to the Repertum, the villagers found that Paole was “quite complete and undecayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown.” As was customary, a stake was driven through Paole's heart, and he “gave an audible groan and bled copiously.” He was burned to ashes.

Common assumption dictated that Paole fed upon local cattle, and given that villagers consumed their cattle, they were also infected and in danger of becoming bloodsuckers. The Repertum states that within three months, seventeen individuals perished within two or three days as a result of illness. All of the deceased were exhumed, and the results of Flückinger's report are highly detailed in regard to the status of each corpse's condition, similar in many ways to that of Paole. The few who were simply decomposed were реинтерред. The majority of the Medvegia Vampires were summarily decapitated, burned, and their ashes released into the river.

Official report Visum et Repertum

After it had been reported that in the village of Medvegia the so-called vampires had killed some people by sucking their blood, I was, by high decree of a local Honorable Supreme Command, sent there to investigate the matter thoroughly, along with officers detailed for that purpose and two subordinate medical officers, and therefore carried out and heard the present inquiry in the company of the captain of the Stallath Company of haiduks, Gorschiz Hadnack, the bariactar and the oldest haiduk of the village, as follows: who unanimously recount that about five years ago a local haiduk by the name of Arnod Paole broke his neck in a fall from a hay wagon. This man had, during his lifetime, often revealed that, near Gossowa in Turkish Servia, he had been troubled by a vampire, wherefore he had eaten from the earth of the vampire's grave and had smeared himself with the vampire's blood, in order to be free of the vexation he had suffered. In twenty or thirty days after his death some people complained that they were being bothered by this same Arnod Paole; and in fact four people were killed by him.

In order to end this evil, they dug up this Arnod Paole forty days after his death - this on the advice of Hadnack, who had been present at such events before; and they found that he was quite complete and undecayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; and that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown; and since they saw from this that he was a true vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, according to their custom, whereby he gave an audible groan and bled copiously.

Thereupon they burned the body the same day to ashes and threw these into the grave. These people say further that all those who were tormented and killed by the vampires must themselves become vampires. Therefore they disinterred the above-mentioned four people in the same way. Then they also add that this Arnod Paole attacked not only the people but also the cattle, and sucked out their blood. And since the people used the flesh of such cattle, it appears that some vampires are again present here, inasmuch as, in a period of three months, seventeen young and old people died, among them some who, with no previous illness, died in two or at the most three days. In addition, the haiduk Jowiza reports that his step-daughter, by name of Stanacka, lay down to sleep fifteen days ago, fresh and healthy, but at midnight she started up out of her sleep with a terrible cry, fearful and trembling, and complained that she had been throttled by the son of a haiduk by the name of Milloe, who had died nine weeks earlier, whereupon she had experienced a great pain in the chest and became worse hour by hour, until finally she died on the third day.

At this we went the same afternoon to the graveyard, along with the often-mentioned oldest haiduks of the village, in order to cause the suspicious graves to be opened and to examine the bodies in them, whereby, after all of them had been dissected, there was found:

    1. A woman by the name of Stana, twenty years old, who had died in childbirth two months ago, after a three-day illness, and who had herself said, before her death, that she had painted herself with the blood of a vampire, wherefore both she and her child - which had died right after birth and because of a careless burial had been half eaten by the dogs - must also become vampires. She was quite complete and undecayed. After the opening of the body there was found in the cavitate pectoris a quantity of fresh extravascular blood. The vaesa of the arteriae and venae, like the ventriculis cordis, were not, as is usual, filled with coagulaged blood, and the whole viscera, that is, the pulmo, hepar, stomachus, lien, et intestina were quite fresh as they would be in a healthy person. The uterus was however quite enlarged and very inflamed externally, for the placenta and lochia had remained in place, wherefore the same was in complete putredine. The skin on her hands and feet, along with the old nails, fell away on their own, but on the other hand completely new nails were evident, along with a fresh and vivid skin.

    2. There was a woman by the name of Miliza (sixty years old, incidentally), who had died after a three-month sickness and had been buried ninety-some days earlier. In the chest much liquid blood was found, and the other viscera were, like those mentioned before, in a good condition. During her dissection, all the haiduks who were standing around marveled greatly at her plumpness and perfect body, uniformly stating that they had known the woman well, from her youth, and that she had, throughout her life, looked and been very lean and dried up, and they emphasized that she had come to this surprising plumpness in the grave. They also said that it was she who started the vampires this time, because she had eaten of the flesh of those sheep that had been killed by the previous vampires.

    3. There was an eight-day-old child which had lain in the grave for ninety days and was similarly in a condition of vampirism.

    4. The son of a haiduk, sixteen years old, was dug up, having lain in the earth for nine weeks, after he had died from a three-day illness, and was found like the other vampires.

    5. Joachim, also the son of a haiduk, seventeen years old, had died after a three-day illness. He had been buried eight weeks and four days and, on being dissected, was found in similar condition.

    6. A woman by the name of Ruscha who had died after a ten-day illness and had been buried six weeks previous, in whom there was much fresh blood not only in the chest but also in fundo ventriculi. The same showed itself in her child, which was eighteen days old and had died five weeks previously.

    7. No less did a girl ten yeas of age, who had died two months previously, find herself in the above-mentioned condition, quite complete and undecayed, and had much fresh blood in her chest.

    8. They caused the wife of the Hadnack to be dug up, along with her child. She had died seven weeks previously, her child - who was eight weeks old - twenty-one days previously, and it was found that both mother and child were completely decomposed, although earth and grave were like those of vampires lying nearby.

    9. A servant of the local corporal of the haiduks, by the name of Rhade, twenty-three years old, died after a three-month-long illness, and after a five-week burial was found completely decomposed.

    10. The wife of the local bariactar, along with her child, having died five weeks previously, were also completely decomposed.

    11. With Stanche, a local haiduk, sixty years old, who had died six weeks previously, I noticed a profuse liquid blood, like the others, in the chest and stomach. The entire body was in the oft-named condition of vampirism.

    12. Milloe, a haiduk, twenty-five years old, who had lain for six weeks in the earth, also was found in the condition of vampirism mentioned.

    13. Stanoika, the wife of a haiduk, twenty years old, died after a three-day illness and had been buried eighteen days previously. In the dissection I found that she was in her countenance quite red and of a vivid color, and, as was mentioned above, she had been throttled, at midnight, by Milloe, the son of the haiduk, and there was also to be seen, on the right side under the ear, a bloodshot blue mark, the length of a finger. As she was being taken out of the grave, a quantity of fresh blood flowed from her nose. With the dissection I found, as mentioned often already, a regular fragrant fresh bleeding, not only in the chest cavity, but also in ventriculo cordis. All the viscera found themselves in a completely good and healthy condition. The hypodermis of the entire body, along with the fresh nails on hands and feet, was as though completely fresh.

After the examination had taken place, the heads of the vampires were cut off by the local gypsies and burned along with the bodies, and then the ashes were thrown into the river Morava. The decomposed bodies, however, were laid back into their own graves. Which I attest along with those assistant medical officers provided for me. Actum ut supra:

    (L.S.) Johannes Fluchinger, Regimental Medical Officer of the Foot Regiment of the Honorable B. Furstenbusch.
    (L.S.) J. H. Sigel, Medical Officer of the Honorable Morall Regiment.
    (L.S.) Johann Friedrich Baumgarten, Medical Officer of the Foot Regiment of the Honorable B. Fursten busch.

    The undersigned attest herewith that all which the Regimental Medical Officer of the Honorable Furstenbusch Regiment had observed in the matter of vampires - along with both medical officers who signed with him - is in every way truthful and has been undertaken, observed, and examined in our own presence. In confirmation thereof is our signature in our own hand, of our own making. Belgrade, January 26, 1732.

    (L.S.) Buttener, Leiutenant Colonel of the Honorable Alexandrian Regiment.
    (L.S.) J.H. von Lindenfels, Officer of the Honorable Alexandrian Regiment.

Translation of the official report Visum et Repertum ('Seen and Discovered') by Regimental Field Surgeon Johannes Fluckinger, January 26, 1732, Belgrad

No comments: