Alnwick Castle Vampire

Alnwick Castle Vampire (12th c.) English vampiric REVENANT account recorded by WILLIAM OF NEWBURGH in his history of England. The story was told to him by “a very devout old priest of high authority and most honorable reputation.” According to the priest, a depraved and dishonest Yorkshire man had lived a life of sin and crime. He escaped the law and went to Alnwick Castle, whose lord he knew. He settled there and continued his wicked ways. He married, but rumors circulated that his wife was unfaithful. To discover the truth, he told his wife that he was going away for several days. The first night, he hid himself on the roof above his bed in order catch his wife in the act of adultery. His wife was indeed cheating on him with a local youth. In shock, the man fell to the ground beside the bed. The youth escaped. The man rebuked his wife and threatened to punish her. But his injuries were so severe that he fell gravely ill. The priest visited the man and urged him to make his confession, but the man delayed doing so and then died impenitent. Nonetheless, he was given a Christian burial. It was to no avail. Said William:

For by the power of Satan in the dark hours he was wont to come forth from his tomb and to wander about all through the streets, prowling round the houses, whilst on every side the dogs were howling and yelping the whole night long. Throughout the whole district then every man locked and barred his door, nor did anyone between the hours of dusk and dawn fare to go out on any business whatsoever, so greatly did each one fear that he might haply meet this fellow monster and be attacked and most grievously harmed.

Wherever the dead man went, he left behind him an unbearable stench. The fetid and corrupt presence of the specter created a plague that affected every household in the town. People fled to other districts.
On a Palm Sunday, the priest called a council to decide on a course of action. But two young men who had lost their father to the plague decided to take matters into their own hands while the elders met. They set out to dig up the CORPSE and burn it. The brothers found the body gorged and swollen, with a florid face and red, puffed cheeks. The shroud was dirty and torn. The conditions proved to them that the corpse was feeding off the Blood of his victims. They struck the corpse with a sharp spade. Fresh, warm blood gushed forth. They dragged the body out of town and burned it to ASHES on a pyre. They reported what they had done to the town elders, many of whom ran out to the fire to witness the destruction of the corpse. The air was cleansed and the plague stopped. The term vampire was not used, as it had not yet entered the English language; however, the revenant exhibited the same characteristics attributed to vampires. See also BUCKINGHAMSHIRE VAMPIRE; MELROSE ABBEY VAMPIRE.


  • Glut, Donald. True Vampires of History. New York: HC Publishers, 1971.
  • McNally, Raymond T. A Clutch of Vampires. New York: Bell, 1984.

SourceThe Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley -a leading expert on the paranormal – Copyright © 2005 by Visionary Living, Inc.