Buckinghamshire Vampire

Buckinghamshire Vampire (12th c.) English VAMPIRE case recorded by WILLIAM OF NEWBURGH from an oral
account related to him by Stephen, the archdeacon of the diocese of Buckinghamshire. The vampire was the restless ghost of a dead man who acted in a vampire-like way. He was not called a “vampire,” for the term was not known in the English language until the 18th century. The unnamed man died in 1192 in Buckinghamshire and was properly buried on the eve of Ascension Day. But the night after burial, the man left his grave and came to the wife, leaping upon her while she slept and nearly killing her with the press of his weight. (See Old Hag.) He did the same the next night. On the third night, the wife gathered friends to keep vigil for her, and remained awake in order to repel her dead husband. When the vampire arrived, he was driven away by the shouts and cries of the wife and her friends. Instead, he attacked his brothers, who lived in the same town. The brothers were, like the wife, forced to stay awake at night and make great noises in order to repel the vampire. As a result, the vampire began attacking other sleeping people, as well as animals who were resting. Soon every household was forced to have a member of the family stay awake all night to repel the specter. After a long period of harassing people and animals at night, he began appearing in daylight to the townspeople. He was visibly perceived by groups of people, and his evil presence was sensed by many more. The townspeople appealed to Archdeacon Stephen for help. He convened a synod, and wrote a letter to St. Hugh, the bishop of Lincoln, asking what should be done to deal with the evil. St. Hugh consulted priests and theologians, and learned to his astonishment that similar attacks had occurred elsewhere in England. Although he was told that no peace would be had until the CORPSE was dug up and burned (see BURNING), he rejected that as undesirable and unbecoming. Hugh wrote out an absolution and told the archdeacon to open the tomb and place it on the corpse’s chest, then reseal the tomb. Hugh believed that no matter what the reason was that the vampire was wandering from the grave, the absolution would take care of the matter and set his soul to rest. When the tomb was opened, the body was found to be incorrupt. The absolution was laid on his chest and the grave closed. The vampire never troubled anyone again.

Further Reading:

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

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

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