Monday, July 14, 2014

Creepy Historical Vampire - The Terrifying Tale of Peter Plogojowitz


Peter Plogojowitz (died 1725) was a Serbian peasant who was believed to have become a vampire after his death and to have killed nine of his fellow villagers. The case was one of the earliest, most sensational and most well documented cases of vampire hysteria. It was described in the report of Imperial Provisor Frombald, an official of the Austrian administration, who witnessed the staking of Plogojowitz.

The case

Peter Plogojowitz lived in a village named Kisilova (possibly the modern Kisiljevo), in the part of Serbia that temporarily passed from Ottoman into Austrian hands after the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718) and was ceded back to the Ottomans with the Treaty of Belgrade (1739) (see Arnold Paole - Background for more details on the historical context). Plogojowitz died in 1725, and his death was followed by a spate of other sudden deaths (after very short maladies, reportedly of about 24 hours each). Within eight days, nine persons perished. On their death-beds, the victims allegedly claimed to have been throttled by Plogojowitz at night. Furthermore, Plogojowitz's wife stated that he had visited her and asked her for his opanci (shoes); she then moved to another village. In other legends, it is said that Plogojowitz came back to his house demanding food from his son and, when the son refused, Plogojowitz brutally murdered him. The villagers decided to disinter the body and examine it for signs of vampirism, such as growing hair, beard and nails, and the absence of decomposition.

The inhabitants of Kisilova demanded that Kameralprovisor Frombald, along with the local priest, should be present at the procedure as a representative of the administration. Frombald tried to convince them that permission from the Austrian authorities in Belgrade should be sought first. The locals declined because they feared that by the time the permission came, the whole community could be exterminated by the vampire, which they claimed had already happened "in Turkish times" (i.e. when the village was still in the Ottoman-controlled part of Serbia). They demanded that Frombald himself should immediately permit the procedure or else they would abandon the village to save their lives. Frombald was forced to consent.

Creepy Historical Vampire - The Terrifying Tale of Peter Plogojowitz 

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