The Vampire of Liebava

In 1751 Dom Calmet had an interesting entry within his publication.  A priest had confessed to Calmet that the Council of the Bishop had dispatched Jeanin the Canon of the Cathedral of Olmuz to a village in Moravia named Liebava to investigate a well known vampire.  The Priest had accompanied Jeanin on his investigation and witnessed many things that he would relay to Calmet.

The church had received reports for the past few years that this vampire would terrorize the village nightly and that several of the villagers had been murdered in their own beds.  To compound the threat, the vampire which was only referred to as and “important man” concerning the village, was recruiting the newly dead to join his forces.  After nearly four years of this nightly torment it all came to an end.

The people of Liebava had held a trial where ordinary rules of justice were kept.  Witnesses came forward and attested that they had witnessed this important man within the confines of their own homes.  Families of the vampires victims stood before the village and admitted that they had encountered their loved ones even after their burials.  The courts had determined that something must be done lest they all suffer the same fate.  It just so happened that after the trial a Hungarian stranger arrived at the village.  The stranger was on his way to another destination and was merely passing through but news of the recent trial was still running rampant through the village and the stranger was fully briefed on the situation.  Having heard of the torments that the vampire had inflicted on the villagers for the last several years, the stranger vowed that the vampire would meet his demise.

When the sun fell low in the village sky, the stranger carried a ladder to the church and climbed the steep tower, from there he would be able to safely witness any activity at the vampires’ grave.  As darkness fell around him he saw that the soil of the grave began to shift and soon the vampire emerged.  He stood from his grave and removed his shroud to began his nightly rounds throughout the village.  When the vampire had left the cemetery the stranger came down from the steeple and stole his shroud.  He climbed back up the ladder and onto the steeple once more, the vampires’ shroud in hand.

Later that evening the vampire returned to his grave, bloated from his evening feed.  When he saw that his shroud was missing the vampire became enraged.  The stranger, having witnessed the vampires feverish tantrum called out to him, waving his shroud above his head.  He taunted the vampire by telling him that if he wanted his shroud back he would have to come and retrieve it from him.  The furious vampire took the bait, he began to ascend the ladder and when he had nearly reached the top the stranger struck him in the head with a hammer.  The vampire fell backwards down to the ground disoriented by the blow.  The stranger rushed down the ladder before the vampire could shake off the affects of the blow and cut off his head with a spade.  As promised, the stranger had rid the town of their vampire.

It was shortly after this that Jeanin and the Priest would arrive at the village.  Having counseled with Calmet in the past, the Priest recommended that all graves of the villagers that had died since the vampire had emerged should be exhumed and the corpses studied for signs of having turned vampire.  In all thirty one coffins were exhumed.  Most of the corpses had begun to decay at a normal rate, several were found that showed no signs of decay.  Their skin was vibrant and their limbs pliable, many having had fresh blood within the coffins with them suggested recent feeding.  Jeanin recruited the assistance of several villagers to remove the heads of the corpses in question and return them to their graves.  The Priest acknowledged that he had prayed over each corpse that had been beheaded before they were reburied thus ending the vampire infestation of the village of Liebava.