After a recent one hour on-air interview, I have been contacted by several parties that have either requested more information or have volunteered first hand experiences concerning Jacques d’Saint Germain, The New Orleans Vampire. Since the show I have begun to research him a bit further. This blog is the first of more to come on Saint Germain, I will start here from the beginning:
Comte de St. Germain was said to have been born in 1712, details of his birth and life as a child are obscure, however Germain was said to have been the son of Francis II Rákóczi, the Prince of Transylvania. In contradiction to this date are two statements, one by Rameau, a relative of a French ambassador from Venice who testified that he had known St. Germain in 1710 and that he then had the appearance of a man near his fifties. The second statement may be found in Souvenirs sur Marie Antoinette where Madame d’Adhémar collaborates this date and description adding that Germain was known as the Marquis de Montferrat.
Having achieved prominence in European high society by the mid 1700’s, Germain was known as a courtier, composer, musician, priest, and prophet. Germain was fluent in several languages which allowed him conference with noblemen from distant countries. St. Germain also had a vast interest and knowledge of science and alchemy.
Though St. Germain was well known in European society, no one truly knew him, only increasing the intrigue of his curious followers. Jacques, a lover of the arts, and a talented musician gave only two performances. On one said performance in London in May of 1749, he was described as too great of a musician not to have become famous, if he had not have been a gentleman. Lady Jamima Yorke was quoted to have said that Germain was an odd creature and that the more she saw of him the more she was curious to know something of him and that he “was everything to everyone”. Lord Walpole, after having experienced the same performance described Germain as extremely pale with the darkest of hair and a matching beard. Walpole continued by saying that Germain dressed magnificently and wore several jewels upon his person indicating that he was clearly receiving large remittances.
In 1748 he was hired by King Louis the XV for diplomatic missions. On one of these missions Germain was a guest of Giacomo Casanova and a party of other well respected French nobles. Casanova described his first encounter with Germain in his memoirs:
The most enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Robert Gergi, who came with the famous adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain. This individual, instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal to the end, and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat, but listened to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said that as a conversationalist he was unequaled.
St. Germain gave himself out for a marvel and always aimed at exciting amazement, which he often succeeded in doing. He was scholar, linguist, musician, and chemist, good-looking, and a perfect ladies’ man. For awhile he gave them paints and cosmetics; he flattered them, not that he would make them young again (which he modestly confessed was beyond him) but that their beauty would be preserved by means of a wash which, he said, cost him a lot of money, but which he gave away freely.
In 1762 Germain would travel to Russia to where it is said that he worked inconspicuously within a conspiracy that resulted in placing Katherine the Great on the throne, later advising her Commander of the Imperial armies in a war against Turkey, which they won.
In 1774 he would return to France while Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette occupied the throne, allegedly warning them 15 years prior to the impending revolution.
In 1779 he would travel to Germany and befriend Prince Charles of Hesse-Cassel where he would live as a guest in the castle for the next 5 years. Local records would state that Germain died here on February 27, 1784.
Yet in 1785 he was known to reside in Germany, befriending Anton Mesmer, the pioneer hypnotist. Germain was said to have given Mesmer the basic ideas for hypnotism and personal magnetism. Also in 1785 it is recorded in the official records of the Freemasonry that they had chosen St. Germain as their representative for the annual 1785 convention.
In 1789 after the taking of the Bastille in the French Revolution Germain would return to France to counsel the Comtesse d’Adhémar. She describes having had an in-depth conversation with him where he allegedly told her of France’s immediate future. In 1821 she wrote: “I have seen Saint-Germain again, each time to my amazement. I saw him when the queen [Antoinette] was murdered, on the 18th of Brumaire, on the day following the death of the Duke d’Enghien, in January, 1815, and on the eve of the murder of the Duke de Berry.” The last time she saw him was in 1820 – and each time he looked to be a man no older than his mid-40s.
In 1821, Germain was said to have taken on a new identity. Major Faser had apparent wealth but lived alone and never alluded to any family. Recognized throughout the community as a knowledgeable and well traveled man, Germain’s cover was blown by Albert Vandam who wrote of having met a man that bore a striking resemblance to Count de Saint Germain. In his memoirs is written:
“He called himself Major Fraser, lived alone and never alluded to his family. Moreover he was lavish with money, though the source of his fortune remained a mystery to everyone. He possessed a marvelous knowledge of all the countries in Europe at all periods. His memory was absolutely incredible and, curiously enough, he often gave his hearers to understand that he had acquired his learning elsewhere than from books. Many is the time he has told me, with a strange smile, that he was certain he had known Nero, had spoken with Dante, and so on.”
Major Fraser disappeared without a trace.
This brings us to Germain’s recorded history up until the early 1820’s. We will examine more recent recordings upon the next blog, where things are certain to become even more interesting!
Meander down a modest tree lined path and through the Erie cemetery and you will see countless dated headstones and crypts. The cemetery was founded in 1851 and is host to some of the areas’ most elite industrialists from the city’s past. Amongst a number of mausoleums that are burrowed into the ridge is one that is known as the Vampires’ Crypt.
The crypt is not donned with elaborate features, in fact it is generic in nature but did not begin that way. Above the darkened marble slab that blocks the entrance, hovers a lintel where a name was once inscribed but since has been deliberately chiseled away leaving only an insignia of flora in the form of a “V”.
The mausoleum is owned by Gertrude Brown, but there is no one by that name that lies within the dank enclosure. The first body interred within was GW Goodrich who died November 14, 1884 but several others would soon join him, three of which had been exhumed from a nearby non-denominational cemetery and moved into the crypt. Cemetery records show that over time there have been 7 individuals interred within the marble vault; some records include names and date of passing, but the records are incomplete, sketchy at best. Thanks to geneological research performed by Jibril Ammon, we know that the majority of these occupants bore the last name of Goodrich, Gertrude Brown being one of the last heirs that outlived most of her family as most of the past inhabitants died young between 1870 and 1880. With some inkling of who most of the inhabitants have been, there are two that remain un-named with no records.
The legend that surrounds the crypt also does not identify the occupant in question but states that within the vault lies the undead body of a true vampire. It is said that the man had journeyed to Romania and upon his return to Erie, died shortly after of consumption; it was only a short time after his burial that strange and horrifying events began to occur.
Dead bodies were soon being discovered in the suburbs that surround the cemetery; Each of them possessed puncture wound on their necks and their bodies were drained of blood. It was the maintenance man that lived on the grounds which discovered the evil creatures’ secret, in response the crypt was burned, the doors chained and the name above the opening violently removed for all time, but this is not where the legend ends.
Legends are persistent and we as mortals are curious! Many attempts have been made to enter the crypt throughout the past decades, one successful attempt was made some time in the 1930’s by a young man that was determined to see who slumbered within the vault. Armed with a chisel and crowbar the young man was able to enter the tomb, though the act took him most of the night, just before dawn he opened the tomb to find a a putrid stench to welcome him. After composing himself of the foul odor, he entered the tomb to discover a rotten wooden coffin that scantly enclosed a dessicated corpse. In order to have proof that he did indeed enter the tomb, the youth snatched a ring from it’s withered finger and fled the scene before the sun rose. Immediately the boy ran to his best friends’ home, eager to share his conquest while providing proof of his mission having been completed. The boy swore his friend to secrecy and then returned home to rest. The second young man could not wait to share the story with his other friends and after school he and a group of other young men trekked to the first youths home in order to see the ring that he had claimed from the blood thirsty beast. Upon their arrival they were met at his door by his Mother who explained that her son was asleep, but the boys insisted on speaking with him. When she went to his room to tell him that he had visitors, she found her son dead. His eyes stared blankly back at her, his mouth frozen in a horrified yet silent scream and his ring finger had been ripped from his hand.
After the event had been investigated, the crypt was again sealed and chains were placed on the opening to ensure that what evil lie within would remain, at least until the next, soon to follow attempt to enter the grave.
Several stories have arisen from the curious which have tampered with the crypt, one such is more recent than the first.
A group of teenagers organized a party outside of the crypt, after the story had been shared with the group one young man mocked the legend and climbed upon the marble vault in defiance of the creature that resided within. Something happened while the boy was perched upon the roof, as it was dark, the remainder of the group could not see him but all of them heard his shriek before he tumbled to the ground. Later that evening the boy was admitted into a local hospital. Upon the boy waking, he immediately began to scream, alerting the nearby nurses that something was terribly wrong. Before the nurses could reach his nearby room, the boy had climbed out onto the window ledge and leaped to his death to the pavement below, leaving both the hospital staff and his friends baffled over what had been so horrible that he would have jumped from the window to escape.
There are several other tales that have arisen concerning the Vampires’ Crypt deeming it as an icon worthy of visiting if you find yourself in the area!
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We all know that each continent has it’s own unique history when it comes to legends of the undead. Many legends, especially those that originate in Mesopotamia, are thousands of years old. What havoc the undead must have wreaked upon the land for their legends to endure until this day! Centuries have passed and history has added many locales that are rich in Vampire history. Below are some well known Vampire havens, planned future destinations for your’ truly!
These “mass ossuaries” were created in the 18th century as a response to the overwhelming outbreak of plague. The State Council ordered all bones to be excavated from Paris cemeteries in order to relocate them underground within the limestone caverns beneath the city. The process began in 1786 and continued throughout 1814. The Catacombs are home to over 6 million bodies and as legend would have it, an occasional vampire clan. What more perfect surroundings for an elder as many of the bodies are affixed in ornate fashions; creating a breathtaking tapestry of death!
Open by appointment only, a party of 10 may be guided through the museum. Crammed with artifacts and all other manner of objects related to vampire legends, owner Jaques Sirgent has a vast knowledge of Vampire history and will answer the darkest of vampire queries that can be conjured.
The 13th century ruins of the Whitby Abbey were the backdrop for Bram Stoker’s, “Dracula” and for that there is a reason. In 1885 a Russian Schooner, The Demeter war run aground by a wild storm in Whitby harbor; the entire crew including the captain were found dead. The instant that the Demeter had run aground, a large black dog was seen running toward the Abbey. The dog, a form that the vampire can take on at will, brought ill fate onto the Abbey as several of the staff became unaccounted for in the following days; and Bram Stoker’s Dracula was born!
Bran Castle is widely believed to be the home of Vlad the Impaler, or as Stoker referred to as “King Dracula”. Vlad, needing no further introduction to a Vampire fanatic, has left a large imprint on the Romanian countryside. For further details into Vlad’s bloody reign both living and undead, search my past blogs for “What I didn’t know about Vlad Tepes”.
A place near and dear to me! This tourism hot spot has been known as haven to Vampires since the first cobblestone streets were laid. The Vampire culture is still quite prevalent throughout the New Orleans area. Many legends still exist, and recent rumors still circulate amongst the locals. For a deeper look into some of New Orleans most famous Vampire legends search my past blogs for “New Orleans”.
Amongst the beloved and elite of New Orleans lies the crypt of a Vampire, only a handful of the locals can identify the correct plot where he lies. I believe that this vampire is named in one of my past blogs on new Orleans vampire legends, but that is strictly my opinion (wink, wink!). Though the permanent residents of Lafayette Cemetery are quite dead, locals say that the sometimes gaping tombs offer haven to vampires from time to time.
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The Vjesci, also known as the Vjeszczi or Vjescey, is a Vampire from Polish folklore. Much like the European Vampire, The Vjesci retained their mortal characteristics and blended well within society. Legends indicate that humans were destined to become Vjesci at birth if born with teeth or a more common condition, ‘cradle cap”. If the child was born with a cap, the mother could protect the child by drying the cradle cap, grinding it into a fine dust and retaining it until the child’s 7th birthday; when she would feed it to him to ward off curse.
The Vjesci have many common ties with Vampire legends from other cultures; They are undead, they awaken at midnight and they feed on humans. It is said that in order to detain the Vjesci, Villagers would throw a net into his coffin as he could not rise until untying all of the knots. Another simple method was to scatter pebbles or seeds around the coffin and the ground surrounding the grave, as the vampire would have to count each individual seed or pebble before moving away from his grave site. Some families would bury their loved ones face down within their coffin in hopes that if they were to turn that they would dig their way further into the ground in an attempt to rise again. One other similarity, death by decapitation. The more pesky of the “arisen” were exhumed and decapitated, their heads being placed face down between their feet to prevent the beast from rising again.
The majority of Vampire legend in Canada hales from the oldest Polish Settlement in the country. Wilno, settled in 1869 is in the heart of Ottawa Valley and is rich in folklore and legend, so rich in fact that in 1969 Jan Perkowski was employed by the Canadian Centre for Folklore studies to research the legends that originated within the area. A few years later Perkowski would release an 85 page report with findings so scandalous that his report was denounce on the floor of the House of Commons.
One of the more disturbing occurrences within his writings was an old photo of a small grave enclosed by a white picket fence. The photo was captioned that “If a vampire is not destroyed before he is buried, he will rise again and carry off his relatives.” He writes further to explain that this had happened in Wilno adding that the family had to dig the body up and cut it’s head off as it sat up in the coffin.
Within Perkowski’s writings were written statements from over a dozen victims that described their experiences with the Vjesci in great detail. Such sensationalism was created by Perkowski’s report that it was republished in several well known media outlets such as; Psycology Today, The Canadian Magazine and of course The National Enquirer.
For a deeper look into Perkowski’s findings: “Vampires, Dwarves and Witches Among the Ontario Kashub’s”
For a more modern view of Vampire Lore with an erotic yet bloody twist: To be his Soulmate, Volume I of the Adrian Trilogy