The Vampires of Medvegia

In the early 1730s, a band of Austrian medical officers were summoned to the Serbian village of Medvegia. An investigation was underway concerning the strange deaths of several villagers. The locals claimed the deaths were caused by vampires. The first of these vampires was Arnold Paole, a man who had died several years earlier by falling off a hay wagon.

It was obvious to the villagers that Paole was a vampire. When they had exhumed the corpse, “they found that he was quite complete and undecayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown; and since they saw from this that he was a true vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, according to their custom, whereby he gave an audible groan and bled copiously.”

More attacks had been occurring since the final death of Paole. A woman named Stanacka had “lay down to sleep fifteen days ago, fresh and healthy, but at midnight she started up out of her sleep with a terrible cry, fearful and trembling, and complained that she had been throttled by the son of a Haiduk by the name of Milloe, who had died nine weeks earlier, whereupon she had experienced a great pain in the chest and became worse hour by hour, until finally she died on the third day.”

In their report, Visum et Repertum (Seen and Discovered), the officers told not only what they had heard from the villagers but also, in admirable clinical detail, what they themselves had seen when they exhumed and dissected the bodies of the supposed victims of the vampire. Of one corpse, the authors observed, “After the opening of the body there was found in the cavitate pectoris a quantity of fresh extravascular blood. The vasa [vessels] of the arteriae and venae, like the ventriculis cordis, were not, as is usual, filled with coagulated blood, and the whole viscera, that is, the pulmo [lung], hepar [liver], stomachus, lien [spleen], et intestina were quite fresh as they would be in a healthy person.”

The medical officers were thoroughly baffled by the autopsy results and did not venture opinions. The mystery of the vampires of Medvegia went on unsolved throughout the 1700s

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4 comments on “The Vampires of Medvegia

  1. phyreblade says:

    LOL Perhaps this article presents one of the most obscure routes to vampirism… falling off a hay wagon… ROFL

    Sometimes I really wish we could apply modern forensic and medical technologies to these stories, as some of these cases have admittedly very interesting biological components…

  2. ladyofspiders says:

    Yes that is quite true

    Though one thing that is interesting to think about, is that back in the day premature burrial was not all that uncommon, as they did not have as sophisciated ways, and did not always pay such close attention to a body before burrying it, so in some cases one might appear to be dead but than come to again after they have been put into the ground.

    And so if one was at first alive when initially burried, it might cause some of the affects that are discovered if a body is later exhumed

  3. phyreblade says:

    Good point, I have read stories about people who were prematurely buried and later exhumed only to find blood on there fingernails from them trying to claw their way out of their coffins… But of course back then they would have been considered vampires…

  4. Vlad delaney says:

    the deaths were caused by anthrax as described by a well known forensic doctor Christian Reiter

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