Ghost Stories from the Archives: Vampire Superstition in Servia
The Leeds Intelligencer from 1888 contained this remarkable tale from Eastern Europe ....
The “Pester Lloyd” reports from Belgrade a case of superstition which almost had a fatal result.
The police found some nights ago. lying in the street, the body of man apparently frozen to death. Efforts to revive him failed, and his identity having been ascertained he was handed over to his family for interment.
The cemetery was a considerable way distant, and as it was being reached the driver of the hearse told the priest, who attended for the religious service, that he heard some noise in the coffin.
The clergyman and others drawing near also heard the noise, and all ran away lest a vampire should issue from it and attack them.
The driver, terrified at finding himself alone, turned about and drove the hearse to the nearest police station. By this time a knocking was distinctly audible.
The coffin was forced open, and the man was found alive, but in a very exhausted state.
He complained pathetically of the attempt to bury him despite his remonstrances. he was taken the hospital, and has nearly recovered.
He had been spending the evening with some boon companions, and wandering in a state of intoxication fell and became insensible from the cold.
Probably the jolting of the hearse revived him. It is a superstition in Servia, and among many Slav people, that when a man dies suddenly his spirit returns as vampire, and preys on his near relatives and friends.
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