[This is taken from Augustine Calmet's Phantom World, originally published in 1850, revised and edited by D. J. McAdam, 2010. Copyright as such.]
The most remarkable instance cited by Rauff is that of one Peter Plogojovitz, who had been buried ten weeks in a village of Hungary, called Kisolova. This man appeared by night to some of the inhabitants of the village while they were asleep, and grasped their throat so tightly that in four-and-twenty hours it caused their death. Nine persons, young and old, perished thus in the course of eight days.
The widow of the same Plogojovitz declared that her husband since his death had come and asked her for his shoes, which frightened her so much that she left Kisolova to retire to some other spot.
From these circumstances the inhabitants of the village determined upon disinterring the body of Plogojovitz and burning it, to deliver themselves from these visitations. They applied to the emperor's officer, who commanded in the territory of Gradiska, in Hungary, and even to the curé of the same place, for permission to exhume the body of Peter Plogojovitz. The officer and the curé made much demur in granting this permission, but the peasants declared that if they were refused permission to disinter the body of this man, whom they had no doubt was a true vampire (for so they called these revived corpses), they should be obliged to forsake the village, and go where they could.
The emperor's officer, who wrote this account, seeing he could hinder them neither by threats nor promises, went with the curé of Gradiska to the village of Kisolova, and having caused Peter Plogojovitz to be exhumed, they found that his body exhaled no bad smell; that he looked as when alive, except the tip of the nose; that his hair and beard had grown, and instead of his nails, which had fallen off, new ones had come; that under his upper skin, which appeared whitish, there appeared a new one, which looked healthy, and of a natural color; his feet and hands were as whole as could be desired in a living man. They remarked also in his mouth some fresh blood, which these people believed that this vampire had sucked from the men whose death he had occasioned.
The emperor's officer and the curé having diligently examined all these things, and the people who were present feeling their indignation awakened anew, and being more fully persuaded that he was the true cause of the death of their compatriots, ran directly for a sharp-pointed stake, which they thrust into his breast, whence there issued a quantity of fresh and crimson blood, and also from the nose and mouth; something also proceeded from that part of his body which decency does not allow us to mention. After this the peasants placed the body on a pile of wood and saw it reduced to ashes.
M. Rauff, from whom we have these particulars, cites several authors who have written on the same subject, and have related instances of dead people who have eaten in their tombs. He cites particularly Gabril Rzaczincki in his history of the Natural Curiosities of the Kingdom of Poland, printed at Sandomic in 1721.
Those authors have reasoned a great deal on these events. 1. Some have believed them to be miraculous. 2. Others have looked upon them simply as the effect of a heated imagination, or a sort of prepossession. 3. Others again have believed that there was nothing in all that but what was very simple and very natural, these persons not being dead, and acting naturally upon other bodies. 4. Others have asserted that it was the work of the devil himself; amongst these, some have advanced the opinion that there were certain benign demons, differing from those who are malevolent and hostile to mankind, to which (benign demons) they have attributed playful and harmless operations, in contradistinction to those bad demons who inspire the minds of men with crime and sin, ill use them, kill them, and occasion them an infinity of evils. But what greater evils can one have to fear from veritable demons and the most malignant spirits, than those which the ghouls of Hungary cause the persons whose blood they suck, and thus cause to die? 5. Others will have it that it is not the dead who eat their own flesh or clothes, but serpents, rats, moles, ferrets, or other voracious animals, or even what the peasants call striges, which are birds that devour animals and men, and suck their blood. Some have said that these instances are principally remarked in women, and, above all, in a time of pestilence; but there are instances of ghouls of both sexes, and principally of men; although those who die of plague, poison, hydrophobia, drunkenness, and any epidemical malady, are more apt to return, apparently because their blood coagulates with more difficulty; and sometimes some are buried who are not quite dead, on account of the danger there is in leaving them long without sepulture, from fear of the infection they would cause.
It is added that these vampires are known only to certain countries, as Hungary, Moravia, and Silesia, where those maladies are more common, and where the people, being badly fed, are subject to certain disorders caused or occasioned by the climate and the food, and augmented by prejudice, fancy, and fright, capable of producing or of increasing the most dangerous maladies, as daily experience proves too well. As to what some have asserted that the dead have been heard to eat and chew like pigs in their graves, it is manifestly fabulous, and such an idea can have its foundation only in ridiculous prepossessions of the mind.
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