For a very long time, vampires have been among the creatures that provoke both fascination and questioning about their origin. Literary or fantasy characters for some, it would seem that for others their existence is beautiful and very real in the face of the growing number of testimonies attesting to their presence in our world. Despite a heated debate, there would be a case of vampirism that many experts consider authentic and that could challenge our beliefs on the subject: the Arnold Paole case.

The Arnold Paole caseCredit: unknown author, site : Alchetron

The history of the Arnold Paole case:

The story begins around 1725, when an Austrian soldier named Arnold Paole returned to his home after completing his military service. He shared a strange story with his family and friends. Indeed, Arnold would have during his stay in Cassova (at the time part of Turkish Serbia) was confronted with what would seem to be a vampire when a conflict had broken out between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. He reveals that he was bitten by the latter while managing to kill him. However, Arnold knew that the bite of this vampire could carry a curse that would in turn turn turn him into Nosferatu. He therefore tried to protect himself from the latter, by applying a ritual of which he became aware. Despite this, he remained convinced that the curse would still be there.

Two years after his return from the army, Arnold Paole died in an accident in the village of Medvegia. A hay cart fell on him and he was killed instantly.

It was a month after Paole’s death that the case of vampire attacks was born. Residents of the village confirmed that they saw the late soldier drain the blood of his victims after biting them. A few days later, a part of the population complained of suffering that seemed to be related to the symptoms of the vampire’s bite, such as severe fatigue or anemia, to name a few examples. Four people died there.

In response to the complaints of its inhabitants, the village chief ordered, forty days after Arnold Paole’s death, to exhume his tomb in order to find out if they were in the presence of a vampire, a technique very common at the time. Once his body was dug up, many people were amazed to see that his body was perfectly preserved. Indeed, hair, beard and nails grew considerably and blood seemed to flow from his mouth, nose and eyes. When the doubt arose, a stake was driven into Arnold’s heart, garlic was injected and his body was beheaded and burned. Witnesses to the scene reported that once the stake had crossed the undead’s chest, a terrible scream would have been heard. As a precaution and to avoid the outbreak of vampirism, the same method of execution was applied to the four victims of the vampire.

The people of Medvegia thought they were off the hook now that the vampire had been killed, but that was not the case. In 1732, 17 people died under unexplained circumstances. Everyone then thought of a new vampire epidemic.

Now that you know the history of this case, you probably have to ask yourself the following question: why is Arnold Paole’s case considered an authentic act of vampirism?

There are several reasons:

  • The first is the fact that a large number of written testimonies have been found, attested by people such as soldiers or doctors who are considered trustworthy persons.
  • The second is a study conducted by Dr. Glaser who investigated his so-called “vampire” attacks. He interviewed all the families of the victims, exhumed and autopsied bodies suspected of being vampires. He confirmed that 13 bodies were indeed bloodthirsty creatures and asked for help to get rid of them. A new commission was set up and is headed by Dr. Fluckinger who, like his predecessor and colleague, will attest that 17 more corpses are vampires. He will draw up a report detailing all the ins and outs of the medical investigations carried out around Europe and creating a visceral fear of vampires.
  • The last one is that this case, like that of Pierre Plogojowitz (another case considered authentic), will be referenced in a major book for followers of “vampire hunting” written in 1746 by the Lorraine and Benedictine monk Augustin Calmet and entitled: Dissertations on the apparitions of angels, demons and spirits, and on ghosts and vampires from Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. It also explains how to get rid of these night monsters.

What does the science of vampirism think today?

In our time, science has found explanations for the fact that bodies are perfectly preserved even after several years or even centuries. Indeed, forensic doctors explain that the decomposition process of a body can be very long and that it is therefore not surprising that sometimes, when body exhumations are carried out, they are still very well preserved. Everything can also depend on the products used to preserve the body, the funeral techniques used and the environment in which the body is buried. But even this semblance of rational explanation does not always succeed in responding to some cases.

As for people who think they are witnesses of vampire attacks, here too science explains that throughout history the many victims of epidemics have often been likened to these creatures because they usually cause serial deaths. This is why, as a precautionary measure, in the Middle Ages and also in the Renaissance, we used to behead bodies suspected of being potential vampires.

Whatever your opinion on the issue of vampirism, this case, like so many others, continues to share with us today.

Credit-Image on the front page: unknown author, site: vip-blog

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John Sinclair

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