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."
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