The Alnwich Vampire
I read a lot. And, as I’m not blessed with a photographic memory—and honestly I don’t know as I’d want to be, unless I had control over it, the ability to “delete” unnecessary or unwanted memories while retaining others—I don’t always remember things I’ve previously read. I KNOW I’ve heard of the Alnwich Vampire before. It defies the law of probabilities, as much reading as I’ve done on the subject of vampires, that I would NOT have. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t remember it when I chanced upon this article. Nor did the story seem familiar to me once I read it over again. For whatever reason, it just didn’t stick in my brain. Maybe it will this time, since I’m writing it all down, and writing stuff down, as I learned back in high school, is a great way for me to memorize things.
According to the chronicler William of Newburg, who married a member of the Percy family, the resident family of Alnwich Castle in Northumberland, England (which you’ve probably seen in some movie, as it’s been frequently used for location filming for projects like Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and Transformers), an employee at the castle (earlier folklore said it was a “lord of the manor”) suspected his wife of adultery and hid atop the canopy of her bed to catch her in the act. He fell off and was mortally wounded. (How damn high was that canopy? It must have been pretty damn high, since the poor guy broke his back in the fall.) He was so angry at his cheating ho’ of a wife that, dying, he refused the last rites. For this reason he returned from death as a humpbacked vampire. (Nice touch to the story, that.) Local villagers put an end to the vampire’s reign of terror—it was responsible for spreading pestilence through the castle’s environs—as villagers tended to do in such cases, by exhuming the body and burning it. Before he was dispatched, I do hope, at least, that the vampiric Quasimodo got his revenge on his slutty spouse, but if so William of Newburg failed to mention it.