The Breslau Vampire

Cases of vampirism have been recorded all throughout time, especially during the 1500s. It was a time of fear – fear of sin, fear of hell and most importantly, fear of the undead. In 1591 that fear spread like wildfire throughout Breslau, Poland. Recorded by the seventeenth-century writer, Henry More, in his An Antidote to Atheism , is the local’s tale of the Breslau Vampire.

If you have read this post on vampire creation, then you know that it was a common belief at the time that those individuals that committed suicide would return as a vampire. It was also thought that an improper burial could turn a corpse into one of the undead. And so I bring you to the story of an unnamed shoemaker that lived in Breslau – until the day he slit his own throat. It was his poor wife that discovered his body, and not wanting shame brought to her name (for her husband’s suicide would bring her a great deal of mockery and embarrassment) she washed her dead husband and dressed him in a manner that made it appear that he died of apoplexy (a stroke).

The shoemaker was then given a good Christian burial, despite the rules against burials for those that commit suicide. As the weeks passed, the shoemaker was seen by many of the locals, occasionally during the day, but usually at night. As I’m sure you can imagine, this threw the town into a panic, especially when the vampire appeared in public meeting places.

At first the locals tried to pretend that it wasn’t real, that the shoemaker hadn’t returned, but the violence of his attacks continued and grew worse. This is when the authorities finally decided to put a stop to it all. They exhumed his body, chopped it up into tiny bits, burned the pieces and dumped the ashes into the river.

And so ended the bloodshed caused by the Breslau Vampire.

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).


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  3. By the way, it’s Wrocław, not Breslau :) The author was referring to Breslau, because at that time Lower Silesia was a part of Germany. But there are more interesting stories about “vampires”-murderers in Poland (for example The Vampire from Bytow). Greetings, E.

  4. Breslau is in Poland, NOT Germany. The author needed to get her facts straight and frankly so do you Erzebeth.

  5. Onyx, I believe the author was correct about Breslau, and so was Erzebet. Breslau/Wroclaw has been part of both Germany and Poland, in history. Doesn’t matter as much as this was about the “Breslau Vampire” and not so much the changing ownership of the region.

  6. I discovered this legend in the zombie handbook created by Suzanne Schwalb, and zombies were described as people who needs respect, like the moroi, pretas, and the Santa Compañia, who were templar knights in life.

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