The Vampire of Melrose Abbey - Scottland

Melrose Abbey  - Photographer - Mark Jerde

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Recorded in the Historia Rerum Anglicarum, published during the twelfth century, between the years of 1196-1198 , Author William of Newburgh (also know as William of Newbury) printed what was believed to be an account of an genuine vampire.

The Legend of the Vampire Priest

The legend begins with a priest who is not very steadfast with his vows to the church. He was very negligent to his duties as a priest and dedicated most of his time to unceremonious activities. He had been bestowed with the nickname Hundeprest (translated Dog Priest) because of his adoration of hunting with horse and hound.

Shortly after his death, he had attempted to enter the cloister at the Melrose Abbey on several occasions. Without much success, he wandered off in the countryside and even appeared a few times inside the chamber of a woman who had employed him while he was alive. It was said that he moaned and screeched obnoxiously at her. Causing her much alarm, she summoned a elder member of the Abbey to come right away.

The Monks Investigate the Vampire Reports

The elder monk, one of his consociates, and two other men set out to investigate this report. They set up a watch that following night where the priest was buried. As the night grew colder, three of the men went to a nearby lodge to warm themselves up by a fire, as the elder monk stayed behind to keep watch. Shortly after the three men has left, the elder monk witnessed the priest arise from his grave attempting to approach him. At first, the elder monk was frozen with fear, but he soon gained enough courage to fight the dead priest with his ax, chasing the dead priest back to his grave. When the dead priest reached his grave, the ground completely opened up like a mouth and swallowed him. The grave returned to it’s natural state as though it had never been disturbed.

The Monks Confirm the Vampire Reports

When the three men had returned from warming themselves, the elder monk told them of his encounter with the dead priest. They listened attentively and credulously to the elder monk and decided they would open the grave the very first thing in the morning as the elder monk had suggested. Upon opening the dead priests grave that morning, they found the dead priest lying in a pool of blood. The blood was coming from a wound that the elder monk had left upon him in his report of struggle with the corpse the night before. They quickly removed the body outside area of the monastery, burned it, and scattered the ashes into the wind.

© Raevyn

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Published: June 8, 2003
Copyright Artist: Mark Jerde

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