The first vampire

Vampire folklore goes back a long way, but who was the first real person to be described as a vampire? That honour goes to Jure Grando, who died in 1656, and who was decapitated sixteen years later.

Petr Štefek [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Jure lived in Kringa, in what is now part of Croatia. This is how the legend goes: he died in 1656. After that he would stalk the village, knocking on residents’ doors – and someone sleeping in that house would die in the next few days.

After sixteen years of this, the villagers gathered together and went on the hunt. They stuck a hawthorn stick in his chest but it bounced off and he escaped; they dug up Jure Grando’s coffin and found the corpse – well preserved, of course – still smiling. They began to saw off its head, at which point it woke and bled… but died anyway, and that was the end of the first vampire.

This legendary account was recorded in the encyclopedia The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, seventeen years later.




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