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The Source:

William of Newburgh (1136-1198):
"Historia Rerum Anglicarum"
translated by Joseph Stevenson.

The Case

This, more or less, is the story:

In Berwick, there died a very wealthy man. After his burial, he started wandering around "pursued by a pack of dogs with loud barkings". Nobody dared to leave his house at night. But something had to be done, because it was feared that the foul stench of the corpse would cause death and disease. Ten brave young men dug up the vampire's carcass, cut it limb from limb, and cremated it. There were no further disturbances at night. So the inhabitants of Berwick thought that they had beaten the monster. "But a pestilence, which arose in consequence, carried off the greater portion of them."

The Date:

No date is given. But it seems a safe bet to place this story somewhere during the 12th Century.

The Place:

Berwick (or Berwick-upon-Tweed) can be found at the mouth of the river Tweed, on the South-East coast of Scotland.

Possible Follow-Up:

There does not seem to be an awful lot that we can do with a case as old as this. Nevertheless, you can find a translation of William of Newburgh's complete version of the story in our section of "Source Material". It might be interesting to compare this translation against William of Newburgh's original text. A visit to Berwick could also be of interest.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009

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