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The Source:

Dom Augustin Calmet [1672-1757] :
"Dissertation sur les Revenants en Corps, les Excommuniés, Les Oupirs ou Vampires, Brucolaques, etc." [1751]
Debure l'Aîné, Paris, 1751 - Volume II

This case, which does get a mention in Dom Calmet's book, is said to have first appeared in a work by Charles Ferdinand de Schertz : "Magia Posthuma", which (according to Dom Calmet) was published in Olmutz in 1706. Thanks to Antoine Faivre, we can correct that. Apparently the book was published in 1704 and the more precise title is: "Magia posthuma per juridicum illud pro et contra suspenso nonnullibi judicio investigata a Carolo Ferdinando de Schertz, arae salutiferae ubi paciscendum".

The Case:

I will quote Dom Calmet:

"He (de Schertz) reports ... about a shepherd from the village of Blow, close to the town of Kadam in Bohemia, who appeared several times (after his death) and who called at several persons, who all died within 8 days. The peasants of Blow disinterred the corpse of this shepherd and fixed it to the earth with a long stake that they had put through the corpse. That man, in that state, made fun of the people who treated him this way, and thanked them for providing him with a stick to keep away the dogs. That same night, he left his grave and frightened several people by his presence, and strangled them worse than he had done before. They called in the executioner, who put him on a wagon to transport him out of the village to be burned. This corpse cried out like a madman and moved his feet and hands as if alive; and when he was again pierced by stakes, he screamed out very loud and gave out very red blood in large quantities. Finally he was cremated, and this execution put an end to this spectre."

See Colin de Plancy's page in our Bits and Pieces section to read his version of this case.

The Date:

Sadly, no date is given, so all we can say is that the case must have taken place somewhere before 1704. Having said that, new material has come available to me in the shape of Heinrich Roch's "Neue Laußnitz- Böhm- und Schlesische Chronica" which was published in 1687. Here the date is given as 1337.

The Place:

So let us have a look at the location, which is given by Dom Calmet as "the village of Blow, close to the town of Kadam in Bohemia". Montague Summers calls it "the village of Blau, near the town of Kodon". Kadam, Kodon or Kaaden is now called Kadan and can be found some 60, 70 kilometres to the North of the beer town Plzen (or Pilsen). Here is a link to Kadan:  http://www.kadan.cz/ 

It looks like we will need more detailed (and possibly older) maps if we hope to find the village of Blow or Blau. Jan Perkowski (see under "possible follow-up") claims that the German name for Blow is "Flahe".

Personal Comments:

This does sound like a most unlikely story, with the corpse pulling out the stake and making cynical remarks and all. It does not necessarily mean that this story is not based on real happenings, but these embellishments do suggest that the actual happenings may have taken place quite some time before.

Possible Follow-Up:

Find as many versions of this story as you can. It has been in almost any book about vampires. Then try to go back to the original story, as far as you can. I have got as far back as 1687. See if you can take it any further. And there is also the location of Blau, Blow, Flahe or whatever. I am pretty sure that somewhere I must have a copy of an old colored map with Flahe on it. Or is it my memory that is trying to deceive me ?

© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed January 2012

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