Vampires Netherlands

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The Source:

F.S. Knipscheer:
"Bijgeloof uit alle Tijden"
Hollandia Drukkerij, Baarn, Netherlands, no date.

The Case:

Sure. I admit it. It is not much of a story, but I will do my best to translate Knipscheer's text for you:

"One story out of many that report about the appearance of vampires may serve as an example:

in Noord-Holland in the village of Bobeldijk, part of the community Berkhout, there lived a woman. On the 25th of June 1616, a ghost appeared to her which looked like her own husband, who had just left her to go to sea. His name was Cornelis Theurisz.

She asked: "Who is there ?".
The ghost replied: "Your husband".
"He is at sea so he can not be here."
"I arrived a little too late so the ship had already left the harbour."
"How did you get into the house ?"
"Very easily."

On his head he had a hat with a very large brim. Repeatedly she lifted up the brim to see if it really was her husband. But she recognised him clearly, both by his voice as well as by his appearance. But when he laid himself beside her, despite the fact that it was in the middle of the summer, she felt that he was cold as ice. She was terribly upset and called for the help of God in a very loud voice. After this, the spook immediately disappeared and was never seen again."

The Date:

We are very lucky to have found ourselves as precise a date as this: 25th of June 1616. Assuming that it is correct, this should certainly give us something concrete for further investigation. However, please remember that the early 17th Century was a turbulent time, with religious wars, the plague and other mysterious fevers killing off lots of people. There was an eartqhuake at Hoorn, there was the coldest winter ever, and in Spierdijk (a village at the end of the Bobeldijk) the Catholics were still celebrating the Mass against Calvinistic orders. Ships from Hoorn were being used for the war against Amsterdam. But they were also being sent to foreign places to bring back rare goods that could be sold at a great profit. Our "vampire" could have been on any of those ships.

The Place:

We are talking about the Netherlands. Formerly known as Bobbeldijk or Bobeldyck, Bobeldijk is a village that can be found very close to the small but historically interesting harbour town of Hoorn, somewhere to the north of Amsterdam in our province Noord Holland. Well, when I say village it sounds like there is a centre somewhere, which hardly is the case. Bobeldijk is just one long dyke next to a canal. Alongside the dyke there are lots of farms, but otherwise there is nothing there. As far as I can tell, the nearest church is in Spierdijk, at the end of the dyke.

However, I was contacted by Frank Schuitemaker who lives in Bobeldijk and who has put a link to this case on his excellent website about and meant for people from Bobeldijk :  www.groetenuitbobeldijk.nl 
Who knows... With a little bit of luck this may bring us further information...

These are a couple of typical Dutch farmhouses situated alongside the Bobeldijk.

Personal Comments:

The story took place in the year of 1616, or so we are being told. So it must be Mr. Knipscheer who has put the vampire label on this tale. Admittedly, the husband appears to have come back home not as a phantom or ghost but a little more substantial than that. Unfortunately there is no mention of how the dead husband has lost his life.

As to the vampire's name "Theurisz", at first sight this did not seem like a proper Dutch name to me. "Theunisz" or "Theunis", however, did sound a lot more likely. A spelling mistake may have been made. Someone's handwriting may have been misread. I have made a quick check and found that "Theunisz" and/or "Theunis" are indeed old family names that can be found in the Bobeldijk region.

As to the wide brim of the vampire's hat, I am sure that I must have seen many paintings and other pictures from the early 17th Century where Dutch men are wearing just that kind of hat. To me, it more or less confirms the date of this story.

The Netherlands can hardly be considered to be a regular vampire country. If you have any doubts about that, please read our page about Dutch Vampires. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this case, that is supposed to have taken place not very far from where I live and not very far from where I was born.

I was even more pleasantly surprised to find that, here in the Netherlands, a woman that has vampire trouble can simply ask for the help of God, and that is all that it takes. No need for the intervention of priests or vampirehunters. No stakes or crosses. By all means, let's cut out the middle man. Just put your trust in God and: hey presto, EXIT THE VAMPIRE ! Sometimes life can be as simple as that.

By all means, let us try to keep things as simple as we can. Here is my advice: ALWAYS be careful, but NEVER be afraid. Trust in God, if that is what you want. Or believe in yourself if you prefer that option. I bet that it won't make any difference and the outcome will be exactly the same.

Possible Follow-Up:

It goes without saying that we will have to try and discover Knipscheer's sources. This being my own territory I will see what else can be done. No need for you to get out of your chair, unless you really want to.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 16 December 2009
Photos "Bobeldijk" 2009 by Rob Brautigam

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