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Abbazia (2)

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The Source:

Dudley Wright
"Vampires and Vampirism"
William Rider & Son, London, 1924

When I first put this case online, I took as my source the version by Dudley Wright, who appears to be repeating his story verbatim from an article that (according to Peter Haining) appeared on 14 November 1856 in an issue of "Chamber's Repository". I simply follow Wright's example and will give you the text as such.

The Case:

"In 1672 there dwelt in the market town of Kring, in the Archduchy of Krain, a man named George Grando, who died, and was buried by Father George, a monk of St. Paul, who, on returning to the widow's house, saw Grando sitting behind the door. The monk and the neighbours fled. Soon stories began to circulate of a dark figure being seen to go about the streets by night, stopping now and then to tap at the door of a house, but never to wait for an answer. In a little while people began to die mysteriously in Kring, and it was noticed that the deaths occurred in the houses at which the spectred figure had tapped its signal. The widow Grando also complained that she was tormented by the spirit of her husband, who night after night threw her into a deep sleep with the object of sucking her blood. The Supan, or chief magistrate, of Kring decided to take the usual steps to ascertain whether Grando was a vampire. He called together some of the neighbours, fortified them with a plentyful supply of spirituous liquor, and they sallied off with torches and a crucifix.
Grando's grave was opened, and the body was found to be perfectly sound and not decomposed, the mouth being opened with a pleasant smile, and there was rosy flush on the cheeks. The whole party were seized with terror and hurried back to Kring, with the exception of the Supan. The second visit was made in company with a priest, and the party also took a heavy stick of hawthorn sharpened to a point. The grave and body were found to be exactly as they had been left. The priest kneeled down solemnly and held the crucifix aloft: "O vampire, look at this," he said; "here is Jesus Christ who loosed us from the pains of hell and died for us upon the tree !"
He went on to address the corpse, when it was seen that great tears were rolling down the vampire's cheeks. A hawthorn stake was brought forward, and as often as they strove to drive it through the body the sharpened wood rebounded, and it was not until one of the number sprang into the grave and cut off the vampire's head that the evil spirit departed with a loud shriek and a contortion of the limbs."

The Date:

We were given a date: 1672.

The Place:

At first sight, the place that we have been given - the market town of Kring, in the Archduchy of Krain - does not give us much to go by. Fortunately, elsewhere, we have been given the ultimate source from which the article is said to have been taken. Apparently it was first published in Johann Weichard Valvasor's "Die Ehre des Herzogthums Crain" (published in Laibach, 1689). And Laibach is a place that I do know. Even though it is a couple of decades ago that I last visited Laibach, or Ljubljana.

On checking my latest maps I found that Laibach (Ljubljana, Larbach, Laubach, Laybach) is now situated in Slovenia. After checking a couple of older maps of the region I found that Krain, Crain, Craina and Carniola are all different names for one and the same country.

Perkowski, in his "The Darkling", informs us that the case took place 32 miles from Laibach on the way to "Krinek". He also tells us that Krinek is now called "Kranj". Well, I did find a large town called Kranj a little towards the North West of Ljubljana. So I was happy to accept that this would be the correct place. Then, however, I received a message from Maria Bidovec, who told me that she is a researcher of Slavic languages at a University in Rome. She insisted that I was wrong in assuming that Kranj is the town of Kring. And she mentioned another place, outside Slovenia, somewhere in the Croatian part of Istria.

It was around that time that I decided to get myself a new PC. And before I gave away my old one, I deleted all my personal files. Of course I first put them safely on CD or so I thought. And then I found that I had deleted most of my correspondence without backing it up. One of the things that I lost was Maria Bidovec's message.

Further reactions:

Then I received a long and informative message from Roman Pavlin, who actually lives in Kranj, and who told me that an abridged budget version of Valvasor's opus had been published in a Slovenian translation. Janez Vajkard Valvasor: "Slava Vojvodine Kranjske", Mladinska knjiga, 1977. The original work appears to consist of no less than 15 books with a total of 3532 pages. The Slovenian edition consists of 365 pages. This undoubtedly accounts for the fact that Mr. Pavlin was unable to trace the fragment about our Vampire. Not satisfied with this, he went to the Library of Kranj, and managed to unearth the original Valvasor work, in German, the way it was first published. He kindly sent me photocopies of the pages about Krinck and it's vampire.

Personal Comments:

This case, of the Vampire of Krinck, can serve as a warning to us all. Never trust a vampire story unless you first get to see the original source material. These stories get repeated and repeated all over again. Certain writers leave out things. Others may add their own bits and pieces. And by the time you get to read it, the original story may have changed beyond recognition.

We gave you Dudley Wright's version. I am pleased to see that, although he left out some vital bits of information, the main line of his story is close to the original one. Montague Summers has his own version of the story. And I think he can be blamed for some of the confusion, as he is the one who tells us: "... in the district of Kranj, and not far from the city of that name ...". There are dozens of others who have published their own versions. Even people who might be considered to be "authorities" do make mistakes. For an example, let us take Jan L. Perkowski, someone whose work I do admire. Perkowski suggests (and probably rightfully so) that he is quoting straight from Valvasor. According to Perkowski, the case takes place "in Istria seven leagues [Editor: 32 miles] from Laibach [Editor: Ljubljana] on the way to Krinek [Editor: Kranj]". All the Editors [with the capital "E"] being Jan L. Perkowski of course.

In Valvasor's original version there is no mention of 7 leagues, but of "siebenzehen Meilen", which is 17 (not 7) Miles, and those are the old Istrian miles of course. Valvasor also gives us the distance between Krinck and the town Mitterburg, which is 1 Mile. Roman Pavlin went through the trouble of checking these distances in modern Kilometers, and came to the conclusion that the old Carniolan Mile must have been about 7 to 8 Kilometers long. Now if we consider the fact that the distance from Kranj to Ljubljana is no more than 25 Kilometers, it is obvious that Perkowski (just like Montague Summers) is mistaken when he claims that Kranj is Valvasor's Krinck.

At the same time, again judging by the distance, Maria Bidovec's claim that Krinck is in fact the Croatian town of Kringa appears to be correct. So I do owe her an apology, for the time that - misled by Perkowski's leagues and miles - I doubted her findings. In the meantime, I am happy to report that Maria Bidovec has sent us another message. In her latest message, she gives us the exact distance of Valvasor's Mile. I quote:

When Valvasor writes "Meile" (mile), he means the so called "German mile" which was used at that time, and which corresponds to 7.586 metres.

I think we can safely say that the honours for presenting us with most of the facts about this case should go to Roman Pavlin. He has very clearly shown us the dangers of putting our trust in reprinted and reinterpreted versions of vampire cases. He has accepted our challenge, he has jumped into the case, and he has not been satisfied until he had found his way to the very source of it. He has even gone through the trouble of travelling all the way to Kringa in order to take photos of the town where these events are supposed to have taken place. If we still had any doubts, we can forget them. For some of the buildings that are in the old picture of Krinck in Valvasor's book, seem to have survived until this very day. Mr. Pavlin has given us permission to reprint a few of his photos on this page. As a bonus, he has most generously made available the original German Valvasor text, which you can now find in our "Bits and Pieces" section under Valvasor.

Having said this, we hasten to acknowledge the much appreciated help of Maria Bidovec, who has made Valvasor's opus the subject of her PhD dissertation, and who has read through and studied all 3532 pages of Valvasor's book. As far as we are concerned, she is the greatest Valvasor expert of this day and age. Maria has been the first to point out that we were wrong in assuming Kranj to be the vampire town. She has also informed us that Valvasor's book was actually published in Nürnberg, not in Laibach, as we have erroneously informed you.
To quote Maria:

"Valvasor was in fact (probably) born in Ljubljana (Laibach/Laybach), but his work Die Ehre dess Hertzogthums Crain was NOT edited and printed there, as you wrote, but in NÜRNBERG, in Bavaria. The little typography in Ljubljana would not have been able to manage such a large and technically difficult work (with more than 500 prints, etc.). The publisher was the famous Wolfgang Moritz Endter, by whom had to be published, for example, even one of the most famous works of the 17th century, the Simplicissimus of Hans Jacob Christoph Grimmelshausen (Grimmelshausen changed later his mind because of money-problems, and he had to look for another publisher)."

And that is not all. Maria Bidovec has also found another mention of this case in Valvasor's book. It is much shorter than the fragment that we have already put on-line, but it gives us some very interesting information: the names of the vampire hunters. We will add this new material to our Valvasor page.

And more reactions:

And then we received a message with some interesting photographs from Mario who lives in Rijeka. And we find that the Council of Kringa has come to realise the historical importance of the Jure Grando case and has now put up signs along the entrance roads of the village. What can I say ? I just love it !

© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009
Photographs 1 and 2 © 2003 by Roman Pavlin
Photograph 3 © 2007 by Mario

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