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Chateau des Eperviers
Chateau Deux-Forts
Chateau du Vampire
la Penne-sur-Huveaune
Paris (2)
Paris (3)

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The Sources :

Annette Lauras-Pourrat :
"Guide de l'Auvergne Mystérieuse"
Editions Tchou, Paris, France, 1989

René Crozet :
"La France Ensorcelée"
Editions Horvath, Lyon, France, 1993

The Case:

In 12th century France there appears to have been a Countess who lived in a castle called the Chateau de Deux-Forts. The story goes as follows:

One night, when the Comtesse was preparing herself to go to bed, she discovered a strange brownish spot somewhere on her belly. She ordered her servants to scrub it off, first with cold water, then with hot water. But no matter how hard they tried, the spot could not be removed. The next morning, much to the Comtesse's annoyance, the ugly spot was still there. If anything, it looked as if it had grown a little larger. A medical man was summoned to come to the castle. He examined the Comtesse and had a good long look at the spot. He shook his head, cleared his throat, and solemnly declared that the lady was suffering from leprosy. On hearing this unwelcome news, the Comtesse grabbed the doctor's arm and hissed in his ear that she would order her servants to skin him alive if he would fail to find a cure for her disease.

Perhaps it was this threat that inspired the desperate physician to suggest the following remedy. There was only one thing, the doctor said, that could cure the Comtesse from her terrible infliction. One way only to get rid of her leprosy. She had to bathe herself in fresh human blood. And so she did...

From that day on, children started to disappear throughout the region. And pretty soon it was whispered in the villages of the Valley of the Sioule that the Comtesse of Deux-Forts was an evil ogre who ate little children. Guillaume VIII, the Count of Auvergne, decided to report the disturbing rumours to the king, and so did the clerical authority of Clermont. An investigation revealed the bloody crimes of the Comtesse. It was soon to be followed by her trial. The doctor and all the servants were duly hanged. The Comtesse was sentenced to be "quartered" with the help of four horses. Afterwards a stone cross was erected to mark the place of the execution. And, in case you'd go to France, the place where it all has happened can still be seen today.
It is called: "la Croix de Male Mort".

The Date:

Sadly, we are not given any specific dates. The case is simply said to date back to the 12th Century.

The Place:

The one book gives the location as: "not far to the North of Menat, close to the village Chateau-Gaillard". Crozet mentions: "Chateau-Rocher" and gives "Chateauneuf-les-Bains" (which lies to the South of Menat) as the location of the "Croix de Malemort". Both Menat and Chateauneuf-les-Bains, as well as the Sioule river, are large enough to be on my road atlas of France. It looks, however, as if we will need a more detailed map of the region.

Personal Comments:

Obviously, this story has very little to do with the traditional undead vampire. But I kinda like it, because it does sound like the sort of tale that might be based on facts. And apart from the fact that I do have a side interest in blood related superstitions, I also happen to be the "web master" who is in control of these pages. Like it or not, I could not resist to include this case.

Possible Follow-Up:

If this tale is true, then there must be other material that can be found about it. We could check out if there really has been such a castle. It could still be there, or there might be a ruin left or something, like the stone cross that is mentioned. There may be books or documents, court records and all. It would be nice if we could put a name and a date on the Countess. There may even be a portrait to be found of her.

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

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