Visum et Repertum (Seen and Discovered)

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In the village of Medvegia, Regimental Field Surgeon Johann Flückinger investigated stories of blood-sucking corpses. The investigation started with Arnold Paole.

It was said that during Paole’s life, he had revealed he had been troubled by a vampire when near Gossawa in Turkish Serbia. Paole had eaten from the ground of the vampire’s grave and had smeared himself with the vampire’s blood in order to heal his own illness. Paole broke his neck when he fell off a haywagon. He was buried in a normal ceremonial fashion, but after his burial otherwise healthy people went ill. It was said that Paole was feeding from the cattle and people of the village.

A soldier who was sent to help investigate suggested that Paole’s body be dug up. When it was, the body had been in the ground for 40 days, but it was found undecayed with fresh blood near his eyes, mouth, nose and ears. The shirt he was wearing was completely bloody, and new nails and skin growth was recorded. Paole’s body was staked and burned. The ashes were placed back in the grave. But, because Paole was said to have fed from the cattle, people continued to fall ill and die even after he was cremated.

Within about a three month period, many young and old people had died. These men and women were also dug up and examined for vampirism.

  1. A woman named Stana, 20-years old, died during childbirth. Two months prior to Paole’s death, she had painted herself with vampire blood to rid herself of a three-day illness. Both Stana and her baby, who died right after birth, had been carelessly buried and half-eaten by dogs. But, because she had painted herself in vampire blood, she had to become a vampire. She was completely undecayed. When the body was opened, fresh extra-vascular blood was found. The blood vessels of the heart were filled with coagulated blood, and the lung, liver, stomach, spleen and intestines appeared fresh. The uterus was enlarged and inflamed externally because the placenta and lochia had been left in place. The skin on her hands and feet and old nails had fallen off and new nails and skin were evident.
  2. A woman named Miliza, 60-years old, died after a three-month illness and had been buried about 90 days prior. When she was exhumed, blood was foun in her chest and her organs appeared fresh. The body was plump, which surprised those who were in the room during the dissection, as Miliza was thin and dried-up when she was living. It was said that she had eaten flesh of the sheep killed by previous vampires.
  3. An eight-day old child was dug up after being in the ground for 90 days, and his body was found in a vampiric condition.
  4. The 16-year old son of a haiduk soldier was dug up after being in the ground for nine weeks and was found like the other vampires. He had died after just three days of becoming ill.
  5. Joachim, a 17-year old son of another haiduk soldier died after a three-day illness. His body was dug up after 60 days in the ground and found in a similar vampire-like condition.
  6. A woman named Ruscha died after a ten-day illness was buried for six weeks when she was dug up. Her body was full of fresh blood in her chest and intestines. Officials also dug up Ruscha’s 18-day old baby, which had been in the ground for five weeks to find the baby in the same condition.
  7. A 10-year old girl died two months prior was dug up and found completely undecayed with fresh blood in her chest.
  8. Because the ground above the grave of Gorschiz Hadnack’s wife and child appeared similar to the ground above a vampire’s grave, officials dug up both their bodies. His wife had died seven weeks prior and the child was buried 21 days prior. Both bodies were decomposed.
  9. A servant of a local corporal named Rhade, 23-years old, died after a three-month long illness. After five weeks of being buried was found completely decomposed.
  10. The wife of a local bariactar and her child had died five weeks prior and were also exhumed. Both had completely decomposed.
  11. With Stanche, a local soldier, 60-years old, had died six weeks prior was found with blood in his chest and stomach.
  12. Milloe, a soldier, 25-years old, had been buried for six weeks, and when he was dug up, his body was found in a vampiric-condition.
  13. Stanoika, 20-years old, was the wife of a soldier. She died after a three-day illness and had been buried for 18 days. When she was exhumed, the body was found with a ruddy complexion and a vivid coloring. She had been throttled by Milloe, and the examiner found a bloodshot blue mark about the length of a finger on the right side under the ear. When the body was dissected, fresh blood was found in her chest, and the right ventricle of the heart was found in a healthy condition. The hypodermis and nails were new and fresh.

In each instance of vampiric condition, the head was cut off, the body was burned and the ashes strewn into the Morava river. If the body was found decomposed, it was placed back into the grave.

Flückinger wrote the vampire report “Visum et Repertum” in January 1732. No fewer than five military Officers signed the report, three of these Officers were soldiers in the army that defeated the Turks between 1714 and 1718.

Authorities in Belgrade and Vienna received copies of the report, as did various foreign governments. Various versions were distributed to newspapers and scientific periodicals throughout Europe. If it wasn’t for the report, the word “vampire” and stories of the supposed blood-drinking corpses would not have become known.