Vjesci was the name given to a Polish vampire known by the Kashubian people. The Vjesci vampire resembled the Nachzeher found to the west in northern Germany.
According to myths, a person was destined to become a vjesci if it was born with a caul. When a child was born with the membrane cap, it was removed, dried, ground up, and fed to the child on its 7th birthday in attempts to prevent the child from becoming a vampire.
Potential vjesci appeared to be completely normal and grew up in the community undetected, although in some cases, the potential vjesci had a restless and easily excitable nature and a ruddy complexion.
At the time of death, the person refused to take sacrament. His body cooled slowly, the limbs remained limber, and the lips and cheeks retained their color. Spots of blood often appeared under the fingernails and on the face of the body.
The vjesci didn’t really die, though. At midnight, after the burial, the vampire awakened and ate his clothing and some of his own flesh. He then left the grave and attacked his family, sucking their blood to the point of death. If the vampire is not satiated, he may go after the neighbors.
In order to protect oneself from a vjesci, steps could be taken.
- The dying people should receive the Eucharist.
- A little bit of earth was placed in the coffin under the body to prevent it from returning home.
- A crucifix or coin was placed underneath the tongue for the vampire to suck.
- A net may be placed in the coffin because the vampire had to untie the knots before it could leave the coffin.
- A bag of seeds or sand man be placed in the coffin for the vampire to count each seed or grain. before leaving the coffin.
- The body may be laid face down so that the vampire would dig further into the ground instead of out.
- A nail may be driven through the forehead.
- The head may be severed and placed between its feet.
If you were to open the coffin of a vjesci vampire, you would find a few tell-tale signs.
- The eyes would open.
- The head may move.
- It may make noise.
- The shirt may have been eaten.
If the precautions at the time of burial had not stopped the vampire to either drive a nail through the head or sever the head, there may be blood flowing from a new wound. It was said that if the blood was captured, it could be given to anyone who had been attacked by the vampire to prevent the victim from becoming a vampire.
The vjesci was closely related to the wupji (or opji), except the wupji had two teeth rather than a caul at birth. The Kashubian people immigrated to Ontario, Canada, bringing the vjesci with them. The vjesci and wupji were often used interchangeably.