The Vampire Database

Silver bullets, killing kits and the very weird history of vampires
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Author: Matt Roper
Publication Date: February 6, 2019
Website: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/silver-bullets-killing-kits-very-13940409
Website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVPcBvZnfzo
Color: Black and White
Website: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0445212/
Release Date: November 1931
Run Time: About 9 minutes
Sku: #74141
Website: https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Secrets-History-Channel/dp/B001N3OCX4
Price: $7.99
Website: https://www.amazon.com/Biography-Anne-Vampires-Witches-Bestsellers/dp/B000JBXHJG
Price: &7.50
Format: DVD
Studio: A&E Home Video

A vampire killing kit might not seem like the most obvious item for your gift wish list but it's the latest must-have possession.rnrnIt has been claimed the cases of creepy instruments were once used by real life Dracula hunters.rnrnrnAnd they don’t come cheap - ‘authentic’ kits dating back to the 17th century can sell for tens of thousands of pounds.rnrnMost of the antique cases include wooden stakes and a mallet - to strike vampires through the heart - as well as a crucifix, rosary and prayer book, and a pistol with silver bullets.rnrnOther items include garlic powder, holy water and vials containing anti-vampire serums.rnrnrnBut while, with a recent new vampire fever taking hold, the kits are experiencing a modern-day renaissance, doubts have been raised about whether they ever existed at all.rnrnEven the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds recently admitted the vampire killing kit it's had on display since 2012 might not be authentic.rnrnThe museum's Keeper of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson, wrote that after researching vampire slaying “it became clear that kits like our one could not have existed until the era of ‘Hammer’ horror films in the 1950s-70s”.rnrnBut he said it still had value as “an invented artefact that reflects our cultural obsession with the vampire.”rnrnAnother museum, however, insists their vampire killing kits are 100 per cent genuine.rnrnRipley’s Believe It or Not! museum claims it owns the world’s largest collection of the kits, of which no two are alike.rnrnrnThe kits contain everything the vampire hunter needsrnREAD MORErnPolyamorous 'vampire' couple wear fangs and feed off donor girlfriend's BLOODrnIt claims that, while vampires were described in tales and folklore for thousands of years during the 17th century people were so scared of them that they often took extreme precautions.rnrnA graveyard in Poland, for example, was discovered to have people shackled at the neck.rnrnThen, as Bram Stoker’s Dracula swept Victorian England, vampire fears finally made it out of Europe and travellers toured the hills of Transylvania with grave caution.rnrnThe museum’s 30 vampire killing kits include stakes, guns and equipment for making silver bullets.rnrnrnNo two kits at Ripley's are the samernThere are also vials of liquid including “Professor Blomberg’s New Serum’, a Victorian sulphuric acid stomach tonic called Elixir of Vitriol, and one simply labelled ‘vampirism’.rnrnRipley’s, which has museums around the world, claims it has managed to authenticate the age of some of the components, including the firearms.rnrnIt says: “Were they sold to witlessly terrified travellers in the forests of Transylvania?rnrn"Were they assembled later by mysterious individuals for purposes unknown? Either way, these kits are real.”rnrnHistorians agree, however, that for centuries there was a genuine fear of vampires throughout Europe.rnrnrnCorpses were buried with rocks in their mouths to stop them feeding on the living (Image: AFP/Getty Images)rnrnVampire stories have been revived in film and TV (Image: ullstein bild via Getty Images)rnREAD MORErn'Vampire' skeleton that was speared after death uncovered in Yorkshire burial siternOften, these legends arose from a misunderstanding of how corpses decompose.rnrnPeople mistook longer-looking teeth and fingernails for bodies turning into monsters, while the dark “purge fluid” that can leak out of a corpse was seen as evidence it had been drinking blood from the living.rnrnMany blamed vampires for outbreaks of diseases like the plague, and the business of killing them, or preventing the dead from feeding on the living, was deadly serious.rnrnHistorical accounts emphasised the need for particular methods and tools, such as stakes to destroy the heart - one of the only ways to permanently kill a vampire - and the use of holy water or garlic to ward off the dead.rnrnrnVampires could be defeated with crucifixes, holy water and garlic (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)rnIn a 1979 tract entitled ‘On The Chewing Dead’ a Protestant theologian wrote that people could stop the dead from leaving the grave and eating people by stuffing soil or a stone into the dead person’s mouth.rnrnWithout the ability to chew, the tract claimed, the corpse would die of starvation.rnrnIn 2006 archaeologists found evidence of this tactic when they unearthed a 16th-century skull in Venice, Italy, that had been buried among plague victims with a brick in its mouth.rnrnTales of vampires continued to flourish right up to the end of the 19th century, despite a declaration by Pope Benedict XIV that vampires were “fallacious fictions of human fantasy”.rnrnrnMany of the cases contained cricifixes and firearmsrnrnThey were also filled with strange vials filled with potions designed to kill a vampirernIn 1892, when neighbours of Mercy Brown, a 19-year-old from Rhode Island who had died of tuberculosis, opened up her grave and found blood in her mouth, they took it to be a sign of vampirism.rnrnBelieving she was harming her brother, Edwin, who was sick, they burned Mercy’s heart and mixed the ashes into a potion for him to drink - a common anti-vampire tactic.rnrnThe potion was meant to heal him but he died a few months later.rnrnBy the 20th century belief in vampires subsided, but the monsters were revived in books, films, and more recently, hugely popular TV series.rnrnAnd it was during the latest period of fascination with the vampire legend that the first anti-vampire kit emerged, in 1986, when one was put up for sale in the US.rnrnrnOpinion is still divided over whether the vampire kits are real (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)rnThe kit contained a percussion pocket pistol with accessories, a combined cross and stake in wood and ivory, and two silver bullets, and was sold as a genuine 19th century artefact.rnrnIn the years that followed other kits began to come to light, and values began to climb as the big auction houses got involved, with some fetching tens of thousands of pounds.rnrnrnWhile some claimed they were genuine, made to sell to vampire-fearing western travellers to Transylvania, others insisted that vampire killing kits never existed at all.rnrnIn 2004, Sotheby's sold a kit attributed to German Ernst Blomberg and Belgium gunmaker Nicholas Plomdeur for nearly £25,000.rnrnrnAlthough the auction house cautioned that "neither the existence of the gunmaker Plomdeur nor that of the gunmaker Plomdeur can be confirmed.rnrn"Also open to question is whether these kits were ever employed successfully in the killing of vampires."rnrnGenuine articles once used to stake the hearts of suspected vampires, or expensive novelties still fooling buyers today? One thing is sure, vampires are still dividing opinions and fomenting beliefs even today.

Date Added: February 06, 2019
Added By: SinfulMelody
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