Arnold Paole or arnaut Pavle?

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Page last updated: May 29 2017
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The front page of
"Vernünftige und Christliche Gedancken Uber die VAMPIRS Oder Bluhtsaugende Todten"

The case of so called Arnold Paole is now well known and a lot of articles were written on the internet about it. Some consider it the most famous vampire investigation ever. Nevertheless the case is the first to reach notoriety in the XVIII century and led to the famous English literature of the vampire in the XIXth century.
Still, there are a few things about this event that are still in the shadow and they deserve to be known.

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Le vampire transfixe by Albert Decaris (1944)

The "Vampires of Medveda" case

The things are happening at the beginning of the XIXth century(1825-1832) in a Serbian land divided between Austrian Empire and Ottoman Empire. The village Medveda is on the Austrian dominated side.
In this village, in 1825, a haiduk named Arnold Paole, who came from the Ottoman side of the country break his neck and dies. After 20-30 days all the village thinks that he returned from the grave to bring illness and death to four of his former neighbors.The villagers open his grave and, finding him full of blood and presenting other signs of "vampirism", they execute the vampire by driving a stake through his heart and burning the corpse.
During the fall of 1831 more victims appear and the authorities are alerted.The imperial military doctor Gasser comes and investigates the case by unearthing the victims and performing autopsy. He can`t convince the peasants from Medveda that vampirism doesn`t exists and another expert is summoned in January 1732: regimental surgeon Johann Flückinger.
Finally, to appease the crowd, the doctors burn the supposed vampire bodies and make official reports that are compiled by Johann Christoph Harenberg in the book "Vernünftige und Christliche Gedancken Uber die VAMPIRS Oder Bluhtsaugende Todten"[1] published in 1833.[2]

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Johann Christoph Harenberg
(1696 - 1774)

The name

The name Arnold Paole is not accurate. The same goes for the village: Medveda is also spelled Metwett, Medreïga, Medvegya in different editions and publications and the same for the town of Gossova(maybe Kossovo). "Arnold" seems to be the German name originated in Old High German "Arenwald".[3] The name spelled Paole is obvious strange for German language and also for Serbian.
Other sources on the internet write it differently: Arnot Paole or Arnot Pavle and now we are getting closer to the real name.

Pavle is the Serbian specific derivative from Paul (the biblical originated name) and the Paole version is just misspelling. What about Arnold? The vampire shared the same name with the famous actor and Governor of the State of California? Of course not!

When we study closely Harenberg`s book and the reports of Gasser and Flückinger we realize that the real name is Arnaut Pavle. The page title of "Visum et Repertum"[4], the report of Johann Flückinger, is revelatory as it contains the name written by hand: Arnavut Pavle.

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The misunderstanding is easy to be explained as the German language tends to spell all the nouns with capital letters and the simple noun can be easily mistaken for a family name. Still, Arnaut can be also a family name derived from the noun arnout. But what was an arnout?

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Arnaut photography (1849)

What was an arnout?

Arnaut is not necessary a family name, but more like a cognomen, a word that puts some light on the origin of the man. The arnauts were the Albanian mercenaries hired to fight or to guard during the XVIII - XIXth century in Central Europe (if we respect the fact that Europe goes all the way to Ural Mountains).

Arnaut is a Turkish term used to denote Albanians. In modern Turkish the term is used as Arnavut (pl. Arnavutlar).
Ottoman mercenary formations were also called Arnauts, though this was a generic name, as the mercenaries were composed of Greeks, Albanians, Bulgarians and Serbs, who served as bodyguards. In the Danubian Principalities, it was also used to denote various mercenary units.
In Serbo-Croatian usage, the word Arnaut(in) was also used as a pejorative, meaning "evil", "malicious" and "murderous", used as a nickname - for instance, one Serbian family got the surname Arnautovic; from an ancestor who was a murderer and was nicknamed "Arnautin".
Surnames derived from the word:Arnautović and Arnautić (Serbo-Croatian); Arnaoutis (Greek); Arnautov or Arnaudov (Bulgarian); Arnăutu (Romanian).

So we know that Pavle was coming from the South and that he is a haiduk[6], a mercenary, a hired warrior to complete the ranks of Imperial military against the moslem Turks. There is no surprise that he may be an arnaut and that is not necessary a family name. Still to sustain that he was Albanian or of Albanian origins is a speculation and there is no proof for that. We also must take note that the word arnaut in Serbian language has a negative meaning: "evil", "malicious" and "murderous", used as a nickname.

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Amadeo Preziosi - Arnaut



[1] For the original book in German language see:
[2] For more details about the case in English language see:
[4]The raport translated in English:
[6] Heydukh in original, note the capital letter

All pages by Dragonrouge
Page last updated: May 29 2017



23:10 Feb 03 2014


01:12 Jun 10 2017

Good article

18:31 Aug 29 2017


02:07 Oct 03 2017

nice read, Needs updating again

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