For centuries, legends of werewolves and vampires have been used to scare people.
Such stories represent fundamental human fear, in the sense that our own lives can be stolen or even we ourselves could turn into vampires. Imagine how it would be to change your human nature into that of a feared a monster. Mostly, these scary stories are narrated to teach us moral lessons, but, in actual fact, such characters did exist at one point in time!
The following are 10 real life vampires that lived many centuries ago.
1. Beast of Gévaudan
The Beast of Gévaudan terrorized the people of Gévaudan region of France between the years 1764 and 1770. It had a red-black fur, very sharp claws and large teeth. Within a period of three years, this vampire killed between sixty and one hundred people and injured over thirty. The animal mostly attacked children and those who were alone because preferred easy prey. Its focus of attack was mostly the head and the neck rather than legs and arms which are normally areas of attack by wolves. The magnitude of injuries and deaths lead some people to believe that there were really two working together. In the year 1765, King Louis XV intervened and sent professional hunters to find the beast (or beasts) and kill it. They seriously wounded the beast and even believed to have killed it. However, in 1767, there were new attacks by the same beast but it was stopped in its tracks in 1770 by a farmer who shot it dead while hunting.
2. Countess Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Bathory is estimated to have killed more than one hundred people. Her murderous activities were first heard of between 1602 and 1604. In 1610, King Mattias II intervened and sent György Thurzó to investigate the matter. It was revealed that the daughter of the local peasant and that of a lesser gentry were first victims. Investigation that was carried out indicated that those victims were tortured and flesh from their arms and faces bitten off. Stories also emerged that she bathed in the blood of her victims, believing that this would make her eternally youthful. This prompted her trial where one of her servants testified. She was found guilty of several murders, then imprisoned completely in her castle except for one opening for passing food and ventilation. She died in her prison in 1614.
3. Henry Gardinn
Henry Gardinn came from Limburg and was accused of lycanthropy in the year 1605. During the hearing of his trial, he confessed to all charges and claimed to have been lured by Jan le Loup. He confessed to murdering and eating young children. He was found guilty and burnt at the stake. Jan le Loup who was his accomplice was caught two years later and executed on same charges.
4. Mercy Brown
Mercy lived in Exeter, Rhode Island. She died in January 1892 after she contracted consumption. Death from illness was a usual thing in those days but Mercy was so unlucky; her mother and sister had died earlier and her brother was also suffering from the same disease. Three family members dying from the same wasting illness seemed suspicious. The villagers decided to exhume these bodies to ensure that the dead were not the cause of their misfortunes. The bodies of her mother and sister decayed but hers remained unchanged. Her nails and hair continued to grow and after further examination, a liquid-blood was found in her heart. It was for this reason villager concluded that she was a creature of death and she must have been responsible for the deaths in her family. Her heart was removed and burnt. Her brother was fed the ashes in the hope of curing him but he died a few months later.
5. Peter Stumpp, the Werewolf of Bedburg
Peter was a wealthy farmer who was highly respected until when a series of deaths were reported in the community. He was among the suspects and after torture, he confessed to be practising black magic. He further confessed how this magic transformed him into a wolf. He had devoured two pregnant women and fourteen children including his own son. On October 31st 1589, he was executed and his head displayed as a warning to others.