Posts Tagged ‘Romania’

The castle is an hours drive from Lviv, Ukraine, and is closed at present but it is due to be opened as a museum and will no doubt make a great tourist spot.

It was built in 1625-1640 for the elite and royal families and has been a functioning residence for many centuries but sadly is left in a poor state now. It is in the shape of a square with five pentagonal bastions on the corners and has seen modifications to its designed. It was proven to be a well functioning fortress on more than one occasion and during WWI was captured by the Russians, they looted the precious items but did not destroy the building.

In 1939 Prince Sangusko packed up most of the valuables and went to Romania, anticipating another bout of looting and interior destruction. After WW2 the castle was used as a TB Sanatorium. In February 1956 the castle was nearly burnt down completely. The fire that broke out lasted three weeks, only the walls remained and an extreme bill of $12 million worth of damages. In 1997 it was purchased by the Lviv gallery of painting and opened as a museum.

When the Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union the castle was to be used as a presidential residence but it never came to pass. Now the Lviv gallery of arts, and lack of funds, have slowed down their renovations with plans to give it a more historical look on a future project.

There is a ghostly take attached to Pidhirsti Castle, Waclaw Rzewusky dwelled there from 1720-1779 and the rumour is that he murdered his wife by burying her alive in the walls of the castle. This was due to jealously and may be the woman in white seen by many witnesses.

Ghost Hunters International went to look into the rumours at the castle. Ukranian TV show Psychic Challenge also went there, they concluded it was haunted. GHI stated that they were confident that ghosts resided pretty much throughout the place.

The Romanian forest claims to be the most haunted forest in the wood. At 20 hectares the forest is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle. Visitors to the area often report feelings of anxiety or like they are being watched. This was one of the things covered by Ghost Adventures when they visited, and yes you can laugh, I still watch because they go to places I want too. Shame on me?

The forest was named after a shepherd, he apparently disappeared with a flock of two hundred sheep. Now not only that but in the 1960’s the forest gained another event of a note, a biologist Alexandru Sift who snapped a UFO in the sky above the forest. August 18th 1968, Emil Barnea captured something too and by the 1970’s it was a hotspot for sightings.

It is also said it could be a gateway to another dimension and another local story says that a 5 year old got lost and wandered into the woods before disappearing. 5 years later she came out untarnished and in the same clothes. There is no clear indicator in regards to when this happened however.

How about the ghost of murdered Russian peasants? The souls of the unfortunates are trapped and angered by their predicament. Still not convinced? What about an area where there is no vegetation even though research suggests there is nothing in the soul to cause it.

Strange noises, UFO’s, voices, vortex’s, disappearances, rashes and scratches on visitors and more! If you visit and experience anything I’d love to hear it!

An early report of vampires comes from Istria in Croatia, 1672. The locals reported a local vampire Giure Grando, in the village of Khring near Tinjan. He was the cause of some panic as the peasant’s death left them with his undead irritations. He took blood from the locals and sexually harassed his window. The original attempt to remove the undead was a stake which failed, so they took a more permanent approach of beheading.

Peter Plogowitz and Arnold Poale are two names synonymous with vampires. Plogojowitz died at the age of 62, but then allegedly came back to his son for food; his son refused and was found dead the next day. He was supposedly found to then attack neighbours, found dead the following day. Poale was an ex-soldier turned vampire who was attacked
by one years before his death whilst haying. After his death there were reports of him taking out locals.

Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut have had some interesting brushes with the undead, there are cases in the area where the family had the heart removed to prevent any further risings, although vampires are never mentioned specifically. A famous case recorded in Exeter, Rhode Island is of Mercy Brown, 1892 who removed her from her tomb two months after her death. He was aided by the family physician and they cut out her heart, and then burned it to ashes.

Japanese Cinema has a great set of vampire films from the 1950’s upwards, however a lot of the folklore is derived form the Western types (see Escape from Vampire Island as one of my personal favourites). The Nukekubi is perhaps the original tale for them as it is a creature whose head and neck detach from the body and fly around seeking it’s human prey at night.

In South Asia, the Bhūta or Prét is the soul of a man with a life cut short, they wander around animating bodies and attacking the living similar to ghouls. The legends of detachable body parts is not solely given to Japan either, there are similar types in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonsia. The Tagalog and the Visayan Manananggal are other examples. Mandurugo are pretty girls by day and at night they get wings and thread-like tongues but the Manananggal is older and can sever it’s torso to fly and find sleeping pregnant women. They like to suck out the foetus or the entrails of sick people (yuk!)

One of my favourite subjects is vampires. I have tried to hold off from making this yet another vampire blog but I can hardly ignore them now can I?

I’ll try to keep this set of posts to a minimum, there is so much to cover but I will just go through the bits I love the most and hope to get it out of my system and on to other weird, wacky or strange finds.

Vampires are recorded through many cultures and seem to have various  claimed roots. Romania is probably one of the most famous thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula but that’s not the only book, I would of course advise any enthusiast of non-sparkling vampires to get their fangs into it. Some of the most heightened panics of vampire hysteria led to beheaded corpses and staked bodies.

The romanticised version can most likely be traced back to John Polidori, The Vampyre, 1819 who gave the vampire a charismatic and sophisticated overhaul, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel secured the vampire’s literary romance and passion creating a genre of horror that has brought the nightmares to many modern formats including gaming and television series.

A noted first appearance of the word vampire comes from the Oxford English Dictionary, 1734. They reported about a local practice in Europe of exhuming bodies and “killing vampires.” Quite often a trait of the vampire is that are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, witches, or a possessed malevolent spirit in a corpse or by being bitten.

It is hard to make a single definition of what a vampire actually is but the biggest thing that seems to have followed them around is the desire to drink the life fluid, blood. Without blood the vampire cannot feed correctly and will whither away, though not necessarily die. Common denominators in the vampire’s appearance are a healthy, perhaps bloated, corpse that show recent blood drinking. Perhaps there was even blood escaping when the body was later exhumed, the teeth had developed to be sharper or even fangs (see previous posts about fangs) and the nails and hair had grown. It is worth noting that in many tales of this undead creature there are not always mentions of fangs.

Finding the vampire might lead you to need a virgin stallion (black or white depending on the area) to lead around the graveyard. If it shies you know you are on the right spot. Hole around a grave might show signs of a vampire (or mole infestation in my view), perhaps the livestock keep dying off and if you are not in goatsucker territory you might consider a vampire. Oh and if your vampire is of the fanged variety I would suggest a regular check for bite marks.

Creating a vampire.

Again there seems to be no generic way, which is probably a good thing for any writers out there. Perhaps an animal jumped over the corpse, a body was left along with untreated wounds, people who have come back from beyond and taken a new body (I’d prefer a living sample to possess thanks). Another is that the vampire forces it’s blood into a living victim (and of course it’s bound to be a sexy virgin).

There are of course attempts that can be made to prevent the terrible curse of blood drinking immortality, ranging from burying someone upside down to pre-staking them just in case. Earthly objects can be put into the mouth, though I suspect that would be better placed with the idea of paying to cross the River Styx than to worry about vampires.

One I do like is the idea that a vampire is suddenly imbued with a supernatural OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) so putting rice or poppy seeds on the floor would force them to be distracted into counting them until they could be despatched after the confirmation of their being. This one seems more common place in Indian, Southern American and Chinese myths.

 

 

Ersebet or Elizabeth Bathory lived in barbaric times, but her crimes still stand out as some of the most horrific and excessive of histories many characters. In the 16th century the uses and the nature of blood was relatively limited. Bathing in blood was supposed to have great healing powers for those afflicted with anything from leprosy, hysteria or epilepsy. Elizabeth was told that bathing in blood spilt from virgins would keep her youthful looks. Elizabeth was desperate to remain good looking after her husbands’ death, and it appears that she would go to any lengths.

Her catalogue of crimes revolves around four main areas of torture: Beating, cutting, freezing and burning. In most cases the servants did the work but Elizabeth took on some of the torturing herself.

The most common form of beating seems to have been beating the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, sometimes up to 500 times. On occasions the victims’ mouths were pulled apart by fingers or pincers and torn until they bled. The most commonly reported form of torture was cutting, piercing or otherwise using knives and needles to inflict pain. Lips were pierced with needles and then sewn together. One girls’ lips and tongue were sewn to one another. Needles were forced under fingernails, into faces, shoulders and arms. Noses and lips were cut apart so wide that they could never be sewn up, one girl had her belly pierced with a rusty needle. Another girl was lashed with stinging nettles. On one occasion two girls were taken together, while one had the flesh stripped from her bottom, the other was made to eat it raw; one of these girls also had a breast stripped clean away. Sometimes girls were made to eat their own flesh after it had been cooked in front of her.

The most frequent use of freezing was to stand a girl naked in a bucket of freezing water and pour more water over her until she died. Others were buried in frost and snow; those who did not die were forced to work in the castle. Some were deprived of food and water until they were on the verge of collapse, if they complained they were made to drink their own urine.

Burning was common in two forms, being burnt with hot instruments or being forced to eat extremely hot food. Heated iron rods were applied to hands, feet, noses, lips and breasts. Hot keys were pressed into the flesh; one bar was put into a girl’s vagina. When a girl stole a cake it was heated as high as possible before she was forced to eat it. The countess was reputed to have stood on the girl’s throat to prevent her from vomiting it back up. Candles were used to burn the genitals of some girls and to burn their hair and faces.

Three girls were buried in one coffin, and it is reputed that up to five girls could be buried at any one time. They were usually buried in the neighbouring cemeteries; sometimes the local priests would be called in to help with many excuses being given each time.