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24/12/08

Real Vampires - the bite before Christmas

Filed under: Ghost Stories, Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 12:18:34 pm

My father came from a small village outside Belgrade in Serbia. He told us a story that was well known to the village of an incident that took place within living memory.

The people there believed that the dead could become a vampire if, before burial a cat jumped over the corpse. Marco was not an old man when he died and he was much grieved for by his family and by his boyhood friend, Petronio. They used to play together under a large walnut tree that stood in the centre of the village. They played for hours on the swing that hung from its branches and grew up together like brothers.

Marco was laid out the night before his funeral, surrounded by candles; people came to pay their sorrowful respect. One man was set to watch over him during the perilous night. It grew late and the man grew tired, he fell asleep in the chair for some time. A black cat crept into the room, perhaps startled, it jumped over the body of Marco. The man woke up in time to see it but he decided not to say anything as he had failed in his duty. Nothing might come of it anyway.

They laid Marco’s coffin into the ground the next day, the people unaware of what had gone on the night before. The service was said and they retired to their homes.

That night Petronio was sitting with his family by the fire when he thought he could hear his name, he thought he could hear the sound of his friend’s voice, and he believed the memory of his friend was haunting him and he was sad. But he was not the only one that could hear the voice, when they looked out the window they were very scared. There sitting on the swing under the old walnut tree was Marco, “Petronio. Petronio.” he called “Wont you come and play with me?". Petronio stared out at his friend, terrified. His family gathered up garlic and placed it at the doors and windows. This was not ghost, Marco had become a vampire and had returned to his home. All night he called out “Petronio", the same lonely cry and the swing squeaked and creaked as it rocked back and forth.

The next day the village gathered together and the man responsible for watching over the body confessed that he thought something may have jumped over the corpse. They gathered up garlic and garlic flowers for protection, if it really was the case that Marco was a vampire something would have to be done.

Night came and the figure returned to the tree, calling again and again “Petronio-o, Petronio-o, come and play with me". The whole village hid in doors afraid of the monstrous apparition on the swing, that creaked and groaned throughout the night.

The next day the villagers cut down a young cherry sapling and made it into a stake. They dug up the coffin and inside they found Marco lying peacefully. They thrust the stake into his heart and his eyes opened. It was done and the vampire was no more.

09/12/08

Ghost Story for Christmas - Haunted Tarquinia

Filed under: Ghost Stories, Spooky Experiences — loretta @ 05:58:13 pm

I thought that some of you might like to read a few of the stories I was told when I was growing up. My mother told tales about the ghosts she encountered, some from England and some from her home town in Italy.

She came from a medieval hill village on the west coast of Italy, just north of Rome. It is called Tarquinia and is named after the original Etruscan town that stood there. It is best known for the Etruscan tomb paintings on the edge of the town. It has a very long history and, according to my mother, a lot of ghosts too.

Old Tarquinia

A number of stories relate to one particular residence when my mother was a young woman. The family moved into a first floor apartment, with a large balcony. One afternoon as my grandmother was taking a siesta in her room she became aware of the sound of someone moving around the kitchen. She called out but no one answered. Yet she was quite certain that she could hear someone walking around wearing flip flops. The distinctive flick-flack sound carried on until she went to look, but of course, no one was there.

Later on she asked her daughters who was there that afternoon, why didn’t they reply when she called. They assured her it was none of them, besides they weren’t wearing flip-flops!

The distinctive footsteps were heard on several occasions by other members of the family, normally when the house was quiet and they thought they were on their own.

One day my mother was alone in the flat. She went out to the bathroom, which was reached by walking along the balcony. It was a separate wooden structure and she locked herself in. Within a few minutes she heard a knocking on the wall. She was surprised as she was sure that she was alone. She called out who was it, she would be a minute. No one replied. The knocking, or should I say banging as it was quite load, was persistent and she called out for who ever is was to stop. Maybe one of her brothers had come in and were messing around. The sound grew louder and louder, she was quite scared she was sure she had been alone. The wooden walls shook with the force and she thought the whole thing was going to collapse around her. There was nothing for it, she would have to make a dash for freedom. With the pounding still going on, she threw open the door and without looking round, ran along the balcony back to the safety of the main rooms. Just then her father returned home, he promised he had only arrived then and he never heard anything. They checked together and there was certainly no one outside. The neighbours too said they heard nothing at all, which left my mother askance as she was sure the pounding was so loud and so violent how could anyone not have heard.

Two of my aunts shared a bedroom in the apartment and soon after they had moved in the girls asked if their parents would swap bedrooms. They admitted that they couldn’t get any sleep in there, someone was always walking around. My grandfather laughed and said they must been dreaming, and they were being silly. But eventually my grandparents gave in and swapped rooms with them. It was the middle of summer and quite hot. My grandfather lay there with his legs and arms hanging out the side of the bed to cool down, thinking to himself that there was nothing wrong with the room. Suddenly some one or something clasped his hand. His daughters had been quite right, there was someone in there with them.

The family made enquiries with their neighbours about the previous owners of the apartment. One woman, who had died sometime before, was a spiritualist and carried out regular seances in the flat. Leaving the possibility, according to my mother, that she have raised ’something’ that never went back. As for the footsteps heard in the kitchen, they were told that this woman only ever wore flip flops.

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