Monster Monday: Vampire of Alnwick Castle

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Vampire of Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle by J.M.W. Turner (1829)
Alnwick Castle by J.M.W. Turner (1829)

Alnwick Castle is a castle in England in Northumberland. It was built in 1096 by the Baron of Alnwick, Yves de Vescy. It is currently the home of the Duke of Northumberland. The castle has been used for the setting of The Black Adder films as well as standing in for parts of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

However, in the thirteenth century, the English historian William of Newburgh wrote about an incident that took place early in the castle’s history. A retainer of the lord of the manor, who was a wicked man but protected from punishment because he had the lord’s favor, suspected his wife of infidelity. One night he hid on the roof above his bedchamber and found his wife with another man. Enraged, he fell and was fatally wounded. When the priest arrived, the man refused to confess his sins and died cursing his wife.

He was buried, but shortly thereafter people reported seeing him walking around the castle and the neighboring village at night. Several people were murdered, found with slashed throats. At the same time, a plague spread across the countryside, and people began to sicken and die. The revenant’s reign of terror continued until a priest led a group of people on Palm Sunday to he man’s grave. They dug up the body and discovered it was so engorged with blood that the blood oozed out. They took the body out of the village and burned it. After that there were no more unexplained deaths, and the plague subsided.



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