Death of a local villager becomes a problem in Eighteenth Century Serbia. Other villagers are haunted, apparently, by the deceased. Some of the first cases in Europe to be taken as serious proofs that vampires may exist in our world.

Arnold Paole: 18th Century vampire

Arnold Paole is the name that comes down to use from the 18th Century in a vampire tale that many people take very seriously nowadays – as they did in 1726 when Arnold Paole died. The story is Serbian and Paole’s name may have originally been spelled “Arnont Paule” (German form of name) or “Arnaut Pavle.” Most historians and researchers are satisfied with any of the above names to describe the Serbian incidents which happened in 1726 in Paole’s native village of Meduegna. The village is sometimes referred to as “Metwett” – a possible German rendition of the same name. A Serbian alternative name for the same village is, Medveda – not used too often (unless clarifications are made) because a modern and different town in Southern Serbia currently holds the name Medveda. Although many name changes have occurred in both the man’s name and the names of villages/towns up to the present day, mention of any versions of the above names seems to conjure up the same trail of events from 1726.

The vampirism of Arnold Paole is taken seriously as one of two of the first clearly “believed” cases of vampirism that were actually processed as a forensic case or which at least caused the legend of vampires to be taken seriously by military officials, physicians, surgeons, church officials, , etc., in Europe. It is said that the Arnold Paole case and another case from a nearby Serbian region, involving a Mr. Peter Plogojowitz (turned-vampire) are the two cases which struck up an 18th Century Vampire Hysteria known commonly as “The Eighteenth Century Vampire Controversy.” Please note – the Plogojowitz case has been treated with better methodology and officials than the Paole case - however, both cases were two of the first to ever be taken seriously by people other than what are/were considered “superstitious peasants or villagers.”

Arnold Paole was believed to be a “hajduk,” which is a sort of militia-type position. These military types are often called “freedom fighters” but some references to hajduk being highwaymen and outlaws also occur in the history of use of the term, “hajduk.” It seems that Arnold Paole was considered a freedom fighter type of hajduk. Mr. Paole, himself, actually believed, prior to his death, that he had been assaulted by a vampire. He was known to have taken steps to protect himself from vampires and from the effects of vampire contact or a vampire curse just prior to his death. He alleged – often – that he had been approached by a vampire creature at a location named Gossawa – which might be the present-day “Kosovo.” He asserted that he had broken the vampire curse by eating soil from the vampire’s grave and by smearing himself with his blood. “His” blood is ambiguous…I have not been able to find out whether, by “his,” Paole meant his own blood or of ”his” – the vampire’s blood. In any case, Paole, himself, had taken some serious and very drastic steps toward alleviating a curse and he believed he had properly cured himself of any effects from his contact with a certain vampire.