The Horrifying Truth About The First Documented Vampire
History’s first blood-sucking monster was a lot scarier than anything you saw on “True Blood.”
Long before we watched Edward Cullen sparkle in the “Twilight” sun, a terrifying, rotting corpse plagued a small town in Croatia. He wasn’t a sexy, undead hunk, but instead a horrifying monster and history’s first ever documented vampire. His name was Jure Grando and this is his mysterious story.
It all started in the quiet Croatian town of Kringa.
Little is known about Jure Grando’s mortal beginnings, except that he was a relatively unknown peasant in the small Istrian village of Kringa during the 17th century. He died of an unknown illness in 1656 and was buried in the local cemetery by Father Giorgio.
Except he didn’t stay buried.
Shortly after his death, locals claimed they saw Grando wandering the village at night, knocking on houses that were then plagued by sudden illness and death. He started haunting his widow too, raping and tormenting her as he laughed and gasped for air.
Grando was officially classified as a “strigon,” a European term for a male witch who feeds on human blood and uses evil forces to stay immortal. It was believed that if a person died during the period when the ‘strigon’ was sighted, it meant he or she had been eaten.
The story goes that Grando tormented his village for 16 years, until mayor Miha Radetich got so fed up he gathered a group of villagers to open his grave and pierce his stomach with a wooden stake.
But Grando just laughed at his attackers.
So they called again upon Father Giorgio, who tried to exorcise the corpse with a crucifix, without luck. Finally, one brave villager took a saw and decapitated him — as soon as he cut through skin, Grando let out a blood-curdling scream before finally expiring.
Alas, the legend lives on…
We can thank natural historian Johann Weikhard von Valvasor for documenting Grando’s story in his book “The Glory of the Duchy of Carnoli,” which he wrote using word-of-mouth lore from Kringa’s villagers. Today it’s a sleepy town, but vampire-themed bars and tourist hot spots keep Grando’s undead spirit alive.