The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Croatia revives vampire -- for tourists

So if the vampire is revived and kills all the tourists, what will that do to Croatia's economy.

KRINGA, Croatia (AFP) - As evening mist slowly embraces this village in the heart of Croatia's picturesque Istrian peninsula, a few young enthusiasts gather in a bar trying to revive the legend of a 17th century local Dracula. Sitting in a red velvet chair in the "Vampire" bar, decorated with garlic wreaths and lamps with crosses, Mladen Rajko explains how local tourist authorities launched a project last year called "Jure Grando, the Vampire from Kringa". "No one is claiming that vampires or evil forces exist, all we want is to promote a documented legend in order to boost what we can offer tourists," says Rajko, 28, head of the nearby municipality of Tinjan.
Be careful Rajko. So who is their local version of Count Dracula?
In his 15-tome work "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola", which was published in 1689 in Germany Valvasor tells the story heard when he visited Kringa. According to the legend, for 16 years after his death and burial Grando terrorised his former fellow-villagers, notably his widow. At night he wandered the area knocking on the doors of houses, many of whose inhabitants later died, it said. The lustful demon paid regular visits to his widow, forcing her to continue fulfilling her marital duties. Eventually, in 1672 a group of nine local men decided that they had to put an end to the menace. Upon opening his grave they saw Grando, his body intact, smiling at them. After the first attempt to drive a hawthorn stake through his corpse failed because the wood rebounded, the bravest of the nine eventually managed to decapitate the body, bringing to an end Grando's reign of terror, the legend said. "Grando already has all the characteristics of future literary vampires -- who appear some 150 years later -- he is a cynic, challenges both civil and church authorities and is sexually active," explains Boris Peric, a writer who investigated the issue.
Actually, those characteristics probably describe a lot of the tourists too.


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