The Story of Arnold Paole

The story of Arnod Paole is one of the few vampire histories that has been sufficiently documented over the years to lend it historical validity. In the spring of 1727, Arnod Paole returned from service in the military to settle in his home town of Meduegna, near Belgrade. He bought some land, built a home and established himself in the community. After a short time, he was betrothed to a local girl whose father's land bordered his, and the two were wed.

Paole told his wife that he was haunted by fears of an early death. In the military, he had been stationed in Greece. Local beliefs were that the dead come back to haunt the living in the form of revenants or vampires. While he was stationed there, he told his wife he had been visited by an undead being. Afterwards, he hunted down the unholy grave from which the undead being had come, as was the local custom. He extracted his revenge upon the vampire by burning the corpse. However, the incident affected him so greatly that against the advice of his superior officers, he resigned from the military and came back to Meduegna.

Shortly after his marriage, Paole fell from a great height while working on the farm, and was brought, unconscious, back to his home. He must have sustained internal injuries with the fall, for within a few days, Paole died and was buried in the town cemetery. A month after he died, there were several reports from people around the township who had seen Paole. A few had even seen him in their own home, although these reports do not clearly state what he did while in these homes. For the most part, however, there was little panic stemming from these reports until a short time later. Several weeks after the initial reports, most of the people who had claimed Paole had visited their home turned up dead for inexplicable reasons, and a group was assembled to exhume the body of Arnod Paole.

The group consisted of two military officers, two army surgeons, and a priest from the local church. When the group exhumed the body, they found a fresh corpse. There was no decomposition of the body whatsoever, and in fact the old skin and nails had fallen off, and new ones had grown to take their place! The final insult was the fresh blood that rested on the lips of the deceased Paole. When one member of the group staked the body, it cried out and fresh blood spilled from the wound. The group then scattered garlic around the remains, and did the same to each of the graves whereto Paole had sent his newest victims.

All was quiet in Meduegna for several years until 1732, when there was another spate of inexplicable deaths. This time, the town took no chances and immediately sent out a group to the graveyard to investigate. The resultant report has ended up in many history books over time. It was signed by three renowned army surgeons and cosigned by a lieutenant-colonel and a sub-lieutenant. Of all the body they disinterred during the investigation, they once again found no less than 11 corpses which displayed the same marked traits as the Paole corpse. No decomposition, (although many had been interred several months previous to their inquiry), fresh skin grown, fresh blood in the arteries and in the heart. The complete medical report is available in many modern vampire histories. No explanation has been given for the later outbreak of vampirism, although one theory holds that Paole had feasted on local cattle as well as people during his vampiric reign. Then, the theory states, as time passed and the cows were killed for their meat, the vampire qualities were passed on to anyone who ate the meat.

© Angie McKaig

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