The Legend Of Jure Grando, The First Person Described As A Vampire

Jure Grando was a peasant who lived in the small village of Kringa, just outside of Tinjan, Croatia. He died in 1656, leaving behind a widow and a wake of terror that haunted Kringa for the next 16 years.

Every night for those 16 years, the good people of Kringa would hear knocks throughout the city in the middle of the night. The knocks were warnings, a promise that someone who lived in a house that had its door knocked had little time left on this world.

Giorgio, the village priest who had buried Jure, soon put it all together. Inexplicably, Jure Grande had returned from the dead to haunt and terrorize the people in his town. That wasn’t all he did.

Every night, Jure would visit his widow. His rancid corpse and ghastly face, which looked like he was smiling and gasping for breath at the same time, would terrorize and rape her every night, forcing what he thought was her marital duties on her well after his death.

16 years later, the villagers began growing tired of living in a constant state of fear every night. Giorgio eventually confronted Jure, wielding his cross and yelling “Behold Jesus Christ, you strigon (vampire)! Stop tormenting us!” And at that moment, tears began falling from his eyes as he retreated.

A couple nights later a brave prefect named Miho Radetic assembled a group of villages to confront and kill Jure. They found and chased him, and Miho stabbed Jure in the chest with a hawthorn stick.

It failed, with the stick bouncing off his chest as Jure retreated once again.

The next night, a group of nine villagers snuck into the graveyard with crosses, lamps and a hawthorn stick. They tip toed their way to the grave of Jure Grando and dug up his coffin. They opened it, shocked to find the perfectly preserved corpse of Jure with a smile on his dead face.

Giorgio then looked upon the corpse and said “Look, strigon, there is Jesus Christ who saved us from hell and died for us. And you, strigon, you cannot have peace!” Giorgio took the hawthorn stick and slammed it into the heart of Jure, but it would not pierce his flesh!

They quickly tried to exorcise the corpse of Jure Grande, but it didn’t work. One villager named Stipan Milasic decided to take things into his own hands. He quickly found a saw and tried to saw off Jure’s head. As soon as the saw cut his skin, Jure’s popped open and a blood-curdling scream escaped his mouth. Blood flowed from his wound and began flooding the graveyard, as the blood of his victims returned to the earth.

Finally, peace had been returned to Kringa.

This was the legend of Jure Grando, the first human to ever be called a vampire. The story was heard by Johann Weikhard von Valvasor while visiting Kringa on his travels. He researched and recorded the story in his anthology The Glory of the Duchy of Cariola in 1689, though the story was forgotten in until the Croation version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula arrived in the area. They’ve now fully embraced the legend, creating a vampire bar to draw in tourism.

Jure Grande’s story preceded Vlad the Impaler, which is widely believed to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It also has many tenets of a vampire story: murder, death, sexual activity. It’s a piece of folklore that precedes our understanding of a monster we almost take for granted nowadays. It is the legend of Jure Grando.


Sources: Medium, Swiftfilm