Jure Grando – The First Written Vampire

The vampire is a mystical being who survives by feeding upon human blood. This creature is an ancient legend told within many parts of the world as folklore. There has even been historical cases documented where deaths and events occurring within rural towns throughout Europe were believed to be the works of a vampire. Today, those accounts are considered as the results of disease, serial killers, superstitions or just hysteria. In concluding my series on vampire lore, we will be looking into the chronicled story of Jure Grando.

Jure Grando was the first real person to be historical written as a vampire. The account was recorded in an encyclopedia set named The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, published in 1689, written by the scientist Johann Weilhard von Valvasor. In the story, Jure Grando was a peasant who lived within a small village from Istria, which is modern day Croatia. The legend says Jure had died in 1656, but returned back as a vampire.

In continuing with his story,  after his death, Jure would rise from his grave and terrorize the village for 16 years. He was witnessed roaming the streets at night knocking on doors throughout the town. Whoever’s door Jure knocked upon, within several days someone died within the household. Even his widow would not be spared, as she reported her dead husband appearing in the bedroom to sexually assault her.

One night, the local priest, Father Giorgio was mentioned to confront Jure and drove him away by holding out a cross. In the legend, villagers cornered the vampire, attempted to pierce his heart with a hawthorn stick, but failed as it bounced off his chest and the creature managed to escape. Father Giordio eventually led a group of villages to graveyard to end the vampire’s reign of terror. Jure’s coffin was dug up and when they opened it, the corpse was found to be perfectly preserved smiling. Another attempt to drive a hawthorn stick through the heart failed, however a villager used a saw to decapitate the vampire. The account of Jure Grando ends with peace returning to the village.

Jure Grando maybe the first historical account written involving a vampire, although many question and doubt the truth to these events. Other explanations suggested Jure had faked his own death, the widow created the story to cover a love affair, a ring of thieves made used of the vampire legend or a tale created for Johann Weikhard von Valvasor to record. There are others within history once believed to be vampires, yet those are articles for another time, until then hope you enjoyed this series.

Other Sources of Information

Wright, Dudley (in English). The Book of Vampires (Second Edition ed.). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. 2006

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