Bezczeszczenie zwłok a podejrzenie o wampiryzm w Karpatach (XVII-XIX w.
DESECRATING CORPSES AND SUSPICIONS OF VAMPIRISM IN THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS (17TH-19TH C.)
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The so-called anti-vampiric burials, found throughout Europe, tally with ethnographic data. Therefore, it seems that the belief in vampires is a wide-spread in folk culture. Still, the historical (and scientific) interest in those creatures broke out in the 1720s in connection with the Enlightenment. In the early 19th c. vampirism was incorporated into Romantic imagery and gradually moved to the sphere of artistic inspirations and, finally, to mass culture. The Enlightenment-inspired interest of scientific circles and state administration in vampirism resulted in registering and investigating numerous cases of desecrating corpses, especially by peasants. In Poland this tendency appeared rather late, also in connection with the Enlightenment trends, revealing the social approval – also on the part of parish priests - for desecrating the graves of people suspected of being vampires. Thus, “historicising” vampires in the 18th c. and drawing the attention of scientists and police to those mythical figures can be interpreted as a sign of modernisation within social elites, which were increasingly repulsed with the traditional rituals of desecrating corpses.
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