The nights are drawing in, and the Halloween season is almost upon us. So I’ve put together what is I think the world’s first handy and practical flow-chart guide for how to deal with a vampire attack, based on an *actual event that took place in Derbyshire in the late eleventh century. Keep it close to hand – you never know when it might come in useful….
*well, according to a near-contemporary chronicler, anyway
This flowchart is entirely based on a story reported by a twelfth-century chronicler, Geoffrey of Burton, in his Life and Miracles of St Modwenna (ed. and tr. Rob Bartlett, Oxford, 2002). Geoffrey wrote in the 1130s, but places the story c. 1090. It took place in the village of Drakelow, which was for a while abandoned as a consequence, but is now once again inhabited (for the time being…).
An excellent guide to revenants in the Middle Ages is provided by Jean-Claude Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages (1998); meanwhile, Alyx Mattison here in Sheffield is finishing a PhD examining the treatment of ‘deviant’ corpses in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England.