Friday, March 26, 2010

Sarah Ellen Roberts and the Birmingham Vampire

Speaking of mass hysteria, I thought it'd be fitting to share another, little-known episode in vampire history. This time, we go to Peru.

Here's a snippet from Stephen Smith's "Sarah Ellen Robers: The Blackburn Vampire":
The story starts at the beginning of June 1913, when 41 year Sarah Ellen Roberts, the wife of John Pryce Roberts, of 25 Isherwood-street was accused of murder and the practising of witchcraft. At her trial held at Blackburn she was found guilty and sentenced to death . . . Her punishment was that she should be chained and sealed alive in a lead lined coffin. The sentence was carried out on the 9th of June 1913. Just as the coffin lid was being put on she cursed and swore that she would return to avenge her self in 80 years time. When John tried to inter his wife’s body he found the church authorities had little sympathy for him and refused him permission to bury his wife in consecrated ground. John travelled the length and breadth of the country trying to find a resting place for his late wife but could find no one willing to accept the body. In desperation he set sail with the coffin in the hope of finding some country that would allow him to bury his late wife.
If you can read Portuguese (yeah, I know that's a longshot), then I'd also advise you check out Shirlei Massapust's "A Maldição de Sarah Ellen". At the very least, it's got a few pictures for your enjoyment.

A more recent example is the Case of the Birmingham Vampire, which is covered by Sam Jones' "Vampire Takes a Bite Out of Brum" and Stuart Jeffries' "Reality Bites".

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