Sunday, 31 May 2009


The programme for the Vampirismus and magia posthuma conference is now online as pdf file. A short description in English is also available.

The Birth of the Vampire

Michael Pickering whom I mentioned here, presented a talk on the subject of The Birth of the Vampire in Vienna couple of days ago. According to this notice, 'By investigating reports of bodies believed to be those of vampires in eighteenth-century Serbia, I hope to enunciate some of the ways in which the vampire was constructed within, and ultimately became a product of, learned discourse in the so-called Age of Reason. My research takes me to the frontiers of the Hapsburg Monarchy in the winter of 1731-32, when Austrian military officials sanctioned the exhumation and destruction of bodies found to be in an uncorrupted state. The reports issued from the medical investigations of these cases quickly found their way into scholarly documents, initiating the so-called vampire debate of the 1730s. My general inquiry, I hope, serves to contextualize this temporally localized debate within a broader structural shift that sees the body change from a conduit of supernatural knowledge to a site of scientific knowledge. It is perhaps for this reason that long after the scholarly vampire debate subsided, and Serbia had been once more absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, that reports of the burning of dead bodies in Moravia ignited such a heated response on the part of the political establishment in 1750s Vienna.'

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Encyclopaedia Vampirica

A new encyclopedia about vampires was recently published in France: Encyclopaedia Vampirica - Encyclopédie Illustrée des Vampires by Jean-Paul Ronecker. A review is available on the blog.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

New Testament Magic?

I was recently contacted by Robert Conner who writes:

I bumped into your fascinating site while looking for Phlegon. There
has been some speculation that the resurrection stories of the New
Testament are ghost stories. If this is of any interest, may I suggest
my own web book, Magic in the New Testament
(, and a recent article in the Journal for
the Study of the New Testament by Deborah Prince (JTNT 29: 287-301).

I haven't had time for more than a cursory look at the web book, and honestly am not sure what to make of it. The article referred to is The 'Ghost' of Jesus: Luke 24 in Light of Ancient Narratives of Post-Mortem Apparitions. Unfortunately, only the abstract is available online.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Vampirism and magia posthuma conference

More information on the forthcoming conference on vampirism and magia posthuma in Vienna is now available at the Kakanien Revisited site. The list of participants and subjects is quite impressive as you will see from the programme that I have inserted below.

Donnerstag, 02.07.2009

18:00 Eröffnung / Christoph Augustynowicz, Ursula Reber
18.30 Niels K. Petersen: Magia Posthuma: Eine Weblog-Annährung an die Geschichte der zentral- und osteuropäischen Vampirfälle des 18. Jahrhunderts

Chair: Ursula Reber

Freitag, 03.07.2009

9:30 Hagen Schaub (Wien): Knochen und Bestattungsriten. Die Bedeutung archäologischer Funde zum Wiedergänger- bzw. Vampirglauben
10:00 Hans Richard Brittnacher (Berlin): Blutmagie
10:30 Diskussion

Chair: Christoph Augustynowicz

11:00 Pause

11:30 Karin Barton (Toronto/Waterloo): Der Habsburger Floh: Zur Kultur- und Literaturgeschichte eines vampirischen Insekts
12:00 Christa Tuczay (Wien): Alb – Buhlteufel – Vampir und die Geschlechter- und Traumtheorien des 19. Jahrhunderts
12:30 Diskussion

Chair: Clemens Ruthner

13:00 Mittagspause

14:30 Thede Kahl (Wien): Bewahrung und Verdrängung von Vampirgeschichten in Nordgriechenland und Südalbanien
15:00 Peter Mario Kreuter (Regensburg): Er steht sogar im MERIAN. Oder: Über die Karriere vampiresken Verwaltungsschriftguts des 18. Jahrhunderts aus dem Hofkammerarchiv
15:30 Diskussion

Chair: Ursula Reber

16:00 Pause

16:30 Clemens Ruthner (Dublin): Untotes Wachsen im Textgrab: Zur narrativen Konstitution des Vampirmythos in frühen Texten des Korpus
17:00 Christoph Augustynowicz (Wien): Von Messbechern, Klöstern und Waisenhäusern oder Vampire, Galizien und langes 19. Jahrhundert
17:30 Diskussion

Chair: Marco Frenschkowski

Samstag, 04.07.2009

9:00 Thomas M. Bohn (München): Das Gespenst von Lublau. Michael Kaspareks Verwandlung vom Wiedergänger zum Blutsauger
9:30 Ursula Reber (Wien): Virus und Vektor: Seitenblicke in die Angelologie
10:00 Diskussion

Chair: Christa Tuczay

10:30 Pause

11:00 Marco Frenschkowski (Münster): Die Ambivalenzen der Unverweslichkeit
11:30 Christian Reiter (Wien): Der Vampyr-Aberglaube und die Militärärzte
12:00 Diskussion

Chair: Thomas M. Bohn

12:30 Mittagspause

14:00 Bernhard Unterholzner (München): Vampire im Habsburgerreich - Schlagzeilen in Preußen. Aufklärung und Aberglaube in öffentlichen Debatten des 18. Jahrhunderts.
14:30 Vlado Vlacic (München): Imagining the Vampire? – Militärberichte und Vampirmythos
15:00 Sigrid Janisch (Wien): Was ist ein Vampir im Habsburger Reich des 18./19. Jahrhunderts? – Ein Vergleich anhand von Enzyklopädien
15:30 Diskussion (und Schlussdiskussion)

Chair: Hans Richard Brittnacher

Sunday, 10 May 2009


This blog has been pretty quiet for a while. Other tasks have required my attention, and whatever I have been doing on vampires and magia posthuma have been reserved for purposes outside this blog.

I'd like to refer to a couple of links that might be of interest: Elizabeth Miller on her blog currently reports from an interesting visit to both Dublin and Whitby. She also notifies us of the recent death of Nicolae Paduraru, founder of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. I remember being in contact with him briefly many, many years ago, back in the day when he had to fax people material.

A curious item is currently on sale on ebay: A patch from the Yugoslavian 239th Fighting Bomber Aviation Squadron called 'Vampiri', the vampires. That's at least what I gather from this web site. So the vampire returned to Balkan in the shape of a vampire bat for this military use!

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