Derrys Vampire

Dracula - the Derry vampire connection
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Derry Halloween: Abhartach, the Vampire

Some say he was deformed in some way and others say that he was a dwarf. However, most accounts agree that he was a powerful wizard and was extremely evil. Abhartach was a jealous and suspicious man who trusted no one, not even his wife, who he was convinced was having an adulterous affair. Too terrified to refuse, they did as he ordered. According to tradition, these were the dwellings of particularly holy men.

Northern Frights at Halloween - The Vampire of Co Derry

Through his devilish arts he has become one of the undead. Abhartach was slain with a wooden sword and buried upside down. Thorns were placed all around the gravesite. But is it simply an isolated tale or does it fit into a tradition of Irish tales of vampires? Although most cultures have vampire stories, such tales have a particular resonance in Ireland. A girl in Waterford with exceptional beauty was born into such a family.

As fate had it, she was humble and content and sought love in the arms of a local farm hand.

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They made plans to wed and have a family of their own. Her cruel father however, was fuelled by avarice and prosperity, regardless of the cost to his own kin. He gave his daughter to a notorious vicious and nasty clan Chief in exchange for land and riches.

With the marriage set and the young woman condemned to a life of cruelty, the wedding day she had dreamed of had become a horrific nightmare. On the day of the wedding the reluctant bride was a vision of blinding beauty, dressed in red and gold. As all the guests revelled long into the night, the girl sat alone, angry and bitter — damning her father to hell and vowing to seek revenge on those who had cost her love and life.

The Chieftain turned out to be far more abusive and controlling then his new wife could ever have imagined. To him the poor girl was nothing but a trophy to be locked away for his pleasure only, savouring the knowledge she was his and his alone.

With a complete absence of hope and only darkness ahead, she simply existed — no longer eating or drinking, her life gone long before her body gave in. Her burial was poorly attended and without ceremony. Her wicked husband had taken another wife before she was even cold and her family were too engrossed in their wealth and greed to give her a second thought. Only one man grieved for the tragic young woman, her lost love. He visited her grave every single day telling her of his undying love and praying for her return. Unfortunately, his love was not the driving force for her resurrection — revenge was the force that pulled her from her grave on the first anniversary of her death.

Consumed with hatred and the need for retribution she burst from her coffin and headed home. As her father lay sleeping she touched her lips to his and sucked the worthless, selfish life straight out of him.

Revenge not yet sated, she called upon her callous husband finding him surrounded by women, fulfilling his lustful desires, oblivious to the dead bride in the room. In a furious rage she launched on the Chieftain sending the women screaming. His former wife was so full of fury and fire that she not only drew every breath, but drained every ounce of blood from his twisted and cruel body. The scarlet liquid surging through her, leaving her more alive than she had ever been and she had a hunger for blood that could not be sated.

The corpse bride used her beauty to prey on young men, luring them to their demise with seduction, the promise of her body their reward. Instead she sank her teeth into their exposed necks and drank their blood to quench her thirst and desire, but it was never enough.

Folklore, Legends and Hauntings of Ireland

The warm elixir gave her strength and immortality and drove her to her next quarry. Sometimes though the rocks are dislodged, forgotten or her insatiable desire is stronger than any boulder could ever be. That is when she can walk into the night, ill-fated men falling victim to the beauty and bloodthirstiness of the Dearg Due. They began their excavation beneath flagstones in quiet fields in Kilteasheen, County Roscommon in The first shock discovery was that directly under the stones were the crushed skeletons of many humans, piled several deep in shallow graves.

The shallowness, together with the positioning of the flagstones indicated that the builders knew they were building directly on top of a graveyard containing upwards of to corpses. It was further discovered that on the perimeter of the graveyard were two further burial plots. Once excavations began it became clear that these were no ordinary interments. The deceased had been buried in a manner conducive to what is historically known as a deviant burial.

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Once the skeletons were revealed, the violent, horrific nature of their post-mortem treatment became clear. The men had been buried during different time periods. There were no genetic similarities and their ages varied by some twenty or so years, however they were connected in a most disturbing manner. Each body was subjected to the breakage of arms, legs, hands and feet. These limbs were then folded inwards and bound around a large boulder. Both men had a rock wedged so firmly into his mouth that his jaws were close to snapping apart.

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These men were not being laid to rest, they were being grotesquely violated and weighted down to ensure they would not return from the dead. The other interesting observation was that the men had not died of natural causes. Blade marks were clearly visible upon the bones. In medieval times it was believed that the mouth was the portal to the soul. By placing an object such as a stone into the mouth of the deceased, the corrupt soul that had departed could no longer return. By breaking and binding the flesh and bones, the deviant could not walk among the living again.

Some say he was deformed in some way and others say that he was a dwarf. It was further discovered that on the perimeter of the graveyard were two further burial plots. Thorns were placed all around the gravesite. But is it simply an isolated tale or does it fit into a tradition of Irish tales of vampires? A girl in Waterford with exceptional beauty was born into such a family.

The extent of mutilation together with the stone in the mouth of the dead pointed to one possibility. That the people who carried out these actions believed they were in the presence of vampires.

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