Arnold Paole was a Serbian who had made his home in Austria in the 18th century. His case is special in that it is one of the few to have had an official enquiry completed and documentation submitted. During his lifetime Arnold Paole claimed to have had some personal contact with a vampire while her was serving in the military. He had been haunted by this creature but had gone to great lengths to get rid of his affliction. He was finally able to do so by ingesting soil from the vampire’s grave and smearing its blood all over himself. He never explained how he was able to obtain said blood. Paole was eventually killed in 1725 after he suffered a broken neck from a fall off a hay wagon.
That was supposedly not the end of Arnold Paole though. Within a few weeks of his death, four people in the village of Meduegna complained that they had seen him. Within a few days they were all dead. Ten days later the villagers opened his grave, on the advice of their hadnack, to find a corpse which showed no signs of decomposition. The nails were still growing and there appeared to be fresh blood about the face. They took this to mean that Paole was in fact a vampire. A stake was driven through his chest, an action which allegedly provoked moaning from the corpse, and the body was burned. His four supposed victims were treated in the same manner.
Five years later, as many as 17 people were reported dead in a matter of months. Most of these had shown no previous signs of illness. Two of the dead women were said to have done things which the villagers believed would turn them into vampires after death; eating an animal killed by a vampire, and smearing oneself with the blood of a vampire respectively. The villagers insisted on an investigation and so a medical expert by the name of Glaser was sent in. He could find no sign of any infectious malady or contagion.
The villagers, by this time, were nearly overcome by fear. Multiple families often passed the night in a single home, believing that there was safety in numbers. They were adamant that they were being plagued by vampires and threatened to pack up and leave if something drastic wasn’t done. Glaser eventually ordered the bodies exhumed and found that some showed little signs of decomposition while more recent corpses had already started to decay. His findings were upheld by a second enquiry. The supposed vampiric corpses were decapitated and burned.
It is thought by many today that the case is not one of vampirism but rather of a lack of knowledge regarding the process of decomposition. We know now that nails and hair do continue to grow for a while after a corpse in interred. But what of the alleged sightings of Arnold Paole after death?