In 1582, residents in a village in Silesia (now Poland) complained of visitations from a bad-breathed vampire with a brow-raising name: Cuntius.
Before joining the ranks of the undead, Johannes Cuntius had been a respected citizen and aldermen in Pentsch. In February 1582, Cuntius was fatally injured after being kicked by one of his “lusty geldings”. Before expiring, Cuntius lingered for several days, complaining of ghostly visions and feeling like he was on fire. According to one witness, at the moment of his death, a black cat entered the room and jumped onto his bed.
As befitted his civic status, Cuntius was entombed near the altar of his local church. But within a few days, several townspeople reported receiving visits from the dead man. All described a “most grievous stink” and “an exceedingly cold breath of so intolerable stinking and malignant a scent as is beyond all imagination and expression”. A whole litany of annoyances and harassments was attributed to the vampire, including accusations of:
“…Galloping up and down like a wanton horse in the court of his house… Miserably tugging all night with a Jew [and] tossing him up and down in his lodgings… dreadfully accosting a wagoner, an old acquaintance of his, while he was busy in the stable [and] biting him so cruelly in the foot that he made him lame… [Entering a] master’s chamber, making a noise like a hog that eats grains, smacking and grunting very sonorously…”
The people of Pentsch tolerated these nocturnal visits until late July, when they resolved to exhume Cuntius’ coffin and deal with his wandering corpse. They found that his:
“…skin was tender and florid, his joints not at all stiff but limber and moveable… a staff being put into his hand, he grasped with his fingers… they opened a vein in his leg and the blood sprang out fresh as in the living.”
After a brief judicial hearing, Cuntius’ body was thrown onto a bonfire and burned, then hacked to pieces and crushed to ashes. As might be expected, the spirit of Cuntius ceased its nocturnal visits. The village of Pentsch became the town of Horni Benesov, the ancestral home of United States presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, John Kerry.