Cuntius, Johannes

Cuntius, Johannes

(pop culture)

Henry More (1614–1687) described several vampirelike people in his book An Antidote Against Atheism, a volume primarily about witchcraft. The case of Johannes Cuntius took place in Pentsch, Silesia, a section of Poland, where he had served as an alderman. A fairly wealthy man, he was about 60 years old when one day he was struck by a horse whose shoe was being repaired. Upon recovering from the blow, Cuntius began to complain of his sinfulness. He died a short time later. The night of his death a black cat entered the room and scratched his face.

Between the time of his death and burial, the first reports of an incubus were heard. After his burial, the town watchman reported strange noises coming from Cuntius’s house almost nightly. Other extraordinary stories were reported from different households. One maidservant, for example, said that she heard someone riding around the house and then into the side of the building, violently shaking it. On different nights, Cuntius appeared and had violent encounters with former acquaintances, friends, and family members. He came to his bedroom and demanded to share the bed with his wife. Like the common revenant (one that returns after death or long absence), he had a physical bodily presence and extraordinary strength. On one occasion he was reported to have pulled up two posts set deeply into the ground. However, on other occasions he seemed to operate in noncorporeal form—like a ghost—and disappeared suddenly when a candle was lit in his presence. Cuntius was reported to smell badly and to have especially foul breath. He was said to have once turned milk to blood. He defiled the cloth on the church’s altar with spots of blood. He sucked the cows dry of blood and attempted to force his attentions not only on his wife but on several women in town. One person he touched reported that his hand felt cold as ice. Several holes, which went down to his coffin, appeared at his gravesite. The holes were filled in, but reappeared the next evening.

The townspeople, unable to find any remedy to these occurrences, finally decided to check the graveyard. They dug up several graves. All the bodies were in an advanced state of decay, except for that of Cuntius. Though he had been in the ground for some six months, his body was still soft and pliable. They put a staff in the corpse’s hand, and it grasped it. They cut the body and blood gushed forth. A formal judicial hearing was called and a judgment rendered against the corpse. The body was ordered to be burned. When it proved slow to burn, it was cut into small pieces. The executioner reported that the blood was still fresh and pure. After the burning, the figure of Cuntius was never seen again.

Sources:

Glut, Donald G. True Vampires of History. New York: H C Publishers, 1971. 191 pp.
More, Henry. An Antidote Against Atheism. London: J. Fleshner, 1655. 398 pp.