Object Title

Cased set - Vampire killing kit

Cased set - Vampire killing kit

Date

1900-1980

Object Number

XII.11811

Provenance

Purchased at auction from The Auction Centre, Leyburn, on 21 June 2012, lot 451. Individual components are British in origin and date to the mid-19th century. The stakes are modern. Kit purchased by vendor's uncle, a collector of occult items, within the last 20 years. Bequeathed to the vendor approximately 7 or 8 years ago, along with two other kits, one of which was sold by private purchase treaty.

Physical Description

Velvet-lined mahogany case with silver cruciform lock escutcheon plate. Contains Belgian-style box-lock percussion pocket pistol and iron bullet mould, both c1850, in a removable upper tray also containing a set of rosary beads and a modern piece of white linen cloth (one compartment is empty). Below in the main body of the box are four oak stakes, a wooden mallet, a book of common prayer dated 1851, and three bottles labelled as/intended to contain holy earth, holy water, and crushed garlic. A fourth bottle is missing. The inside lid of the kit a gilt metal and mahogany crucifix and a paper label bearing a handwritten psalm (Luke 19:27: ‘But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.’).

Materials

Dimensions

CaseDepth230 mm
CaseHeight130 mm
CaseWidth310 mm

Associations

Places Unknown

Bibliographic References

Ferguson, J. 2012. 'To Kill a Vampire', Fortean Times 288

Notes

This is one of over 100 so-called vampire killing kits extant (as of 2016), thought to have originated as novelty items in Britain, c1970, though the first written evidence is from the United States (1986) and most examples are sold there. There is no evidence to suggest that anything like them existed prior to this date, significant as the heyday of 'Hammer' horror movies. The kit was loaned and exhibited as part of the 2014/15 British Library exhibition 'Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination'.