Though far rarer than werewolf or ghost sightings, sightings of vampires have been reported at various locations across the world. While it's impossible to verify whether these are real vampires, it's still fascinating to read the accounts. Take a look at these stories and decide for yourself whether any of the accused might really have been vampires.
John Barber of Connecticut: Vampire Burial?
In 1990, a coffin was examined from a graveyard in Griswold, Connecticut. The lid of the coffin was decorated with the inscription "JB 55" in tacks. When it was opened, researchers found that the skeleton's ribs had been broken, and that its skull and thigh bones had been moved from their natural places and formed into a skull and crossbones design over the figure's chest, which would suggest that whoever did that thought they were dealing with a vampire.
Thanks to modern DNA tracing technology, scientists have been able to ascertain that the man was John Barber, a farmer who died in 1855, and that (based on markings on his ribs) he appeared to have died of tuberculosis. It was believed back then that TB (which was called consumption) was spread to the living by the dead. Or undead, as the case may be. So it's likely that JB's coffin was exhumed so townspeople could check for any signs of vampiric activity after death. And it's likely that was when his ribs were broken and his bones were rearranged, since scientists estimate that he was originally exhumed four or five years after he died.
Not understanding how the disease spread, it was assumed at the time that vampirism was to blame, and John Barber is the United States' most famous "vampire."
Terrified Brits Report Vampires (and Vampire Sheep) to 999
According to a May 2021 report from The Star, police were forced to remind citizens that use of the 999 emergency number was for real emergencies after they'd received a rash of panicky supernatural-themed calls. A woman in Leeds called to report vampire sheep outside her door, while a resident of Thames Valley called to report a vampire in her very own living room.
It doesn't appear that the police sent anyone out to investigate, so the world will never know if the sheep was falsely accused or not.
Archaeological Remains of a Vampire
In 2006 archaeologists in Italy had a unique vampire sighting of their own. They discovered the remains of what is believed to have been a female vampire with a brick forced into her jaw. Italian forensic archaeologist Matteo Borrini reported the find when the discovery took place. Researchers were investigating a 1576 mass grave of medieval Venetian plague victims at the time of the discovery.
During the Middle Ages, it was common for plague victims to be buried and then unburied as more bodies were added to mass graves. The people unburying bodies would sometimes uncover corpses that had a dark, blood-like substance under their noses and mouths. The workers believed this was a sign that these bodies must be vampires, and that they were responsible for perpetuating the plague.
To prevent this from happening, they would shove bricks or rocks into the corpses' mouths in hopes that doing so would stop the plague from spreading further. The body discovered by the archeologists while researching a plague burial site is evidence of that practice.
The Vampire of Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery was constructed in London, England in 1839 as a burial place for the elite. After many years of neglect, the cemetery is now allegedly the home of a terrifying vampire.
According to The Highgate Vampire Society, the sightings started in the late 1960s. A tall figure with red eyes was spotted and repeatedly reported, launching an investigation into the area and these claims.
One of the strangest and most disturbing sighting came in the early 1970s. A young girl passing the cemetery was attacked by a very tall, white-faced dark figure that threw her to the ground so hard that she suffered from scrapes on her arms and legs.
Luckily, the shadow figure immediately disappeared when a car pulled up to the scene. The girl, who was in a state of shock, was taken to the police station and eventually told her own story. That story supported the sightings reported by so many other members of the community, and sightings of the "vampire" continue to this day.
Suspected Vampire Beaten to Death in Guyana
According to a report from Fox News in 2007, an elderly woman was lynched by a group of villagers who suspected her of being a higue, an evil spirit that drinks babies' blood.
In Guyanese culture, a higue is a spirit that can shift into the shape of an old woman and enter homes by passing through keyholes. This belief has roots in the Obeah religion, which is still practiced in that region.
The Case of Anastasie Dieudonne, Possible Vampire
A young Haitian woman, Anastasie Dieudonne, reportedly confessed in 1927 to repeatedly drugging her nine-year-old niece, and then draining blood from an incision she'd made between the girls toes. A report in the St. Petersburg Times went on to state that she was driven to do so by an "uncontrollable urge."
This is very clearly a psychological issue, and Anastasie was not the undead creature many think of when they think of vampires. However, drinking blood from another person does technically qualify her as a vampire.
Vampire Sightings in Rhode Island
According to Ghost Village, the story of Mercy Brown dates back to the winter of 1892. A resident of Exeter, Rhode Island, the 19-year-old girl died of an unknown illness.
However, people around town began to report seeing her walking around. When Mercy's dead body was examined in the spring, it reportedly still looked alive.
According to the legend, Mercy's heart was removed in order to end her wanderings.
Serbian Vampire Arnold Paole
In 1727, Serbian soldier Arnold Paole returned from war, and it didn't take long for people around him to notice that he seemed more subdued than he had before.
After a while, Paole shared his belief with his fiancee that he'd been attacked by a vampire while he was serving in the army, and that he'd tracked and killed it after the fact. He was afraid he'd been infected.
Paole died a short time after his return, and people in his village started reporting sightings of him about three weeks after his death. And reportedly, everyone who saw him died soon after.
Years later, the same area ran rampant with reports of vampirism, and somehow it was decided that Paole had been feeding on cows, and had turned them into vampires, and that they then went on to terrorize the townspeople.
Eventually, Paole's body was exhumed, and it looked like there was new skin growing beneath the old, dead skin on top.
According to the story, he was staked (reportedly even groaning when it happened), and then his head was removed and his body was burned, just to be sure.
2016 New Zealand Vampire-Like Attacks
According to Fox News, in 2016 New Zealand was hit with two vampire-like attacks.
The incidents were unrelated, except that they both involved someone biting another person's neck in anger. One incident happened in a bar brawl, and another during a family dispute.
Reportedly, no feeding happened, so these aren't actually vampire attacks despite the sensationalistic news reports. Which is good because preschools are full of tiny people who bite others when they're angry.
Proof of Vampires Remains Elusive
Whether you believe the witnesses who report these sightings, the idea of vampires walking among the living, causing chaos, death, and other horrors is one that has definitely endured over the centuries. It's up to you to decide what you believe.