By Michelle Yastremsky
Lanterns lead the way through old cobblestone streets, hugged by medieval buildings just waiting to be explored and wait – did I just see a ghost? Follow the path of beautiful Krakow through the vampire and ghost stories that haunt the old village, and don’t forget to bring some silver to protect you!
The Cursed Tomb of the King
The year was 1970. A group of twelve researchers opened the tomb of Casimir IV Jagiellon – located in the "haunted" Wawel Castle - for research purposes. Just three short years later, four of the twelve researchers passed away – coincidence, or curse?
Years later when microbiology became more prevelant, a journalist decided to research just what happened to these “cursed” researchers – turns out the opening of the tomb released a bacteria that proved fatal to those unlucky few. The lesson here? Better to leave some secrets buried.
The Dragon of Wawel Hill
At the foot of Wawel Hill lived a fierce dragon – or so the story goes. The hill is now home to Wawel Cathedral and Wawel Castle. Bones believed to have belonged to this massive beast are hanging on a chain in front of the cathedral; legend has it that the world will come to an end when the beast’s bones fall to the ground.
The Vampire of Krakow
Karol Kot was a seemingly normal boy; he enjoyed long walks through the old streets of Krakow, hanging out with his girlfriend, studying anatomy, and indulging in the occasional glass of warm blood. Another dark pastime Kot enjoyed turned out to be taking the lives of innocents in the city, a fact that discovered thanks to his girlfriend at the time, after his second attempt at taking her life. Kot died in 1968, but his crimes and hobbies forever earned him the name the “Vampire of Krakow.”
A Grave of Vampires
During an excavation of Krakow’s old town, a strange discovery was made: a grave filled with bodies in fetal positions, face-down with their heads cut off and placed between their legs. These were the bodies of Krakow’s vampires – sort of.
Humans buried here suffered from a disorder which made them susceptible to light, and required them to add a lot of iron to their diet, mostly in the form of extra-rare (maybe even a little bit bloody) steaks and meats. Modern-day medicine might attribute to these habits as a blood disorder such as anemia, however society at that time labeled them the only logical thing that they could: vampires.