See what 19th Century European Tourists Were Purchasing To Protect Themselves from Monsters

1800’s Vampire Hunting Kit

Following the publication of Bram Stoker’s sensationalist novel Dracula in 1897 there was a sudden surge in the purchase of so-called “real” vampire killing kits, bought by gullible tourists or atmosphere-thrill seekers travelling to Eastern Europe. This is a nice example of one.


19th Century Vampire Hunter Kit Walnut Wood Case

Vampire Hunter Kit Walnut Wood Case

19th Century Vampire Hunter Kit Walnut Wood Case and interior contents crucifix holy bible stake knife garlic

Vampire Hunter Kit Interior

On a related note.

Sir Henry Irving - inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula character?

Sir Henry Irving

Did you know that it’s speculated that Shakespearean actor Sir Henry Irving was the real-life inspiration for the character of Dracula? Irving apparently had a dramatic persona masked by calm and gentlemanly mannerisms, and as Bram Stoker’s friend could have been prime candidate for the role.

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UPDATE / EDIT (4th March 2015)

Great comment from cjmoseley below. A hot beam of fact to burn through my fabricated fiction. Scroll down and enjoy.


3 thoughts on “See what 19th Century European Tourists Were Purchasing To Protect Themselves from Monsters

  1. Actually, as far as I can find out (and I’ve spent a few years looking) , the mythology about these kits is as fantastic and confused as that of the Vampires themselves. Not a single vampire-hunting kit existed before the 1930s (as far as anyone can find – they were certainly not sold to European travellers), and then the first were made for the movies, only later did the idea that they were Victorian relics appear (sometime in the 60s) as a way of laughing at those “gullible ancestors” .

    In many of these kits the only thing that is genuinely 19th century (and how the kits are dated) is the firearm, and the presence of a firearm for killing vampires with silver bullets is a modern confabulation (Stoker says a ‘sacred bullet fired into the coffin’ – presumably one makes a bullet sacred by carving a cross in the tip :) but there’s no mention of silver bullets before about 1940 (even for werewolves this is a late addition to the myth).

    Most of these kits (and there are hundreds in existence now) were made this century. They began to appear in the 70s, but following the sale of one at Sotherby’s for £1000s in the late 80s they suddenly started being ‘found’ in attics and garages all across Europe (but mainly in Paris, London and Munich)…

    In the early 2000s some kits held in the world’s largest collection at Ripley’s were subjected to testing. Every single one contained ‘aged’ artifacts, all the labels, organic residues, and papers were from the late 20th century, but had been distressed and soaked in tea, or coffee, before drying.

    Still, they are a fun ‘artefact’ even if they are possibly even less real than the monsters they are meant to combat (there’s some suggestion that some Vampire scares were caused by outbreaks of rabies around the Black Sea). Although I think the retro-futuristic creations of Steampunks are more stylish and fundamentally more honest…

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