Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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HARPPE

(HARP)
Variations: The Vampire of Milos
Chevalier Ricaut, in his study of the Greek Church, was told a tale of a vampiric REVENANT by a monk named Sophrones. The monk was very well known in his parish, the Turkish town of Smyrna, and it is from there that the story of the Vampire of Milos originates. Although no year was given as to when the story was supposed to have unfolded, Dom Augustin Calmet included the story in his book titled Dissertation of Revenants, the Excommunicated, and the Ghosts of Vampires, which was published in 1751.
In the town of Smyrna, a man by the name of Harppe was excommunicated by the church. When he died, his body was interred in unhallowed ground. Shortly thereafter, Harppe rose to unlife as a vampire. The town folks wanted to dispose of it in the traditional way—beheading and quartering the body followed by boiling the parts in wine. However, the parents of the
REVENANTbegged the local monks not to allow that to happen, at least until they had the chance to go to Constantinople themselves, where they hoped they would be able to obtain absolution for their son. The monks agreed, but erring on the side of caution, moved the vampire inside the church while it was at rest in its COFFIN. There, daily morning mass was said over it as well as the continuous prayers being said throughout the day that were offered up to Heaven toward the restoration of Harppe's soul.
One day, during mass, a great noise was suddenly heard from inside the coffin. The monks opened it up, expecting to see Harppe's bloated body, full of blood, and showing no obvious signs of decomposition. Instead, the monks were shocked to see that the body had suddenly withered up and was in a stage of decay that would have been consistent with the length of time that Harppe had been deceased. It was later discovered when the parents returned that at the very moment the monks heard the noise from within the coffin, absolution was granted for Harppe's soul.
Source: de Plancy, Dictionary of Demonology, 101; Dundes, Vampire Casebook, 65; Masters, Natural History of the Vampire, 184 ­86; Summers, Vampire: His Kith and Kin, 304, 344, 410
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