Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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VJESCI

(Va-JES-ee) or(VYESKEE)
Variations: Opji, Vjeszczi, Vjeszczi Wupji
In Poland there is the belief that when a person who was born with a caul or teeth is about to die, he will use his last breath to renounce God. The body will retain its heat longer than a corpse should, its limbs will remain limber, the lips stay red, and blood will begin to seep out of its cheeks and fingernails. At midnight on the night of the person's burial, it will rise up as a vjesci from the grave and begin seeking out family members to prey upon. Other than having a ruddy brown complexion and being immensely strong, the vjesci can pass for human.
When a child is born with a caul, it is possible to prevent it from becoming a vjesci at death. The caul must be preserved and on the child's seventh birthday must be ground up and fed to him. Unfortunately, there is no known way to save a child who was born with teeth, but its resurrection can be stopped. To begin, the body will be placed in the COFFIN facedown so should it one day begin to dig its way free, it will be heading in the wrong direction. ACRUCIFIX and a coin must be placed in the corpse's mouth at the time of its burial so that when the vjesci awakens, it will already have something in its mouth to chew upon. A bag of seeds, usually poppy, is also placed in the COFFIN, as the vampire will be compelled to count them all before it will leave its grave; however, it will only count one seed every seven years. Then, a net is wrapped around the COFFIN because if the vjesci should manage to count all the seeds, it will then have to stop and untie all the knots in the net, as that is another irresistible urge it must give in to.
Source: Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies,
Paper 1­4, 8, 21, 23, 25; Lorentz, Cassubian Civilization, 70, 132, 133; Perkowski, Vampires of the Slavs, 191, 195
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