The well-appointed kit contains "stakes, mirrors, a gun with silver bullets, crosses, a Bible, holy water, candles and even garlic, all housed in a American walnut case with a carved cross on top."
This is not the first such antique vampire-hunting kit to turn up on the market in recent years. Boing Boing has recorded for posterity another vampire-slaying kit, purportedly from 19th century Romania, that was sold on eBay in 2006. From the auction description:
The knife is 13.1 inches long with a metal handle. It's made of heavy metal and can be easily thrown - it will always hit the target with the sharp tip. Has a gothic theme and detailing of fangs.
The metal box contains one syringe and it can be used to inject liquid garlic or secret serums into vampires. It has a small cross on it made of silver . The syringe can sustain temperatures up to 200 Celsius degrees. The cross is very old, with one beautiful black stone and is on a very old metal chain .
The metal teeth plier ( 7.5 inches ) was used in the past to remove the vampire's teeth. There is also a special tool called Dentol ( 5.5 inches ) used in the past to remove the vampire's teeth.
Then there's Professor Ernst Blomberg. This is the dedicated footsoldier in the War on the Undead whose name appears on many of the antique vampire-hunting kits that occupy prized spots in private collections and museum exhibits, and have lately been turning up at various auction houses and on eBay. Here is one of his creations that was reportedly originally sold at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, and more recently at Sotheby's, where it fetched $12,000 in an auction conducted on October 30th (that is, the day before Halloween) in 2003.
From the original description:
This box contains the items considered necessary for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries in Easter Europe where the populace are plagued with a peculiar manifestation of evil, known as Vampires... Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit carefully studies his book. Should evil manifestations become apparent, he is then equiped to deal with them efficiently... Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plombeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets,etc., has been most efficient. The items enclosed are as follows...
1. An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements
2. A quantity of bullets of the finest silver
3. Powdered flowers of garlic (one phial)
4. Flour of Brimstone (one phial)
5. Wooden stake (Oak)
6. Ivory crucifix
7. Holy Water (one phial)
8. Professer Blomberg's New Serum
Here's another of Blomberg's kits that also sold for $12,000 to a Seattle man in a 1997 auction.
This one was donated in 1989 to the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where it currently resides. The attached description is nearly identical to the other Blomberg kits:
This box contains the items considered necessary, for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe, where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped o deal with them efficiently. Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liége, Nicholas Plomdeur whose help in the compiling of the special items, the silver bullets &c., has been most efficient. The times enclosed are as follows.
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements.
(2) Silver bullets.
(3) An ivory crucifix.
(4) Powdered flowers of gaelie.
(5) A wooden stake.
(6) Professor Blomberg’s new serum.
The Surnateum Museum of Supernatural History is home to another Blomberg kit. From the museum's description:
Vampire Killing Kit, second half of the 19th century
The pistol dates from the 18th century and was brought back from the expedition.
Brought back from an expedition to Russia and Mongolia in September 2001
The Vampire Killing Kit was sold by Professor Ernst Blomberg in the second half of the 19th century. The kit was made by Nicolas Plomdeur, a well-known gunmaker from Liège.
This particular box, which has been in the Surnateum's collection since the late 19th century, has recently been reunited with the accompanying pistol (made in Spain in the late 18th century, originally a flintlock but later converted to a percussion cap in the first half of the 19th century); the gun was lost under circumstances described below. Manufactured in two separate stages, it contains all of the accessories used to maintain the pistol, as well as a large bottle of holy water, small bottles which once contained Professor Blomberg's anti-vampire serum and garlic juice to impregnate the silver bullets, a small bottle of sulphur powder, whose odour could drive off vampires. A crucifix made of wood and copper, various blessed medals, a small bottle of salts, a copy of the 1819 book entitled Histoire des Fantômes et des Démons by Gabrielle de P. (see the Library).
And another. This one was sold through Stevens Auction Company and said to come from New Orleans.
Lina's Lookbook features two vampire-slaying kits that were up for sale from Sotheby's last year. There is no mention of Professor Blomberg in connection with these, but the description of the larger of the two, a French kit dated to about 1900, reads:
the box in solid mahogany, the hinged lid with a copper cross to the front, opening to a compartmentalized interior comprised of an ivory inlaid crucifix-shaped gun bearing the date 1591, lead bullets, a small glass bottle, a small power keg, a metal bullet mold, and a mahogany stake, with original paper label stating an attribution to Nicolas Plomdeur.
Of course, there is no Professor Ernst Blomberg, and these are not actually antiques. Michael de Winter, the creator of the original Blomberg kit, confesses.
My story starts in or around 1970 when I was employed in the printing industry. My hobby was buying, selling and refurbishing antique guns. I sold mainly at the famous Portobello Market in London. My usual stock of guns for sale was only 10-20 at any one time and these tended to be of superior quality. I had a number of regular clients who arrived every week to see if I had any new stock. One of my regulars wanted a fine flintlock pistol and asked me to take in part exchange a Belgian percussion pocket pistol. I grudgingly agreed and allowed him £15.00 off the price of the flintlock.
So, here it is, a poor quality pocket pistol in mediocre condition! What to do with it? That was my question. Having an extremely fertile imagination and being an avid reader, I was inspired. It occurred to me that I could produce something unique that would be a great advertising gimmick and would attract people to my stall. The Vampire Killing Kit was on its way.
De Winter cobbled together and sold the first vampire-killing kit, along with its note attributing the contents to the fictitious personages of Professor Ernst Blomberg and Nicholas Plomdeur, the Gunmaker of Liège, as a novelty item for £1000. The rest, he claims, are imitators — counterfeits of a forgery!
Then again, perhaps he isn't to believed, either. The Mercer Museum figures that its fake Blomberg kit dates to the 1920's, which would neatly preclude de Winter as the originator. Lies upon lies.
If these purported antiques, hoaxes, copies and forgeries auctioning in the tens of thousands baffle and bewilder you, perhaps it's time to turn to genuine, 100% authentic works of art. Alex CF is an assemblage artist who creates detailed, absorbing "cryptozoological scientific art" in the form of handsome boxed kits and framed collections. Among his many horror, antique, and steampunk-themed pieces are a number of fascinating vampire-related items, including, yes, a fully-stocked slaying kit.
This is the Vampiric Anatomical Biological Research Reliquary. An excerpt from the description and partial list of contents:
Called upon to look into the supposed intervention of demonic possession of a small child, bled to death whilst sleeping, an unnamed cleric found evidence of an all together more natural cause of death. A bite, where the murderer had drained the body of all fluid. Baffled by this hideous mystery the cleric took it upon himself to understand this unknown species. His travel altar became his reliquary of artifacts, a place to house the evidence he found whilst on his travels. Throughout Europe he traveled, tracing the roots of a dynasty unseen by man.
• The partial skull fragment of a Homo Wampyrus, housed within a glass display dome
• Optical apparatus: Multi armed magnifying lense device, with extendable mirror and vice amateur for examination of blood and bone fragments
• Foetal Homo Wampyrus
• Blood samples taken from 7 newly infected humans
• Slide comparison of human and vampiric blood
• Test tubes, spare tube
• Tissue sample
• Silver nitrate and its properties
• Glass specimen jars with garlic, various roots/samples
• Dried plant samples, for suppressing vampiric strain
• A dissecting kit within a metal tin
• A candle holder/spair candles wrapped in paper and string
• The teeth and blood from an ancient aristrocratic vampire, housed within a glass/brass box
• Extensive notes and anatomical studies, spair examination tools, scissors/scalpels etc.
• A small moleskine notebook, containing various notes/diagrams
• An envelope holding a collection of daguerreotypes (early photographs)
• A bible, a large crucifix, and a book of psalms, mere relics of his past belief
• A map, with needles and thread plotting his first journey to find the roots of the species
• A picture of Lady Bathory
This is the mysterious Vampire Legacy Box. No notes are provided on this intriguing item.
Finally, to round out this roundup: the French 19th Century Vampyr Hunting Case.
Early 19th century french vampyr hunting kit - family line unknown.
At least with these fine pieces, you know what you're getting. Caveat occisor.
Additional sources: quixoticals, Gizmodo, Curious Expeditions, Urban Legends