Dan Baines

Fairy Rings and Monstrous Things

the whitby vampire

Bat-man discovered in Bat-cave!

Disturbing half man, half vampire bat creature discovered beneath Whitby Abbey.

They may be the stuff of horror movies and romantic teen novels, but could this be the most damning evidence of the existence of Vampires?

In the remote North Yorkshire town of Whitby, the setting for Bram Stoker's gothic novel Dracula, a recent discovery may suggest that he took inspiration for his book from something much closer to home than the 15th century Vlad the Impaler.

A disturbing series of images have been released from a Yorkshire University research department showing a humanoid creature possessing elongated limbs, bat-like wings and a part human - part bat head with razor sharp incisors. The 'bat-man' has also been 'staked' through the chest with an iron spike containing a rolled up parchment of the Lord's Prayer in Latin.

The grotesque remains were discovered in 2011 after a series of storms ravaged the Yorkshire coast. Erosion of the cliffs in a now secret location close to Whitby revealed the entrance to a network of caves leading beneath the ancient Abbey. University spokesperson Professor Edward Forks commented: "The cave literally appeared overnight, as the sea had washed away a large section of cliff face to reveal a small cave entrance. We were only made aware of the cave after Mr. Stephen Meyer brought his disturbing find to the university where he usually brings his fossils for verification." Meyer, a keen fossil hunter, had been scavenging along the coast when he stumbled upon the cave. He entered the 'vampire’s lair' armed with only a torch, chisel and mallet. The scattered remains of wooden barrels indicated that the caves had probably once been used by smugglers; he commented that as he ventured further inside the atmosphere became increasingly dark and brooding. The cave seemed to lead directly to the space beneath Whitby Abbey on the cliff tops. The passage gradually narrowed, leading to a small wooden door with a large crucifix hanging on it. Meyer tried the handle, but the door would not budge. After a swift smash of his hammer, however, the door swung open. In the gloomy alcove his torch illuminated a wooden chest surrounded by a white circle in the centre of the room. The circle was later discovered to be salt, a known method of protection from evil spirits. Meyer recalls a strange inner voice that commanded him to take the box: "I would never normally have disturbed a find of such historical significance, but I felt compelled to take the box; it somehow told me to take it!" Scared and confused, Meyer took the small box from the cave and hurried home.

Forks recalls how Meyer was unusually agitated and 'as white as a ghost' when he brought the box to the university. "When I opened the box, I didn’t quite know what to think,” recalls Forks. Together with the 'man-bat', the men found an ivory rosary, garlic and more salt. "My initial thought was that a smuggler may have locked a small monkey in a box, but that was before I noticed the bat wings, hideously clawed hands and feet and an iron stake protruding from the thorax." Meyer told Forks he had opened the box at home, unaware of its contents. As the lid was lifted a shadowy vapor shot out, causing his cat, Jacob, to hiss incessantly. The animal was too scared to go anywhere near the box. "Mr. Meyer was clearly worried he had unleashed some ancient curse. I tried to calm him by saying curses didn't exist. At the same time, I didn't think vampires did either until a few months ago…”

The 'bat-man' has undergone rigorous scientific tests at the university and it has been revealed from blood and tissue analysis that it is of human origin. X-rays show that, although the main skeletal structure is humanoid, the hands and feet are scaly and clawed, a feature often used in the medieval imagery of demons. The head has the same brain cavity dimensions of a human, but the ears and upper and lower jaws are more reminiscent of a mammal such as a dog or bat. Carbon dating suggests the corpse is at least 500 years old and is in remarkably good condition for remains of this age. The blood sucking bat-man has the world's science community baffled and the body is being held at a secret location until further test results can be published. The rolled-up scroll found in the top of the iron stake has been sent to the Vatican's Department of Document Authenticity for verification. The parchment scroll contains the Lord's Prayer in Latin, which is thought to have helped in the slaying of the vampire.

A local Israeli vampire hunter, Rabbi Shachnaey, now residing in Scarborough, has commented that this find should not be dismissed lightly. Having seen the corpse first hand, Shachnaey concluded that "…the reason we have never seen a creature like this before is that the 'vampire' was staked part way through its transformation from bat to human. In the movies vampires generally explode or dissolve, but in reality this is not the case. Once killed, a real vampiric being will ‘freeze’ and remain that way until the body is disposed of either by burning or burial on holy ground." Rabbi Shachnaey is best known for ridding the remote Israeli town DusKtild’Awn of a vampire infestation back in the early 60's. "It would appear that the monks in Whitby Abbey wanted to preserve the remains and keep them protected on consecrated ground, possibly for research. Whatever their purpose, I am pleased this find has come to light as it proves once and for all that vampires are a real threat to society."

Could Bram Stoker have secretly known of the Whitby bat-man and used the vampire as his inspiration for Dracula? Historian David Vanian suggests that, after the destruction of the abbey in 1540 by Henry VIII in the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries', a secret order of monks was assigned to watch over the ruins. Vanian speculates that the secret order could have been formed to protect not the ruins of the abbey, but rather the tomb of the vampire in the caves beneath. During his time in Whitby, Stoker befriended local priest Father Renesmee, who was rumored to have had connections with the secret order and could have passed some of the eerie tale to the novelist.

So could the sleepy fishing town of Whitby really have been plagued by a vampire? This compelling evidence may suggest there is more to the legend than meets the eye. Locals have been assured there is nothing to worry about... at the moment.

The truth about vampire attacks

Rabbi Shachnaey claims to have successfully slain over 15 vampires in the last 40 years. "The movies have glamourised the vampire as a romantic creature with human feelings and desires. This is grossly untrue: these creatures are the purest form of evil and want nothing more than to spread their disease amongst the living." In a private interview Shachnaey revealed that the trick to killing a vampire is not staking it as it sleeps during the day. Rather, he says, one should stab the beast when it is at its most vulnerable - during the transformation from human to creature. "Vampires gain access to your home by shape-shifting into two types of creature, either a bat or a spider. The human form is much too large to climb through open windows, so the vampire will morph into a bat or spider-like creature." The Rabbi claims to have seen a vampire change into a spider 'the size of a large cat': "It would climb through open windows during the summer to feed on its victims. Vampires sleep during the winter and wait until summer to feed, when humans are the most vulnerable and easily accessible due to leaving windows and doors open. During its transformation from human to bat or spider, the vampire is unable to defend itself and this is the moment when you must strike."

Vampires appear in every culture around the world, although they are usually misidentified as other creatures. Shachnaey explains that legendary winged creatures such as The Jersey Devil, Batsquatch, The Mothman and even some fairies are all types of vampire: "These creatures remain elusive because they are only in their creature form when they are preparing to feed; the rest of the time they will be in human form asleep." Caves, disused mines and even underground train tunnels are typical locations to find sleeping vampires. "Graveyards and crypts used to be a common place to find vampires at rest, but as cremation has become more popular, the vampire has been forced to seek alternative locations. I know for a fact that the London Underground and Metro in Paris are festooned with vampires. They feed on the homeless and I estimate they are responsible for at least 30% of the reported missing persons in their respective cities every year."

Yet if you want immortality and the romantic capers depicted in modern vampire novels, be warned. Shachnaey states: "Once you are bitten, if you don't die from blood loss, you will most likely change into a spider or bat and remain in that state for a number of weeks. Your body will become nothing more than a soulless shell with no memory of your former life, in effect a blood sucking zombie. It's not glamorous and it's not clever."

© Dan Baines 2016