Vampires have become a popular fixture in fiction and lore, and they have long held a certain allure that makes them present in some form or another throughout far-flung cultures. People just seem to be naturally fascinated and at the same time repelled by these blood drinking creatures of the night, but surely they are merely denizens of the realm of myth and legend, right? Well, over the centuries there have been cases from time to time of actual supposed cases of vampires, or at least something like them, that have been reported from all over the world and have taken them out of the shadows of pure fiction. One supposed tale of a real vampire comes to us from the country of Mexico, and whether real or not is all a rather chilling story.
Our story here goes back to the 19th century, in a very rural, dusty area on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico. Here there is the tale of a dark stranger coming to pay a visit one day, seen as a tall man who liked to wear cloaks and mostly appeared only at night wrapped in shadows. As soon as this stranger began lurking about it was said that livestock, pets, and even human children began turning up dead and completely drained of blood, and rumors soon swirled that this mysterious stranger had had something to do with it. Scared locals began calling him “El Vampiro,” the Vampire, and people on the streets after dark became a rare sight indeed. According to the tale, as the death toll mounted, the people decided to take matters into their own hands, and formed an unruly mob to go hunt the vampire down and find his resting place, and so they gathered any weapons they could find and pushed forth in a cacophony of shouts and chants.
They would apparently find the sleeping vampire and drive a stake through his heart, after which they threw his body into a dank crypt at a cemetery called El Panteon de Belen. The legend didn’t end there, as it was said that the vampire’s preternatural blood leeched into the earth and caused a massive, twisted tree to spring up at the tomb, erupting up through the ground to completely cover the grave site. This sinister tree was long said to be imbued with the vampire’s life essence and powers, and that if one were to cut into it they would see that rather than sap, it seeped blood. According to the tale, if the roots of this tree were to ever successfully push the vampire’s grave up to the surface, it would infuse him with new life and enable him to continue on his dark, immortal journey and probably enact revenge on those who had wronged him. Spooky stuff to be sure, but it would be relegated to local lore and legend until over a hundred years later, when an inquisitive girl by the name of Maria would allegedly find out that there was perhaps more to this story than creepy superstitious lore.
This Maria was supposedly incredibly fascinated by the old stories her parents and other locals had told her about El Vampiro and his sinister vampire tree. The cemetery itself was a popular place for Day of the Dead festivities, and she had always found herself staring at it and wondering if there was any truth to the tale. When she got old enough, she vowed to go explore that dark place on her own, and so when she reached the age of 11 she embarked on her adventure, with nothing but a feeble candlelit lamp to guide her in the evening hours. She was apparently able to evade the night guard and hopped fences to make her way to the grave and its tree, which still defiantly stood there reaching its twisted limbs up towards the moon above, although the years had seen vandals spray paint it and try to chop it down. The crypt was also still there, although it looked like nothing more than a cracked slab of feral overgrown concrete that opened into a yawning chasm of darkness. This was a place that the local children were told not to play, and Maria felt a tingle of an excited thrill mixed in with her fear. She waved her lantern in that dim murk that possibly hid ancient evil, and after a moment of deliberation her curiosity got the better of her and she began to slip down through the opening.
The actual tomb itself turned out to not be very large, a cramped, musty little space in which apparently sat a metal casket, creaking and rusted with age. She could see that the lid held some writing, but it was so corroded by time that she could not make out what it said in the flickering light. Then, as she peered at that cryptic writing almost trying to will it into legibility, she felt something touch her leg, and looking down she could see that a small hold had opened in the casket, no bigger than a baseball. Something in that hole was moving about furtively, and then flicked out once again. She did not have a chance to see what it actually was, because she was already scrambling out of that crypt as fast as she could, bumping her head in the process to draw blood, but in her mind she knew. It had been El Vampiro, and the stories were true.
Maria then supposedly ran all the way home and hid under the covers of her bed, every shadow outside her window menacing, as she was sure that the fiend had followed her home. She was also sure that the creature had tasted the blood from where she had hit her head, probably tracking her down to have some more. It was all enough to set her imagination on fire, and she did not sleep that night, merely staring out that window expecting a pale face to bloom forth from the shadows at any moment. The morning chased these shadows away and she was able to go about her daily chores, yet her mind was still dwelling in the previous night. What had she seen? Was the vampire real or had her mind just been playing tricks on her? She wasn’t sure if she even wanted to know anymore, but it wouldn’t matter because that night she would find out.
On this evening she had fallen into a deep sleep out of sheer exhaustion, but it was interrupted when she woke with a start to see the figure of a tall man with no visible features sitting there in the room with her and a spot of blood on her pillow. On this occasion she screamed loudly, which drew her parents and sent the phantom back out into the night, but the following evening he would return and the process repeated with the scream, her parents rushing to her, the blood on the pillow. Maria’s parents told her that it was all just her imagination, but to put her at ease her mother agreed to stay in the room with her on the following evening. The phantom did not return on this night, or the next, but oddly it seemed that Maria’s head wound was not healing as usual, which caused her concerned parents to bring her to the doctor. He could find no reason for it, and all he could do was dress it and send her back home. Maria at this point thought that maybe her parents were right, and that she had imagined it all, but then the specter came back.
On the third night of Maria’s mother sitting in her room, the mother got up quietly to go to the restroom, but when she returned she was startled to see a tall, dark form hunched over and looming over her daughter’s bed. As she screamed, the entity snapped its head up to reveal glowing eyes and sharp teeth, but it did not attack, instead taking off with superhuman speed back out into the night. After this, the parents believed. They allegedly went about recruiting the help of a town minister by the name of Rev. Guivez, who anointed Maria’s wound with holy water and prayed over the bedroom in an effort to drive the evil away. However, this did not have the intended effect, and a doll was said to have flown off a shelf across the room to smash against the wall. The minister then began a sort of impromptu exorcism, but this apparently only angered the unseen force, and it began to congeal into a mist right before their very eyes, seemingly beginning to take the shape of a man. The minister shouted with all of his fury for it to be gone in the name of Christ, and this time it seemed to work, the mist dissipating to leave the room cold and unnaturally quiet.
It was as they stood there in that frigid silence, the only sounds their panting, scared breaths, that the screech of the family’s cat from the next room caused them all to jump. The minister then supposedly ran to the room to see the cat fly through the window and then run directly into traffic outside to be struck down dead. This would turn out to be the last bout of strangeness from the house. Maria’s wound finally healed, the apparition ceased making appearances, and all seemed to have reverted back to normal. In the meantime, the tree over the vampire’s grave was cut down and the casket and its contents destroyed, but the crypt itself remains, now empty. It is all a pretty scary tale, but is any of this real in any sense or is it just a spooky tale to scare children? Supposedly the story of the vampire of Guadalajara is still told in the area and the crypt still a popular place for seekers of the macabre, but if you are ever in the area, you might want to bring a solid wooden stake, just in case.