This remote village is home to less than 800 inhabitants—and one spooky vampire story. In 1725, a resident named Petar Plogojowitz passed away, and in the next eight days, nine deaths occurred. The nine who died had said on their deathbeds that they had been throttled—by Plogojowitz’s corpse. Priests and officials flocked to Kisiljevo to investigate, and roughly 40 days after Plogojowitz had expired, they exhumed his grave. Strangely, his beard and nails still seemed to be growing, and there were signs of new skin. When a stake was plunged into his body, it was reported that fresh blood spurted from his ears and mouth, a horrible scream arose, and his skin turned black. At that point, the murders ceased. Some call Plogojowitz “the first vampire,” which may be more chilling than any other true ghost stories. Here are more vampire legends that are actually true.
Forbidden City, China
The beautiful, sprawling Forbidden City in Beijing—made up of 980 buildings on 180 acres—is one of China’s best-known landmarks. Many true ghost stories have also come from within its walls. From the 15th century through the early 20th century, the Chinese emperor lived there, but now it’s rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of concubines. In 1421, Emperor Yongle ordered nearly 3,000 ladies-in-waiting associated with his harem, all of whom lived in the Forbidden City, to be slaughtered, because he thought that a beloved concubine had been poisoned. He spared some of his favorites in the harem, but on the day of his funeral, 16 courtesans were hung with nooses of white silk. Today, in the Forbidden City, a lady with black hair has been seen running from a ghostly soldier; sounds of screaming, weeping, and sword-fighting have been heard; and specters of dead bodies, pools of blood, and pieces of white silk have been glimpsed. The Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is open to the public, although it closes before nightfall.