Jure Grando was a 16th-century villager from Istria, a region in modern-day Croatia, who may have been the first real person described as a vampire in historical records. He was a stonemason, a warlock, and a terrorizer of his village until his decapitation in 1672. How did he die and what made him a vampire? This article will explore his legend, his writings, and his legacy.
The Life and Death of Jure Grando
Jure Grando Alilović or Giure Grando was born in 1579 in Kringa, a small town in the interior of the Istrian peninsula near Tinjan. He married a woman named Ivana and had two children, Ana and Nikola. He worked as a stonemason and was referred to as a štrigon, a local word for something resembling a vampire and a warlock. According to sitename, he died in 1656 due to illness and was buried by the village priest, named Giorgio. However, his death was not the end of his story.
The Afterlife of Jure Grando
According to legend, for 16 years after his death, Jure would arise from his grave by night and terrorize the village. He would knock on the doors of the houses and whoever answered would die within a few days. He also appeared to his widow Ivana in her bedroom, who described him as looking as though he was smiling and gasping for breath. He would then sexually assault her. The villagers were terrified of him and called him a vampire (štrigon).
The priest Giorgio, who had buried Jure, decided to confront him and stop his evil deeds. He held out a cross in front of him and yelled “Behold Jesus Christ, you vampire! Stop tormenting us!” However, this did not work and Jure continued to haunt the village. The priest then gathered a group of brave villagers, led by the prefect Miho Radetić, and chased Jure to his grave. They dug up his coffin and found a perfectly preserved corpse with a smile on its face. They tried to pierce his heart with a hawthorn stick, but it bounced off his chest. They then recited some exorcism prayers and one of the villagers, Stipan Milašić, took a saw and sawed off Jure’s head. As soon as the saw tore his skin, Jure screamed and blood started to flow from the cut. According to folklore, peace finally returned to the village after Jure’s decapitation.
The Writings and Legacy of Jure Grando
The legend of Jure Grando was first recorded by Johann Weikhard von Valvasor, a Carniolan scientist and travel writer, in his extensive work The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, when he visited Kringa during his travels. This was the first written document on vampires. Jure Grando was also mentioned in writings by Erasmus Francisci and Johann Joseph von Goerres, who added more fantastic details to the story to make it more interesting and sensational.
Jure Grando is considered to be the first real historical vampire case documented and has inspired many books, movies, and games. His story has also attracted many tourists and researchers to his hometown of Kringa, where a statue of him stands in the main square. His legend is still alive and well in the region of Istria, where people celebrate his death anniversary every year on April 6th. Jure Grando is a fascinating example of how folklore, history, and imagination can create a lasting legacy.