There are true vampire stories from around the world and throughout history that are dripping with death and nudity. I revealed one such tale from a Queensland town recently on West Bremer Radio.
In 1911 in Chicago in the United States of America, Louise Vermilya was called the Vampire Widow because she poisoned two husbands and at least five other people, and it was cryptically said that she had a “vampirish and morbid taste for the dead”.
In 1906 in Sweden, there was a young boy who lived with a clergyman. The boy came back into town after a walk in the forest and his white sailor suit was completely drenched in blood. It was discovered that the boy had been sucking blood from the neck of animals, and in a hut where he’d been, they found bodies of dead cats, dogs, lambs and a chicken. The local peasants tried to lynch him, but he was saved by the clergyman with quite some difficulty.
That same year in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of a rich merchant accused her husband of hypnotising her, hanging her naked and upside down by her feet, and drinking her blood from a cut he placed in her neck.
The weirdness continued in the story that I uncovered. There was this young man called Frederick Clyde Layton. His family lived in Bennett Street in East Ipswich for over sixty years. The house is still there today. I metal detected the surrounding streets for silver crucifixes and the like but found nothing.
What happened was that young Clyde was found surrounded by dead bodies when he was plucked from shark-infested waters. As he was hauled up over the railings, it was discovered that he was totally naked, and the ship’s rails were lined with sympathetic nurses.
The story made headlines back in his hometown of Ipswich because of what unfolded occurred when Clyde was on a ship in the Bay of Bengal.
There was an explosion and Clyde was thrown into a mid-air two-and-a-half somersault that sent him clear of the ship.
The force of the blast ripped the clothes off him, leaving him totally naked and surrounded by bodies when rescued by the nurses six and a half hours later.
The year was 1942, it was an Australian navy ship that was attacked by twenty to thirty Japanese dive bombers, Clyde was a twenty-years-old sailor, and he was rescued by a hospital ship and survived to tell the story.
The name of his ship was HMAS Vampire. She was one of the Royal Australian Navy’s outstanding destroyers early in the Second World War, having wreaked havoc with the Japanese war effort before being so savagely targeted.
Tragically eight men including the ship’s commanding officer died, however that was a remarkably low number given the ferocity of the attack.
Clyde’s mother Iva was delighted to receive her son home safely. For a time, Iva appeared immortal because an incredibly long life to just four weeks short of her ninety-ninth birthday.
Perhaps this Vampire story about death and nudity was luckier than some. It made page three of Clyde’s hometown newspaper the Queensland Times.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO A VERSION OF THIS STPRY TOLD LIVE ON WEST BREMER RADIO
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Louise Vermilya – Evening Tribune, San Diego, 9 November 1911
Leading Stoker Frederick Clyde Layton – Queensland Times (Ipswich), 20 June 1942, page 3
Vampire D68 – photographer Green Allan, State Library of Victoria