It is clear that a lot of the old vampire killing kits on the market are attributed to a Professor Ernst Blomberg (with firearms assistance by Nicholas Plomdeur), apparently in the early-to-mid 19th century. By most assessments, these are regarded as tourist vampire killing kits - that is, kits produced for tourist purposes before 1900.
What is becoming increasingly unclear is whether these kits, often commanding tens of thousands of dollars at auction, are instances of actual antiques, or modern assemblies of old parts and fill-ins, intended to deceive the buyer.
Certainly, old vampire killing kits were reportedly produced in the 19th century - examples exist at numerous Ripley museums (Wisconsin Dells, etc.) and other public collections of oddities. Institutions like these have either held these kits for some time, or have occasionally attested to their rough age through their documented provenance (although the Mercer Museum has recently declared their kit to be a modern assembly of mostly vintage parts).
Adding to the confusion are 'creative people' putting together new Blomberg kits for sale, often on eBay. Although some make no real effort to mislead (empty bottles, ball bearings for silver shot, and a cap gun from a Utah seller, 2/2008), they makes a nice attempt to include all items on the Blomberg menu and include the Blomberg text as well. Another person (from Washington state, same timeframe) was making better prop kits, with some vintage elements, and the Blomberg text as well. Fully presented as authentic, this kit is clearly a fake. Any of these kits could, under the right circumstances, be misinterpreted as genuine antiques.
The following is an attempt to document the full range of observed vampire killing kits, unravel the enigma of Ernst Blomberg, and to provide some context for seperating the new forgeries from the old forgeries from the genuine antiques.
From this eBay 2006 kit:
Single-column shorttext Blomberg, fancy border - No mention of Plomdeur, since no pistol is included
This box contains the items considered neccessary, for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries in Eastern Europe, where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently.
The items enclosed are as follows,
|Actual contents, fairly accurate:|
(1) Crossbow and bowstring
From this Gunbroker.com 2003 kit:
Single-column longtext Blomberg - image borrowed from this kit since no image is available
This box contains the items considered neccessary for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries in Eastern Europe where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires... Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book. Should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently. Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plombeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets, etc., has been most efficient.
The items enclosed are as follows...
|Actual contents are somewhat mismatched, english bullets:|
(1) Revolver uncommon in kits
From the Mercer Museum kit:
Single-column longtext Blomberg, no border
This box contains the items considered neccessary, for the protection of persons who travel into certain little-known countries of Eastern Europe, where the population is plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently. Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plomdeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets, etc., has been most efficient.
The items enclosed are as follows...
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements
|Actual contents, fairly mismatched:|
(1) Percussion cap Pistol
From this Stevens Auction kit:
Multicolor two-column longtext Blomberg, line border
The accoutrements for the destruction of the Vampire
This box contains the items considered neccessary for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil, known as Vampires... Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book. Should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently... Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plombeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets, etc., has been most efficient.
The items enclosed are as follows...
|Actual contents with Plombeur misspellng:|
(1) Percussion cap pistol, powder horn, bullet mold
From the Ripley's Wisconsin kit:
Single-column shorttext Blomberg, lined border, extra headings
New Improved Accountrements
for the protection and eradication of
Vampires and other Metamorphoses
This box contains the items considered neccessary for the protection of persons who travel into certain little unknown countries of Eastern Europe, Where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this Kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently.
The items enclosed are as follows
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements,
|Actual contents, fairly accurate:|
(1) Percussion cap pistol, powder horn
The "Other concoctions" are labelled Vampirism, Emetic Tartar for Putric Fever, Verde-Gris, Agrimony, Elixir of Vitriol, and Daffy's Elixir for Purging.
From the Sotheby's 2007 kit:
Single-column shorttext Blomberg, no border
This box contains the items considered neccessary, for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe, where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires. Professor Ernst Blomberg respectfully requests that the purchaser of this kit, carefully studies his book in order, should evil manifestations become apparent, he is equipped to deal with them efficiently. Professor Blomberg wishes to announce his grateful thanks to that well known gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plomdeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets, etc., has been most efficient.
The items enclosed are as follows,
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements,(The rest of this list is not visible)
Actual contents, fairly accurate:|
(1) Crucifix-pistol and powderhorn
The Kit The Label Weapons Holy
Fairly fancy border Pistol, Powder Horn, Bullets Crucifix, Rosary, Prayer Book Powdered Garlic, Serum, Mallet, Stake No border, charred (artificially) Crucifix-Pistol, Bullet Mold, Silver Bullets, Powder Crucifix pistol Powdered Garlic, Serum, Stake Very fancy border, single column list - see above
No pistol or Plomdeur ref.
Crossbow, Bolts Portable Crucifix, Holy Water Flour of Garlic, Serum, Syringe, Stake Abbreviated label with partial text Pistol, Powder Horn Crucifix Vials, Stake, Forceps, Pliers, Medical Scissors, Razor Full text label - see above Pistol, Bullets Crucifix, Rosary, Holy Water Garlic Flower, Brimstone, Serum, Stake, Candle Water damaged Label - see above Pistol, Bullets Crucifix Stake, Garlic, Magnifying Glass Simple border, water damage - see above Pistol, Bullets Crucifix Garlic Flower, Brimstone, Serum, Stake, Hardwrare
The Kit The Label Weapons Holy
No label Wooden crossbow and silver-tipped bolts, stakes, silver knife Crucifix, Rosary, Holy Water Stake, Serums and Powders No label Pistol, cleaver Crucifix, Prayer Book, Holy Materials Stake, candles, Serums Latin Inscriptions Knife Crucifix, Romanian Prayer Book, Holy Materials Mallet, Stakes, Garlic, Serum, Syringe, Pliers Deus Vult (God wills it) Pistol (Irish), Bullets (Crossed) Crucifix, Holy Water Stake, Garlic
As German translators listed at our local Roseburg, Oregon library, my wife and I were contacted several years ago by a gunsmith who specialized in black powder arms, to translate a couple of articles. The articles turned out to be a list of instructions as to how to use Professor Ernst Blomberg's "Vampire Killing Kit", a thank you note to a Belgian gunsmith and the recipe for his "New Potion" from what I recall of the info (I didn't copy them), there were instructions on how to utilize the potion, which consisted of Holy Water, garlic extract, honey, and salt, each having scientific reasons for their being in the potion. The instructions were very detailed, they told of how to safely load the gun using the powder measure, how to appy the wadding and the silver bullet. (It even included an alternative method for placing linen in after the bullet to assist in "shooting at a downward angle"). It stated the cross was made of ivory and had a brass thread at the base which could be used to "screw into the wooden stake and provide additional stabilization when pressing through the chest into the heart". The instructions included the packing detail for the boxes contents.
After we had provided this gunsmith with the translation, he brought a prototype of the kit as had made it. He'd antiqued the gun and even the purplish colored cloth the kit was lined with. His plan was to sell the kits to the "people in Hollywood and other places who buy anything just to have it."
Being a psychologist and having studied Renfield-Syndrome (and Lycanthropy) on a professional basis for 12 years, it was only two years ago that I learned of the existance of Vampire Killing Kits. Literature on the subject of vampirism is abundant, but the hype started early 19th century with the publication of "The Vampyre" by Dr. John Poledori. He was the first to set the originally brutal but bestial vampire in an aristocratic surrounding, thus influencing all future iconography.
We also know that there are many thousands of amulets, ranging from all continents, going back 2000 years in time, spellbooks et al that deal about or provide protection against vampires.
To finalise a study that was started between 4 European universities, I visited 23 museums where such items were kept: none were fakes. I have also visited the Surnateum in Brussels, Belgium. They keep one of these kits. My colleague from the Londerzeelse Archeologen Vereniging verified its authenticity on a rational basis: all objects within the box were from the epoch they claimed to be. Professor Siegfried Bracke from the Köllner Waffen Verein also confirmed that the gun was indeed from a rather well known gunsmith from Liège named Nicolas Plomdeur. No fiction here either. The religious markings I examined were neither constructed nor added: again, all was what it seemed to be.
The kits were acquired by people in preparation of possibly meeting a vampire during their international travels to Eastern Europe and their usage dates back to the mid-1800s. Most were created in the Boston area and were available by mail order. They contain a variety of items designed to bring a vampire to its knees. Most contain a wooden stake, Bible, crucifix, pistol with lead bullets, gunpowder, garlic and glass vials that held various concoctions.
The kits were purchased by wealthy Americans headed to Eastern Europe – Transylvania then, Romania now. Travelers brought back terrifying tales of vampires with them from the region – well before Dracula was brought to life by Bram Stoker.
1 Most of these weapons appear to be actual antiques, whether they appear in Blomberg or non-Blomberg kits. If they were manufactured for tourists in the late 1800's, they still qualify as antique. 2 Forgers assembling bogus kits from old parts or leftover cheap vintage firearms would not likely have access to many such weapons. 3 There are scattered (but rare) reports of these weapons at gun collector websites, suggesting that the weapons were recovered from old (perhaps discarded) vampire killing kits. 4 What other explanation can be imagined for the existence of such weapons?
Here's a couple more 1800s Blombergs from searches:Since Freiherr represents a title, these might be close matches - unless one considers that recent documentation asserts that Blomberg was born in 1821.
ERNST DIEDRICH WILHELM BLOMBERG:
CHristening- 23 DEC 1827
Evangelisch,Heiden, , Lippe, Germany
ERNST LUDWIG WERNER BLOMBERG:
Christening- 22 JUL 1814
Evangelisch, Hausberge, Westfalen, Preussen
In the library of the Universität zu Lübeck, there are several courses from one Professor Ernest Freiherr von Blomberg, who was a Professor of Zoology from 1856 until 1903, the year he died. The man seems to have had an obsession with shapeshifters and other creatures alike, for he wrote a rather unreadable book on it, "Die Verwandlung im Prinzipus: Tiere une Maenschen und Ihre Gottlose Vereinen", ed. 1869. This book is real, the man is real and his decendents are also real. They however chose not to collaborate with us.
In conclusion, and as far as this claim goes, the Vampire Killing Kit at the Surnateum is not a forgery; is not a contrefact from 1972; does not contain fake ustensils; does not contain names and personae who are not traceable. It seems that some people would like to get credit (and a lot of attention) for something they didn't achieve. And that's the truth.
Ernst Freiherr von Blomberg (°1821 - +1903)
Born in Hamburg, son of Wilhelm Freiherr von Blomberg. He attended the Academisches Gymnasium where he studied Evangelic Theology and subsequently enrolled the University to study Biology. We lose his track due to the moving of the family; he resurfaces in 1856 when he is appointed Lektor at the University (then Fachschule) of Lübeck. He holds the chair of Zoology and, fully within his iron Prussian upbringing, sports a fascination for all things theological. In 1869 he publishes a work called “Die Verwandlung im Prinzipus: Thiere, Maenschen und Ihren Gottlosen Vereinen”. Covering topics such as clinical lycanthropy and clinical vampirism, it is considered the first attempt in describing anthrozoology. Later, and unintentionally, he is the first to coin the term Human biology. Today, this term is used on an entirely different basis, but his use had the same roots of research, albeit distorted by religious motives. As Sanitätsrat (an honorary title given to physicians), Freiherr von Blomberg equally held a private medical practice in his estate in Lauenburg from 1889 until 1894. He retired from university two years later. He died in Lübeck in 1903.
In 1914, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg posthumously published his “Ein seltener fall von Hydrocephalus” (A Rare Case of Hydrocephalus) in the ‘Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie’. It was his last study to scientifically prove that a physical deformation (in casu Hydrocephalus) was a possible cause of lycanthropy and vampirism.
The first man to ever use the term human biology was Ernst Freiherr von Blomberg (°1821 - +1903). Born in Hamburg, he attended the Academisches Gymnasium where he studied Evangelic Theology and the University to study Biology. At the Fachschule of Lübeck he held the chair of Zoology from 1856 until his retirement in 1896. His writings, though obscured by theological prejudice, have some interest: in 1869 he publishes a work called “Die Verwandlung im Prinzipus: Thiere, Maenschen und Ihren Gottlosen Vereinen”. It is considered to be the first book on anthrozoology. In his course of 1891 "Beiträge zur Studien der Thierverwandlungen", he unintentionally coined the term Humanbiologie. Today, this term is used on an entirely different basis, but his use had the same roots of research, albeit distorted by religious motives.
He died in Lübeck in 1903.
In 1855 the so-called Prussian manor house was the First Chamber of the Prussian State Parliament after the constitutional charter for the Prussian state, 31 January 1850, as amended by regulation for formation of the First Chamber of 18 October 1854. The latter was to the end of the German empire proper. The members (MPs) of the Prussian Upper House (HH) were "Pairs," and had their right to sit and vote solely on the basis of hereditary rights or presentation. All other information can be found in the article "Prussian manor house".
Ernst Freiherr von Blomberg, 1821-1903, Medical Council from 1887, Fachhochschule Lübeck
Ein seltener fall von Hydrocephalus; Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie. Publisher: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. ISSN 0303-4194 - Issue Volume 24, Number 1 / December, 1914 - Pages 200-216.In January, 2011, independent researcher Michael S. provided access to this publication, the first page of which is shown here:
(roughly, A Rare Case of Hydrocephalus; Magazine for the Field of Neurology and Psychiatry. Publisher: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. ISSN 0303-4194 - Issue Volume 24, Number 1 / December, 1914 - Pages 200-216.)
1. This paper is authored by Dr. Freiherr v. Blomberg, and does not specifically cite our Ernst. 2. The mention of the University of Lübeck is made - unusual if the author was attached to that institution. 3. The numerous photographs included in the paper resemble WWI-era photographs more than late 19th century images 4. No mention of vampires or the occult are included in this terse medical paper. 5. Published in 1914, the paper includes anecdotal dates regarding the development of patient C.K. well into 1913:
It is impossible for these observations to have been made by a vampire killer who reportedly died in 1903.
Title page Transformation in Principle: Animals, Men and Your wicked cults.
A Contribution to the study of psychology
Prof. Ernst Freiherr von Blomberg.
Docent of Zoology The University of Luebeck.
Printed and Published by G. Reimer
The preoccupation with lycanthropy some time ago led me to the work of Calmeil (of madness etc.), a treatment of it was published two years ago. (Madness in the Last Four Centuries. Hall 1848). The following lines lie immediately after those great original works, standing likewise on the same land. Now, as a monographic trial which had earlier been the case reported here, because of completeness one must insert, only two accounts are from secondary sources, the description of the sorcerers Boguet's Speeches and account of Garnier I owe Calmeil; all other respects are directly attributed to the sources themselves.
May you find this work as a small contribution to the history of psychology. While it is a smashing time to which I gaze
1. The werewolf Addiction (lycanthropy)
The delusion, that people were able to transform into animals (insania zoanthropica), which sometimes appears even in our modern lunatic asylum cases, follows back into antiquity. Because the Transformation was reportedly be done most often into Wolves and dogs, the disease was given the names Lycanthropy and Cynanthropy. A fragment by Marcellus Sidetes describes the nature of this madness, especially in the approximation of spring, in February, the motivation felt within oneself, the Wolf and dog to do the same, and at night stop over in lonely burial place.
The oldest animal transformation, via the main tales in Antiquity may mention is that of a king of Arcadia Lycaon, by Jupiter for his crimes (he wanted a banquet of human flesh to be set before the gods, to test them to see if the host is really a God) and was transformed into a wolf (1)). The Lycanthropy beats in antiquity
(1) in the oldest traces of wolves in Greek. Mythology of Boettiger in Sprengel, Days of History of medicine vol 1 2 1795
Title page On the
Wolf and Were-beast transformations
Contribution to the history of psychology
Dr. Rud. Leubusher,
Private docents and medical practice in Berlin.
Printed by G. Reimer Verlag
...led me to the work of Calmeil (of madness etc.), a treatment of it was published two years ago. (Madness in the Last Four Centuries. Hall 1848).This is consistent with the actual publication in 1850, rather than the tampered publication date of 1869 (perhaps to line up with the Ernst Blomberg timeline).
Ernst von Bergmann (1836 - 1907 - Latvia, later Germany)
Reportedly part of 'Der Triumverat,' a group of colleagues with reported interest in the occult, between 1856 and 1861 at Lübeck.
Remembered as an early contributor to aseptic surgery, specifically heat sterilization of instruments.
Surgeon in Austro-Prussian War (1866) and Franco-Prussian War (1870-71).
Professor at University of Dorpat (1871-1878, Tartu , Estonia), then University of Berlin (1882 - retirement) - no mention of Lübeck.
Published on cranial surgery in 'Die Chirurgische Behandlung der Hirnkrankheiten'.
Alfred Brehm - (tbd - research pending)
Reportedly collaborated with Blomberg on a work entitled Tierleben ('Animal Life'), specifically on the subject of bees.
Independent researcher Kris d'R notes that Brehm reportedly thanked Blomberg by presenting him with a signed print of a vampire bat.
Georges Hayem - (1841 - 1933, Paris)
Physician and hematologist, Practiced at Hopital Tenon (1878-1911), later Hopital St. Antoine.
Independent researcher Kris d'R has seen a letter from Ernst Blomberg to Hayem in the collection of the Musee de la Medicine, Paris - apparently they met during a congress in Brussels or Amsterdam in 1879.
Rudolf Leubuscher (Breslau, Germany - 1822-1861)
Reportedly part of 'Der Triumverat' between 1856 and 1861 at Lübeck - Blomberg correspondence is noted in Wikipedia article.
Assistant to Damerow in Halle (1844), habilitated at Humboldt University (Berlin, 1948), director of clinic (Jena, 1855).
After 1855, he returned to Berlin as a physician and associate professor 'at the university.'
Published 'Ueber die Wehrwolfe under Thierverwandlungen im Mittelalter - Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Psychologie' 1850 ('On the Wolf and Were-beast transformations in the Middle Ages. A Contribution to the history of psychology'), which has subsequently been fraudulently presented as a work by Blomberg.
Leubusher is uniquely positioned in Blomberg history - an actual person with interest in psychology and the occult (lycanthropy), a blend that is often attributed to Blomberg. Perhaps that is why his paper has been adapted for use by Blomberg hoaxters.
Nicholas Plomdeur (Liege, Belgium - worked 1836-1863)
His pistols were included in London's Great Exhibition in 1851 (see below).
Patented a revolver design in 1861
1. Ernst Freiherr von Blomberg did indeed exist, and served as a Professor of Zoology at the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) at Lübeck. The faded yellow picture presented here has also been confirmed as a picture of the historical Professor Blomberg, although it is not clear where the original photo resides.This information represents a possible breakthrough in the search for the historical Ernst Blomberg. Although it will be difficult to corroborate the entire account, it does largely line up with the evidence observed elsewhere, and makes no attempt to link Blomberg to vampire hunting kits, or even to vampires in general. Additional efforts will be made to support the tale of a genial beekeeping zoologist who has been since appropriated as the patron saint of vampire killing.
2. In 1869, Blomberg, an amateur beekeeper, was completing a book on bees with the intent to publish. Due to a printing problem at the publisher, a number of pages (including the title-page) were accidentally printed on leftover backsides of the Leubuscher book on animal transformations and lycanthropy (presumably misplaced/mistaken for blank pages at the printer). Kris d'R reports that a Hamburg antique bookdealer had previously told him that the book existed, but was taken off the market shortly after publication due to these numerous misprints, which include both Blomberg and Leubuscher on the title page (I admit this explanation sounds a bit complex). The problem could not be resolved, and Blomberg ultimately abandoned the Bee Book project.
3. In 1891 at Blomberg's retirement (in dispute with citations of 1893), his graduating students presented retirement gifts according to tradition. Often these gifts might be snuff-boxes, canes, or celebratory poems. Blomberg, regarded with some affection by his 12 students, was presented with a series of fabricated fake Blomberg publications in honor/parody of the disasterous Leubuscher printing. According to the Kris d'R's source, these included books entitled "Blomberg on Marble Monuments of Rome", and "Blomberg's Selected Girls Poetry." Also included was a book regarding werewolves, which is possibly has been taken for the elusive Blomberg "Animal Transformations Paper." While the historian had never heard of that particuar book, the retirement gifts provide a possible explanation.
I'm very interested by any informations about vampire killing kits. Especially the instructions... There are a lot of fakes around, but some are uthenticals. Nicolas Plomdeur was a gunsmith from Liege (Belgium) but started to works in Paris around the 1850's.
Some vampire killing kits were produced in what was Germany, Austria and Hungaria during the nineteenth century. The Surnateum (see below) possess a antique one in his collections for more than a century now. Fakes are very easy to detect.
Well, there's a Belgian gunsmith by the name of Nicolas Plomdeur; some of his works are in Liege's museum of Weapons.
My brother has a beautiful pair of handguns from the mid 1800s produced by a gunsmith called Plomdeur in Paris. The name Plomdeur appears on the box, on the guns and on the gunpowder flask... All this make it hard to believe that the Gunsmith Plomdeur never existed.
Plomdeur was a gunsmith from Liege, he moved to Paris (France) in the early nineteenth. A reference about him in "les armuriers liégeois" (the gunsmith from Liege) p 130. I'm also curious about the vkk in Ripley's museum.
I have also visited the Surnateum in Brussels, Belgium. They keep one of these kits. My colleague from the Londerzeelse Archeologen Vereniging verified its authenticity on a rational basis: all objects within the box were from the epoch they claimed to be. Professor Siegfried Bracke from the Köllner Waffen Verein also confirmed that the gun was indeed from a rather well known gunsmith from Liège named Nicolas Plomdeur. No fiction here either. The religious markings I examined were neither constructed nor added: again, all was what it seemed to be.From a German auctioneer (Hessink) in December 2009, we find several Plomdeur pistols, which include his impressive product label:
Here at last we see the actual work of Nicholas Plomdeur, renowned gunmaker of Liège. These particular specimines are described as:|
A Pistol Case with Two Percussion PistolsCatalog listed price was 2500/2500 Euros.
Hi there! You should know that all the quotes on your site are a load of codswallop. The reason is this: The whole VAMPIRE KILLING KIT myth is purely the result of my very fertile imagination and I produced "The Original" in 1972. Nicolas Plomdeur the Gunsmith in Liege and Professor Ernst Blomberg are not and have never been real people. I still have an original copy of the label from the box and am astounded to learn how my joke has caused so much interest and "FAKERY"
"My story starts in or around 1970 when I was employed in the printing industry. My hobby was buying, selling and refurbishing antique guns. I sold mainly at the famous Portobello Market in London. My usual stock of guns for sale was only 10-20 at any one time and these tended to be of superior quality. I had a number of regular clients who arrived every week to see if I had any new stock. One of my regulars wanted a fine flintlock pistol and asked me to take in part exchange a Belgian percussion pocket pistol. I grudgingly agreed and allowed him £15.00 off the price of the flintlock.
So, here it is, a poor quality pocket pistol in mediocre condition! What to do with it? That was my question. Having an extremely fertile imagination and being an avid reader, I was inspired. It occurred to me that I could produce something unique that would be a great advertising gimmick and would attract people to my stall. The Vampire Killing Kit was on its way.
I had recently been reading a nineteenth century book on the manufacturing of various types of guns, specifically percussion and the language of the book helped me in my setting up of the label for the kit. I was very careful to produce an item, which as it was unique was also as perfect as I could make it. The type used for the heading of the label was very old and whilst not Victorian, nevertheless was acceptable to that period. I hand set the label myself and the copy I used was printed on a hand operated press using the fly leaf of a book printed in 1850.
Regarding Professor Ernst Blomberg and the Gunmaker of Liege, Nicholas Plomdeur, both these gentlemen were figments of my imagination and I was amazed to find mention on a Website of Nicholas Plomdeur’s early career in Paris.
A breakdown of the kit follows
(1) Good quality Victorian Walnut Box
(2) Unnamed box lock pocket pistol with Liege proof marks
(3) Silver Bullets. These were difficult to produce due to the higher melting point of silver when compared to lead
(4) Powdered flowers of garlic in an original Victorian medicine bottle
(5) A wooden stake with a silver point
(6) Professor Blomberg’s Serum: produced in Harley Street, London, made from mainly fluorescing salts. In an original Victorian medicine bottle
(7) An original ivory crucifix
(8) The pistol accessories, including a solid silver gunpowder flask, an original bullet mould, box of percussion caps, etc.
As can be seen from the above, no expense was spared, enabling me to produce a totally unique item. Can’t possibly be a fake can it! This was not a copy of anything that existed. To encourage interest, I priced the kit at £1000, believing that it would cause some interest, but certainly put anyone off buying it. On the first day at Portobello Road, I loaned the kit to a friend who specialised in the weird and wonderful. A well known Hollywood Star, who was best known for his ‘hammy’ horror roles expressed a lot of interest in it, but said he couldn’t afford it. Well, it soon did sell and it occurred to me that I had really got my horror stories mixed up: wooden stakes and garlic are ok to combat vampires, but silver bullets are for werewolves; aren’t they?
So, that’s how it all started, I seem to have spawned a lovely silly myth and I wonder how many of “Professor Blomberg’s Vampire Killing Kits” are around. It is interesting to note that the majority of kits produced use both of my invented persons, ie Professor Blomberg and Nicholas Plomdeur. Additionally they seem to like my phraseology, ie, use of words such as populace and manifestations of evil. What this shows of course, is that they are all copies of my original and that includes the kit which fetched $12,000 at Sothebys and the kit which fetched $21,000 in the States."
Can you tell me if you know anything about the pamphlet (apparently written by Professor Ernst Blomberg) called The Vampire, that was included with some of these kits? It seems to have been printed in London by John E. Taylor, Little Green Street.
I have in my hands a treatise by Prof. Charles Blomberg, "The Creature Vampyre" and there is described the use of all this parafernalia; however, both book and professor are fictitious creations, edited by Fear No Evil (Wallace, Idaho). I fear that the entire box is a well-done, beautiful and detailed fake.
This book, authored by "Charles Blomberg" instead of our dear Ernst, is currently available for purchase, indicating that it is a recent creation (probably published in 1998), perhaps inspired by the plagarized Ernst Blomberg pamphlet. No claims to authenticity are made, as it appears to be an original work with original illustrations.
Fake! If the kits are for travellers venturing to eastern europe, why are the labels in english rather than german or french (and obviously modern typeface)? Why are the cartridge boxes marked "eley kynoch" (an english brand of cartridge) rather than with the name of one of the german cartridge manufacturers who had a near monopoly on the continent? The revolver looks like a cheap belgian "suicide special" with strong resemblance to the smith and wesson #2 of the 1870's. To box up a revolver worth a few hundred dollars with a bunch of spurious accessories and sell it for $12,000 reeks of a swindleRealize that the SurvivalArts website has a strong following of firearms enthusiasts.
The firearm was obtained and blessed sometime after 1789, when the Church authorized vampire hunting, and established a force to do so. In 1820, this pistol was converted from flintlock to percussion-cap. Falling into subsequent disuse, the pistol came to a collector in 1877, at which time Professor Blomberg was assembling these vampire killing kits. The kit came into the collection of the Surnateum after 1888....
Is This Kit "Real?"
When it was first given to the museum we thought it might be real. Although vampires don't really exist, we knew that some people in the past thought they did. And the objects in the case - a bullet mold, pistol, glass syringe, and others - seemed authentic. Most were typical of the mid-1800s.
In recent years, however, we've seen may similar kits. All have the label of "Professor Blomberg," but all are a little different. They are in assorted cases, and their contents vary. Some contain objects that have been altered to appear old. The number of these kits appearing suddenly on the antiques market, along with their questionable contents, made us suspicious.
We now believe this kit was assembled in the 20th century, and passed off as "real." Its contents have been gathered and placed in an old case modified to receive them. The paper labels have been artificially "aged." Traditionally, vampire lore has been part of many cultures around the world. But the contents of this case better reflect the fiction of modern books and films than the folk beliefs of earlier Americans and Europeans.
Report on Scientific Testing of the Vampire Kit...
Testing completed recently by the Winterthur Museum Analytical Laboratory (Winterthur, Delaware) has confirmed many of our suspicions abou the date and origins of this kit. While most of the items contained in it are consistent with the mid-1800s, the paper labels and other additions are more recent
The paper used in the labels contains "flourescent optical brightening agents," introduced into paper manufacture about 1945. Similarly, the glass in the magnifier is modern, as is the adhesive used to secure the mother-of-pearl facing to the cross. The so-called "silver bullets" are actually made of pewter.
The kit is a product of someone's late twentieth-century imagination, though composed mostly of nineteenth-century pieces. Unfortunately, we still do not know specifically to whose imagination we should attribute it. Still, as Winterthur scientists concluded, "the kit remains a delightful tongue-in-cheek tribute to the popularity of vampire literature."
Most Blomberg Kits are Assembled Fakes
1 The wide variance of Blomberg kits, contents and labels strongly suggests that many of the Blomberg kits were assembled from vintage parts - old gun boxes, silverware boxes, or even shoe-shine boxes. Suspicion of forgery is increased when the contents of the kit do not quite match the contents listed on the label, or names are mis-spelled. 2 De Winter makes a compelling case that some forgeries exist, and he has been vigorous in making it a public matter. If a vintage firearms dealer was seeking to sell degraded weapons, he would presumably have access to a collection of odd and mismatched boxes from incomplete sets. 3 An increasing bulk of evidence shows much fabrication of evidence in the name of Blomberg. Most of his kits are modern assemblies of parts in a forged context. The Blomberg pamphlet (plagarized from Olcott ), as well as the two publications falsely attributed to Ernst Blomberg, provides direct evidence of ambitious fakery in the name of Blomberg. 4 The Mercer Museum has scientifically debunked a Blomberg kit - it may not be from 1972, but it is certainly not from 1900. 5 If Blomberg was German, why was he printing his labels only in English? 6 Since gunmaker Nicholas Plomdeur was a historic figure, kits that reference Nicolas Plombeur or Plomduer are immediately suspect. 7 As evidence continues to accumulate in support of the historic Ernst Blomberg, none of it is related to vampires. Blomberg, then, has apparently been usurped and employed as the 'patron saint of vampire killing kits.' Any kit bearing his name/label is now immediately suspect.
Indeed, in June 2010, a kit presented by Christie's Interiors at auction included an explicit disclaimer that indicates how 'assembled fakes' are to be expected in the market: "To clarify the contents of the box were assembled in the second half of the 20th century." With the appearance of each high-end kit it becomes more difficult to prove the authenticity of a complete, genuine antique. Apparently, the public is also becoming more educated regarding the obvious fakes. Still, these kits command high prices at auction.
Some Vampire Killing Kits May Be Antique
1 Statements of pre-existant kits in museums suggests that there are some kits that have remained in complete assembly prior to de Winter's claim (now partially discredited) of beginning production of forged kits around 1970. If these statements are true (difficult to prove), then some kits are indeed vintage, probably 'tourist kits.' Ripley's Museums asserts that their 30 kits date back to the mid-1800s, although there has recently been some questions raised regarding the actual pre-1990 provenance of this collection. 2 The detailed account of an extensively detailed German text (and letter to Plomdeur) by Blomberg falls outside the pattern of apparent fakes. This reported German text includes the Serum recipe and unorthodox firearms techniques ('shooting down'). No corresponding text (or German text) has been seen in any of the Blomberg Kits. Actual Blomberg letters have been reported, but none associated with vampires. An examination of such a document, if it actually exists, would shed light on whether there is a kernel of truth to the Blomberg legend. 3 Non-Blomberg kits suddenly seem more credible by merit of their disassociation with Blomberg. As recently as this October 2010 auction, a non-Blomberg kit was inspected and dated to the late 1800s. 4 DeWinter's core claims as the 'original faker' weaken with the continued proof of the historic Blomberg and Plomdeur. 5 If someone has a better explanation for the existence of antique crucifix-form percussion pistols, I'd like to hear it.