Mercer Museum Vampire Killing Kit
This kit has been positively associated with the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. However, the notorious Ernst Blomberg strikes again, although this kit is believed to be a bit older than most of them.
Most importantly, this is the only kit I am aware of that has undergone some scientific testing for authenticity of age (see below) yielding a mixture of results.
The kit is described as produced in England, and is estimated to be from the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
From the attached interior label:
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 Plombeur, whose help in compiling of the special items, the silver bullets, etc., has been
The items enclosed are as follows...
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements
(2) Silver bullets
(3) An ivory crucifix
(4) Powdered flour of garlic
(5) Wooden stake
(6) Professor Blomberg's New Serum
The kit's contents include a pistol and silver bullets, garlic, and a double-purpose ivory crucifix and wooden stake.
At some point in the last few years, the museum has noticed the flurry of Blomberg kits, and decided to take action. The following comes from placards accompanying the exhibit:
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."