If you’ve taken on the profession of Fearless Vampire Killer, what’s the first thing you’re going to need?
Of course, it’s a vampire killing kit. These can now be bought on the internet, often for thousands of pounds.
What isn’t clear is if these kits are actually antiques, novelty items or just modern fakes.
Certainly some kits precede the current enthusiasm for vampires and were produced in the 19th century. The Ripley’s Museums of Oddities has a number of these which usually contain, as can be expected, a crucifix, stakes, holy water and a pistol.
One theory is that the original vampire killing kits were aimed at travellers to Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. This would have followed the book and theatre productions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
However, some of the early-to-mid 19th century vampire killing kits on the modern market are attributed to a Professor Ernst Blomberg and the ‘Liege gunmaker’ Nicholas Plomdeur.
Here’s the Torquay connection:
Responsibility for the creation of Ernst Blomberg has been claimed by Torquay’s Michael de Winter as a way of selling some poor quality antique firearms in 2004 Michael stated that he started marketing vampire killing kits in the 1970s, and that others copied him:
“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’.