The Dead Men of Burton-on-Trent

The small village of Burton-on-Trent was a quiet place. The community was tight and compacted, and everyone knew each other. So, when one of the members of this community died, almost everyone heard and knew the people.

Two men had recently died. They where considered pious, so that earned them a gravestone in the local church. However, that night a strange thing happened. The villagers sat bolt upright in their beds, hearing the disdained screeches and howls coming from the local graveyard.

In the morning, they went to investigate the source of the noise. Nothing had changed. The villagers, terrified, all agreed that it must’ve been the wind, and returned to their houses. However, the following night, they once again heard the screeches and howls. One villager finally plucked up the courage to leave his house. He peered through the fog, trying to see what the sound originated from.

What he saw, however, made his mouth run dry and his skin turn white. He saw the two men they had buried, walking and screeching, with their coffins hung over their shoulder. He sprinted back to his home, bolted the doors and waited for sunrise. In the morning, he told his fellow villagers about what he saw, but no one believed him. He told them to follow him to the graveyard, to show them they weren’t buried. When they got there, the men where still buried 6-feet down. The villagers mocked him and laughed at him. Saying there was no way any one could come back from the dead.

But as soon as night fell, the villagers would laugh no more. For soon the screeching started again, but in the street below. The villagers shook with fear as they heard their names being called from below, and their doors being pummelled by the dead men. In the morning, the villagers left their homes to find an outbreak of a mysterious illness, and all whose names had been called where suffering from it.

The leader of the villagers decided enough was enough, and travelled to see the local bishop. “It is clear what you are suffering from,” said the bishop. “Vampires”. “How can we stop them?” Questioned the villager, scared for his town. “You must dig up their graves, chop of their head, and bury them at a crossroad, so they dont know the way to your village,” answered the bishop, “Now travel with Gods speed”.

So the villager tore home and instructed the other villagers what to do. As they opened up the coffins, they found the men’s faces shrouded with blood stained cloths. They soon lopped of their heads, placed them between their legs, and buried them at a crossroad. The next night was peaceful and calm, and when they awoke in the morning, all who suffered from the illness where cured.

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