The 13th Floor

The Fascinating History of Vampire Slaying Kits

The year is 1897 in Victorian era London. The fog is the thick as you make your way to an upper row house. Breaking in through a window, you find yourself in the basement. That’s where you see the coffin. Good thing you brought your Blomberg Vampire Slaying Kit, approved by noted Vampire Slayer Professor Blomberg himself. You remove the wooden stake and drive it straight through the foul beast’s vampire heart. A second later, there’s a sound in the darkness, so you turn and fire your Blomberg flintlock and drive a silver bullet through the head of that werewolf who was waiting in the wings. Thank god you invested in that genuine Blomberg Vampire Slaying Kit.

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As fictional as it sounds, Blomberg kits really do exist, sometimes showing up on eBay and sometimes selling for thousands of dollars depending on their age and condition. Kits vary in style, but for the most part they always contain the slayer essentials: a cross, wooden stake, holy water, and a flintlock pistol with silver bullets. A genuine Vampire Killing Kit will also be presented in an ornate wooden box. Although they appear to be relics from the past, and most are said to be from the Victorian era, recently their authenticity has been put into question.

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One widely accepted theory is that vampire slaying kits were novelty items for tourists visiting Transylvania after the publishing of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA in 1897. Sales of these items, as well as vampire tourism to the region, also increased after the releases of the 1922 film NOSFERATU and the 1931 Universal adaptation of DRACULA.

Michael de Winter made the claim in a 2005 article that he was the inventor of the Blomberg box, even inventing Professor Ernst Blomberg whose name and endorsement adorns these boxes. An interesting revelation, however, not all vampire killing kits bare the name Blomberg, and some contain elements that date back to the mid to late 19th century.

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Since no advertising or documentation exists that places these vampire killing kits in a specific time period, it’s hard to nail down their actual creation dates. Even if their parts date back to the 19th century, it’s difficult to ascertain whether they were intended to be sold as a complete vampire killing kit, or if someone just compiled these vintage items more recently in order to sell them as a very collectible lot.

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It’s safe to assume that if these were a 19th century construct, they were merely done as a novelty. I would hate to imagine men walking around with flintlocks and sharpened stakes looking for suspected vampires to slay. Regardless, there are kits out there that look pretty damn genuine and would be an awesome addition to any macabre collection room. However, before you decide to make any astronomical bid, make sure you read the fine print and know what you’re getting.

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