Originally posted to SurvivalArts.com April 2005
Re-posted with author's permission
I am prompted to write this true story of The Vampire Killing Kits, which have proliferated during the last few years since the coming of the Internet.
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.
To prove the authenticity of this document, I am now setting out the wording of the original label.
Vampire Killing Kit
This box contains the items considered necessary, 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 the compiling of the special items, the silver bullets &c., has been most efficient.
The items enclosed are as follows
(1) An efficient pistol with its usual accoutrements
(2) Silver Bullets
(3) An Ivory crucifix
(4) Powdered flowers of garlic
(5) A wooden stake
(6) Professor Blomberg’s new serum
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.
Michael de Winter