Monster Monday: the Nachzehrer

My Spectral Consultant whispered something into my ear last night.

Regular content is a must if you are going to make it in this world..” it whispered. Then it licked my ear. CREEPY. I opened my eyes, and my dog was standing on my chest, staring at me. Could my chihuahua actually be my Spectral Consultant? Impossible.

I’m listening to my consultant, though. Dog, Daemon, or daisy, it was right. I need regular stuffs to keep the peeps coming back. I like monsters. YOU like monsters (please like monsters). So, let’s check out a monster!

This week, we’re going to travel to the middle of Olde Europe, and take a look at a rather twisted sort of vampire. It’s hungry. It’s dead. It likes the taste of pyjamas.

My fellow cognizants, please keep flash photography to a minimum. It’ll eat you. Please extend a hearty hello to the Nachzehrer.

nachzehrer close
“Get your own shroud!”

The Middle Ages were tough, folks. People were dropping off like flies, mostly due to diseases that simple hygiene and a lack of raw sewage could have helped prevent. But, if there is one constant in the human condition, we will look to the supernatural for the cause of a problem, even if the physical world is crawling with the answer.

Scared people were desperate to explain why so many friends and neighbors were wasting away. It couldn’t be the piles of trash and roving rat colonies, so it was most likely some sort of malevolent entity. Maybe someone who was already dead… Far easier to rationalize Uncle Peebo coming back to life than think too much about the river of poo you had to jump over to get to your job at the muck sorting factory.

This is pretty much the conclusion people in parts of Germany and Poland came to. Whole families were dying, and it was probably because someone in the family shuffled off this mortal coil, got bored, got hungry, then came back to eat mom and dad. If the first person in the family to die took their own life, that made the evidence even more damning.

The Nachzehrer would feast off the life energy of its victims, causing them to waste away. It was a lot easier for people to believe that a vampire was killing everyone in town than dysentery or plague, so the belief spread and people kept on dying.

The Nachzehrer was a bit quirky, even for this period of time. They really liked the taste of their funeral shrouds, so if you were hunting one, all you had to do was hold really still and listen; the Nachzehrer could be heard calmly munching away on its clothes. They also liked to sleep in their tombs, sucking on its shroud with one eye open, clutching its own thumb.

Nachzehrer Sleeping
“munch…munch… munch”

The Nachzehrer was also a bit of a show-off, and liked to climb into church towers during the dead of night and ring the bells. Anyone who heard the bells ringing during the night was most likely to die. It’s also said that the shadow of a Nachzehrer would kill anyone it came into contact with, and something about them being able to turn into pigs, but that’s just goofy.

If you found a Nachzehrer, you could end its killing spree by placing a coin in its mouth then chopping off its head. The coin would paralyze the vamp for some reason, which we can just chalk up to Middle Ages Logic. There is even evidence that some overzealous hunter skipped the coin altogether; the remains of a woman in Venice were found in a plague grave with a brick shoved between her teeth. That’ll show her!


I will be featuring a Nachzehrer in an upcoming book; this drawing was the first coloring page, but I’m going to re-do it; something about the Nachzehrer’s passion for garment eating is too good to pass up!

Is there an old monster you would like to see highlighted here? Let me know in the comments section!

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