Peruvians Claim to be Haunted by Executed 'Vampire'

A woman who was reputedly executed as a Bride of Dracula and now haunts a Peruvian city has been revealed as a humble Lancashire weaver who met her death on holiday.

Sarah Ellen Roberts has become a cult figure in Peru, where the story goes that her husband brought her after she was executed in 1913 as a murderer, a witch and a vampire.

She had apparently been seen biting the neck of a child and sucking its blood, and her merchant husband John witnessed her pouring blood over ice cream before eating it.

Though she was reputedly tried and executed in Blackburn, John Roberts is said to have traveled the world seeking a place to lay her to rest after the Church of England refused her burial on consecrated ground.

Only the town of Pisco in Peru would take her body, according to local playwright Racso Miro Quesada, who is adapting Sarah's story for the stage.

He said: 'Her husband John Roberts travelled the world trying to find a place to bury his wife.

'Because of the things she was accused of, there was no place on earth where she could rest.'

He added: 'No one wanted to have the remains of the person he loved. She ended up being accepted in the small fishing town Pisco.'

n an elaboration of the story, Sarah was one of 'three brides of Dracula' along with two sisters, Andrea and Erica, who were executed in Blackburn in the same way and were buried by John Roberts in Mexico and Hungary or Panama.

Ever since Sarah's interment, Pisco's inhabitants have been terrified she will return, having vowed to rise up again in vengeance in 80 years' time as she was forced into her lead-lined casket.

On the 80th anniversary of her death, June 9, 1993, all thoughts in Pisco - now Peru's main port with a population of more than 100,000 - turned to fears of the revenant vampire.

Pregnant women fled, fearful that her spirit might try to reincarnate itself in their child. Hundreds bought anti-vampire kits, complete with garlic and stakes, before descending on the tombstone to wait the resurrection.

When she failed to reappear, those who had been throwing holy water and praying said they had kept her at bay.

Then in August 2007 a massive earthquake struck Pisco, killing hundreds and demolishing swathes of the city.

In the cemetery, large numbers of coffins were uncovered by the tremor - but not Sarah's. A counter-myth seems to have sprung up in which, far from being a vampire, she is blessed.

Racso Miro Quesada said: 'It was the only grave that survived - something that reinforces the belief that Sarah is a powerful saint.'

Aside from the well-documented 2007 tragedy, British historians understandably smelt something fishy about the whole Sarah Roberts story. For a start, although the good citizens of Lancashire may have famously executed the so-called witches of Pendle in 1612, by 1913 they tended to consider that kind of thing rather passé.


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