For generations, vampires have been a fascinating part of folklore and literature, introducing a collection of iconic characters described as corpses supposed, in European folklore, to leave their graves at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a grave with “born in Transylvania” etched on the stone would invite vampire comparisons, but the people of Lafayette, Colorado, have really gone all-out.
Local legends say that a tree growing over the grave sprung from the stake that killed the vampire inside, and that the red rosebushes nearby are his bloody fingernails still growing after his death.
But there are also reports of a tall, slender man in a dark coat with black hair and long fingernails who sometimes sits on the tombstone, but not only, because it seems that a local police chief said he once found a doll stuck with pins through its heart laying on top of the grave.
It’s not clear what the man who bought the plot, Theodor “Fodor” Glava, an Austrian miner born in Romania employed at the Simpson mine who died in 1918 would have thought of all the stories, especially since he might not have actually been buried there.
He was aged 43 years and is survived by his wife, who was in Austria at the time.
This much we do know: there are a lot of historic stories in Lafayette.
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was a bustling mining town that attracted men from all over who were looking for a mining job.
Some workers came from foreign lands, including Fodor himself, the man who is now known as the Lafayette Vampire.
Fodor was a pale, lanky, Transylvanian immigrant came to America as many others did, probably seeking a better life.
But all tales are that he led a modest, if not impoverished life as a coal miner, before dying in the midst of the 1918 flu epidemic.
He, possibly together with another person, was buried in the municipal cemetery in Lafayette, Colorado, north of the edge of town, that caused the whole town to be quarantined.
But It wasn’t until after his death that he gained notoriety.
Buried in what would have been the poorest section of the old graveyard, his grave was crudely inscribed (perhaps the result of the flu epidemic) with his birthplace, year of death, and a few other words, including “trandofir”, the Romanian word for rose.
Transylvania, where Fodor originally came from, is now synonymous with Vlad the Impaler, Count Dracula, and vampires galore.
Though not much is known about his life, the mention of Transylvania on his gravestone spurred rumors that he was a vampire.
Local lore also says that some townspeople dug up the grave and found blood by his mouth, his teeth seeming larger than normal, and his nails still growing.
Well…even if true, these are all natural parts of the decay that sets in after death.
But, in any case, apparently the settlers drove a stake through his heart and reburied him.
Rumors even persist to this day, so who is to say if the mysterious figure walking around late at night was really a vampire or nothing more than an innocent man caught up in macabre superstition.
If you do go looking for yourself, bring Fodor a small gift, a coin, a souvenir or even a bouquet of dead roses (but please, just leave the garlic at home).
Images from web – Google Research