Un­ex­plained

Did a wicked monk re­turn from the grave with a thirst for blood?

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One of Scot­land’s most an­cient land­marks, Mel­rose Abbey, sits in a pic­turesque town close to the English bor­der.

These days, Mel­rose is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for tourists, fish­er­men and hik­ers.

The town was even voted the best place to live in Scot­land ear­lier this year.

But, hun­dreds of years ago, in the 12th cen­tury, the town was struck by a blood­thirsty ter­ror...

Back then, Mel­rose Abbey had only re­cently been built, but was al­ready one of the wealth­i­est monas­ter­ies in Scot­land.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, a notorious monk – known as s the Hun­de­prest, mean­ing ‘dog priest’ – lived there.

His real name is un­known but it’s thought he was given this nick­name e be­cause his favourite pas­time was hunt­ing on horse­back, with a pack of snarling dogs.

But blood­lust wasn’t the dog priest’s only vice.

He of­ten ig­nored his du­ties as a man of God, and was known as a wicked man n who in­dulged in all sorts of earthly plea­sures and sins.

The dog priest was also a chap­lain to a lady who lived in the town – but, to him, she was more of a mis­tress rather than an em­ployer.

Although the cause of his death isn’t known, the dog priest ap­par­ently died around 1196.

But it seemed his wicked­ness and sin­ful ways meant his soul was un­able to rest in peace.

In­stead, he be­came one of the liv­ing dead.

A vam­pire.

Doomed to rise from his un­quiet slum­ber in the dead of night, with a fierce thirst for the blood of the liv­ing for eter­nity.

For now re­ports came in from all l ove over the town, with folk there de­scrib­ing a hor­ri­fy­ing crea­ture stalk­ing the streets, shriek­ing vi­o­lently and at­tack­ing the towns­folk.

Many recog­nised the spec­tre as the un­dead dog priest, and fled in ter­ror.

It’s not known how many peo­ple seem­ingly fell victim to the vam­pire monk, but it was re­ported he’d vi­ciously as­sault any­one un­for­tu­nate enough to cross his path.

It was said he’d drink their blood straight from their battered bodies.

One night, the dog priest re­turned to Mel­rose Abbey in the form of a huge bat and tried to force his way in­side.

He then trans­formed into another hideous form that records can only de­scribe as ‘vam­piric’.

Luck­ily, the fright­ened monks in­side re­pelled the beast with prayers and rit­u­als.

But the dog priest’s reign of ter­ror wasn’t over.

He’d also been re­turn­ing to the home of his for­mer mis­tress, to tor­ment and frighten her.

The lady was a ter­ri­fied wreck and des­per­ately pleaded with the monks to help her.

Towns­folk were also beg­ging the monastery to save them.

So the p priests sts

asked a se­nior monk – a highly ed­u­cated man with some ex­pe­ri­ence in the su­per­nat­u­ral.

The el­der monk agreed to in­ves­ti­gate the dog priest’s mys­te­ri­ous ram­page and brought a sec­ond monk, plus two stu­dent priests, to as­sist.

The men watched the dog priest’s grave as the sun went down, to see if the crea­ture would emerge as night fell.

The cold wait dragged on un­til, even­tu­ally, three of them made their way back to the lodge to warm up, while the el­der monk kept watch alone.

Sud­denly, the dog priest’s tomb­stone sank into the ground and the vam­pire rose from his grave, leav­ing the grass and soil undis­turbed.

The monk gasped as the crea­ture ap­proached him with a hun­gry, vi­cious look in its cold, dead eyes.

The monk, who was armed with an axe, swung it at the dog priest and one blow landed on the mon­ster’s head.

Blood pour­ing down his head, the vam­pire let out a ter­ri­ble shriek be­fore be­ing forced back to the grave.

The monk looked on as the ground opened like a mon­strous mouth, swal­low­ing up the dog priest – be­fore clos­ing, with the grass still look­ing un­touched.

The el­der monk, who had been re­joined by his com­pan­ions, started dig­ging to un­cover the body.

When they found the corpse, it had a fresh axe wound on its head.

Chill­ingly, the dog priest was wear­ing a hideous grin, his lips and teeth also cov­ered in blood.

The monks re­moved the body and cre­mated it. The ashes were scat­tered and car­ried off in the wind. Hun­de­prest was no more. Mel­rose was saved and the town didn’t see the spec­tre of the dog priest ever again.

But some say that if you walk among the ru­ins of Mel­rose Abbey, you can still hear echoes of the dog priest’s evil scream...

His sin­ful ways meant his soul was un­able to rest in peace

Un­holy ter­ror at the abbey

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