Our Terror and Wonder exhibition includes a rare 'vampire-slaying kit' on loan from the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds
Of uncertain date and origin, this fascinating kit comprises a mahogany casket in two tiers. The top layer contains a percussion cap pistol with an octagonal barrel – for firing silver bullets. The lid holds a crucifix and rosary beads, to ward off ‘evil spirits’. Other compartments contain three glass bottles, two of which are labelled 'holy water' and another 'holy earth'. As a last resort, there’s a mallet and four wooden stakes, plus a Book of Common Prayer, dated 1857. A handwritten extract from the Bible, quoting Luke 19:27, reads, ‘But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me’.
This exclusive talk about the kit will be given by Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries since 2009. His research interests are in the area of use and effect of firearms, and gun-related mythology and folklore. He has been researching so-called ‘vampire killing kits’ since 2007.
Ticket-holders should meet at the Information Desk of the British Library at 17.00.