But I require unprejudiced witnesses, free from terror and disinterested, quite calm, who can affirm upon serious reflection, that they have seen, heard, and interrogated these vampires, and who have been the witnesses of their operations; and I am persuaded that no such witness will be found.
"Either these vampires go out to suck or they do not"
What! is it in our eighteenth century that vampires exist? Is it after the reigns of Locke, Shaftesbury, Trenchard, and Collins? Is it under those of d’Alembert, Diderot, St. Lambert, and Duclos that we believe in vampires,and that the reverend father Dom Calmet, Benedictine priest of the congregation of St. Vannes, and St. Hidulphe, abbé of Senon—an abbey of a hundred thousand livres a year, in the neighbourhood of two other abbeys of the same revenue—has printed and reprinted the history of vampires, with the approbation of the Sorbonne?
A Natural Explanation?
Protestants and Freethinkers
In the 1730s debate on vampires took place predominantly in Germany; centred mainly on the Plogojowitz and Medwegya cases. Protestant commentators, hostile to the miraculous, readily sought a rational explanation. Their conclusions were relayed by uncensored French language periodical press in Holland, which tended to present them with a provocatively anti-Christian (or at least anti-Catholic) gloss. Thus in March 1732 Le Glaneur invites physicians, who have already furnished explanations for the Jansenist convulsionaries in Paris, to communicate their reflections. An essay from a correspondent duly appeared in No ix for 23rd April 1732. In 1738 the marquis d'Argens, inveterate sceptic and freethinker, weighed in the Lettres Juives. This was an altogether more widely distributed publication.