1.2.14

An English vampire in Peru

No, it´s not a new version of Sting´s song, "An Englishman in New york". The title of this entry refers to the legend of Sarah Ellen Roberts, an Englishwoman buried at Pisco Cemetery in southern Peru, and who was considered by some to be a vampire. There are two sides to the story of Sarah Ellen, as she is referred to in Pisco. What appears to be certain is that she was born in Blackburn in North West England around 1862 and that she married John Roberts, a weaver. After this, there are two very different versions. One, describes how John and Sarah Ellen travelled to Peru, where John´s brother had settled, hoping to make a new life for themselves and that Sarah Ellen possibly died accidentally during the trip and and buried in the cemetery of the nearest port. The other story is that Sarah Ellen was found guilty of whitchcraft in 1913 and sentenced to death by being buried alive. The story goes on to describe how before the coffin was closed, Sarah Ellen shouted that she would rise to seek vengeance in 80 years time. Since the Church of England had not allowed the coffin to be buried in consecrated ground, her husband had travelled the world looking for a place to bury her and eventually ended up in Pisco. The legend though does not end here. In July 1993, 80 years after her death, many of the inhabitants of Pisco prepared themselves for the inevitable but nothing happened. Then, in August 2007, Pisco was devastated by a massive earthquake that killed hundreds of people. The cemetery was also affected, a large number of tombs were destroyed and coffins lay opened - except for the tomb of Sarah Ellen. Some of the inhabitants, then, began to consider Sarah Ellen not as a vampire, but a saint. The pictures below were taken by me in January 2014 and you will notice the fresh flowers that people leave, together with small metal plaques giving thanks for the granting of favours they had sought from Sarah Ellen. It appears, that the legend of Sarah Ellen is just that, a legend but... I just thought I would tell you the story in case you happen to visit Pisco.








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