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Lot 394: Vampire Killing Made Easy

January 9, 1994 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ ″What do I hear for Professor Blomberg’s Vampire Killing Kit?″

That’ll be the question Tuesday, when Sotheby’s auctions off the perfect belated Christmas present for the man who fears everything.

″A Very Elaborate Vampire Killing Set,″ as the auction house catalog describes it, comes in a 32-inch-long, century-old mahogany case. Instructions are printed in an 1800s typeface on a piece of yellowed paper glued inside the lid:

″This box contains the items considered necessary for the protection of persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe, where the populace are plagued with the particular manifestation of evil known as vampires.″

The items include a bottle of garlic powder; a telescope to spot airborne vampires; a Bible; Dr. Blomberg’s own special syrum; a wood stake to drive through the vampire’s heart; and molds for making silver bullets. (Silver not included.)

The piece de resistance is an ivory-mounted crucifix that incorporates a concealed pistol. (Gunpowder included.)

It sounds too good to be true, and is.

The kit probably was assembled in 20th century America, not 19th century Europe; the cross-pistol looks like it’s from the 1830s, but was really made within the last 15 years; and if there was ever a ″Professor Ernst Blomberg,″ supposedly the name of the kit’s creator, he has not gone down in the annals of vampire fighting.

″I’m afraid it’s only a pastiche, a romantic curiosity,″ said Nicholas McCullough, a Sotheby’s consultant. ″There was never a vampire killing kit.″

″The case itself is mid-19th century, probably English, of no particular rarity,″ added McCullough. ″But presented as a vampire killing kit, it opens up whole new vistas. Everyone’s intrigued by it, from interior decorators to jokesters.″

A vampire, of course, recoils from garlic, the Bible and the cross; he is vulnerable to silver bullets and, if asleep in his coffin, a stake.

What about a mirror? ″It may be missing,″ said McCullough, whose knowledge of vampires comes mostly from horror movies. ″I’m looking for vampire prints.″

McCullough said he didn’t know who assembled the kit, but had an idea why: ″To make money.″

Sotheby’s says it expects the kit to sell for $3,000 to $4,000, with the proceeds going to the anonymous American owner.