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Antique vampire-slaying kit sparks international bidding war at auction

A vampire-slaying kit once owned by a British aristocrat sparked an international bidding war before selling for six times its estimated price, according to Hansons Auctioneers.

The late 19th century box kit, which sold on Thursday for £13,000 ($15,736.49), belonged to Lord William Malcolm Hailey (1872-1969), a British peer and former administrator of British India, Hansons Auctioneers said in a news release.
“Whether through fear or fascination, it’s interesting to know a member of the highest aristocratic social order, a man with a place in the House of Lords, acquired this item,” said Charles Hanson, owner of the auction house. “It reminds us that the vampire myth affects people from all walks of life.”

The box features essential items needed to ward off blood-thirsty vampires — including crucifixes, holy water, wooden stake and mallet, rosary beads, a Gothic Bible, brass candlesticks, matching pistols and a brass powder flask.

“The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools,” Hanson said. “Items of religious significance, such as crucifixes and Bibles, were said to repel these monsters, hence their presence in the kit.”

The eerie item attracted bidders from across the world, including France, the United States and Canada. An anonymous bidder from the United Kingdom won.

It’s unclear whether the buyer will put the kit to use. But Hansons Auctioneers says: “Belief in vampires, an undead creature said to need human blood to survive, goes back hundreds of years and persists in some parts of the world today.”

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