Published Wednesday, 22 May 2013
A tomb found in Glenullin near the village of Garvagh is apparently home to an evil tyrant named Abhartach, who was buried in the 5th Century AD.
His story has been studied by folklore academic Dr Bob Curran, who says another local chieftain called Cathán was called in by the local people to kill Abhartach.
"Cathán killed him and buried him down there, where that tree is. He buried him standing up as befitting an Irish chieftain," Dr Curran explained.
"The next day Abhartach was back.
"He demanded a bowl of blood from each of one of his subjects. Cathán came and killed him again. But the next day he was back again."
It is thought Cathán consulted either a local druid or an early Christian saint on how to bury Abhartach and was given a particular set of instructions.
"Slay him with a sword made of yew wood, bury him upside down, put thorns round him and put a massive stone on the top to keep him from rising," Dr Curran continued.
"So Cathán did that, and Abhartach is still lying there."
Locals who have attempted to tamper with the site have described various misfortunes that have befallen upon them to this day.
The story of Abhartach was widely known in the 19th Century and Dr Curran believes it provided Bram Stoker with inspiration for his tale of the vampire Dracula.
He added: "It forms the basis of at least part of the Dracula novel. So you could be standing in an Irish Transylvania."
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