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The vampire in the window.

A mental illness, the most dreadful poverty and the film “Dracula” transformed Florencio Roque Fernández into “the vampire of the
The worst thing about us
Florencio Roque Fernández el vampiro de la ventana
06 October, 2019

Monteros, Tucumán. Fifteen women killed by violent bites on their necks. Myths. Urban legends. Panic. After seven years of searching, the mystery is revealed. A mental illness, the most dreadful poverty and the film “Dracula” had transformed Florencio Roque Fernández into “the vampire of the window”.

Fernandez had been diagnosed as a boy as a psychopath and, for economic reasons, he was never treated. Over time the disease turned into severe schizophrenia and was abandoned even by his family. The sadness of the life of the “madman of the people” (more at that age) and the misery that forced him to beg and steal, were doing his job. At the age of 15 something happens that changes his life and awakens the sleeping monster: Draculais released in the village cinema. And Florencio is going to see her.

One fact is fundamental to understand the situation: a product of his mental problem, Fernández is photophobic, so he spends most of the day in a cave on the outskirts of Monteros. He only goes out at night. You begin to mimic the character.

The vampire is born

In January 1953, taking advantage of the fact that in Tucumán most people sleep with windows open for heat, Fernandez walks into a room, punches the sleeping woman with a hammer and rips off a piece of neck with her mouth. Forensic evidence says that at the time of being bitten, the victim was still alive. The same situation was repeated almost the same a month later. And then thirteen times more in seven years. Always in summer. When the windows were open.

Psychiatrists who treated him in prison claimed that the bite had a sexual purpose, as it was almost proven that he drank the blood of the victims (although he never violated any). The crime scene helped create a myth around the “vampire”. Neighbors made complaints to the police saying they had seen someone flying around their homes and started hanging crucifixes and garlic from the doors and asking the village priest to spray their daughters’ rooms with holy water. The bravest were preparing stakes to stick them in the heart of anyone who dared to walk through the window.

He was arrested on 14 February 1960 (Valentine’s Day, a dreadful coincidence). He didn’t resist. He only got violent if he was forced into contact with sunlight. I was 25 years old. He was declared not responsible and it was decided to place him in a psychiatric hospital in San Miguel de Tucumán, where he died in 1968.

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