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The present articulates had been written by Stephen Smith who is a volunteer of Cottontown, it is in it paginates itcfm?pageid=4981&language=eng.


The other week received Cottontown an electronic mail of a gentleman from Peru. He was requesting information about a called lady Sarah Ellen Roberts that you/they had lived in Blackburn in the first part of the XX century. Their history is that it had been subjected in an opinion for murder, witchcraft and of being a vampire, and that it was declared guilty for the tribunal of the town and sentenced to death.

Their name was not ignored for the personnel of Cottontown, they had heard it mention in 1993 when the history arrives to the holders as front page news. The fact of appearing again after so much time was for them, to say the less ones, something like that like a surprise.

This is then their history and how she found the fame after their death.

Most of the history takes place in the city of Pisco, in Peru, and for that reason I thought that it could be advisable to write a little on the place.

Pisco that means bird, is in the coast of Peru and it is the capital of the county of Pisco. It is from a fishing busy port to some 125 miles to the south of the capital, Lima. It was founded in 1640 by Pedro Álvarez of Toledo and Leiva he/she was given the city status in 1898. It is known well by their exelente brandy that has the same name, which is the national drink of Peru; the grape used to produce it is cultivated in the town of Pisco. In 1682 it was desolated by the earthquake and again in the one 2007. The population in 2005 was of approximately 53857.


The history begins at the beginning of June of 1913, when Sarah Ellen Roberts taenia 41 years, era John's wife Roberts Pryce, lived in 25 Isherwood-Street, it was accused of murder and the practice of the witchcraft. In the trial taken place in Blackburn it was opposing guilty and convict to death. The pain was that she should be chained and sealed alive in a lined casket of lead.

The sentence was carried out June 9 of 1913. Fair when the cover of the casket was putting on she cursed and he/she swore that iva avenge its death in 80 years again. When Johnn tried to bury its wife's body he/she found that the authorities of the church had little sympathy for him and they denied him/her the permission to bury its wife in consecrated earth. John traveled to the long and wide of the country being about finding a place of rest for his wife, but he could not find a place willing to accept the body. In their desperation I weigh anchor with the casket with the hope of finding some country that allows him/her to bury their deceased it handcuffs.

Finally arrivo in Peru and he/she went toward Pisco, where he/she bought a tomb for £5.00 and finally he/she could make their wife to rest in peace.

On their wife's tomb, it put a tablet that he/she says:

In Memory of Sarah Ellen,
Beloved wife
J.P. Roberts
of Blackburn, England.
Born March 6, 1872 and Died June 9 1913.

In memory of Sarah Ellen, Lover wife of JP Roberts of Blackburn, England. Born March 6 1872 and he/she Died June 9 of 1913.

After burying to their he/she engages he/she says that John return to England and it was never listened again of him.


For the next part of the history we have to travel forward 80 years to 1993.

At the beginning of that year, Cristina Saralegui made a television program about vampirismo. One of the histories mentioned in the program was that of Sarah Ellen. One of the aspects of the program was about showing the similarities among the fiction "Dracula" of Bram Stoker and John's history Roberts and Sarah. An event that certainly could add him/her credo to the program it happened not a lot before the program is emitted, a great crack appeared uncannily in the tomb, without a doubt this would have had some effect on the audience that he/she saw the show in Pisco. After the program the interest for Sarah's history Ellen is shot. People began to visit the cemetery; the rumors were plentiful on what would happen when she returns. When he/she was asked about the history to an official of the British Embassy he/she informed. "She died in Blackburn, the town was afraid but he/she dared to leave its body buried there. I fear myself that the legend has taken possession of Pisco. They believe firmly that the woman was a vampire and she returned to torment them to them. People are arriving of the whole country. It is quite incredible."

Days before their foreseen return the stores began to sell that that them "Kits of Vampire" called. These could be acquired by two dollars and half and it consisted on a crucifix, it stakes and wooden mallet, a chain of garlic and a pamphlet that it contains the legend, the business were quick. There were T-shirts for sale with pictures of the vampires, key rings and other articles.

People using crossings began to visit the cemetery to pray in Sarah's tomb, in particular, a group of women dressed in black and using red rings in the fingers had met there. After having deposited flowers in the tomb, they began to sing hymns accompanied by two violins. As more and more people were in the cemetery some local journalists they went to the authorities and they asked that the body is exhumed to "avoid the rumors of its return, but the petition was refused.

June 9 hundred of people spent the day gathered around Sarah's tomb Ellen waiting their return. In the whole city many people have decorated the doors of their houses with big cloves of garlic. But policemen had to be brought to the city when hundred of tourists began to arrive. Park of radio and television of the whole Peru they mounted their team in the cemetery, clever for the following night.

Throughout the day numerous people were interviewed by the media, a priest when he/she was asked on the case he/she said: "After 80 years Sarah Ellen is in the sacred sky, or for under, in the heat." When the gravedigger of the cemetery, José Molina was interviewed, he said, "what scares me is that I believe that I will be his first victim. The whole day I have passed drinking and I will spend the whole night making the same" thing. Carlos Castro boss of the main hospital of Pisco said to the journalists that the pregnant women escaped from the city, fearing that Sarah's spirit could reincarnate in their babies.

A helicopter was seen flying above the city, from the, Paulo Henrique Amorim, a journalist described the scene of below, saying: "The view of Pisco from so high sample a small town sleeper, but are people taking stakes there below, crossings and making exorcisms, are we in Peru or in Transylvania?".

When the night I arrive people it became more restless, Mons. Ricardo Durand calls to the calm and he/she suggested that people should pray for Sarah's spirit Ellen.

Cruces and garlic were sold until the last minute, a man listened to comment while he bought his cross, "If there were vampires in the past they certainly don't exist at the present time." In the tomb, while the midnight it arrived, four women could be seen carrying out a ritual stranger while another woman that recognized that he/she had been a witch, it spread petals of flowers on the tomb, and I exhort people to not being afraid of Sarah Ellen because it could probably be reincarnated like a good vampire.

As soon as he/she came closer the midnight the police it began to clear an area around the tomb, it only allowed to some "mystics" that began to exorcize the tomb for splash of blood on the same one and singing mantras.

The stocking night he/she came and he/she left and it didn't pass anything. To people they were said that "the curse had not been completed." The songs began and the flowers were heady to the tomb as well as the parade of people step. The mystics proclaimed that with their ceremony they had impeded that Sarah Ellen resuscitates.

In the dawn the multitude began to be dispersed, most was disappointed, but some still believe that the curse has not finished and that Sarah had decided to be resuscitated in a "new life" instead of returning the deads from among.In the dawn a group of nuns came, they put a floral offering and they said sentences on its tomb.

During the morning, once again, people began to meet in the tomb, a band entered and he/she began to play hymns while people sang. While the day the multitude continued you/he/she began to leave Sarah's tomb Ellen and in the afternoon some few people only could observed in the cemetery. In next days, the mystics boasted that their rituals had impeded Sarah's resurrection Ellen. Others were not so sure, months later, the avistamiento of strangers wandering figures for the streets of Pisco was common.

The mayor of Pisco, Edgar Núñez, said to the journalists that the tourism in the area has increased in more than 60% since the vampire had begun to scare.

He said that a lot it would please him/her that their town this linked with Blackburn and this way to maintain Sarah's alive history Ellen, and he/she suggested that Pisco and Blackburn should be mated. When the vice-president of the subcommittee that is in charge of of hermanamiento questions in Blackburn, listens this, he said, "Peru is a devil of a long road, but if they write us, we will keep it in mind." Alcalde of Blackburn, Paul Browne doesn't seem so sure, the one said, "This vampire could not be very good for our city at all. People from all over the world will think that we are some it sucks blood. The two cities never transformed into cities sisters.

Before continuing I should say that I have not beautified the previous history in any form. It is the way in that it was informed in the newspapers of this country and in Peru and the form in that he/she showed up in television and the Peruvian radio.


What do we know about John Pryce Roberts and their wife Sarah Ellen?

After 96 years it is difficult to obtain the couple's real image. Not there are pictures of none of them, anything is not known about their personality or their private life. However by means of the use of the censuses and other documents, we can find some envelope them.

John Pryce Roberts was born in 1869 in Chorley, it was Thomas' third son Roberts and Margaret Eleanor Pryce. There were other four children Sarah Ellen he/she was born in Heapey in 1866; Lucy H. Coppice was born in White in 1868, Tomás in 1870 and James in 1873 who were born in Blackburn, where the family settled down.

Thomas John's father, died in 1877. Little more than one year after their death, Margaret married again, her new husband was Thomas James Moffatt. They lived in 14 Brook-Street Blackburn. In 1891 John and Thomas had abandoned the family home and they lived in 22 Charlotte-Street. They were housed by their bigger sister and their husband James Wilson.

John 22 years old was a weaver and Thomas 20 was a "overlooker." Nothing else is known about him in this time.

William Gargett you case with Catherine Abbott in Yorkshire in 1864.

They had four children, Rose TO. he/she was born in Ask, Yorkshire, in 1865, Arthur, born in Stockton, Durham, in 1870; Sarah Ellen was born in 1872 in Burnley and William was born in Blackburn in 1878.

In 1881 when Sarah taenia 9 years, they lived in 151 Bolton-Road, Blackburn, his father in this time was a driver.

When and how John Pryce Roberts and Sarah Ellen Gargett met each other for the first time it is ignored. When it was that they finally married in St. John's Church Blackburn in some moment in 1892.

For the time of 1901 the census was taken and they lived in 25 Isherwood-Street Blackburn and two children of William had, born in 1893 and Frank, born in 1892, Robert and Sarah they were weavers.

In 1901 Tomás the brother smaller than John, left his work as manager of St Paul's Weaving Mill, NAB-Lane to take a similar position in a cotton factory in Lima, Peru. Three years later, when their he/she engages it united him, the one forms an association with another English in the trade of oil of cotton seed.

In July of 1907, Thomas, their wife Mary and their two children returned to Blackburn to pass some vacations, their business should have been a success, since it traveled in first class.

During this visit, Thomas gave an interview to Blackburn Weekly Telegraph about the life in Peru. They returned to Lima in December of that same year.

That John went to Peru at least twice it is certain, but how long he stayed it is not it.

In December 14 of 1911 the list of the foreign passengers that you/they enter New York gives to John Roberts like "in traffic" of Lima, Peru, where there was permanesido in its brother's house, of return to its wife in 25 Isherwood-Street Blackburn, England.

When it left it is not known, but it is doubtful that their intention was to remain in Peru, as its name he/she appears in the electoral registration from 1909 up to 1914 without interruption, what suggests that John only went to Peru to visit his brother. John should have gone again to Peru at the end of 1912 or principles of 1913, having this time to his wife Sarah with the one. They left their two children in charge of Lily Gargett, Sarah's aunt Ellen. Not I can find any registration of them going by New York in this trip so perhaps it traveled directly to Peru.

Would they have planned to remain there this time? It would have been John's first visit to fix the things with their brother, I don't know. What it is known, however it is that June of 1913 Sarah 9 died in Pisco, Peru. What the cause of its death is up to now a mystery. Was there a history that Sarah another son had while she was in Peru that they called Tomás, then maybe she died in the childbirth or even to die from some illness?

Without a death certificate it is impossible to say. I have been about finding something about her he/she has a son somewhere around, but he/she is not able to.

An announcement of Sarah's death appears in the column of obituarios of Northern Daily Telegraph, and he/she says the following thing:

ROBERTS: - In the 9 º inst., In Pisco, Peru, Sarah Ellen, John's lover wife Roberts P (before 25 Isherwood-Street, Blackburn.) In their 42o year. He/she complains deeply.

The following week a recognition appeared in the same newspaper of Sarah's two children and its aunt that lived in 25 Isherwood-Street.

John didn't remain a lot of time in Peru after his wife's death, in 1914 his name is of turn in the electoral registration, however Lancashire Evening Telegraph of June 10 1993 says that John returned to England in 1922 but that I don't believe that it is correct. During two years from 1918 to 1920 John doesn't appear in the electoral registration, the aunt Sarah, Lily Gargett is shown as living there in 25 Isherwood-Streer and William who it is now bigger this in 1920. Both William and Frank are in the registration. John's name appears again in 1920 in this time its occupation he/she is a caretaker.

In 1922 the family Street moves to 107 Johnston where John opened a store of groceries that directed until his death in October of 1925. It was buried in Blackburn Cementery Whalley Old-Road October of that year 22. John's two children continued directing the store until 1930. Both William and Frank were married while they lived in Johnston-Street. Frank, the smallest son died in 1950 and it was buried with his father.

This then is the history. Not it seems that there is anything special on them. Not there are reports in the newspapers on them of having lived a perverse life, anything, them alone they were a normal family.


Then how this history began?

Sarah's grandsons and John anything knew about this history until they read the newspapers, however when he/she was asked by a possible reason they said;

"She probably died far from Pisco and him (John), it simply took it in a casket to the town where it was the it manufactures, to have their funeral. They are very superstitious somewhere around, for what you/they probably thought that there was something catastrophe." This explanation assumes that John and Sarah were living and working in Peru in that time, but the evidence seems to suggest another thing.

Was the television program diffused six months before the events? Were they looking for a good history, and did they find the tomb of an English woman in the cemetery and did they decide to knit a legend around him? Who can say it? Do they say that most of the legends have a base in real facts, but that it can be true about this history? For example, the tribunals in Blackburn cannot have judged Sarah and convict to death for any crime, and even in those days, the worst thing that could have happened to her for practice the witchcraft would have been a prison pain. If she had been declared murder culprit it would not have been executed in the fork locked in a lined casket of lead or not.

In my opinion the media of Peru has played with the superstition of the town and a legend knitted around an English woman that had the misfortune of dying in that country. But only in case me this mistaken one, when you will sleep tonight, make sure that their windows are tightly closed and the garlic is assured on the front part of its door... Be never known!


A source Sarah Ellen Roberts says he had two called sisters Andrea and Erica. They were also accused at the same time of murder and witchcraft that I eat Sarah, and they suffered the same destination. It is, supposedly, of the "three fiancés of Drácula." In this history John took the three caskets with him, burying in Mexico Andrea and Erica in Hungary or Panama.

Stephen Voluntary Smith of Cottontown

Translated of:





Sarah's niche Ellen, always has flowers which are put in sign of gratefulness, for people that affirms them it has granted its desire, of being the bad witch to become a good witch, to which people appeal when they have sentimental problems.


Page created web March 30 of the one 2005.
© Copyright 2005 Gualberto Valderrama C.