St Jasper’s Cathedral – granite walls: dark dirty red stone with gargoyles and a spire. Nearly 500 years old. There is no such saint. The name St Jasper is probably a corruption of an Irish saint’s name.
St Jasper: Vampire Hunter
17th Century Covenanter, Crawford Meikle, nicknamed St Jasper (which he probably would have hated as “papist foolery”). Born in the village of Auchterowan, not far from Oldcastle. His father was the local minister. His wife and three of his children who died in infancy are buried in the Auchterowan Kirk cemetary.
Local legend say when he was 21 years old he was attacked by a “man with a demonic countenance” when riding back from Oldcastle to Auchterown. This sparked his fervour for hunting down “accursd and foule” creatures.
Meikle was present when the Earl of Atholl burned Oldcastle down, during the War of the Three Kindgoms. He is said to have been one of the Earl’s men who killed the Town Council in Trembler’s Alley and painted the walls with their blood.
Human records say he was grievously wounded in the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. They disagree on whether he was buried in a Dunbar churchyard, or retreated to Stirling with the surviving Covenanters and was buried there. Either way, there is no tombstone which bears his name.
Human historical records don’t really record him as a dedicated vampire hunter, but do mention him tracking down witches, demons, Baobhan Sith and ‘enemies of god’. The authors of those records include Catholics and gay people in the ‘enemies of god’ category.
Supernatural stuff written about his activities include:
Many instances of him being immune to the temptations of Satan’s minions. Historians are interpreting this as not being susceptible to bribery or seduction. However, some of the descriptions look very like someone who is resistant to Dominate and/or Presence.
Meikle’s men smashed the stained glass windows of a Catholic church. The priest then raised a demon which slew many of them. But Meikle invoked the name of the Lord and “a thousand fragments of glass rose like leaves blown in a whirlwind” and fought at his side until the demon and its servants were all flayed alive.
In Forfar marketplace he displayed the body of a “half-wolf, half-man” which had been eating cattle and children in the district.
Lots of instances of teeny, tiny villages writing to request his help in getting rid of a local Baobhan Sith.– a supernatural vampire like creature from the mythology of the Highlands. Female, seduces men and drains their blood. Always wears a long green dress to conceal that she has deer’s hooves instead of feet.
What survives of Meikle’s own writings, include:
A letter to his father in which he states angels fight by his side, imbuing him with God’s awesome light and terrible beauty. He knows when his cause is righteous, because these powers will start to manifest within him. He said the complete absence of this feeling made him realise that one Margaret Duncan, accused of sending her familiar to smother the servant of her neighbour, was innocent. The neighbours hoped to gain Margaret’s land for themselves.
A letter to the Earl of Atholl thanking him for money to fight “creatures from Satan’s demesnes”. But he does not want the Earl to be under false apprehensions: rumour is circulating that Meikle slew seven-and-twenty foul demon spawn in one night, who turned to ash when beheaded. He can confirm he has three times witnessed a Satanic creature “be consumed into ashes, as if it was afire” when killed, but has never slain more than one such creature in a day. “For they are as resilient as bronze-skinned Talos” unless one knows their weakness. The weakness is not described.
A letter to the town council of Oldcastle, giving advice on how to deal with Sluagh. These are spirits of the restless dead, which form flocks. They try to fly into buildings to steal the soul of a recently deceased person (but since they can only gain access through a door, window or chimney on the west wall of the building, are relatively easy to thwart).
Various pamphlets exhorting the citizens of Scotland to support the Covenanters and be alert to signs of Satan’s hand in the activities of the Royalists. He often signs these off with “The Lord shall bring Order from Chaos”.
Vampire historical records have accounts of him and his men breaching a number of havens and destroying several vampires of significant power. So not just clueless newbie vampires.
Some documents claim he hunted down and killed werewolves. Others claim he was in league with werewolves, and received their aid when slaying Kindred.
The Tremere caught up with him during or just after the Battle of Dunbar. Where, when and how is annoyingly vague.
Meikle is buried in the crypt beneath the club (Nocturne) along with his knowledge of how to destroy vampires. The implication is that this knowledge is something more scary and dangerous than the usual ‘set them on fire’ or ‘chop off their head’. Something supernatural or magical in nature.
Something the Tremere wanted locked away, rather than trying to use themselves!