British vampires, beware... as of last week someone in the UK is on the loose with a 19th-century vampire-slaying kit.
The kit – a lockable wooden chest that contains objects such as crucifixes, holy water, a bible, a stake and a pistol – was sold by Hansons Auctioneers for NZ$33,000.
Its original owner was Lord William Hailey, a British nobleman and former administrator of British India.
It's remarkable that people such as him were truly superstitious about vampires, says auctioneer Charles Hanson.
"Even back in the UK 140 years ago, this Lord Peer, an important individual in British society, very much believed in vampires. It wasn't just a made-up fun kit to have a laugh around the dining table. It was very much there as a precaution," he tells Susie Ferguson.
When Bram Stoker published his iconic vampire novel Dracula in 1897, many intellectuals believed in the supernatural, Hanson says.
"Dracula was all the rage and I think the relief in such wicked ways after dark that the educated thought 'best be safe, we ought to carry a kit just in case'."
Each item in Hailey's vampire-slaying kit was monogrammed with his initials, and during his life, he was said to carry it with him everywhere.
In recent years, it's been in Nottingham where a family had acquired it with the purchase of an old country house 60 years ago, Hanson says.
When the kit was put up for auction this year, bids came from around the world but it was a UK collector who was the most determined to take it home, Hanson says.
"I think they were mesmerised like me."