Shortly after the turn of the millennium, Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg incorporated several stories about the undead in his chronicle of the deeds of the Ottonian kings. His accounts feature embodied revenants (not insubstantial specters) at worship. The stories the bishop recounts likely circulated in oral form, as urban legends, for some time before he recorded them in writing. Perhaps because they featured revived bodies, Thietmar presented these stories as evidence for the Christian doctrine of Resurrection. However, the tales do not readily lend themselves to this project, not least because the revenants were presented as frightening, dangerous, and even murderous in nature. This article probes the dissonances of Thietmar's ghost stories, arguing that they represent the hybrid products of a syncretism between Slavic pagan and medieval Christian cultures.

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