AN antique vampire-slaying kit discovered in a cellar yesterday sold for thousands of pounds at auction.

The macabre Victorian casket went under the hammer for £7,500 at Tennants Auctioneers, in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. The lot has baffled experts, who can only guess at why it was created.

Encased in the lined mahogany casket is an ornate pistol, a mallet and four stakes, rosary beads, a prayer book, holy water and holy earth. It also includes a steel bullet mould, garlic and a crucifix.

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The kit attracted attention from around the world, with many bids being made online.

It fetched more than three times its estimated value of £1,500 to £2,000.

But the auction house yesterday refused to say whether it had been sold overseas or to an internet bidder.

The casket’s origins are as mysterious as its purpose. It was discovered in the cellar of the vendor’s uncle after his death, along with two other vampire-slaying kits.

It is believed to date back to the end of the 19th Century, possibly after Bram Stoker wrote Dracula.

Best-selling gothic horror author and former vicar, GP Taylor, who lives near Robin Hood’s Bay, in North Yorkshire, has researched the history of vampires for some of his novels.

His vampire book, Red Eye, is his latest to be turned into a film and will be shot in Whitby next year. He said there is a huge interest in the subject.

“Belief in vampires today is even bigger than ever,” he said. “Warding off, and preventing, the dead from coming back to life was common in other countries, such as Romania, up until the 1920s.

“In this country, I think the last person to be buried in an anti-vampire way was in the 1880s.

“With this kit, I think it has been put together as a sort of Victorian parlour game, as an object of interest rather than to ward vampires away.”