Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The Vampire of Serbia
In the western part of Serbia, the small town of Zarozje is in the midst of a public health concern. The threat? A vampire.
While it may sound like the plot of a horror movie, town Mayor, Miodrag Vujetic is convinced that the vampire legend is real and released an official warning to residents. Locals have been warned to take all necessary precautions and to stock up on garlic and crosses. "We are all very frightened" the Mayor said when he told locals to hang crosses on their walls and to place the garlic around all doors and windows.
The supposed Vampire's name is Sava Savanovic. Local lore has been filled with stories of the reputed vampire for years. Savanovic lived in an old water mill on the Rogacica river. Legend says that when visitors came to the mill in search of grain, they would fall victim to the bloodlust of Savanovic and his vampiric needs.
The mill sat empty for years, owned by a local family who was afraid to use it for fear of disrupting the slumbering vampire. Left to the elements, the building rotted and collapsed. It's the destruction of the building that has re-ignited fears of the vampire. Locals believe that the now homeless vampire is angry and on the prowl for fresh blood.
While some townspeople view the legend as a creative way to build tourism, many are actually worried about falling victim to the vampire. They wear crosses, carry garlic in their pockets and warn visitors about the undead entity roaming the vicinity. Some locals claim that they've heard the vampire walking in the nearby forest. Adding to the tension in the area, five people have died recently, one right after another. While one of the deaths was a suicide, some members of the community are proclaiming that the deaths are not accidents and are indeed connected to the legendary, angry vampire.
While the vampire is a popular fictional character in western horror movies, the view of these undead creatures is quite different in Serbia and its neighboring countries.
Most scholars believe that vampire myths were created as a result of people trying to understand the mysteries of death. Medical mysteries, death and decomposition of the body all contributed to the mythological lore of the vampire. While science has explained many of these mysteries over the years, the power of cultural traditions does not easily fade away. Eastern Europe is the home of vampire lore and the long history of the bloodsuckers dates back to at least the 1700's. If recent
stories like this one are any indication, vampires are here to stay, at least in Serbia.