People have told vampire legends for thousands of years, and the monster’s image has continuously changed over time. You already know that some people believe in vampires — but what kind?
Between 1799 to 1892, families across New England dug up the corpses of their children, parents and siblings, desecrating the bodies in an effort to prevent them from rising from the grave.
By DRAGANA JOVANOVIC via ABC News
BELGRADE Nov. 29, 2012
For the people in a tiny Serbian village there is nothing sexy or romantic about a vampire. In fact, they are terrified that one of the most feared vampires of the area has been roused back to life.
Rather than ‘Twilight’s’ Edward, the people of Zorazje fear that Sava Savanovic is lurking in their forested mountains of western Serbia.
They believe that he is on the move because the home he occupied for so long, a former water mill, recently collapsed. Savanovic is believed to be looking for a new home.
“People are very worried. Everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people,” Miodrag Vujetic, local municipal assembly member, told ABC News. “We are all frightened.”
Vujetic said villagers “are all taking precautions by having holy crosses and icons placed above the entrance to the house, rubbing our hands with garlic, and having a hawthorn stake or thorn.”
“I understand that people who live elsewhere in Serbia are laughing at our fears, but here most people have no doubt that vampires exist,” he says.
According to legend, Savanovic would kill and drink the blood of the peasants who came to grind their grain at his watermill on the Rogacica River. Tour groups from around the Balkans would come to see the mill. But even tourism had its limits.
“We were welcoming tourists, but only during the day. Nobody ever overnighted there,” said Slobodan Jagodic, whose family owned the mill for over 60 years.
“We were too scared to repair it, not to disturb Sava Savanovic,” says Jagodic. “It’s even worse now that it collapsed due to lack of repair.”
MORE . . .
- As legendary vampire makes rumoured return, Serbian villagers say better safe than sorry (news.nationalpost.com)
- Serbian villagers stock up on garlic in fear of Vampire rumor (foxnews.com)
- Vampire on the loose in Serbia? (sfgate.com)
By Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D. via huffingtonpost.com
If you buy into the current pop-culture craze about vampires, they’re simply the most intriguing, seductive creatures around, trapped in torrid love triangles with young, beautiful people. With super-speed, super-strength, killer wardrobes and a thirst for blood that can’t be slaked, the “undead” now dominate the box office, rack up ratings and top the bestseller lists. Whether it’s vampire Bill guzzling True Blood in the swamps of Louisiana, Edward Cullen brooding in the twilight of the Pacific Northwest, or revenants hunted by Abraham Lincoln (?!), the public never has seemed more obsessed with saying fangs you very much to these mythical demimonde.
But let’s dig deeper into their past, racing beyond creepy Count Orlok of black-and-white cinematic fame and dashing across historical Europe to ask whether whispers of health, medicine and science can stake out a different view of vampires: A considerable body of scholarly work seeks to explain what might have created the folklore of the vampire or Nosferatu — a name that comes from the Greek nosophoros, or plague-carrier.
Records of vampire-like creatures can be found in ancient religions of Tibet, India and Mexico. Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and other ancient cultures also appear to have held beliefs involving a dead figure who returns to life in its own body and feeds off the living. Similar myths exist in European, Chinese, Polynesian and African cultures.
Our modern ideas about these monsters probably originated in Scandinavia and the British Isles but really took hold in Central and Eastern Europe in medieval times. In a region of what is now Romania, the unspeakable deeds and a reputation for barbarism gave rise to the posthumous name for Vlad III Dracul, a prince of the region, as “Vlad the Impaler.” In turn, this inspired author Bram Stoker‘s legendary tale, making Dracula a synonym for vampire. Of course, even in modern times, we occasionally read about a psychotic killer who cannibalizes his prey (remember Jeffrey Dahmer).
Even more fundamental to vampire lore may be a misunderstanding of the death and disease people once encountered in their everyday lives.
MORE . . .
- Vampire-themed attractions (telegraph.co.uk)
- Prince Charles, heir to Dracula’s blood line (telegraph.co.uk)
- Vampire Films Through The Years … Other Than Twilight (radioalice.cbslocal.com)
- Prince Charles the vampire? Romanian tourist board claim royal is Dracula’s heir (express.co.uk)
- How Vampires Learned to Love Virgins So Much (nymag.com)
- Vampires: there will always be blood (telegraph.co.uk)
- Science Behind Vampire Myths (science.kqed.org)