otoman

Slavic mythology: Vampires

Fairies | Dragons

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So, I wanted to tell you guys about vampires and their origins.

It is safe to say that the most popular vampire in the world is Count Dracula (or, like, Edward, but that’s just pop culture). We all know his story and how he is tied to Transylvania, which can lead to a conclusion that that is where the myths about vampires are from.

Wrong.

Since I am from Serbia and I love my culture, I am here to tell you the true origins and first myths about vampires, which have spread across the world and changed a lot ever since.

Note: Here I will be talking about the most common vampire myths and not those originating from Africa and Asia, since they are entirely different beliefs, entirely different origns and entirely different stories.

Origin

The first myths about vampires come from Slavs and their beliefs.

A vampire, especially on Balkan and in Ukraine, is considered a ghost of a dead person or a corpse which has revived. It was revived by an evil spirit or the devil; it is a decedent whose soul cannot pass to the other world, instead it stays trapped in the dead body.” ~Slavic Mythology, Nenad Gajić

The word “вампир” (vampir), meaning “vampire” (obviously) originates from Serbian language and it has spread worldwide, starting from the rest of the Slavic languages.

About vampires it has been written in the Emperor Dušan’s Code (1349) in the 20th clause, without naming them.

Soon after that, there was a story about a Serbian haiduk (loosely translated: rebel/brigand) called Arnold Paole (many think that this is an incorrect name and that the real one is Arnaut Pavle, where the first name isn’t a name at all and is actually a title). He claimed that he had encountered a vampire while he was serving in the army of the Otoman Empire. After his death, some residents of his village claimed that they have seen Arnold as an apparition. Soon after, the four people who had claimed this have died a mysterious death.

Other mentions of vampires include a book by Milovan Glišić called 90 Years Later, which tells a supposedly true story about Sava Savanović, one of the first vampires in literature.

After that mentions of vampires have only increased. For example, in 1923. Belgrade’s newspaper Time published an article about Paja Tomić, who has supposedly became a vampire.

Other than these, there have been many similar stories about people who have became vampires.

According to Slavs, how does one become a vampire?

The interest thing is that in Slavic mythology the belief that the bite of a vampire turns you into one does not exist.

So, if not by biting, how does one become a vampire?

Slavic superstitions about funerals and burying the deceased are tightly connceted to the beliefs about vampirism. Examples include:

  • If an animal jumps/walks over the corpse or if a bird or a bat flies over it, the corpse can revive
  • If someone’s shadow falls on the corpse, it can revive
  • If a person walks/jumps over the grave within the 40 days following someone’s funeral, the deceased can revive (it is also believed that if after these 40 days the person does not revive, they probably will not become a vampire in the future; this is connected to the belief that it takes a sould 40 days to pass onto the other world)
  • If a person succeeds in killing a vampire and if the vampire’s blood splashes them in the proccess, they become a vampire after they die

If any of the above is to happen, the revived starts to crawl out of their grave during the night, they choke people and drink their blood. When this happens, a crack appears on their grave through which they crawl in and out.

It is also believed that people who have sinned are most likely to become vampires.

Abilities, behaviour and appearance

According to this South Slavic belief, in this critical period (refering to the 40 days) the vampire can be seen as a shadow or cannot be seen at all, but he has the ability to turn into the animal which has jumped over his grave. Then he feeds on human blood, but also animal blood. His habitat is the cemetery, where he always returns when the sun starts to rise. If the vampire isn’t destroyed in the first 40 days of his “life”, he will, from the blood he has drank during the previous nights’ roamings, become so strong that he won’t need to go back to his grave in a long time. Then, he can also be seen at crossroads, in mills or in the houses of his closest relatives, where he stays for a long time.

Usually vampires are middle-aged people, mostly men. They have sharp canines and long nails, since their teeth, hair and nails keep growing even after death […] They are stronger than ordinary men, they can move at high speed, turn into different animals, cross any obstacle “except for water and throns.’’”  ~Slavic Mythology, Nenad Gajić

Furthermore, some myths say that a vampire sometimes wisits his widowed wife and can have children with her. These children don’t have a shadow, have less bones than the norm and a large head. They have the ability to find, see and kill a vampire.

Protection and prevention

Slavs prefered prevention to protection, but, according to them, there are ways to protect yoursef from a vampire.

First of all, to discover a vampire, a horse can be brought near the grave, since horses can sense vampires. Also, ash or dirst can be spread near the grave where later footsteps will be seen, if the vampire crawls out of the grave. Also, if the grave is dug out and the corpse turns out to not be rotten, its eyes are wide open and its hair and nails haven’t stopped growing, this means that the corpse has revived and is a vampire.

How is this vampire destroyed? It has to be dug out, stabbed with a stake and thrown into the flames.

As for the methods of prevention, they include:

  • burying a corpse face down
  • cutting off limbs or the head
  • sliting the tendoms under the knees
  • stabbing a hawthorn’s peg into the forhead

When it comes to methods of protection, this is where the Slavis beliefs meet today’s myths:

  • a (pre-Christian) cross painted on the door of a house
  • garlic
  • iron

So, there you have it! Slavic myths, based on my personal research. Please take into consideration that all of this had to be translated from Serbian, somwhere even adapted, and I am only an amateur.

Either way, I hope you liked it!

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Ulu Cami -Bursa / Ulu Mosque - Bursa by Celalettin GUNES
Via Flickr:

anarcho-tolkienist

hat auf dein Foto geantwortet

“*Yakov Smirnov voice* “In Soviet Russia, Calvinist Ireland struggles…”

Otoman Empire is easy mode, cmon now.

It can be fun being so powerful that youre near-invincible and are mostly just exploring game mechanics. For example, did you know that if you vassalize the Pope, force him to convert to Islam and then make the Papal States into a military march the game doesnt have any title for the government?

2

NAME: TIMES 

AGE: unknown

WEAPONS: “Bone Cursors” Duel welds with two ectoplamic bone-sabers, That also reattaches together to create a cursor staff

POWERS: ecto- bone projectiles; Vision manipulation for a period of time, Time shifting (rest is unknown for now)

PERSONALITY: Strict, serious, comes of as shy (he hardly express himself)

LIKES: puzzles, training his magic, tortilla chips with a lot of Tomato dip (secretly likes cute things -what a Otoman XD-)

DISLIKES: in complete tasks.

WHO IS HE: an alternate Papyrus

UNDERTALE AU: Lost Starman

STORY INTRO: In this universe, Papyrus stumbles upon sans lab and discovers the the poor drawing and badge, and starts to recover his dark memories

He’s unsure about his thoughts until he uncovers the object that’s been hidden under the sheet. A time machine. A struck of fear pales him for he then realize his true self……..

Papyrus was then caught off guard when sans walk in on him; thus, making the taller skeleton accidentally flip an unknown switch. the machine activated and malfunctions!

Papyrus; who now calls him self TIMES, is then lost through. time and space. He stumbles upon different dimensions of his world (possible au crossovers) trying to find his way to his own, but then seems to come across other dilemmas.

(to be continued possibly through comics for now one)

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