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The Serbian Vampire


In the picturesque hamlet of Zarožje, nestled between lush green mountain slopes and spooky thick forests near the Bosnian border, there once stood an old watermill that had been the subject of chilling folklore for generations. Legend had it that this watermill was the home of Serbia’s most famous vampire, Sava Savanovic.

According to the eerie tales passed down through the years, Sava Savanovic was a bloodthirsty vampire who dwelled in the mill on the banks of the Rogacica River. It was said that he would emerge from his lair at night to quench his insatiable thirst by drinking the blood of unsuspecting farmers who came to the mill to grind their grains. The mere mention of his name sent shivers down the spines of the local villagers.

The small wooden mill, with its timeworn walls and creaky machinery, had been in the possession of the Jagodic family for over six decades. The family, however, was too terrified to use the mill for its original purpose and decided instead to capitalize on the macabre legends surrounding it. They opened its doors to curious tourists during daylight hours, ensuring that no one dared to venture there after the sun had set.

The mill became a magnet for thrill-seekers and those intrigued by the mysteries of the supernatural. Tourists flocked from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the alleged abode of the infamous vampire. The Jagodic family, although apprehensive themselves, found a steady source of income in the curious visitors who sought to delve into the dark and haunted history of the watermill.

However, maintaining the old structure came with its challenges. The Jagodic family feared that any attempts at renovation or repair might disturb the spirit of Savanovic or unleash his wrath upon the village. So, the mill stood largely untouched, a relic frozen in time, until fate caught up with it.

A few months ago, the old mill succumbed to the ravages of time, and the lack of repair finally took its toll. Its dilapidated walls could no longer bear the weight of history and legends that clung to them. With a groan, the once-feared lair of the vampire collapsed into a heap of ruins, leaving behind nothing but memories and lingering whispers of the past.

The villagers of Zarožje, while witnessing the disintegration of the infamous mill, couldn’t help but feel a mix of relief and apprehension. Some claimed to hear eerie sounds echoing through the nearby forests, as if the spirit of Sava Savanovic was still seeking a new dwelling place and perhaps new victims.

Local municipal assembly member, Miodrag Vujetic, openly admitted the unease felt by the villagers. “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. We are all frightened,” he said, acknowledging the deeply rooted belief in vampires among the locals.

The Balkans, and particularly Serbia, has been a breeding ground for vampire folklore for centuries. Historian Dr. James Lyon emphasized that vampires originated in Serbia and not Romania, contrary to popular belief. The region’s history is woven with tales of these hideous, bloodthirsty creatures with red eyes and iron teeth, feeding on the living and able to shift their shape.

The belief in vampires has been so deeply ingrained in the culture that even today, many people take the legends seriously. Villagers in Zarožje were following age-old protective measures like placing garlic on their doors and windows and adorning their homes with holy crosses and icons to ward off evil.

As the ruins of the mill remain as a stark reminder of the haunting legends that have weaved themselves into the fabric of the region, the villagers will continue to remain vigilant during the months when vampires are believed to be most active. Between Christmas and the Feast of the Ascension on 7 June, locals will hold fast to their ancient rituals and protective measures, fearing the return of Sava Savanovic or other malevolent spirits.

Thus, in the dark forested mountains of Serbia and its neighboring Balkan countries, the age-old belief in vampires still holds sway over the hearts and minds of the people, carrying the echoes of chilling tales and a perpetual fascination with the supernatural.

Photo: Pixabay / maraisea