Balkan vampire myth: Urban legends or a publicity tool?

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Abstract

One of the first known 'real vampires' in the Balkan area, Jure Grando, has served as a tool for expressing fears about sexual freedom in an 18th century Balkan society constrained by its own depravity. Another, more famous figure, was Petar Blagojević, a Serbian peasant who was terrorizing the local villagers by strangling them, thus representing some of the concerns of rural communities of the time. Furthermore, Arnaut Pavle, a military hero obsessed with thoughts of suicide, the act that supposedly turned people into vampires, who after his own death becomes one of them, terrorized the village where he lived. Nevertheless, Sava Savanović is by far the most famous vampire figure in the Balkans, who is still being mentioned in literature and film alike. One of the common denominators that all these historical/mythical figures have is the overall terror and fear experienced by common people about the social, cultural, and health issues of the time, that needed a plausible explanation to make them feel secure in their own homes and with their own existence. Today, all these cases still exist, either as urban legends or simply as folk tales told to young generations, but even if their purpose might still be somewhat unclear, these tales have served as a great marketing tool for developing tourism in forgotten rural parts of Balkan countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages12
JournalBulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov
Volume1463)
Issue number63 Special Issue
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2022

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