The word is out: there’s a vampire on the loose.
His name is Sava Savanovic and he is one of Serbia’s first and most famous vampires.
And he is back from the dead.
The Romanian Times have reported it, so it’s official.
Savanavic used to live at an isolated mill at Zarozje, a hamlet deep in the forests near the Bosnian border, and drink the blood of any ill-advised farmer who went there to mill his grain. In fact, he murdered the flour of the region’s youth.
The watermill was in operation until the late 1950s when it fell into disrepair. But earlier this year it collapsed and now people believe Savanavic is on the loose.
Vampire legends have persisted in the Balkans for centuries. In the 18th century, the fear of the living dead triggered mass hysteria and public lynchings. Three thousand graves were recently discovered in Czech republic, the bodies all weighed down with rocks to prevent the corpses from re-emerging from their tombs.
They didn’t want their Czechs to bounce.
The vampire legends inspired many books; Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel ‘Dracula’, is considered the seminal vampire novel and now the undead are a bestselling genre of their own.
Savanovic himself featured in the 1880 story (‘After Ninety Years’), written by the Serbian writer Milovan Glišić which also inspired the 1973 horror film ‘Leptirica.’
And now he’s back.
Local mayor Miodrag Vujetic told reporters that the villagers were terrified. The council has advised residents to hang garlic on their doors and windows and to put a Holy Cross in every room.
Five people have died suddenly in recent months – one hung himself – and the deaths have been blamed on the mill collapse and the return of Sava’s sinister influence.
Some suspect however that it’s actually a calculated move to boost local tourism. The story does seem like something the Serbian Tourist Board can get their teeth into. After all, the Romanians have profited hugely from promoting the Dracula legend.
Locals refute the claim. Some say they can hear dry forest leaves crackling under invisible footsteps when they are alone in the forest, and others have heard chilling sounds coming from the mountain fastnesses where the vampire was purportedly killed with a sharp stake back in the eighteenth century.
‘Isn’t that enough?’ one villager asked. ‘What do they want, blood?’
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