This Just In: Vampire Alert!

If you are scrounging to find reasons to be happy, remember that at least there isn’t a centuries old vampire lurking in yur neighborhood… that is, unless you live in Bajina Bašta, Serbia. A mill that once belonged to a notorious vampire suffered damage due to renovations and now locals fear Sava Savanovic is loosed upon the populace. Sava is the first Serbian vampire, and some experts argue the first vampire. His feeding strategy was to attack those who came to grind grain at the mill, hence the concern that he is homeless now that the mill has collapsed.

Various news outlets tell roughly the same tale:
The Detroit Free Press (dig the photo of the Vampire Billboard!),
ABC News,
The Daily Mail, (great photos, incidentally)
• and the Orange News.

I refrain from commenting about matters with which I have no direct experience, in this case, vampires. We Americans certainly find a fair number of things to be afraid of that folks in other cultures find silly, from serial killers to socialized medicine.

What I learned from this story is that the figure Sava Savanovic is the subject of Leptirica (1973), considered the first Serbian horror movie. A photo of the DVD cover appears above. I have to see if it’s available from Netflix.

In the articles, a rivalry emerges about whose vampire is considered “first” and though I can’t comment on that question, I am struck by the geography of monsters. Island nations seems particularly prone to ghosts (Ireland, England, Japan) while other seem susceptible to demonic possession (Poland, Italy) Certainly different regions of North America seem to favor different malefactors (British Columbia’s Ogopogo, Washington State’s Sasquatch, Texas’ Chupacabra, Pittsburgh’s zombies…) There is a weird cultural alchemy whereby a curse transmutes into a tourist trap. So though you might not have to stock up on garlic and holy crosses like the folks of Bajina Bašta, it’s possible you might want to take other, more regionally appropriate precautions… or explore other folklore to exploit.

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