The rural village of Zarozje in Serbia also happens to be the home town of Sava Savanovic, one of the most famous vampires in Serbian history. And according to a recent warning from the town council, Savanovic may be wandering the streets after the recent collapse of his former home.
Serbian authorities warn vampire may be on the loose
Villagers stock up on garlic.
Savanovic lived in a tiny cabin on the riverfront property where he once ran an old wooden mill. According to local legend, Savanovic used to kill and drink the blood of farmers who came to his mill to grind their grain.
Savanovic's watermill was functional until the 1950s, and his cabin stood for hundreds of years before finally collapsing this week. The family which purchased the property several decades ago had done a brisk business with the tourist trade, giving tours of Savanovic's home and mill. However, they limited their tours to the daytime, believing that Savanovic still lingered on the property.
For the same reason, they avoided making repairs to Savanovic's home, for fear of risking his wrath. Unfortunately, this decision is what ultimately led to the collapse of his cabin from lack of maintenance.
The local city council has issued a public health warning to residents, urging them to smear their doors and windows with garlic to repel Savanovic. With the collapse of the "vampire mill," many believe that Savanovic will be looking for a new home and new victims - and that he may be in particularly ill temper with the townspeople for the destruction of his home.
Although most people probably think of Romania (specifically Transylvania) as vampire territory, the belief in vampires is rife throughout eastern Europe. Serbia itself has a long folklore tradition of vampires. People who are suspected of possibly becoming vampires after their death (like suicides, or people who died at a crossroads) are often buried with precautions already in place. The head may be cut off and turned around backwards in the casket, a brick or rock may be shoved into the mouth (to prevent it from chewing its way out of the coffin after death), and the heart may be removed before burial and burned separately.
Zarozje is a small, remote, hardscrabble village with approximately 1,000 residents. Many of the residents have guest worker visas, and travel to Switzerland for work. Those who remain scrape out a living cultivating raspberries or cutting and selling firewood. Although the village's population is slowly dwindling as the younger residents move away to find work and new families, the village itself is still hanging on. Here's hoping Savanovic spares these hard-working Serbs, and that they find a way to placate his spirit (and put their own nightmares to rest).