Sunday, 25 November 2012

Vampire Alert

According to Austrian Times on 24 November,

'Council Issues Vampire Alert

Sales of garlic are booming in western Serbia after the local council issued a public health warning that a vampire was on the loose.

The warning came after an old ruined mill said to once have been the home of the country's most famous monster in the form of vampire Sava Savanovic collapsed.

Sava Savanovic was said to have lived in the old watermill on the Rogacica river, at Zarozje village in the municipality of Bajina Basta where he drank the blood of anybody that came to mill their grain.

Source: Srbija danas

The watermill was bought by the local Jagodic family, and they were too scared to use it as a mill – but discovered it was a goldmine when they started advertising for tourists to come and visit it – always during the day.

But the family were worried about carrying out building work on the mill because they were scared they might disturb the vampire or unleash his wrath if his home was messed around with – and now the property has collapsed through lack of repair.

But for locals it has sparked rumours that the vampire is now free once again.

Local mayor Miodrag Vujetic admitted: "People are worried, 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 added that it was all very well for people who didn't live in the area to laugh at their fears but he said nobody in the region was in any doubt that vampires do exist.

He confirmed that the local council had advised all villagers to put garlic on their doors and windows to protect them from the vampire as it was well known they can't stand the smell.

He added: "We have also reminded them to put a Holy cross in every room in the house."

Villagers who cashed in catering to tourists fascinated by the legend of Sava Savanovic say they now wish they had left the place well alone.'

Local stories on the subject can be found on Srbija danac, 24sata, and Pravda.

A member of the Jagodic family, Slobodan Jagodic, is seen in an older video on the subject below, and at the bottom is a youtube video of the Yugoslav vampire film Leptirica which is based on a story about Sava Savanovic by Serbian author Milovan Glisic.

With thanks to Mort Amsel for informing me of the news story.


James Lyon said...

As of Tuesday evening, the mayor of Bajina Basta (the municipality where Zarozje is located) denied that he or anyone else in municipal government had issued any such warning. However, there is no report as to whether or not the local borough in Zarozje (mesna zajednica) has issued such a warning.

There should be further information on this on Wednesday/Thursday. Even though the Sun, Daily Mail, and Austrian Times have all run the story, I have yet to find it in the local Serbian media.

I drive through the Serbian countryside near Bajina Basta each weekend, and the garlic harvest season appears to have finished in late August. Long braided garlands of garlic have been hung up to dry outside of many homes since then, as is tradition. I myself purchased almost ten such garlands. I have not noted higher garlic prices.

James Lyon said...

The local Serbian media reporting this are tabloids that make the Daily Mail look respectable. While all three articles mention that the watermill has fallen down, none of them mentions a rise in garlic prices, or that the local municipal government has issued a warning.

The article from the "24 Sata" site quotes a municipal councilman, who reflects accurately local attitudes of fear, but none of the articles reflects an official warning about vampires.

I am looking in to this further and will let you know as more information becomes available.

James Lyon said...


Here is a link to what is probably the best researched story to date on what has happened, by ABC News reporter Dada Jovanovic, who earned an excellent reputation for here war-time reporting in the Balkans during the 1990s.

Dada spoke with the city councilman and the wife of the mayor and confirmed that no official warning has been issued. Some of the local residents are indeed quite frightened, while others are more worried by the loss of potential tourism revenues.

The story briefly mentions the historical connections between Serbia and the vampire phenomenon, mentions my book "Kiss of the Butterfly" and includes a few quotes by me...nothing quite like shameless self-promotion. :-)

Niels K. Petersen said...

We kindly thank our indegatigable correspondent in the area for tracking down more information on this news story :-)

As for Kiss of the Butterfly, I refer readers to my

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