Macedonian vampires

Macedonian names for an unead vampire include:

  • Vompiras
  • Vampiros
  • Vrykolakas
  • Vorkolakas
  • Vroukolakas

The Macedonian undead is sometimes reported as being virtually identical to the undead of southern Greece and the Greek islands. It was often thought to be a corpse animated by a demon. But, while in southern Greece the ways to destroy a vampire were limited to excorcism and cremation, in Macedonia there were other means as well. These include scalding the corpse with boiling oil and then driving a long nail through its navel.

Also, there are vampire hunters who can destroy the vampire when he is outside his grave. This goes along with the belief that undead vampires are sometimes invisible. These vampire hunters claim the power to see the undead even when they are invisible to most people. These include Moslem dervishes and Sabbatarians. Moslem dervishes who posed as professional vampire hunters went from village to village carrying an iron rod with a sharp point at the tope end or a staff with a small axe at the top.

People born on a Saturday were called Sabbatarians. It was believed that Sabbatarians could see vampires invisible to most other people and to have power over them. And so they too sometimes acted as vampire hunters. In one report, a Sabbatarian lured a vampire into a barn where there was a pile of millet. The vampire, by his nature, was compelled to count all the grains. The Sabbatarian then took advantage of the vampire’s pre-occupation by nailing him to a wall.

Some Macedonian vampires preferred the blood of sheep above that of humans. They were said to gleefully ride upon the backs of sheep at night while drinking the animals’ blood.

A prime source of information regarding Macedonian vampires is Macedonian Folklore by G.F. Abbott (Cambridge University Press, 1903) which caqn be found in many college libraries today. The full excerpt from that is given in The Darkling by Jan Petrowski (Slavica Press, 1989).