Dhampir (Slovakia)

A Dhampir in Balkan folklore is the child of a vampire father and a human mother, with vampire powers but none of the weaknesses. A dhampir is believed to have the unique ability to see vampires, even when these are invisible, and is unusually adept at killing them.


The word "dhampir" is associated with the folklore of the Roma people of the Balkans, whose beliefs have been described by T. P. Vukanovic. In the rest of the region, terms such as Serbian vampirovic, vampijerovic, vampiric (thus, Bosnian lampijerovic, etc.) literally meaning "vampire's son", are used. In other regions the child is named "Vampir" if a boy and "Vampiresa" if a girl, or "Dhampir" if a boy and "Dhampiresa" if a girl. In Bulgarian folklore, numerous terms such as glog (lit. "hawthorn"), vampirdzhiya ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), vampirar ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), dzhadadzhiya and svetocher are used to refer to vampire children and descendants, as well as to other specialized vampire hunters.

In the Balkans it is believed that male vampires have a great desire for women, so a vampire will return to have intercourse with his wife or with a woman he was attracted to in life. Indeed, in one recorded case, a Serbian widow tried to blame her pregnancy on her late husband, who had supposedly become a vampire, and there were cases of Serbian men pretending to be vampires in order to reach the women they desired. In Bulgarian folklore, vampires were sometimes said to deflower virgins as well. A vampire may also move to a village where nobody knows him and marry and have children there. The sexual activity of the vampire seems to be a peculiarity of South Slavic vampire belief as opposed to other Slavs, although a similar motive also occurs in Belarusian legends.

Some traditions specify signs by which the children of a vampire can be recognized. Serbian legends state they have a large head and lack a shadow.; in Bulgarian folklore, possible indications include being "very dirty", snub-nosed or even noseless, having a soft body, no nails and bones (the latter physical peculiarity is also ascribed to the vampire itself), and "a deep mark on the back, like a tail".

Among all Balkan peoples it is believed that the child of a vampire has a special ability to see and destroy vampires. Among some groups, the ability to see vampires is considered exclusive to dhampirs. The powers of a dhampir may be inherited by the dhampir's offspring. Various means of killing or driving away vampires are recognized among peoples of the region, but the dhampir is seen as the chief agent for dealing with vampires. Methods by which a dhampir kills a vampire include shooting the vampire with a bullet, transfixing it with a hawthorn stake, and performing a ceremony that involves touching "crowns" of lead to the vampire's grave. If the dhampir can't destroy a vampire, he may command it to leave the area.

A dhampir is always paid well for his services. The amount of money varies, but there is never bickering over the price. Standard pay for a dhampir may also include a meal or a suit of clothing. Sometimes a dhampir is paid in cattle, jewelry or women.

Charlatans traveling the regions around the Carpathian Mountains, Balkans and elsewhere in Eastern Europe would claim to be dhampirs. They were believed to be the only ones who could see the spirit and would put on elaborate shows for villages. Once fear, grief and superstition took hold in a village following a recent death, the dhampir would "come to the rescue".

 

 

Fanged Films

USA, 1988
Fright Night II / Noche de Miedo Parte 2
USA, 2005

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

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The Men Who Drink Blood!
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Blood Red Tear