Plague and Vampires

Plague and Vampires

After all, the word ‘vampire’ was introduced to the English speaking world from Serbia when the March 11,1732 edition of the London Journal used the word in association with the Arnont Paule case.” Forward, After 90 Years: The Story of Serbian Vampire Sava Savanovic, Andrew M Boylan

As if being in a Habsburg Crypt is not enough reminder of death, memento mori abound. We’ll all be reduced to bones someday.

Plagues have strange effects on people.  In Europe, where 1/3 to 1/2 the population was lost to the Black Death, people became obsessed with the outward trappings.  Dancing skeletons, grim reapers, and artistically rendered decomposing corpses  were the stylist decor of the day.  Fourteenth century fashionistas would also include demons, and the most edgy would picture grotesque animals feeding on dying people.  

Human minds to interesting things to come to grips with uncomfortable truths.  For lowly peasants it was comforting to know that even the most powerful men would eventually become worm food, just like everyone else.  

In case one might forget, a permanent mosaic of what awaits can be prominently displayed.

The Muslim world was hit just as hard by the plague as Europe, but different world views create different reactions.  The plague was just a natural event that had always happened and would always happen.  Thus the artistic lack of gleeful skeletons dancing like drunken Cossacks  and graveside depictions of viziers as suppurating corpses.   

So what is a Christian under Ottoman rule during the ravages of plague to do?

Bring back the vampire, of course.

Bring back the vampire, then stake the vampire so it doesn’t come back yet again. Also possibilities: having the vampire’s head cut off by a specialized gypsy, burning the corpse, and decorating with garlic.

Really, it makes total sense that that vampire would come about at the crossroads of empires. Competing world views make for interesting mythos; and, perhaps, the most terrifying.

For more on Vampires in the Balkans:
From Plague to Vampires

The Vampire Proof

Balkan Vampire Book Reviews:
The Kiss of the Butterfly

After 90 Years: The Story of Sava Savonavich


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