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March 16, 2010

Vrykolakas

Vrykolakas is a greek mythological creature with many attributes of the vampire.  It is one of the oldest vampire related myths, and the myth has shown an evolution from a supernatural form to a revenant form.  In history, vampire myths originated describing vampires as being supernatural beings, often demonic in nature.  Over time these myths changed, and the vampire was gradually seen to be a revenant, or an undead being.  The Greek vrykolakas originated as a demonic supernatural being but later grew into a revenant undead being.

        Supernatural:  Inhuman being, with demonic attributes, like a spectre.   Often has special powers over humans. 

        Revenant:  An undead entity; once a live human who has now returned to the world of the living after their death.

Vrykolakas is a term derived from the Romanian term vircolac.  Vrykolakas has connections to werewolves in its etymology, and is described as a creature that devours the sun and the moon.  Vrykolakas are seen as poltergeist like creatures that do not feed directly from humans by sucking blood, but the Vrykolakas did kill humans – by sitting on a sleeping victim’s chest and suffocating them.  The vrykolakas is said to knock on the doors of homes, and if the residents do not answer right away, the creature will pass on to the next residency.  Therefore, it’s a superstitition in Greece to wait until the second knock before answering a door, to avoid a sticky confrontation with a vrykolakas. 

vrykolakas

A person can become a vrykolakas if they don’t receive a proper burial, if they die violently, or if they lived a sinful life.  Vrykolakas are active during the daytime, but are constrained to their coffins from Saturday evening to Sunday morning, so vampire slayers in Greece often performed their duties at this time.

And boy, were there vampire slayers!  The island of Santorini is said to have the most vrykolakas, as bodies were often transported to the island to prevent contamination of undead beings on the mainland (it was believed that the vrykolakas couldn’t travel over the sea, so once in Santorini, they stayed put).  Due to these legends of high vrykolakas activity on the island, many Greeks took up arms against the vrykolakas.  Vampire hunters achieved high status in Greek societies, nearly on the same footing as scribes and healers.   

For more information regarding this myth, check out this site.  The information I found here jived well with my other sources, and the article is an interesting read!

Filed by at March 16th, 2010 under Legends/Folklore
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