This paper wishes to excavate the long-forgotten and dormant vampires that once used to frighten the living daylights out of people from Eastern and Central Serbia, so as to explain who they were/are as well as how they operated within their respective societies. Marija Šarović, a contemporary Serbian scholar on the subject of vampires, observes that in Serbian literature, the vampire appears only in realistic prose during the last couple of decades of the nineteenth century, although there were earlier traces of the same. Moreover, the oldest existing document where the term vampire is mentioned in Serbia, she adds, dates back to the second half of the thirteenth century. The terms werewolf and vampire were identical in Serbia, as defined by the entry “vukodlak” (werewolf) in the first Serbian dictionary written by the father of modern Serbian language, Vuk Stefanović-Karadžić, in 1818.
Vampire slaying is a practice that goes far back in the past. Even though the belief in vampires can be found in many cultures throughout the world, the most detailed and the most famous accounts of vampire epidemics came from the eighteenth-century Serbia, thus perhaps introducing the term vampire to the western world.