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 Living dead - lampiri

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PostSubject: Living dead - lampiri   Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:56 pm

Vampire is a Bulgarian word, which comes from north Turkish word upir. That's why there is a logical question - did the belief in vampires even exist before the advent of the Ottomans to the Balkans?! According to the available data we can conclude that such mythological beliefs in the territory of the Balkans did not exist until the Ottomans came, which confirmed by the issue "Karadžić svesci" from 1900 where folk tales are described about how Muhammad became a vampire since "the Turks took care that no one leapt over Muhammad and not if someone stole him, since they believed in vampires".



The first known vampire in the Balkans is the one from Istra, Jure Grando, whose existence was documented in 1689. Jure Grando from a place Kringa, not far from Pazin, died in 1656 when Stipan Milašić decapitated him with an axe. There are testimonies about Jure the vampire in the work "Slava vojvodine Kranjske" from the Slovenian historian Janez Vajkarda Valvazor (Johann Weikhard von Valvasor).

Among the Bosnian people, both in BiH and Sandžak (Sanjak), the most widespread name for a vampire is lampir. According to etymology the name lampir stems from the folk name for a butterfly - lepir, lampijer, which is confirmed by the Bosnian belief that the vampire exits the grave through a small hole in the ground in the shape of a butterfly. In Serbia and Montenegro lampir is often called ukolak, which is why in some places in Bosnia we come across the name vukodlak (werewolf), though he has no real connection with the lampir.

Prevalent opinion about the lampir among the Bosnian folk is animistic i.e. it is a "rogue spirit" of a man who died i.e. his spirit mysteriously received such power that even without a soul it can temporarily resurrect a dead body:

-"But, in order to die we must be born, feel life for at least a moment, in order for our spirit and soul to achieve a balance, since without this alignment with two universal principles, or with two deities of our forefathers Bogomils, we cannot enter the adventure called death. Folk wisdom claims that the spirit is the representative of the god of evil and the soul, pure and holly, it represents the god of good inside of us. While the spirit has the possibility to, usually at night while the man is sleeping, go out of the body and travel the world and also perform some weird, often bad things and bring us into various temptations, the soul is firmly fixed for the human body and there is no possibility of exiting it until death"

Lampiri are socially aware. They know how to return to their home, make love to their spouse or disturb the neighbours by throwing rocks on their roof. Business is not strange to them, namely, "some lampir, stemming from Herzegovina, had his own store in Sarajevo where he sold all goods by a yardstick (scales), so when they pierced him in his birth place, they forcefully tried to break his store, but the store was nothing more but spider web and snowdrift. When people find out that someone in the village has become a vampire, then they make a fire on that person's grave and they sharpen a hawthorn stick to puncture the dead person's stomach. When a strong stick has been made with hammers it is bashed to bring him into the grave." In the descriptions of the treatment of the lampir among the Bosnian people we cannot but notice an almost identical treatment toward the soul and the dead which the angels Azrail and Džibril have according to Bosnian mythology:

-"Such belief confirms the belief that when the deceased is buried he is visited in the grave by angels, judges, Azrail and Džibrail. They question the deceased about his good deeds and sins, and if he is sinful they hit him and bury him into the ground. Folk claim that they can bury him up to 77 meters into the ground".(Soul and death in Bosnian tradition, author Raif Esmerović)

Making a fire on the grave is obviously alluding to the fire from hell which swallows the souls of the evil and sinful people. It is used to scare the deceased, moreover, give him a mortal fear so that the spirit runs from the body, which will then be decapitated and made unsuitable for use by puncturing its stomach. Lampiri can be very aggressive.

According to the documented case of Ahmed Ramov Mujović from Montenegro who got into a fight with this supernatural being. Coming back home one night from ploughing, "something stopped his oxen and they couldn't move forward". Seeing this he shouted: "Please if you are ukolak, but a devil, but a human, move away, by my faith I will return again". Then he went home, took his sabre, two pistols and a rifle and returned to that place where he shouted: "Where are ye that has waited for me?" at that moment ukolak appeared. They fought until the roosters sounds were heard. Tomorrow Ahmed came back to that same spot and found out that it was a lampir. He followed the bloody trail and arrived at the yard of the family Puranović. They found him there in the grave, they burnt him with quicklime and stuck him on to a stake made out of the tree Prunus spinosa.
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