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 Bosnian mythology

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PostSubject: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:37 pm



http://mythology.blogger.ba/


According to scientific definition, mythology is a science that studies stories of fantastic content whose heroes are various gods and goddesses, warriors, demons, etc. Seen through the eyes of modern psychology, mythology is a bond that binds the man of today with the past, shapes his identity and even his childhood. No matter the geographic location, culture or period every mythological story whether from a large civilization or a small one is based on a classic Pantheon or more commonly on a dualistic division of fantastical beings and spirits, where humans are in the centre. Today, mythology is present in large numbers of various publications, TV documentaries, art and history itself. Not even movie directors could resist its call and mythology is a constant theme of many films.

Analyzing the legends and stories of a country one can discern a lot about the thinking and behaviour patterns of a given people. Mainly in most of the mythological stories we find a classic fear in humans of disease, death and evil, constant need of upholding the cult of the hero and warrior, love towards his country, family, individual, etc. Besides this, mythological characters represent intractable human imagination, ability to weather the hard times as best as one can, or creation of an authentic identity for a people or a country.

Mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina abounds with various external influences because of its geographical position but also its turbulent history which shaped the Bosnian spirit and imagination. In Bosnia both the East and West always manifested which is clearly evident through mythology where we come across interesting elements of both eastern and western beliefs.

With the above mentioned in mind, the mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be best understood if it is divided into three groups of influence which were the keys to its creation:

a) The old Slavic beliefs (Europe)
b) Bosnian beliefs (Illyrians, Bogumil)
c) Oriental beliefs (Iran, Turkey)

Slavic pagan beliefs were preserved in legends about demons of diseases and generally in negative creatures like vampires (Lampir), Mora (Nightmare), Witch (Sihirbaza), Plague, Cholera, etc.
Remnants of the old Bosnian beliefs of the Bogumil also remained especially in the beliefs about Did Adža, Black bull, mysterious bird Plačo, etc.
The vast number of Oriental beliefs that were brought to Bosnia by the Ottomans originate directly from Iran. By that we mean first and foremost on the belief about angels (Melek), Faeries (Periler), visiting burial grounds (Dobri), etc.



Bosnia-Hercegovina, like its Ottoman, Habsburg, and Yugoslav predecessors, is a multinational state. Today, most citizens identify themselves as one of three groups: Bosniaks (48 percent, Illyrians), Bosnian Croats (14 percent, Slavs), or Bosnian Serbs (37 percent, Slavs). In addition to Illyrians and Slavs, smaller groups Bosnian living in the region for centuries include Germans, Roma (Gypsies), Jews, Romanians, Turks, Hungarians and Albanians (Illyrians). Capital: Sarajevo; Population: 4,007,608


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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:38 pm

Witch (or Naletnica, Sihirbaza): According to a Bosnian belief girls become witches if they wish to cause someone harm, for example, to get revenge on her neighbour, her neighbour's cattle or children. Witches drink children's blood and they take away the milk from cows. While a Mora stops being a Mora as soon as she gets married, the same thing does not apply to witches. They don't lose their title after marriage because they stepped on the Holy Qur'an and they gave their souls to Iblis.
The witch can turn into a large butterfly and enter any house she wants especially the one that has small children in it. When you notice such a butterfly in your house, you must catch it and burn one of its wings on a candle uttering: "Come back tomorrow, I will give you salt" and then let the butterfly out of your house. It is believed that the first woman that comes to that house to ask for some salt is a witch. If she is then told that she visited this house during the night in a form of a butterfly and that she is a witch it is believed that she looses all her demonic powers.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:40 pm

Mora or Nightmare: Bosniaks believe that a Mora is a discarded or cheated girl which uses this form to get back at her boyfriend. In her invisible form she comes every night around midnight and suffocates the young man by sitting on his chest. The young man feels a large pressure on his chest, he sweats and has nightmares. He awakes in the morning pale and feels powerless. It is believed that every girl can turn into a Mora if she surrenders her soul to Iblis.
How does one catch a girl-Mora? From the mosque one must bring a green belt used for tying down a deceased to the stretcher during a funeral. The one who is attacked by a Mora must go to bed holding the green belt in his right hand. He mustn't fall asleep but only keep his eyes closed. Around midnight the Mora will appear and sit on his chest. At that moment the man needs to put the belt on himself and the Mora will become visible to the human eye. Caught in a trap the Mora will be scared and she will start to beg the man not to reveal her secret in return she must swear not to be a Mora any longer. That way she will lose her invisibility power and she will become a normal girl once again.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:41 pm

Snakes inside a human being: All until the half of the past century in smaller places around Bosnia and Herzegovina it was believed that there were snakes that can enter a human body and spend a certain amount of time inside it. Such a scenario would take place if a man fell asleep outside, in the shade of a tree, and opened his mouth during sleep. Allegedly the snake would use that moment if it was in the vicinity and enter his body. She would stay there for days, months even years. The man who had a snake inside him could be recognised by loss of weight and pale face. According to folk belief the snake would eat everything what the man ate not leaving anything for him. In order to cure himself of this mysterious disease the man would be told to lay somewhere outside, on the grass, and fall asleep and one of the inhabitants would bake a chicken and place it next to his mouth. According to belief as soon as the snake would sense the smell of roast meat she would get hungry and would go out and in such a way free the man of its presence.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:41 pm

Cigani: Gypsies were also known among the folk in BIH as children kidnappers. According to folk belief they broke an arm or a leg to the kidnapped child or they blinded him so that it can beg for money in such a disfigured form. To individual gypsy women, magical properties were ascribed which allowed them to mug anyone they wished. Usually they did it with the help of a small finger from a child's corps and by uttering secret magical formulas. For that purpose they usually used a wing from a bat. Gypsies were even mentioned in magical formulas for curing fear such as salijevanje strahe (melting lead) when the stravarka banishes the fear with the following words: "Let the gypsies take your fear and your tears in their sack far away from you!"
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:42 pm

Čifuti: Coming to Bosnia the Jewish people were known as very stingy people to which a dozen sayings witness. That's why they are called Čifuti or misers. But the thing which was most linked to them was the killing of children. This belief about the Jews is not far from the truth because we find written records in Bosnia about the concoction of a magical remedy made out of human parts, called mumijo or mumya, which were made by the Jewish witches or rabbis. They acquired human parts by stealing corpses or by kidnapping and killing Christian and Muslim children. It was believed that during Pasha or some other holiday the Jews steal a child place him in a casserole and sting it with needles until it bleeds out. That's why children were frightened by these words: "Run to your uncle, run to your uncle, sting!" (Bježi amidži, bježi daidži, boc!”) in order for them to stay away from the Jewish homes.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:42 pm

Soul or Duša: according to belief a man should never be woken abruptly because his soul leaves his body while he sleeps and travels around the world without any limitations. There is a similar belief amongst the Bosniaks about witches, they can also travel in the same manner with their physical bodies while they are asleep. When a witch falls asleep her soul exits through her mouth and wanders off to do evil to other humans. Her body then becomes blue and cold, her mouth stretches and her lips blacken. Before dawn her soul returns in a form of a bumble bee and enters her mouth at which moment she awakes abruptly from this mystic state.
It is believed that the souls of children haven't yet completely merged with the body and that their souls wander the world almost every time they fall asleep. Because of this reason mothers who want to move their child while it is sleeping, call the child by its name, or she lightly pulls its nose, wanting to alarm the soul about what is happening at that moment. Immediately the soul returns to the body. Otherwise, if the soul isn't warned, it is believed that the child can get ill or have serious psychological consequences.
Today in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is believed that a dying man's soul can not leave his body until his family and his neighbours "ne halale" (forgive him for his sins).
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:42 pm


Angels or Meleci: it is believed among the people that there are two angels, one of them is blind and the other one is deaf, which are sent by Allah to stir up the clouds and the storm to places where Allah wishes to punish the people because of some sin. If the blind one hears the prayer from the mosque he will immediately redirect the clouds and save that place from the storms. It is further believed that the Šejtan wants to hinder him in his intent and that a fierce fight between them arises. According to the legends when the angel swings his sword towards the Šejtan a lightning flashes in the sky.
When a baby is smiling it is believed that it has seen an angel. The angels are considered to be the protectors of babies because of the baby's purity and impeccability. It is believed that babies are actually angels until the moment when they learn to speak because then they can utter the bad words along with the good ones and so they lose their gracious ability.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:43 pm

Šejtani or Sheitan: they are demonic creatures that are similar to the Jinn. They are less powerful than the Jinn, because when a Šejtan enters a human, the human starts enjoying vices, impurity, lies or theft; but when a Jinn enters a human being, then the person suffers mental illnesses. Šejtan are easily frightened and they run away from humans as soon as the following words are uttered: "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful". A Bosnian legend claims that that the Šejtan was present when the first man, Adam, was created. Namely, when God created the human body, He left it lifeless for three years. Each day the Šejtan would come and observe the human body and he would batter his fingers on the body. When he would reach the human's head, he would batter it to and say: "This head won't be empty". At the passing of the third year Allah gave life to the human and it rose to life. Allah warned the human immediately about the Šejtan and told him not to speak to the first creature that approaches him and not to tell him his name. In the beginning Adam resisted the Šejtan's advances, but after some time he gave in to the Šejtan's blandishment and questions and he started a conversation with the Šejtan. The cunning Šejtan jumped on his left shoulder and exclaimed that he will remain there forever since they are now friends. As soon as God saw what had happened he sent an angel to land on to Adam's right shoulder to stop the Šejtan from influencing the human to do evil all the time.
In Bosnia against the Šejtan there is a saying: "Šejtanu nalet te bilo!"
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:43 pm

Jinn or Džin: demonic creatures that have an aberrant form, which were created out of a flame. The Bosnian people describe the Jinn as small creatures with one eye and a tail. Each Jinn is limping. Even though they can take various human or animal forms they prefer to appear to humans in a form of a dark man (dark silhouette) whose face can never be seen. They also like to show themselves in a form of a black dog, a cat or a snake. It is believed that the Jinn are faithful servants but also masters of witches and wizards. When the Jinn want to seduce and subject someone to them, they dance a fiery circle and call out the name of the one they want. This usually happens when that person is sleeping. Jinn can dance a circle during the day but at that time in a whirlwind, that is why people avoid whirlwinds to this day. It is believed that as soon as the human utters: "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" and blows towards the whirlwind, that the whirlwind will disappear.
A special group of Jinn by the name Al-Karisi attack women who have recently given birth, and babies in the first 40 days after the birth.



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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:44 pm

Dragons or Zmajevi: in the past Bosniaks believed in dragons, they described them as giant snakes with wings that were able to live both in the sky and on the land. It can be concluded from the folklore that dragons were males, there was no mention of a female dragon, and the dragons fulfilled their desire for offspring with human woman and animals, especially cows. According to folklore if a dragon was attracted to a woman, he would come to her room at night or wait for her somewhere outside, on a meadow, and he would use his magical powers to put her in a trance like state. After the intercourse the dragon would fly away and the woman wouldn't have any recollection of the incident.
Fatima K. from Bosanski Novi claimed that she gave birth to a dragon in 1974: "I gave birth inside the house, sometime after midnight, after half an hour of painful labour, out came a child in a white placenta and after a few moments it disappeared?!" She claimed that she never saw the child again and therefore she concluded that she didn't give birth to a "Snijet" but to a dragon. Another confirmation to this claim is that her breasts were full of milk in the evening, but when she woke up in the morning they were all drained. This occurred on a daily basis for a couple of months. Being afraid she told this to her neighbour, an old lady, who in turn told her that it was the dragon-child that came each night to feed himself with her breast milk. After some time the night visits ceased.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:44 pm

Faeries or Vile: Faeries are young beautiful women with long golden hair. They have supernatural beauty and a soothing voice. They live inside forests and around lakes, they fly around trees and they like to dance in circles on the green grass. During that occasion they usually sing one of their many songs whose words worn people about some danger. There's a belief amongst the people that a child who feeds a fairy with his milk will become a great hero, this is best illustrated by the legend of Mujo Hrnjica.

If people hurt the fairy in any way, it will immediately take revenge by making the human psychologically disturbed. Fairies were afraid of mothers, especially in the past. According to a Turkish folklore which found its place amongst the Bosnian people, in the past humans stole the first child of a fairy and ever since then the fairies seek revenge by stealing human children or by exchanging a human child for its own. For this reason Bosnian women would place a metal object, most often a spoon, near baby's feet inside the crib, when they had to leave the house or when they had to do some chores.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina the most famous fairies are Bosanska vila, Gorska vila, and the queen fairy Zlatna. It was believed that Zlatna was the mistress of the forest and the water. Legend has it that every night, Zlatna accompanied by other fairies, went to the river to take a bath and after that they would dance and sing throughout the night on a nearby hillside. Bosnians believe that only those of pure spirit and a clear heart can see fairies in their sleep.
Besides female fairies it is believed that there are male fairies amongst these mythological creatures. The most famous male fairy is Ušušur. According to a legend from Doboj, Ušušur fell in love with a girl, who married another man. Desperate and furious, Ušušur used his magical powers to drown the girl in a river. Comprehending the gravity of his actions, he threw himself in the river after the girl but he couldn't drown himself because he was immortal. Because of this incident he decided to punish himself and he chained himself to the bottom of the river, which became his home. Ušušur is described by the people as green man, ragged and covered in moss.



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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:45 pm

Stuhe: in the past it was believed that stuhe or zduhači were male witches. They possessed magical powers and they were clairvoyant. They usually helped people by performing various miracles and protecting some place from ill weather. They usually moved at night. Amongst the people there are a lot of tales about fights between stuha when there was a fight between the good ones and the bad ones. The most famous zduhači in Bosnia and Herzegovina were Gaibija and Suljo Aganović from Foča.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:45 pm

Prepasti: After WWII in Bosnia rumours started spreading about scary apparitions which were called Prepasti. Usually they appeared on roads, meadows or next to rivers and creeks as obscure, black clouds, silhouette and whirlwinds that would go high into the clouds and sometimes they would turn into scary dark figures. Those supernatural apparitions were described by the people as distempered ghosts of dead soldiers because the places where they usually appeared were battlefields where large number of soldiers died during the war. Prepasti usually appeared in places where the soldiers lost one of their body parts, and according to belief they appeared to search for their lost limbs. Prepasti would disappear forever when the rain completely washes their blood from the soil and when plough furrows their bones into the ground.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:46 pm

Did Adže: belief in this mythological being is characteristic for the south-western part of Bosnia, in Cazin-Velika Kladuša to be more exact, where it is believed that he is a dwarf with a long white beard and black feet who rides a large white rooster. His name stems from the Bogomil name for priests- Did. According to the above mentioned it is clear that this creature is a Bogomil priest from the south-western parts of Bosnia whose name stuck through legends in Bosnia. Did Adže presents a mystical character who was used to scare children into submission. Although in legends Did Adže possesses powers of teleporting, he is the keeper of wisdom and an entrance in the underworld.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:46 pm

Dobri: In Bosnia there is a legend about Šehidi (martyrs) and especially evlije, holy men, that they can help people even after they die and that's why they are called dobri. It is believed that dobri rise from their graves at night and they pray to Allah. Because of that belief people leave jugs (made out of copper) of water and clean towels inside mausoleums in order for the dobri to take ablution (religious cleansing). A large number of people who were in charge of taking care of the mausoleums swore that a lot of the times they saw wet floor from the water and misplaced towels. That was usually interpreted as a dobri rising during the night to take ablution and to pray to God.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:47 pm

Lampir: in Bosnia vampires are called lampir, lapir, lampijer, vukodlak or vukozlačina. It was believed that if a cat crosses over a deceased man that he will become a lampir. Of course the effect would be cancelled out if the cat returns the same way it came. Because people were afraid that this would happen they would place a knife on dead man's chest or they would spike a knife next to his head. There was also a custom where people would place a bowl of wheat or only three grains of wheat where the dead person was lying before he was buried, after the burial the wheat was given to a pauper. There were a lot of lampiers but the most famous ones were Meho from Glamoč, Pajo Tomić and a certain Korkut from Nevesinje.

Bosnian witches were able to call forth the deadly power of the vukodlak by going to a graveyard and repeating the formula: Adali Ada to protect me" and then they would sit next to a grave keeping their eyes closed, and they would grab a handful of dirt and they would take it home. They would hold on to that dirt until one of their enemies would die and they would plant the dirt under the threshold of his house while the deceased is carried out of it. They did this because they wanted someone else dead from that household.
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PostSubject: Snijet   Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:06 pm

In the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 19th and half of the 20th century among the Bosniaks numerous strange cases of mysterious births were mentioned where pregnant women would give birth to strange creatures called by the people "Snijet" (Mola hydalidora). In the medical terminology we are talking about an abnormal product of conception in which the offspring doesn't develop, instead it only proliferates the placenta's embryonic tissue into a timorous formation which is called Mole by the medical profession. The belly of the pregnant woman would grow, imitating a normal pregnancy. Because the Mole is today regarded as a tumor it is natural that such a state is considered life threatening for the pregnant woman. Probably because of this most of Snijet were born during the first three months of the pregnancy.


Most ethological documents agree that the Snijet would leave the pregnant woman during the first three to four months of pregnancy, although some documents that are found in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina claim that the Snijet could be born after nine months of pregnancy. As soon as the pregnancy would prolong itself or get complicated in any way, the midwife would suspect a Snijet, because in such situations the woman would bleed much more than usual and it would take longer for her to recuperate. Even though it was considered a good deed to give birth to Snijet, it was usually killed with a broom and buried where horse manure was stored. According to the beliefs, a woman who would give birth to three Snijet's would immediately, after her death, go into heaven.


Midwife's described the Snijet as a living being that needed to be killed as soon as possible. It had red hue and it was horrible. In the past, under the guise of Snijet a lot of criminal activities (infanticide) were committed, when a woman would want to get rid of her child that she got out of wed lock.


In certain ethnological documents Snijet was often connected to dragons. Namely, in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was believed that dragons could make love to a woman that was sleeping and as a result of that children that were born had dragon origins. Besides women, the dragons impregnated cows. In both cases the dragon child would fly off as soon as it was born in fear of human retribution. However, it would return every night while the woman was sleeping, to feed itself with the milk of its mother. Such women would claim that their breasts were empty in the morning which further sparked the belief that there was a mysterious birth. According to written testimony of such women, they claim that their pregnancy was normal and had all the accompanying symbols of a pregnancy, until after nine months the woman would wake up one morning with an empty belly and her child missing. Such a case would automatically be considered a Snijet or worse a dragon birth and such a case would immediately become a taboo and people avoided talking about it. People thought this appropriate because they didn't want to incur the wrath of the dragons by talking about that event.


Bosnian people describe dragons as winged snakes that fly in the sky usually on days when rain fell during a sunny day. Among the Bosnian people the memory of dragons was relieved through one of its fiercest combatants for freedom and independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, captain Husein Gradaščević called Bosnian Dragon.

Husein kapetan Gradaščević - Zmaj od Bosne

Evidence that such beliefs are not only connected to the glorious past is the National soccer team which is nicknamed Dragons, because the dragon is a symbol of power, strength and freedom.




Dragons - Zmajevi
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PostSubject: Lampir or Vampir   Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:07 pm

Lampir according to Bosnian belief is a dead man, who was possessed by an evil spirit (Jinn) 7 or 40 days after his death, who in turn resurrected him in order to exit his burial place and terrorise the members of his family and various places and drink blood. He is described as a man without bones, inflated like a paunch, full of blood, ragged and hairy, with big eyes and nails; dressed in the clothes he was buried in or wearing a white cloth over his naked body. Bosnian name for vampire is lampir (lepir or lampijer) . Term coming from the folks name of the butterfly – lepir. The according Bosnian beliefs death men from grave, who is become vampire, went to out in shape butterfly and fly.


In Bosnian Posavina ethnological data reveal that people believed that the lampir had eyes of a goat or a goat which he used to hide once he came into contact with humans since they gave him away. Besides the form of a human he can also have various animal forms such as a cat, dog, pig, ox, horse, mouse, bat, etc. He exits the grave though a small hole since he has the ability to elongate himself, but once he gets out he becomes large and grotesque and he makes sounds by shouting in various voices. He appears always after midnight and walks around the graves and its immediate vicinity.

When a lampir goes around a house he is followed by the noise of ten sieves, sieving the ground. He often brings some dirt from his grave and offers to some inhabitants to smell it and then sneeze. If someone says "healthy" to that person than he won't turn into a vampire; if not then he will turn into one. There are a lot of documented stories about the lampir's nightly visits, this is one of them: around Prijedor there is a Muslim graveyard. Next to it there is a Christian house. When a religious student stopped by, the housewife told him the following: "For a couple of nights we have been disturbed by a vampire. In the late night hour he throws stones at the house so forcefully that the boards on the roof started to break. Two nights ago I went out to see who is throwing rocks at our house - but as soon as I stepped out there was an eerie silence and I didn't see anyone. And as soon as I went back into the house it started again. This continued until dawn. Then I visited the graveyard, looked at all the graves, and I spotted a hole in one of the graves. I placed a large stone onto it but it was in vain, because the vampire threw stones again last night."

The standard assumption that garlic and hawthorn are a sure defence mechanism against a vampire are not true in Bosnia which can be ascertained through the following story: "A woman by the name of Aćima died in a village called Stupari, and the people started to talk that Aćima started to return to her house after midnight. The inhabitants and her husband testified to this claim, then the villagers gathered around and dug up her grave and saw her peaking at them through one eye, then they put a hawthorn stake through her. The next night a member of Aćima's household got sick, that member claimed that Aćima came back again walked around the house not saying anything, and that she took three pieces of garlic with her before she left. The family and their neighbours dug up her grave again and they found her lying on her side and the three pieces of garlic were placed around her. They made a big fie around her and once they burned her they closed the grave again. Since then the lampir Aćima was never heard from again.

One of the more interesting beliefs of how one becomes a vampire was recorded in Vlasenica - that is if someone walks over a yarn. This happened to an ethnologist: "Two girls who were weaving a yarn asked me to go over a yarn once I stepped over it. I didn't want to but they were persistent because if I didn't a great evil would befall me. When I asked what could happen they answered that I should step over it again and that they would tell me. Once I did what they asked, they said that if I didn't step over it again that I would become a vampire once I died and if they were alive when that happened he would seek them out and kill them."

TRACES OF VAMPIRISM IN BOSNIA

According to the claims of the author of the insert of the show "Galileo Mystery", in 1731 in a place Međeđa near Višegrad the earliest place of vampirism was recorded. It all began with a sudden death of 14 people. Since the deaths were not preceded by an illness the locals ascribed the deaths to vampirism. Allegedly in order to be certain of their claims, they dug up the graves a few days later and in them they found the bodies untouched! The insert didn't offer any concrete details which would substantiate this story from Međeđa, but the written documents about vampires from the time of Austro-Hungarian rule were shown which can now be found in the city archives of Vienna.

The German psychologist Sibel Balta researched these documents, she researched the mysteries connected to vampires for years. She explained that the documents refer to the Serbian village Kišeljevo and the Bosnian village Međeđa, in the 18th century a lot of unresolved murder mysteries occurred there. According to the available scriptures, Austro-Hungarian physicians paid more attention to the cases in Kišeljevo because of the king's decree, and because of the insistence of the villagers they dug up graves which were believed to hold vampires.

Balta further claims that the documents held incredible details. They say that the physicians exhumed the bodies which seemed untouched and unharmed. According to their report the skin of the bodies was pinkish in colour and in their mouths they found traces of blood. The physicians documented that the bodies seemed as if alive after death. Considering the fact that doctors of that time didn't have the means to explain what they saw, they came to the same conclusion as the locals that the deceased were the victims of vampires. They even approved the ritual of putting a hawthorn stake through their hearts, which was at that time considered as an effective cure against vampires.

However, Dr. Balta claims after researching vampires herself, today almost 300 years after Međeđa and Kišeljevo that the story of vampires hides a serial killer. To uncover clues and substantiate her claims Balta announced a visit to Bosnia.








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PostSubject: Illyrians legend from Velika Kladuša   Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:08 pm

Based upon the Greek legend Illyrius, progenitor of the Illyrians was a son of Polyphemus and Galatea and the brother of Celtus and Galas. Illyrius children, Auterius, Enchelus, Perrhaebus, Taulus, Daortho, Dissaro and Partho are the heroes of the epic poetry of Illyrian tribes. In this legend Illyrius is closely associated with a snake; she wrapped around him after being born and thus gave him all its magical powers. Modern philology aims to prove that etymologically names of Illyrians and the mentioned animal, plying the important role in the Illyrian religion, are connected.

As Japods occupied the entire territory of present-day Northwestern Bosnia, and elsewhere, it is logical to assume that they preserved and passed, on each generational shift, some of the old Illyrian legends. Such is a legend form Velika Kladusa about a father with seven sons which reassemble the Greek one. That legend describes the giant snake that guards the Gods treasure. She was living in a deep den near Velika Kladusa, in a suburb called a Rudnik. At a time when Romans achieve military superiority over the Bosnian land, there was an Illyrian family – father of seven sons and one daughter. Life was modest but nice until the day when children, out of sheer wantonness and youthful exuberance placed the flatbread on the stone and hit it with a spear. Horrified with this sacrilege of wheat, a gift of the Gods that feeds people, the father tried to reason the children and prevent them of throwing the spear to the flatbread, but in vain.
Suddenly something strange happened and forced the young man to stop their game – the flatbread started to bleed?! Seeing this strange omen, the father grabbed his head with his hands and wept because at that moment he realized that the Gods will punish them for blasphemy.
Shortly after this event, all seven sons lost their sanity and scattered to all four corners of the World and any track of them got lost. The father died from deep sorrow for his sons. The only one that remained in the deserted house was the daughter, drowned in grief for her late father and lost brothers, but even she was spared of Gods’ punishment, because she was the one who baked the flatbread. They turned her into a huge snake and decided that she would guard their gold and gems until the moment when young man comes, enough brave to let the snake kiss his forehead.

Many centuries passed since then, the story about the snake-girl slowly became a legend, which is told in the long winter nights. Each spring, on the Hidrelez holiday, the girl would come out from the hole in her new shape repeating the same plea: “Help me! Is there any man, of any faith to let me kiss his forehead, so I would become his wife or sister?” Many knew about her said words but there was no one brave enough to liberate her from the curse and become rich.
But, one spring before the arrival of Hidrelez, a poor young man decided, persuaded by an old woman from the village, to go and let the snake kiss him. – Anyway, as poor as I am, I have nothing to loose, he was encouraging himself. He arrived at down to the hole in the ground, where the snake lived for centuries and waited on her. Soon, from the darkness of the large hole appeared the snake’s huge head followed by her long body. Seeing huge snake before him, the young man got paralyzed with fear. He could not move. But the moment the snake approached him to give him a kiss the young man pushed her and run away. The young man was running thinking that snake would go after him, but something quite different happened. She just looked after him sadly and said: - Let God gives you my sadness and loneliness, and makes you die since I can not!” After that she returned back into her hole. Shortly after this event, the unfortunate young man turned seriously ill and after great pain and suffering he died.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:10 pm

The name Illyrian has a root "Illur" which means a snake. Even the mythical forefather of the Illyrians was depicted in the shape of a snake. Because all of that in the mythological and religious system of the Illyrians the snake has been confirmed as an old cult animal which played a central role. In it they saw their heavenly protector but also a national symbol. The snake was considered to be the protector of the household and that belief has been retained in Bosnia throughout many centuries until today. It is interesting to mention that today among the older inhabitants a dragon is described as a huge winged serpent, and the folk myths mention mysterious dragon births and snake invading human bodies. All of the above mentioned point to a deep connection of the Bosnians of today with their Illyrian roots.



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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:04 am

Velika nebeska ptica: in the past in Bosnia the custom to throw peelings from fruit into the fire in order to feed the celestial bird were honoured. It was considered to be a good deed. According to a legend, Allah punished her to fly around the skies until the end of time without an opportunity to descend to earth and rest. The large celestial bird was punished by god because she wanted to defy gods will and at one opportunity she made a bet with god that she will change the fate of a girl and a boy that god had predetermined as husband and wife. The large celestial bird took the girl and carried her off to the tallest mountain among humans, far away from everyone. At the highest peak of the mountain, the bird spread the skin of an ox across the branches of the gigantic tree and placed the girl there. She took care of her for years until she grew into a fine young woman. In the mean time on the other side of the world the boy also matured into a handsome and strong young man who one day headed into the world to find himself a wife. He wondered around the world until his fate led him to the tall mountain. Weary from his journey he decided to rest under the exact giant tree that the girl lived on. She saw him and immediately fell in love with him. She asked him what was he doing under the tree and he replied that he was looking for a wife. The girl called him up, but the tree was so tall that he couldn't climb up nor could she climb down. Suddenly the girl came up with a solution and asked the young man to hide inside a sheep skin and remain there until she tells him otherwise. He did exactly what she told him. Not long after that the large bird came, the girl told her that she had seen a dead sheep underneath the tree and asked the bird to fetch it for her so she can make some clothes for herself out of its wool. The bird did as the girl told and flew off in search for some food.

The young man remained with the girl for a whole year, hiding from the large bird, and during that period she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. Allah who was observing what was going on the whole time called the bird to him and asked - Do you still believe that my will can be changed? - Yes, replied the bird. Then god replied that she was the one who brought the young man to the girl and helped them in consummating their love.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:26 am

Cikavac (Squeaker): Cikavac is a demonic creature which is created by a witch or an evil woman to serve her. The first egg given by a black chicken is taken and the witch keeps it under her left arm for 40 days until a Cikavac emerges. During that time the woman mustn't wash her face or mention God because otherwise the ritual will not work. When the Cikavac emerges he looks like a bladder or bellows and he has a voice just like a little chicken. The witch sends him to eat milk from the neighbouring stalls every night. At dawn the Cikavac returns to the witch and ejects all the milk and fat that she then eats or sells to others. The people believe that it is a great sin to create a Cikavac.
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:27 am

Cholera : Cholera is considered to be a powerful demon of disease that usually comes at night, around midnight, in a carriage without horses and after which the sound of long chains being drawn on the ground can be heard. According to folk belief there are always two female demons in the carriage wearing traditional Muslim clothes holding staffs in their hands. One has a black staff and the other a white one. If a man is struck by the white staff he will fall ill but will recover over time, however if he is hit by a black one then he will die soon and there is no help for him. The two female demons are not scared of a dog bark nor can they be scared away by curses or prayers like many other demons of disease
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PostSubject: Re: Bosnian mythology    Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:30 am

Bik Garonja (Black Bull): old Bosniaks believed that the Earth rests on the back of a giant black bull. When the bull moves his ear then an earthquake takes place somewhere in the world, and on the day when the bull shudders the whole world will come to an end (Judgement day). The tumult that is heard during the earthquake is believed to be the bulls bellow.
According to the second version of this myth underneath the Earth's surface there is a huge sea which is inhabited by a gigantic fish. On her back there is a huge bull holding the Earth on his back and in such a way prevents it from falling into the sea. When the bull moves one of his ears the Earth shakes and somewhere in the world there is an earthquake, but if he would move one of his legs or another part of his body the entire Earth would fall into the ocean. To prevent that dramatic scenario, God created a fly which constantly flies in front of the bull's eyes, of which he is afraid of, paralysing him from fear so that he cannot move.
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