Move over, Dracula, here comes Petar Blagojevic!
You can’t blame the folks in the Serbian village of Kisiljevo for wanting to cash in. They took a look at all the tourism dollars Romania is raking in and wondered if they couldn’t score a little bit of that action for themselves. Romania is the homeland of Vlad III, the historical Dracula. His castle is there—both of them, in fact, along with the site of the fictional one from the novel. His burial site is there—both of them! (One of them is empty.) His birthplace is there. As much as it irritates many modern Romanians, their country is Dracula-Land. (I’m sure all that money helps the bitter pill to go down easier.) But how can Kisiljevo hope to capitalize on the vampire craze? They have a vampire of their own—maybe—one Petar Blagojevic! I say “maybe” because the grave in Kisiljevo purported to belong to Blagojevic might not be his at all. Blagojevic, however, DID live and die—and purportedly come back to life—in Kisiljevo in 1725.
“We have one thing no other village in the world has,” brags Serbian folklorist Mirko Bogicic. “We have the Kisiljevo vampire.” Mirko points out how well the case of Blagojevic was documented at the time. Viennese newspapers of the period reported on the investigation overseen by a representative of the Hapsburg ruling family, after locals demanded action be taken. Blagojevic had resurrected, they said, and kept showing up in the village demanding food and shoes and assaulting family members and neighbors. (Why did he need shoes? Maybe the ones they’d buried him in weren’t satisfactory?)
“They found the body intact,” says Bogicic, “with his beard and nails visibly grown… they quickly prepared a hawthorne stake and he was stabbed with it…[then the] wounds, and mouth and ears all bled fresh, red blood.”
I hope they succeed in making the village a tourist destination. I’d pay them a visit if I were in the area. Their biggest hurdle to overcome, however, is the fact that Blagojevic lacks the name recognition of Dracula, and that’s an understatement. Fortunately for Serbia, Blagojevic isn’t their only vampire. Far from it.
Here’s what I suggest: the lovely state of Mississippi, home of the “Delta Blues,” has what is known as the “Blues Trail,” connecting locations important to the musical Artform and the musicians who created it. (Like the crossroads where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent.) You can drive from one to the next and see them all. That’s what Serbia needs, a connected trail of vampire sites. Somebody get on that.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!