Friday, May 27, 2011

The Vampire Ziku

The Balkans have always provided fertile ground for the supernatural and especially for legends pertaining to vampires and vampirism.

Epic novels such as Stoker’s Dracula and Le Fanu’s Carmilla have as their source tales from the Balkans, a region that's rich in folklore.It is a well known fact that Stoker’s Dracula (son of the devil in Romanian) used Vlad the Impaler as an inspiration and source, while Carmila, Le Fanu’s lascivious lesbian vampire has close associations with the blood thirsty lesbian Hungarian aristocrat, Elizabeth Bathory.

One of the less known bloodthirsty stalkers that terrorized the Balkan area, between the borders of Greece and all the way up to Hungary, was a vampire by the name of Ziku Silivaos.The main reason that Ziku is pretty much a stranger to world fiction in particular and to vampire chronicle writers in general, has to do with the general population’s disdain towards mentioning his name, or anything having to do with this particular night stalker.

Information about the vampire Ziku can only be extracted, with much effort, from Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian or former Yugoslavian peasants. Evidently, he operated effectively, if not efficiently, in all these parts of the European “gunpowder” region.Not only is information rare and available only orally, but any information pertaining to this vampire is strangely communicated with dismay, rather than fear. Indeed, it seems that most individuals that remember, through tradition or personal experience, anything about this vindictive bloodsucker prefer not to discuss details.

Ziku’s name or anything pertaining to his life and times, or untimely death is miscommunicated or not communicated because of general disgust with the individual, rather than fear.From the bits and pieces of information and confidential correspondence that exist in private unpublished material, Ziku the vampire had a reputation of being a conniving, craven, devious and untrustworthy individual when he walked the planet.His mischief and general ill treatment of individuals’ in need, and ill will towards humanity provoked anger and disgust in the towns and cities that he dwelled in, and outcries that reached the very gates of Heaven.

Ziku Silivaos provoked such anger, mistrust, disgust and contempt amongst his fellow creatures to the point that when he was finally stricken by gangrene, humanity spurned him, simply abandoned him and left him to rot away in his dark shadowy forgotten lair Silivaos called a home. His death went unnoticed and he was buried in an unmarked grave on hallowed ground.

As legend has it, his soul was turned away from St. Peter’s Gate, and barred from entering the pits of hell. He was effectively cursed to walk the earth in endless night, feeding on the living plasma of humans, rodents and reptiles.Some believe that Ziku the vampire was eventually trapped by Bulgarian peasants, disemboweled decapitated and incinerated, while others swear they have witnessed sightings of him in the Mountains of Voras and Gramos.

Most connoisseurs of the Ziku chronicles, however, believe that he is hiding in some shadowy corner, like some dark scavenger or rodent, quietly hissing away and patiently awaiting and anticipating more favorable times, the tide to change, or “the sea to give up the dead.”

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