As we await the definitive proof of the existence of Sasquatches (Sasquatchi) to clear peer review and be published, we here at Foster Disbelief will pass the time with a new series: Things More Likely Than Bigfoot!
For part one of our series, we will travel to Zarozje, Serbia, by way of Salon:
“One should always remain calm, it’s important not to frighten him, you shouldn’t make fun of him,” said villager Mico Matic, 56, whose house is not far from the collapsed mill.
Oh, a collapsed mill? My interest is peaked! Who is this mysterious “him.”
Some locals say it’s easy for strangers to laugh at them, but they truly believe.
“Five people have recently died one after another in our small community, one hanging himself,” said Miodrag Vujetic, a local municipal council member. “This is not by accident.”
Five deaths, one by hanging? Outsiders laughing at the superstitious locals? I can feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Do go on.
“He is just one of the neighbors, you do your best to be on friendly terms with him,” he said with a wry smile, displaying garlic from both of his trouser pockets.
So apparently you will be fine if you just treat this mysterious “him” in kind ways, as any other neighbor. I’m sure, however, this “him” is vicious if you cross him. Wait. Did he say garlic?
“The story of Sava Savanovic is a legend, but strange things did occur in these parts back in the old days,” said 55-year-old housewife Milka Prokic, holding a string of garlic in one hand and a large wooden stake in another, as an appropriately moody mist rose above the surrounding hills. “We have inherited this legend from our ancestors, and we keep it alive for the younger generations.”
Yes, he said garlic. And she is holding a wooden stake. Which means that old Sava is a, wait for it, vampire! (Cue ominous music.)
But before you reach for your crosses and stakes, prior to making a trip to Whole Foods for some garlic cloves, realize that these locals may not be warning you of this vampiric menace out of the purest of motives. Just like American politics, this is all about the money.
They say rumors that a legendary vampire ghost has awakened are spreading fear – and a potential tourist opportunity – through the remote village.
A local council warned villagers to put garlic in their pockets and place wooden crosses in their rooms to ward off vampires, although it appeared designed more to attract visitors to the impoverished region bordering Bosnia.
Remember the council member talking about the five deaths earlier? His further statements:
Vujetic, however, said that “whatever is true about Sava,” locals should use the legend to promote tourism.
“If Romanians could profit on the Dracula legend with the tourists visiting Transylvania, why can’t we do the same with Sava?”
If you are planning to travel to Europe next year, stop by this region and spend a little money. It is an impoverished region, and the people in the area have been through hell with the conflicts and war that have taken place in Serbia and Bosnia. You can hear a vampire legend and go on a vampire search, and help people massively less privileged than yourself.
Who knows? You may even run into Sava himself.
It is more likely than Bigfoot, after all.