The Greeks believed that a human could become a Vrykolakas after death by having lived an ungodly life, being buried on unconsecrated ground, being excommunicated or by having eaten the meat of a lamb that had been injured or killed by a wolf. Some Greek legends insinuate that even a werewolf could become one of the Vrykolkas upon it’s death. Individuals that had red hair and grey eyes were suspected of having been one of the undead, which I find intriguing as other ancient vampire lore states that any vampire with red hair was a direct descendant of Judas Escariot’s cursed blood line.
Unlike other undead beings from surrounding continents, the Greek Vampire was not an attractive creature. Legends state that the Vrykolakas appears to be completely drained of it’s blood, but once the vampire had fed, he would swell into a blood gorged creature before returning to it’s grave. Greek legends state that this was the only time that the destructive creature could meet it’s demise. The Vampire was said to return to it’s grave every Saturday, but would rise again the following day to wreak havoc upon nearby residents. The Vrykolakas was said to have a wide range of activity, ranging from merely wandering from it’s grave to performing poltergeist-like activities. Some legends state that the Vampire would knock at a perspective victims door, if the person would open the door on the first knock they were certain to arise the next day as one of the undead. The legend lingers to this day, a traditional Greek household will only open the door upon the second knock.
The Vrykolakas has been in ancient Greek history for centuries and is still prevalent to this day. A tale said to have occurred sometime in the 1950’s can be found in the in The book of vampires, it goes something like this:
A husband and wife that loved each other dearly began to have problems as the husband had lost his job and become severely depressed. The man began to go out all night and would not return home until the following morning. This of course caused the wife to become deeply concerned and afraid as she would be left alone night after night. By the time the wife realized that her husband had been drinking heavily he had already become an alcoholic. One evening the wife had him followed on his nightly outing, the follower came to a tree on the edge of town where the man was known to sit and drink. There hanging from the tree was the body of her husband. The wife was devastated and soon began to act irrationally. She would stay indoors at all times and refuse to open the door for visitors. On her seldom trips away from her home, people noticed that she had become pale and sickly. Eventually she would confess to the town’s religious official that she had been being haunted by her dead husband. It seemed that on the first night after his body was found hanging from the tree, he had returned to his home and knocked at the door. He begged his wife to let him in as he said something about needing his shoes. The wife was terrified but allowed her husband into the home. The visits continued on a nightly basis from there on out, the wife had even admitted to having lain with her husband every night for several consecutive months. The religious official became concerned for the safety of the town and decided that they would destroy the Vrykolakas. Having committed suicide and then being buried on unconsecrated ground had surely turned the man, the officials would plot his demise according to ancient legend. The townspeople eventually found the man’s dead body, shriveled and disheveled he lay as they prepared to drive a wooden stake through his heart. Eyewitness accounts state that the man moaned as the stake was inserted, other accounts said that his body turned to dust upon completion of his writhing. Now having freed themselves from the Vrykolakas, the town would have another problem to deal with, his now pregnant wife. Unfortunately the tale ends here, one could only imagine from this point what came to be of the widow and her unborn spawn.
Stay tuned for more vampire legends as well as tidbits from the Adrian Trilogy!