Monster Monday: Vampire Pumpkins and Watermelons

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about Vampire Pumpkins and Watermelons.

A potential vampire pumpkin
A potential vampire pumpkin

Vampire pumpkins and watermelons are a folk legend among the Gypsies of the Balkans. It is said that a pumpkin or a watermelon may become a vampire if it is left outside during a full moon after it is ripe. It may also become a vampire if it is kept longer than ten days or kept after Christmas.

Vampire pumpkins and watermelons can be identified by drops of blood that form on the skin. They can also move on their own and make low growling sounds. At night they roll around and try to bite people, but they are never successful because they don’t have mouths. A vampire pumpkin or watermelon can be destroyed by placing it in a pot of boiling water, then scrubbing it with a broom and burning the broom.

The only scholarly reference to vampire pumpkins and watermelons is from Serbian ethnologist Tatomir Vukanović, who recorded the belief in a few Gypsy villages in what is now Kosovo, leading to speculation that the locals were actually just playing a trick on him.

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