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 the Dhampir.
In the folklore of the Balkans, a dhampir is the result of a union between a vampire and a human. It was believed that vampires often came back after death to sleep with their widows, so often a recently widowed woman becoming pregnant would attribute it to her late husband who has supposedly com back.
In many legends a dhampir can be recognized by his or her dark unruly hair or lack of a shadow. In some legends the dhampir is said to lack bones or fingernails. Larger than normal eyes, ears, or teeth were also said to be signs of a dhampir.
A dhampir has many of the strengths of a vampire, such as superior speed and agility, but none of the weaknesses. A dhampir, for example, is able to venture out during the day, and in certain legends, vampires are invisible to everyone except dhampirs. Because of these attributes, dhampirs are particularly effective as vampire hunters.
Despite their striking similarity, the words dhampir and vampire are not related. Dhampir comes from two Albanian words meaning “drink” and “teeth”. In other words, “to drink with the teeth.” Vampire comes to English from Serbian vampir, which is derived from a proto-Slavic root of unclear meaning.