Blood Sucking Fiends Part 3: The Return Of Peter Blagojevic

The magic of the silver screen has taken the vampire and turned it into an anti-hero of sorts. Ever since Bela Lugosi appeared in the film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this creature that lurks in the darkness of night has been presented very specifically. Vampires are either well-dressed handsome gentlemen, or as lovely young women beguiling their victims with their charm and beauty before going in for the kill. As you may already know, Hollywood has taken the bite out of this vicious killer. But history and folklore paints a much different picture of Halloween’s favorite monster.

According to the folklore of eastern Europe, a vampire is not created by a quasi-glamorous exchange of blood and sex. But rather, vampires are damned souls forced to walk the Earth as a parasite on their family and friends. If anything, the vampire of folklore is closer to a zombie than some pretty boy in a nice suit.

In the Slavic countries of eastern Europe, where vampires are an important part of their folklore, there are several different ways a person may become a vampire. For example, if a person lived a life of egregious sin by being an outlaw or a murderer there was a good chance that person would become a vampire. 

But nothing could damn a person to eternal unrest faster than taking their own life. People in our modern era may regard this as being nothing more than fear-based superstition; but in earlier times, superstitions guided the lives of countless people. They had no doubt the dead could rise from the grave and turn the lives of the living into pure hell. 

Consider the bizarre case of Peter Blagojevic, an 18th century Serbian farmer who allegedly returned from the dead to feast on the living.

In 1725, Peter Blagojevic was in every way your typical Serbian peasant farmer. He cultivated a harsh and unforgiving land in the interest of feeding his wife and children. All that came to an end, when he was crushed to death in a freak accident. A simple life of hard work brought to an abrupt end. 

Or so it would seem.

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Several weeks after Peter’s burial a number of his fellow villagers made a wild claim. According to them, Peter Blagojevic did not remain in the grave. The dead farmer was seen roaming the streets of the village and lurking in the shadows. The villagers took immediate action by shuttering their windows and securely locking their doors once the sun dipped below the horizon. When a couple of Peter’s friends died under mysterious circumstances, the villagers realized locked doors weren’t enough to keep this threat at bay. They decided it was time to take matters into their own hands.

The historical account of what came next was a scene out of a late night, popcorn fueled creature feature. Accompanied by the local parish priest, the villagers made their way to Peter’s grave with torches and pitchforks no less. Bolstered by their faith in God, they were determined to rid themselves of a monster. They feared if they didn’t act quickly and decisively, more of their neighbors would join the ranks of the undead.

When Peter’s body was exhumed, the villager’s worst fears became stark reality. Peter, who had been buried for several weeks showed no signs of decay. His body was unnaturally bloated with his cheeks being red. His nails had become claws and his hair continued to grow. And the one feature that sealed the deal that Peter Blagojevic was a vampire was a trickle of blood on his lips. To the citizens of the eighteenth-century Serbian farming village, this was all the proof they needed. Peter Blagojevic was indeed a vampire.

With the body exhumed, and their suspicions proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the historical record gets really weird. When the priest poured holy water on the corpse, a hideous scream of agony escaped Peter’s body. Peter Blagojevic jumped up and tried sinking his claws into the neck of the priest and a group of strong young men managed to fight the creature back into its grave. It was time to dispatch this hellspawn to the great beyond. As the vampire struggled and growled, his head was chopped off and his heart was reduced to ashes on a nearby rock. The sinister monster would never trouble the village again.

Looking back on the strange case of Peter Blagojevic, vampire, medical science has a much different take on what transpired centuries ago. A ruddy, bloated corpse is actually quite common when a dead body is hastily buried. As the major organs decay, gases build up, and having nowhere to go, will bloat a corpse. Since embalming a body wasn’t yet practiced, the blood on the lips were from major organs decaying. Lastly, when the body was exhumed, the gases in the supposed vampire’s body were released causing the scream and the bodily movements. 

With the word of medical science, it would be easy to say case closed on this horror film-esque episode from history. But what of the people who adamantly stated they saw Peter Blagojevic roaming the village well after his death? Perhaps Peter Blagojevic did return from his grave as a predator. Or is medical science in the right here? It’s another instance of, we may never know.

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About Rick Hale 26 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, Spookyisles.com and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at YouTube.com.
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