The Greek Vampire: vyrkolaka


The vyrkolaka are the dead person taken over by a demon spirit during their death and burial.  The corpse will rise up from their grave and torment their family by drinking their blood which will eventually kill them.

But their victim is not limited to their families; they also kill animals and other people.  They will also return to their coffin to sleep; however, they tend to sleep with their eyes wide open.  They also love to walk when the moon is shining brightly.  The Vyrkolaka is also said to have the ability to take the form of any animals and human.

There are also other beliefs that could lead to the creation of a vyrkolaka, especially when the soul of the dead person is lost.  One of them is when the dead person is not given the proper burial method.  A sudden death could also lead to someone becoming a vyrkolaka, such as murder or a tragic accident. People who committed suicide and those who are cursed (or their parents while they are conceived) also have a chance of becoming an undead creature. Others include people who live a life of sin, people who died unbaptized, people practicing witchcraft and wizardry,  people who consumed the meat of the sheep that was killed by the wolves, thieves etc.

A vyrkolaka can be killed by a priest.  A traditional method of exorcism is performed every Saturday night-Sunday morning.  The priest uttered the prayer while they are pouring a boiling oil and vinegar onto the grave.  If the vampiric manifestation persists, the exorcism would be repeated or in any case the body of the suspected vyrkolala would be torn into pieces.

There is an account of a vyrkolaka in the town of Ambeli.  Apparently there was a woman who died after giving birth to a child; they tried to undo the event by handing the child over.  The woman was said to transform into a vyrkolaka and started to terrorize her husband and her children.  They dug the grave and discovered a hole on the coffin.  The priest performed an exorcism for 3 straight Saturdays to end the vampiric manifestation.

Incidentally, Greeks do not only use vyrkolaka for the vampires, they also apply the same term for the werewolves.

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