There Is A Long Standing Folklore Legend In The Balkans Regarding Vampiric What?
If you have ever read the Bunnicula series of children’s books by James and Deborah Howe, then today’s bit of trivia might seem oddly familiar. The premise of the popular book series centers around a vampire rabbit who feeds by draining the juice from vegetables and turning them into vampire vegetables. It’s all very silly, has delighted children for the last forty years, and—oddly enough—has distant roots in old folklore from the Balkans.
The Romani people of the region have many long standing traditions, superstitions, and folklore tales surrounding vampirism of all sorts. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there is an old Romani belief that pumpkins and melons can become vampiric. What exactly does a vampire melon do? They roam in the night feeding on livestock, wild animals, and occasionally people, naturally. What else would one expect a vampire melon to do after all?
Aside from simple superstition in general, it’s quite possible that the origin of the tales can be traced to the patchy coloring found on old watermelons. The Romani tales are specific in that it isn’t fresh melons and pumpkins that turn into vampires, but old ones, and old melons can take on a bloodied appearance as the fruit ripens and the skin ages, as seen in the photo here.
Finally, we have to admit that selecting the wrong answers for today’s trivia question was grueling since in the Romani traditions regarding vampirism, practically anything can become a vampire, even, theoretically, agricultural tools. None the less, there are no serious oral traditions regarding agricultural tools, fence posts, or field mice, so farmers can rest easy—for now.
Image courtesy of Ke4roh/Wikimedia.