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The Serbian Vampire who Lives in a Mill

The locals of the village of Zarožje (in Bajina Bašta, Serbia) have been wary of the ruined mill house on the rustic Rogacica creek. Today, some tourists come, but nobody visits the small stone structure at night.

Since the 1700s, this millhouse has been home to Sava Savanovic, a lesser known Serbian vampire than his well documented contemporary Peter Plogojowitz, who was put down in 1725. According to the local folklore, Sava was content to prey upon villagers who came late to grind their grain at the millhouse, the ruins of which stand today.

Sava gained wider notoriety in November 2012, when the millhouse collapsed, throwing the locals into a fit of concern that Sava had been disturbed, or worse - re-awakened. Preventative measures including the display of garlic and hawthorne branches have been undertaken by the locals. The Jagodic family, which has owned the property since the 1950s, considers restoration or repair of the mill to dangerous to undertake, especially at dusk. Local legends hold that vampiric activity peaks between Christmas and the Feast of the Ascension (June 7).

After the mill collapse, village mayor Miodrav Vujetic was quoted "People are worried. Everyone knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people." (Romanian Times)

The story of Sava's mill was featured in the book After Ninety Years by Milovan Glisic in 1880. In this novel, the young protagonist, Strahinja, delivers Zarožje from the plague of their vampire.

Locals have no doubt that Glisic's novel is fiction.

Sava has also been referenced by more modern Serbian cinema, when Glisic's novel was adapted as Leptirica (1973), focusing on the notion that when a vampire is destroyed, its spirit flees in the form of a butterfly.