Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

A B C D E F G H I J [K] L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z


Variations: CALLICANTZARO, Kalkes
The myth of the vampiric creature kallikantzaros is specific to the Aegean, Crete, and Messenia regions of Greece (see GREEK VAMPIRES). When a child is conceived on the Day of the Annunciation (March 25), a holy day, that exactly nine months later on Christmas Day (December 25) or anytime during the Feast of Saturnalia (December 17­23), a kallikantzaros child will be born. If the child is not immediately bound up in
GARLIC and straw and then held over a fire until its toes are blackened, it will quickly develop into this type of vampiric creature. It will have black skin, fangs, horns, hooves, a tail, talons, or any combination of animal parts. In the Greek language, kallikantzaros translates to mean "beautiful centaur."
Once a year, starting on the winter solstice and then every night for the next sixteen days, the vampire is free to roam the world doing evil. By day it will hide in an underground lair away from the lethal rays of the sun. By night, it will "RIDE " people, much the same way that the ALP of German folklore does, stealing their sexual energy (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). It is also blamed for putting out hearth fires, urinating on the food stores, and sawing away at the roots of the Tree of the World.
Fortunately, for as dangerous a kallikantzaros can be, it is balanced by having a great number of weaknesses. It is most susceptible to sunlight, and any direct exposure will kill it, as will throwing it into a bonfire. It will only willingly count as high as two, but if it can be tricked into counting to three, a holy number, it will combust into flames. Placing a colander or a knotted ball of string on the doorstep will prevent it from entering one's home, as it is compelled to count the holes in the colander and untie the knots. The idea of this is to occupy its attention long enough for the sun to rise and destroy it.
The sound of church bells or Christmas carols will drive it away. Burning a handful of SALT and an old shoe in the fireplace will keep it from entering one's home through the chimney, as the smell of these objects burning will keep it at bay. Also, hanging the jaw of a pig on the door or over the chimney will ward it off as well.
Source: Anthiasm, Cyprus Village Tales, 11­12; Blum, The Dangerous Hour, 46, 120; Ginzburg, Ecstasies, 1 68­69; Jackson, Compleat Vampyre

Forum link: