A Serbian village council has issued a public health warning claiming a legendary vampire is on the loose.
Sava Savanovic reportedly lived in an old wooden mill on the Rogačica river and drank the blood of anyone who came to mill grain. Now the former water mill has collapsed and villagers think he is roaming the mountainside, searching for a new home.
"People are very worried," Miodrag Vujetic, local municipal assembly member, told ABC News. "Everybody 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. We are all frightened."
Garlic sales are booming, following news of Savanovic's 'return'
Rumours of Savanovic's return have resulted in booming garlic sales, reports the Romanian Times.
The paper says Vujetic has confirmed the local council has advised all villagers to put garlic on their front doors and windows, adding: "We have also reminded them to put a Holy cross in every room in the house."
Serbian news outlet Politika Online points out the legend of Savanovic has been employed to bring many tourists to the "vampire mill".
Catholic Online goes a step further, quoting an unnamed council member as saying: "If Romanians could profit on the Dracula legend with the tourists visiting Tranyslvania, why can't we do the same with Sava?"
Whether or not there's a whole lot of leg-pulling going on, vampire folklore has been a distinct part of Serbian history for centuries.
In January of 1732, Dr. Johannes Flückinger, regiment medical officer dispatched by the Honorable Supreme Command, was sent to Serbia to exhume the bodies of 13 alleged vampires, according to Scientific American.
“After the examination had taken place,” reads Flückinger's official report, “the heads of the vampires were cut off by the local gypsies and then burned along with the bodies, and then the ashes were thrown into the river Morava.”
His report would become recognised as the most throughly documented and widely circulated vampire account in the world, according to Scientific American.
The story of Savanovic is alluded to in the 1973 film, "Leptirica." This film is based off the short story "After Ninety Years" by Milovan Glisic, according to IMDb.