Middle East

Vampire folklore was as popular as it is today in the lands of the Ottoman Empire.

Some of the prominent Ottoman travelers vividly captured the vampire epidemic and the battle of witches for centuries before Western literature became widespread.

We come across many stories about popular culture witches and vampires, which can be seen primarily in cinemas and read in books.

Given the vampires, you can count books and movies such as Dracula and the Twilight series. And for witches, the Suspiria and Blair the Witch Project are almost everywhere.

In this regard, the Dracula novel by Irish writer Bram Stoker, written in the late 19th century, influenced the myriad vampire stories we know today.

The depth and rippling complexity of these stories fascinated many of us when they shed light on something mysterious and unknown. Many of us consider them unrealistic, but much of the literature on witches and vampires is based primarily on historical explanations and beliefs that stem from Western culture.

The Salem Witch Trials of a woman, possessed by the devil and accused of magic in Massachusetts, USA, from 1962 to 1963, reflects how deeply human society can be affected by this phenomenon.

Folklore and horror around the village

The concepts of vampires and witches are now associated with Western historical sources, but these terms and stories first occurred in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Balkan Peninsula today.

The story of Dracula was influenced by Vlad Tepes himself, the ruler of the Principality of Wallachia, who was dependent on the Ottoman Empire at the time.

“Now, in Western culture we see the terms vampire and witch, but earlier, especially in the orthodox part of the land of Rumelia and Balkan, which was previously under the control of the Ottoman Empire, some of these phenomena. I know there were beliefs and rumors, “said Mehmet Berk Yaltırık. TRTWORLD.

The origins of these myths and stories have been predominant since the 15th century, especially in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. At that time, the Balkans were under the control of the Ottoman Empire, and this phenomenon is referred to as a vampire epidemic in many Ottoman travel books, especially church records.

Aysegul Sofuoglu, a Turkish scholar who studied Ottoman literature on vampires, says there was disagreement between people and the church about the fight against vampires.

“The first practice is to cremate the corpse, decapitate it, or drive a stake into its heart. The church opposes them. These records show that in the 15th and 16th centuries, this was actually the Balkans. It shows that it was a common phenomenon on the peninsula. “

Sofuoglu explains that Muslims consulted with a local Muslim judge because they were frightened of witnessing witches and vampires in various towns and villages.

“In fact, Ebbsood Effendi has three fatwas (Islamic law decisions) about so-called vampires. Therefore, these events and rumors spread to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. I understand that, “said Sofuoglu. TRT WorldThe vampire fatwa, published by Sheikh Al Islamic Ebbsud Effendi, who was given the highest authority on religious affairs by the Ottoman Empire, claimed to be exceptional.

Muslims were afraid and worried about these events near their village, so a local Muslim judge was consulted on the vampire and witch case (provided by Sedat Bornovali).

Seyahatname: Supernatural development

We witness the stories and adventures of the vampire and witch case, primarily through the Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi, one of the few proseists of the 17th century and a leading wanderer.

Celebi is a very eccentric person who travels through the vast lands of the Ottoman Empire, covers at least 257 cities, travels from one region to another, and spends 51 years on the road for a lifetime of 71 years. I couldn’t take my passion away.

He wants to immortalize and record every trip, and sees it in a 4,000-page long, 10-volume book called Seyahatname (Book of Travels), which is considered one of the most unique sources of world history. I collected the things.

Turkish historian Yaltırık said that his Seyahatname allowed Celebi to tell the world many valuable stories not only from the perspective of historical studies, but also from the perspective of folklore research and reconnaissance.

“Evliya Celebi wrote down in his travel book all the beliefs he had witnessed in geography and society. Seyahatname has many such supernatural elements. He personalized some of them. I also understand what I experienced in, “said Yaltirik.

The opportunity for vampires and witches he spoke and witnessed through the pages of the Book of Travel is very noteworthy.

As an overly bold investigator, Celebi described the extraordinary events he witnessed in the farthest places and darkest hours of his journey to the Balkans and the Caucasus.

We mainly witness the stories and adventures of the vampire and witch case through the Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi.

We mainly witness the stories and adventures of the vampire and witch case through the Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi. (Matt Dunham / AP)

Witch war

The first incident occurred on the night of April 26, 1666, in the village of Pedi in the Caucasus. There were only 300 houses in this village. In this village, Celebi experienced a witch war in the sky. Then, one night, a sudden thunder rang.

Evliya Celebi asked the Circassians to explain the situation.

They replied, “Once a year there is a night in Kallikantzaros. Circassian and Abkhazian witches fly in the sky and fight in the war.” After that, they were not afraid of this view and suggested to see it peacefully.

Karakoncolos represents the witch and demon-like mythical creatures of Circassian folklore.

Celebi writes that the fight lasted about six hours. The limbs and pieces of meat were flying in the sky while the seven Abkhaz witches and the Circassian witch hugged each other and fell to the ground.

Eventually, the Circassian witch kills two Abkhaz witches by sucking blood and throwing the wreckage into the fire. The witch ran away as the sun began to brighten, with the roar of the rooster.

Celebi states that there are many denials about such stories, but many have witnessed the event with him.

Zombies and vampires

Celebi also talks about vampires and zombies drinking human blood in the same area on the night of Colorcon Coros.

According to what he learned from the locals, these zombies came out at night and left the disease by sucking the blood of the person they attacked. After such an incident, people went out with the witch to find a grave where the blood-drinking zombies came from.

When the tomb was found, they dug and drank blood to remove the bloody zombies and stabbed them with a blackberry stick. And the sick will regain their original health.

Again, according to Celebi’s narration, some witches lived in hiding so that people wouldn’t recognize them. But when the witch gets angry, he / she will suck someone’s blood from behind his / her ears. Victims’ health will deteriorate daily.

Soon, that person’s relatives will find a “witch master.” And it wanders from village to village and from town to town in search of a witch with bloody eyes.They will chain the witch after catching him

After finding him / her, they caught the witch and chained it.

And after he or she confessed to being a witch, the locals immediately stabbed it with the same Blackberry bet. When the blood from the sting is rubbed against the face of a soaked person, the patient begins to heal. Meanwhile, the witch’s corpse was thrown into the fire and burned.

The fact that the travel books of important travelers like Evliya Celebi contained these and similar stories, and the reference to his personal experience, inevitably about the reality of these events. Caused controversy among historians.

Some witches lived in hiding so that they would not be recognized by people. But when the witch gets angry, he / she will suck someone's blood from behind his / her ears.

Some witches lived in hiding so that they would not be recognized by people. But when the witch gets angry, he / she will suck someone’s blood from behind his / her ears. (Getty Images)

Was Celebi’s evaluation tremendous?

First, it is useful to refer to the well-known Ottoman strategy called resettlement policy and its relationship with these fatwas.

The Ottoman Empire implemented resettlement policies to introduce Muslim and Turkish culture to the conquered lands.

“Migration is a very important issue and the state is afraid of vampires and witches, so they didn’t want to move back,” Sofuoglu said.

For this reason, she added that these fatwas may have been issued with the purpose of discouraging Muslim-Ottoman subjects from abandoning these lands.

Sofuoglu said there is no agreed point of view of these folklore, but it may be particularly related to the ecological conditions of the Balkan Peninsula.

“The Balkans are a very rainy place and it rains a lot. They say that unless you bury the dead too deeply there, the corpses will appear swollen. People were afraid of them. You can think of them and describe them as vampires. There may be such a rational explanation. “

Evliya Celebi’s work on the supernatural powers is extraordinary in the style of the story, sharp prose, and vibrant details, and does not rely on displaying material evidence.

“Evliya Celebi tells the story as a stylistic issue, as if he had experienced them. It is worth mentioning that he wrote in story style what he heard from the locals.” Yaltırık pointed out that Celebi conveys the cultural background and beliefs of the place he traveled in a personalized style.

“Think of him like a columnist of that era.”

These justifications are still very controversial, as there are many sources and travel books that explain such stories in these areas.

The credibility of these stories is controversial, but one thing is clear. Many Turkish historians argue that Evliya Celebi’s chronicles deserve to be remembered and recognized as one of the main inspirations behind modern literature on witches and vampires.

Source: TRT World

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/vampire-folklores-were-as-popular-in-ottoman-lands-as-they-are-now-53148?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Vampire folklore was as popular as it is today in the lands of the Ottoman Empire.

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