In our Serbian folklore is a story about living vampires. This humans or creatures are something in the middle. They are alive but still their soul leaves their body during night and makes some strange things. Sometimes they do visit their wife, relatives and friends or neighbors even if all of them know that this people (they are still lining and breeding people) are alive and well. This is not documented in pretty big number of cases but it’s not explained. People do report that they have seen a person that they know during “vampire” hours from midnight until 2 am and then again tomorrow or day after during day. When they speak with these vampires they do not know that they were seen. This does looks like a moon walking, but there are some significant differences. First of all, most of these men (again not a single case was documented where a woman was a subject) did some serious crime, like murder. Second is that they were seen when they were going to their home – in most cases they went to work in other town, sometimes few hundred kilometers away. And the third and most important they are older men, mostly in their fifties.
In our folklore there is a custom that is extremely bad in my opinion. I can understand it from this perspective but again I have some really repulsive feelings about it. Then again this custom is connected with vampires and vampirism in our folklore and I have to pay some attention. This custom is called lapot or in some parts prikoljish. In English this is gerontocid or senicid. This is a custom of killing older people by suicide, murder or abandoning with expected death. There is some similar practice in Japan called “ubasute” – females were abandoned on mountain, in Nordic lands “ättestupa” where old people was thrown or left to throw them self’s in pits.
Lapot or prikoljish are not just elimination of the oldest. It is a ritual act of whole community. Sometimes this act was done by whole village by hits in the head and sometimes the act was done by single family member. It was a custom to put loaf of bread on elders head and a sentence: we are not the ones who kills you, this bread is.
There are two main reasons for lapot. First one is economic, and there is some common sense because the hands that cannot feed the mouth are useless and there are only two groups, elders and children. Logic is very harsh in these cases. The second reason was euthanasia. Luckily lapot was eliminated long before any written documentation about it – in 11th century because younger acknowledged that they cannot answer some things without elder experience.
This is interesting for us because these elders were considered some kind of vampire in our folklore. They did use someone else’s life energy. Even this term prikoljish was adopted as a synonym for a vampire.