GroupingLegendary creature
Sub groupingLiving
Similar entitiesZombie, revenant, werewolf, cambion, Nephilim
FamilyOffspring of vampire and human
RegionBalkans, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa

In Balkan folklore, a dhampir (Albanian pronunciation: [ðamˈpir]) is a mythical creature that is the result of a union between a vampire and a human. This union was usually between male vampires and female humans, with stories of female vampires mating with male humans being rare.[1]



The word dhampir is an Albanian word from which it evolved through Albanian sound changes.[2][3][4] Superficially it seems to derive from the Gheg Albanian words dhamb 'tooth' and pir 'to drink'.[2]


Mythical creatures like dhampirs are widely associated with Balkan folklore. In the rest of the region, terms such as Serbian vampirović, vampijerović, vampirić (thus, Bosnian lampijerović, etc.) literally meaning "vampire's son", are used.[5][6]

In other regions the child is named "Vampir" if a boy and "Vampirica" if a girl, or "Dhampir" if a boy and "Dhampirica" if a girl.[citation needed] In Bulgarian folklore, numerous terms such as glog (lit. "hawthorn"), vampirdzhiya ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), vampirar ("vampire" + nomen agentis suffix), dzhadadzhiya and svetocher are used to refer to vampire children and descendants, as well as to other specialized vampire hunters.[7] Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname.[citation needed]


In the Balkans it was believed that male vampires have a great desire for human women, so a vampire will return to have intercourse with his wife or with a woman to whom he was attracted in life.[5] In one case, a Serbian widow tried to blame her pregnancy on her late husband, who had supposedly become a vampire,[6] and there were cases of Serbian men pretending to be vampires in order to reach the women they desired.[8] In Bulgarian folklore, vampires were sometimes said to deflower virgins as well.[5] The sexual activity of the vampire seems to be a peculiarity of South Slavic vampire belief as opposed to other Slavs,[5] although a similar motif also occurs in Belarusian legends.[9]


Legends[which?] state that dhampirs were, for the most part, normal members of the community. But dhampirs, especially male, of paternal vampire descent could see invisible vampires and practice sorcery, often starting careers as vampire hunters, which would be practiced for generations from father to son.[10][11][12] Some traditions specify signs by which the children of a vampire can be recognized. Albanian legends state they have untamed dark or black hair and are very cunning or courageous in nature. They are not attracted to blood and can eat normally like other human beings, though the option to bite other living beings in order to extend one's life is always an open choice.

When being compared to a vampire, dhampirs are said to be very lethal towards the blood drinkers, since a dhampir's blood and spit is like an acid for the vampires, making them impossible to be bitten. Due to having mixed blood, a dhampir will not be burned by the sun.

In Bulgarian folklore, possible indications include being "very dirty", having a soft body, no nails or bones (the latter physical peculiarity is also ascribed to the vampire itself), and "a deep mark on the back, like a tail." In contrast, a pronounced nose was often a sign, as were larger than normal ears, teeth or eyes. According to J. Gordon Melton, from his book, The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead, in some areas, a true dhampir possessed a "slippery, jelly-like body and lived only a short life—a belief ... that vampires have no bones."[13]

In modern culture

Examples of modern dhampir characters include Blade, a vampire-slaying hero in the Marvel comics and movies, and Rayne (BloodRayne), the red-headed anti-heroine protagonist of the comic series, videogame franchise, and film, all of the same name.

Dhampirs also appear in the works of Scott Baker, Nancy A. Collins, Millie Devon, Barb and J. C. Hendee, and Rebecca York.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "Vampires Through the Ages: Lore & Legends of the World's Most Notorious Blood Drinkers" "These vampires then, usually male, but in some rare stories female as well, traveled to another village where they were unknown to the inhabitants and married, producing offspring."
  2. ^ a b Husić, Geoff. "A Vampire by Any Other Name".
  3. ^ Palmér, Axel I.; Jakob, Anthony; Thorsø, Rasmus; Sluis, Paulus van; Swanenvleugel, Cid; Kroonen, Guus (2021). "Proto-Indo-European 'fox' and the reconstruction of an athematic ḱ-stem". Indo-European Linguistics. 9 (1): 234–263. doi:10.1163/22125892-bja10008. hdl:1887/3212933. ISSN 2212-5884. Indeed, additional support for such a development can be found in the borrowing of the South Slavic word for 'vampire', Bulg. vampir, SCr. vàmpīr, as Alb. dhampir (see Topalli 2003 for a discussion)
  4. ^ Elsie, Robert (2001). A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology and Folk Culture. C. Hurst. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-85065-570-1. This vampire-like being, Alb. dhampir, def.dhampiri, from Slav. vampir
  5. ^ a b c d Levkievskaja, E.E. La mythologie slave : problèmes de répartition dialectale (une étude de cas : le vampire). Cahiers slaves n°1 (septembre 1997). Online (French). Archived 2008-01-12 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Петровић, Сретен. 2000. Основи демонологије. In: Систем српске митологије. Просвета, Ниш 2000. Online (Serbian) Archived 2009-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Димитрова, Иваничка. 1983. Българска народна митология. Online article (Bulgarian) reproducing text from Ivanichka Dimitrova. Bulgarian folk mythology. С.1983.стр. 153- 159
  8. ^ Laković, Aleksandar. 2001. Vampiri kolo vode. In: Glas javnosti, 20-12-2001. Online (Serbian)
  9. ^ Міфы Бацькаўшчыны. Вупыр (Вупар). Online (Belarusian)
  10. ^ The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead
  11. ^ T. P. Vukanović. 1957-1959. "The Vampire." Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, 3rd ser. Part 1: 36(3-4): 125-133; Part 2: 37(1-2): 21-31; Part 3: 37(3-4): 111-118; Part 4: 39(1-2): 44-55. Reprinted in Vampires of the Slavs, ed. Jan Perkowski (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Slavica, 1976), 201-234. The reprint lacks footnotes. Most material on dhampirs is in part 4, under the heading "Dhampir as the Chief Magician for the Destruction of Vampires."
  12. ^ Vampires of the Slavs by Jan Louis Perkowski "The practice of sorcery for the destruction of vampires is carried on in the house of Dhampir's descendants from father to son, throughout the generations."
  13. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2010). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press. p. 201. ISBN 9781578592814. slippery, jelly-like body and lived only a short life.
  14. ^ Melton 2010, p. 201