The Dakhanavar - Vampire Mythology from Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

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Armenia History

Armenia is an ancient land in the region of Asia Minor (between Turkey and Russia).It has long been known for it's in depth history of constant turmoil and strife. It was also the first land to proclaim Christianity as its state religion. The Armenian faith is quite similar to the Eastern Orthodox, but did not adapt to the practices of the Orthodox faith from the fifth to seventh centuries.

In the late nineteenth Century, Armenia became the center blood field of many slaughtering massacres by the occupying Turkish soldiers. For the majority of the of the twentieth century it was part of the Republic in the Soviet Union until it’s fall in the early part of the 90’s decade.

Vampire Mythology of Armenia - The Dakhanavar

The most dominant vampire myth amongst this region, according to locals, was the Dakhanavar. It’s history delves from an account of vampirism documented in 1854 by Baron August von Haxthausen and has been made mention by then leading occult research figure, Montague Summers (1880-1947). According to legend, there was a vampire, Dakhanavar, who resided in the mountains of Ultmish Alto-tem. He was very protective and did not like anyone intruding in around his residence amongst the mountains or valleys. If one did, he would attack them in the night and kill them by sucking the blood from the soles of the intruders feet.

However, it is told that two travelers outwitted Dakhanavar by sleeping with their feet tucked up under another's heads. Perplexed by this, Dakhanavar ranted of his journey through 366 valleys of the mountains to only come across someone with two heads and no feet. With that, the creature left the region never to be heard of again.

The vampire story of the Dakhanavar is documented in 1854 by Baron August von Haxthausen:

"There once dwelt in a cavern in this country a vampire, called Dakhanavar, who could not endure anyone to penetrate into these mountains or count their valleys. Everyone who attempted this had in the night his blood sucked by the monster, from the soles of his feet, until he died. The vampire was however at last outwitted by two cunning fellows: they began to count the valleys and when night came on they lay down to sleep, taking care to place themselves with the feet of the one under the head of the other. In the night the monster came, felt as usual and found a head: then he felt at the other end, and found a head there also. "Well," he cried. "I have gone through the whole 366 Valleys of these mountains, and have sucked the blood of people without end, but never yet did I find any one with two heads and no feet!" So saying, he ran away and was never more seen in that country; but ever after the people have known that the mountain has 366 Valleys."

"The Dakhanavar is ferociously territorial and will assault anyone who tries to make a map of its lands, or even count the hills and valleys in the region, correctly fearing that a thorough knowledge of the landscape would reveal all of its secret hiding places. Even today some travelers in Armenia, particularly those going into the region of Mount Ararat, generally take precautions against evil beings such as Dakhanvar. Often, they put small cloves of raw garlic in various pockets or mash it up and rub the paste on their shoes. At night, if camping out of doors, these travelers build a large fire and toss garlic bulbs into the flames. The combination of garlic aroma and a blazing fire will drive almost all of the world’s many species of vampires away."

-- Jonathan Maberry author of "Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us and Hunger for Us"

© Raevyn

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Published: October 4, 2004

Works Cited

Books
Melton, Gordon J. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Canton,MI. Visible Ink Press, 1999.
Bunson, Matthew. The Vampire Encyclopedia . Gramercy, 2000.
Maberry, Jonathan. Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us and Hunger for Us. Citadel Press, 2006.

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