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(pop culture)

Gypsies believed that some vampires have an insatiable sexual appetite and will return from the grave to have sex with their widow or a young woman of their choosing. The vampire’s continued visits could lead to the woman becoming pregnant. The product of such a union, usually a male, was called a dhampir. It was believed that the dhampir had unusual powers for detecting and destroying the vampire—a most important ability. Some modern dhampirs among the Gypsies of Eastern Europe placed most of their value in their ability to locate the vampire, which was simply shot with a pistol if located outside of its grave. Some individuals believed to be dhampirs supplemented their income by hiring themselves out as vampire hunters. The dhampir was otherwise a normal member of the Gypsy community, though some people believed that a true dhampir possessed a slippery, jelly-like body and lived only a short life—a belief derived from the understanding that vampires have no bones. The powers of the dhampir could be passed to a male offspring, and ultimately through a family line. While vampire hunting abilities could be inherited, they could not be learned. Occasionally, since the fall of Communist governments in the southern Balkans, stories of the adventures of a dhampir have found their way to newspapers.

As the vampire myth has expanded and the number of variations on it have grown, the dhampir has emerged as a character that allows new story lines. The most successful such dhampir character is Blade the Vampire Slayer, the popular vampire-slaying hero in Marvel comics and the three movie spin-offs. Dhampirs have also been featured in the writings of Scott Baker, Millie Devon, Nancy Collins, Barb and J. C. Hendee, and Rebecca York.


Devon, Millie. Dhampir: Child of God. Fairfield, CT: Mystic Rose Books, 1995. 175 pp.
Hendee, Bar, and J. C. Hendee. Dhampir. New York: ROC, 2003. 376 pp.
Trigg, E. B. Gypsy Demons & Divinities: The Magical and Supernatural Practices of the Gypsies. London: Sheldon Press, 1973. 238 pp.
Vukanovic, T. P. “The Vampire.” In Jan L. Perkowski, ed. Vampires of the Slavs. Cambridge, MA: Slavica Publishers, 1976, 201–34.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan see: Holmes, Sherlock