One of my readers, a mysterious figure known only as AcrylicCatt, has brought to my attention the existence of vampire fruit. Vampire watermelons and vampire pumpkins, to be exact.
Naturally, I couldn't just let this one slide.
The belief in vampire watermelons and pumpkins seems to originate from the Roma people of Kosovo-Metohija, in Yugoslavia. Historian Tatomir Vukanovic traveled there from 1933 to 1948, while studying the culture and folklore of the Roma and Serbs. Years later, the tidbit about vampire watermelons (and pumpkins) turned up in Vukanovic's longer essay on Roma vampire folklore, published in the not-so-politically-correct Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society.
Apparently, the Roma professed a heartfelt belief in vampire fruit, claiming that pumpkins, and especially watermelons, were known to develop a taste for blood and fight one another. They were even said to roll around, looking to do harm to humans by, presumably, bumping up against them or something, since they don't have teeth.
|"I vant to suck your bluuuuuuuud...somehow..."|
Watermelons and pumpkins are said to develop a taste for human blood if they're left outside under the light of a full moon. Watermelons, apparently, may also turn into vampires if they're kept longer than ten days. Pumpkins, however, can turn into vampires if they're kept until after Christmas, or longer than three years, though I'm not sure how that works out.
|Christmas still comes every year, right?|
Once it has made the ghastly transformation, vampire ground fruit is said to roll around, “shaking itself” and growling. I guess they're capable of moving pretty well under their own steam, hence the “looking for people to bump up against” part of the legend.
|Maybe they could jump at you? ~ Eric Kilby|
You can tell when your watermelon or pumpkin has become a vampire, because it will start weeping blood.
Don't get freaked out, it's not really blood. Watermelons start to leak a little after a few days. It's normal. It's not going to eat you.
You get rid of vampire watermelons, pumpkins and possibly even gourds the same way you get rid of lobsters – by plunging them into boiling water.
|"Please! I have kids!" ~ Jerzy Strzelecki|
Then you scrub the offending fruit with a “broom” (or a bristle brush, I'm assuming), discard it, and then burn the broom. Cause, you know, it's got vampire juice all over it by now.
|Something tells me they were putting you on, Vukanovic.|