Variation: Alastores, Barbalakos, Borbolakas, Bordoukas, Bourbolakas, Bourboulakas, Bourdoulakos, Brykolakas, Kalakhanos, Upirina, Vrukolakes, Vrykolokas, Vurkokalas, Vurvukalas

A vampiric demon from Greek lore, the vrykolaka (“vampire” or “wolf fairy”) possess the corpse of a person who died a violent death, was improperly buried, was cursed to UNDEATH by a priest, or was excommunicated by the church (see GREEK VAMPIRES). When it rises from the grave it looks every bit like the bloated, animated corpse that it is. It will go to the homes of the people it knew in life, its former friends and family, and knock upon their doors. Whoever has the misfortune to answer, the vrykolaka, a blood-thirsty and ravenous thing, will ruthlessly attack by day or by night.

Victims who happen to survive the attack of avrykolaka will become this type of vampire themselves when they die unless they eat some of the dirt from the grave of the body that attacked him.
The vrykolaka can be prevented from attacking if its resting place is found. Then driving a stake through the body it has possessed and into the COFFIN it is resting in will ensure that it will be unable to rise up ever again. However, if someone already knows where the vampire is, killing it would at that point be just as easy as affixing it to the earth. Decapitating the vampire and hiding its head where it cannot be found is used in modern times, but the traditional method of rendering the body to ash is the most certain and effective. The only way to destroy a vrykolaka that was created through excommunication is to have a priest perform a special ceremony over the body followed immediately by either of the methods of destruction previously mentioned.

Originally the vrykolaka was not an evil vampiric being but rather a restless spirit that needed to fulfill a task or see to a need before it could rest in peace. It could be anything from a simple chore to as specifically complex as packing a bag, moving to another part of the country, marring, having children, and living out what would have been the rest of its natural life. It was not until the Greek Orthodox Church became influential enough to sway cultural beliefs that the vrykolaka was considered an implement of the devil. It was deemed that only proper church burial could absolutely prevent the vrykolaka from rising from its grave and doing evil. Being excommunicated from the church absolutely guaranteed that a person would become a vampire.


  • Aylesworth, Story of Vampires, 5;
  • Calmet, Phantom World, 113­19;
  • Davenport, Sketches of Imposture, 278


Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology Written by :Theresa Bane ©2010 Theresa Bane. All rights reserved