Krsnik (vampire hunter)

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A Krsnik or Kresnik is a type of vampire hunter, a shaman whose spirit wanders from the body in the form of an animal. The krsnik turns into an animal at night to fight off the kudlak, his evil vampire antithesis, with the krsnik appearing as a white animal and the kudlak as a black one.[1] The krsnik 's soul leaves the body, either voluntarily or due to a higher power, to fight evil agents and ensure good harvest, health, and happiness.[2]

The legend evolved from a pre-Christian myth present in Slovenia and Croatia (mainly Istria and the islands), where the celestial pagan god Perun is locked in eternal combat with the evil snake of the underworld, Veles.[3] The krsnik is taught magic by Vile (fairies),[4] and in traditional medicine has the ability to heal people and cattle.[3] However, due to the undocumented nature of oral tradition, it's difficult to determine with certainty how much of kresnik folklore originated from Slavic mythology (Kresnik (deity)), and how much arose from a separate shamanistic tradition.[5] After Christianization, the kresnik instead was claimed to have learned magic at the School of Black Magic in Babylon, but retained benevolent traits as a generous and powerful friend of the poor.[6]

The origin of the name may be from the word krst, which means "cross",[1] and which in Serbia is the word for a stone sign denoting village boundaries.[2] It may also be derived from the same root as the Slav word for "resurrection,"[6] so that the word itself means something approximating "resurrector." [4]

Similar beliefs circulated among the Italian Benandanti cult. Also see zduhać.

In fiction[edit]

  • In the anime series Trinity Blood, a "Crusnik" is a vampire that feeds on the blood of other vampires. Lilith Sahl, Cain, Seth, and Abel Nightroad are Crusnik who are much more powerful than regular vampires. In the anime series, they all take different forms: Cain appears as an angel with white wings, even though he is the antagonist, whereas Abel appears slightly demonic with black wings and red eyes, while being the protagonist. Kudlak also appears in the series as a bacillus that is responsible of the creation of "normal" vampires.
  • Kresnik and Kudlak are recurring characters in the Shin Megami Tensei series of video games.
  • Kresnik is the name of a mythological hero in Tales of Xillia. A superweapon bearing the name "Lance of Kresnik" is a plot device. The sequel features a descendant named Ludger Will Kresnik. A machine named Kudlak is also present, though unimportant to the story.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Perkowski, Jan L. (1989). The Darkling: A Treatise on Slavic Vampirism. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publishers. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-89357-200-6.
  2. ^ a b Šmitek, Zmago (December 2005). "Shamanism on Slovenian Territory? Dilemmas Concerning the Phenomena of Shamanism, Spirit Possession and Ecstasy". Studia ethnologica Croatica. 17 (1): 171–198.
  3. ^ a b Vinšćak, Tomo (December 2005). "On "Štrige", "Štriguni" and "Krsnici" on Istrian Peninsula". Studia ethnologica Croatica. 17 (1): 221–235.
  4. ^ a b Copeland, F.S. (December 31, 1931). "Slovene Folklore". Folklore. 42 (4): 405–446. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1931.9718415. JSTOR 1256300.
  5. ^ Šmitek, Zmago (1998). "Kresnik: An Attempt at Mythological Reconstruction" (PDF). Studia Mythologica Slavica. 1: 93–118.
  6. ^ a b Copeland, Fanny S. (April 1933). "Slovene Myths". The Slavonic and East European Review. 11 (33): 631–651. JSTOR 4202822.