Monstrous Myths: The Obour


The Obour is a Bulgarian creature, and before you point it out – yes, it is sometimes confused with my loathed enemy, the vampire. Do not fall pray to this unfriendly lumping of preternatural creatures! There are many types of blood-thirsty ghoul, including the ghul.

The Obour is reputedly created when a person is killed rather suddenly and refuses to quit their corpse. This person rises from the grave and for forty nights torments his neighbors and family, begging for food, using its magical powers for pointless mischief, vandalizing property, and clawing open the udders of cows to drink the blood-laced milk. What is noteworthy, is that the creature does not shun normal food, and in fact can be seduced by it. It will not harm humans, unless the food goes away or is refused, and only after Its forty days of rabble-rousing does it become a full-fledged revenant, roaming the countryside on a killing spree.

The similarities between this impish zombie and my species are obvious. I will not bother with them. Instead I will argue down the differences. To do that, I will use history.

Peter Plogojowitz was a Serbian man who died. According to his family, he came begging for food, was denied, haunted their dreams, made them all ill, and then massacred his own son after he was refused for the last time. His body was actually dug up by the army and put out of their misery with a stake through the heart.

What is my point? That dead people were unfairly discriminated against? No. My point is, that the dead are dead. They don’t get out of coffins on their own. There is a much more rational explanation.

Is it so difficult to believe that a monster like myself, who subsists upon human flesh but does not wish to interfere with society, might take up haunting graveyards? At one time or another we have all done it, I surmise. A freshly buried corpse is wonderful for an arm, or leg, hand or foot. But really, it’s the internal organs that are the best, and they do go bad terribly quickly. So here is my explanation of cases, like unto poor Peter’s:

You bury a man. He is not a terribly friendly or handsome man. Several days after this man has been buried (and his meat sack fully eviscerated and organs acquired by one of my cousins), a ghoulish looking chap knocks on your door. He can smell the trail, you see, and follows the dead man back to his home. You open the door, and are immediately confronted by a horrifying sight, perhaps wearing some of your dead relative’s clothing. This monster does not look entirely like your relative, but who knows how death can alter a person? And he was never very handsome anyway. Really, you are not about to stand there and take careful note of all the differences between your now forgotten loved one and this grisly counterpart. You are going to slam the door. But the wretch will not go. He pounds in walls, taps and knocks. You see him everywhere, on your roof, outside high windows. He throws things, breaks things, appears and disappears. It’s like magic! He wails for more food. You deny him. You attempt to sleep but dream of him. Eventually he takes your cattle… Until finally, he comes for you.

I believe that the Obour is not a monster. It is a phenomenon. It is simply what happens to one of us when we have gone a long time without human meat. We devolve, struggle to maintain our grip, eat an organ or two to stave it off, but it is not enough. Eventually we  skulk away, ashamed it came to ripping open udders and suchlike. Perhaps there are so many cases, because the monsters of those parts were similar to me, walking a fine line, pretending to be men, and so when the moment came for them to fall into their monstering, they simply went to another village, and terrorized a family by accident.

All because of a too shallow grave, easily dug up.

And for all that fuss, poor organ-less Peter was disinterred yet again, and further violated. They claimed he had not decomposed. Well of course not! He probably didn’t have half the things that produce all that marvelous bloating, livermortis and putrefaction. Decay slows when there are fewer playgrounds for bacteria to enjoy or broken down biproducts like bile and stomach acid. The poor man was completely blameless.

What do they say these days?  SMH

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