Drekavac also called drek or drekalo is a mythical creature in south Slavic mythology.
Belief in drekavac was widespread in Bosnia, western Serbia, Šumadija and in Kosovo. Also belief in Drekavac and similar creatures (Bukavac) was well spread in Vojvodina and Slavonia.
Drekavac comes from the soul of a dead unbaptized child.
The creature is not consistently described. One description is that its body is dappled, elongated and thin as a spindle, with disproportionately large head; yet another is that it is some kind of bird; a modern find of supposed drekavac body looked like a dog or a fox, but with hind legs similar to those of kangaroo. It may also appear in the form of a child and call for people passing near the cemetery to baptise it. The one feature everyone agrees about is its horrifying yell.
Some describe Drekavac as being similar to strepsirrhine Aye-aye, only more than twice as large, stronger stature and more sinister in appearance.
Drekavac could be seen at night, especially during the twelve days of Christmas (called unbaptised days in Serbian) and in early spring, in time where other demons appear most often. In the form of the child it predicts someone's death, but in the form of the animal, it predicts cattle disease. Generally it is believed that Drekavac can not be killed or pass on until its soul finds its peace (or through baptism)
Drekavac is often used as a child scare, in a similar way a bogeyman is in the West but belief in it has faded, and Baba Roga, which more closely resembles western bogeyman, is much more used.
Though the creature is used as a child scare, adults do believe in its existence. According to the guide of a reporter of Duga magazine, numerous villagers on the mountain of Zlatibor report seeing it, and almost everyone reports hearing it. In 1992, it was reported that in the Krvavicka river the villagers have found remains of an animal which doesn't look like any known, and claimed that it is drekavac; it looked like a dog or fox, but with hind legs similar to those of kangaroo. A more recent encounter is from 2003; in the village of Tometino Polje near Divcibare, a series of attacks on sheep took place, not unlike those which are in other parts of the world attributed to chupacabras, and some villagers have concluded that they must have been perpetrated by a drekavac; other have concluded that it could not have been a drekavac because they have only heard the yells during the night, and sheep were mutilated during the day.
- Belief in Drekavac is sometimes described in modern fiction. An example is a short story by wikipedia:Branko Copic Brave Mita and drekavac from the pond in which superstitious fishermen hear yells in the pond they fish in and, believing that they hear a drekavac, stop fishing which leads to hunger in the village; protagonist, a curageous boy from the village called Mita decides to investigate and captures the drekavac, which turns out to be a Great Bittern, a bird very rare for the area.
- Drekavac is also mentioned in Copic's book [wikipedia:Eagles Fly Early]]. A more recent and much more popular example comes from the movie wikipedia:Pretty Village, Pretty Flame where (lack of) belief in drekavac is present in one of the central points of the movie:
- Halil (Bosnian Muslim): "Who torched my house?"
- Milan (Bosnian Serb): "And who slaughtered my mother?"
- Halil: "I haven't slaughtered your mother."
- Milan: "And I haven't torched your house."
- Halil: "Then who did, Milan? Maybe it was drekavac from the tunnel?"
- Drekavac is rarely depicted in modern fantasy. An exception is the Magic: The Gathering dissension set card which has this to say about drekavac: Like a vulture's scalp, the face of a drekavac is oily and hairless. The filth and disease of its carrion diet slip off its blood-slick skin. Recently Drekavac got an entire edition of cards named "Dreka iz Tame" (Yells from the Darkness).
- Bukavac, recorded in Srem, a six-legged monster with gnarled horns which lives in water, coming out of it during the night making big noise, strangling people and animals.
- Jaud, similar to drekavac, from a vampirised premature baby.