Catalogue of Exhibition "Where has Zduhać gone?"
In Serbia, it was widely believed that there were particular people who were able to protect their property , village or region from destructive action of the blind forces. “Their main function was to protect rural households, sometimes even wider areas from hail clouds, storms, floods or droughts. In this way they provided rich harvest, and therefore the existence of their fellow villagers”.
Such an individual, mostly an adult man, was known as zduhac, zduhac, zduvac, stuhac, zduha, zduva, vetrovnjak, vjetreni vojvoda (wind duke) or gradobranitelj (hail-defender).
“When he felt a disaster getting closer, such a man would seclude himself or fell asleep on the place where he was caught by the disaster. Then, his soul would go and fight with leaders of the disaster. After he had dispelled the danger, he would awake, all sweaty and tired of fighting.”
One could not become zduhac, but was rather born as such. There was no initiation of zduhac, but a child, or an offspring of an animal that was born in the caul (placenta) could have become a hail-defender, provided its caul was preserved.
In Serbian folk religion , zduhacs belonged to the people possessing demonic qualities. Unlike witches, mora or urokljivac who also belonged to the group of people with demonic qualities, zduhacs did not harm, but helped their
“Zduhac does not belong to “evil spirits”, as the other demons, but if he put his strength and knowledge in the service of the devil, he could become a vampire after death".