Romania is surrounded by Slavic countries, so it isn't surprising that their vampires are variants of the Slavic vampire. They are called Strigoi based on the Roman term strix for screech owl which also came to mean demon or witch.
A strigoaica (singular feminine form), or Strigoica, is a witch. Strigoi are also known as "moroi" in some parts, especially rural areas. They are close relatives of the werewolves known as "pricolici" or "varcolac", the latter also meaning "goblin".
Strigoi have their origin in Romania, Transylvania included.
In Romanian mythology, strigoi (same form singular or plural) are the evil souls of the dead rising from the tombs (or living) that transform into an animal or phantomatic apparition during the night to haunt the countryside, troubling whoever it encounters.
According to Romanian mythology a strigoi has ginger hair, blue eyes and two hearts.
By Slovenian mythology a "štirga" is most likely a woman but there are exceptions when she is a male.
One of the ways for ending her powers is to expose her to public after witnessing her powers.
Folklore superstitions also says she can't be killed unless killed while she is feasting on the life-force of the prey.
Names are derived from striga, which in Romanian means "witch" or "barn owl", cognate with Italian strega, which means "witch", and descends from the Latin word strix, for a shrieking vampiric bird.
There are different types of strigoi:
strigoi vii are live witches who will become vampires after death.
They can send out their soul at night to meet with other witches or with Strigoi mort, who are dead vampires.
strigoi mort are the reanimated bodies which return to suck the blood of family, livestock, and neighbours. They are most often associated with vampires or zombies.
A person born with a caul (a veil of fetal membrane still attached to the head), tail, born out of wedlock, died an unnatural death, or died before baptism, was doomed to become a vampire. As was the seventh child of the same sex in a family, the child of a pregnant woman who didn't eat salt or was looked at by a vampire, or a witch. And naturally, being bitten by vampire, meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death. Other people doomed to become a strigoi are:
unmarried people (their corpses should be stabbed in the hart with a sickle to protect their families).
corpses walked over by cats. To get rid of them, a wine bottle must be buried next to the grave, then six week later has to be exhumed and relatives and drank by relatives.
a person filled with pain and regret will turn into a cat or dog after death, then return as a strigoi. Piercing a body with a needle will prevent it from leaving the grave.
Strigoi are not necessarily evil though they are feared for their appearance bodes ill and they are omens of misfortune and sickness.
- In most ways, the Romanian Strigoi Morti resemble the undead vampires found in other Eastern European countries. They were frequently blamed as the cause of death in cases of epidemics.
- The Strigoi Vii join together in covens and meet with the Strigoi Morti on special Sabbath nights, such as the Eve of St. George April 22nd .
The Strigoi Viu is not a blood drinker, but its powers include what could be called psychic vampirism, as it can steal the vitality of his neighbours' crops and animals to enhance its own. Also, strigoi can leave its body at night in the form of an animal or a small spark of light that can be seen flying through the air. Sometimes it was said that a Strigoi Viu took animal form by stealing the form from the animal.
- a remedy against a strigoi to leave its grave is to bury a bottle of whiskey with the corpse: the strigoi will drink it and not return home
- Strigoi may be destroyed after exhuming their dormant bodies from the grave by such typical means as impaling them with a stake or by cremating them.
- the Gypsy remedy to kill a strigoi is the following: dig up the corpse, remove its heart, cut it in two, then dig a nail in the forehead, place garlic under its tongue, smearing the body with the fat of a pig killed on St. Ignatius' day. Then placing the corpse face-down back in the coffin.
- It was believed that if a strigo was not destroyed within seven years after burial, then on the seventh year it would no longer have to dwell in its own grave and could pass as a normal mortal human. According to one source, the strigoi also then loses his need to prey upon humans and, eventually, even animals. Like the Serbian vampire at such a stage, it would then depart to another region where it could not be recognized, marry, and have children But each week, from Friday night to Sunday morning, such a strigoi would either have to rest in a grave in a nearby cemetery or meet with the local strigoi for supernatural social activities. The children of such a vampire were all "living vampires", destined to become undead themselves.
A shapeshifting vampire in Romanian lore, either dead or living, as for the Strigoi.
The Strigoaica steals power from people and animals through psychic vampirism when alive, then returns as a vampire after her death.
The Strigoaica is famous for stealing the life-force of cows by sucking their milk, leaving the animal with none to give.
- A story out of Romanian folklore tells about a strigoiaca who had no cow of her own so she was forced to keep a wooden one in her house.
She kept it there, filling it with the milk of cows owned by others.
- Another tale, with Christian elements, narrates about the punishment waiting for the Strigoiaca, as one went to confession and told the priest she had taken powers from other people's cows.
The priest ordered her to take butter from the milk, then anoint a tree in the forest. Three days later she was supposed to go back to the tree to see what had happened. She did so and found that many kinds of creatures and snakes were in the butter. Then the priest told the Strigoiaca these creatures would suck her blood in the next world, because she had stolen so much power in this one.