Blogs » Book Research » Historical Tidbits- Strigoi

Historical Tidbits- Strigoi

  • Random tidbits for my current work in progress that I wanted to save so I could refer back to them in one easy to find place.

    In Romanian mythology, strigoi (English: striga, poltergeist)[1] are the troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave. Some strigoi can be living people with certain magical properties. Some of the properties of the strigoi include: the ability to transform into an animal, invisibility, and the propensity to drain the vitality of victims via blood loss. Strigoi are also known as immortal vampires.

    According to Adrien Cremene, strigoi date back to the Dacians. The strigoi are creatures of Dacian mythology, evil spirits, the spirits of the dead whose actions made them unworthy of entering the kingdom of Zalmoxis. As these stories were transmitted only by oral tradition, legend has lost its original substance, and Romanians have transformed strigoi into bloodthirsty creatures.

    Belle Époque
    In 1909, Franz Hartmann mentions in his book An Authenticated Vampire Story that peasant children from a village in the Carpathian Mountains started to die mysteriously. The villagers began to suspect a recently deceased count was a vampire, dwelling in his old fortress. Frightened villagers burned the castle to stop the deaths.

    Under communism
    In his book In Search of Dracula, The History of Dracula and Vampires, Radu Florescu mentions an event in 1969 in the city of Căpăţâneni, where after the death of an old man, several family members began to die in suspicious circumstances. Unearthed, the corpse did not show signs of decomposition, his eyes were wide open, the face was red and twisted in the coffin. The corpse was burned to save his soul.

    The name strigoi is related to the Romanian verb a striga, which in Romanian means scream. The writer Romulus Vulcanescu has found a Latin origin of the name strigoi. He argues that the name is related to the Latin term strigosus meaning "skinny",[9] a term found in Strigeidida. Another theory relates Strigoi to the Italian word Strega which means "witch" and the Greek word Strigx. In French, stryge means a bird-woman who sucks the blood of children. Jules Verne used the term "stryges" in Chapter II of his novel The Castle of the Carpathians, published in 1892.

    The strigoaică
    A strigoaică (singular feminine form) is a witch.[13]

    The strigoi viu
    The strigoi viu (living strigoi) is a kind of sorcerer. According to Adrian Cremene, in his book Mythology of the vampire in Romania, the living strigoi steals the wealth of farmers, that is to say, wheat and milk. But it can also stop the rain, dropping hail and give death to men and cattle.

    The strigoi mort
    The strigoi mort (dead strigoi) is much more dangerous. Its nature is ambiguous, both human and demonic. He emerges from his grave, returns to his family and behaves as in his lifetime, while weakening his relatives until they die in their turn.

    Becoming a strigoi
    The encyclopedist Dimitrie Cantemir and the folklorist Teodor Burada in his book Datinile Poporului român la înmormântări published in 1882 refer to cases of strigoism. The strigoi can be a living man, born under certain conditions:

    Be the seventh child of the same sex in a family;
    Be redhead
    Lead a life of sin
    Die without being married…
    …by execution for perjury
    …by suicide
    …having been cursed by a witch.
    According to Ionna Andreesco, in his book Where are the vampires? published in 1997, children born with a caul atop their head will become strigoi to their death.