Romanian Research – Vampires

vampire

“Vampire world bank protest16”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve watched so many movies and TV shows with vampires and even read a few books, so I have a general take on what vampires are about. However, there is a historic novel aspect to this work, so I wanted to find out what Romanians had to say about vampires.

First, they didn’t call them vampires. They were either called moroi, which comes from the Romanian word “mort” meaning “dead” or the Slavic word meaning “nightmare,” or they were called strigoi, which apparently come in both live and dead versions.

Living strigoi were more like witches. They had two hearts, or two souls or both. At night they would send out their souls to visit with other strigoi and, on occasions snack on local livestock and neighbors.

Dead strigoi were reanimated corpses that consumed blood and attacked members of their living family.

Interestingly enough, you could be born with an predilection for becoming a vampire in Romanian lore. If someone was born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hair — no doubt about it, he or she was doomed to vampirism. And, watch out families with lots of children. If the first six were the same gender, the seventh child of the same gender would become a vampire. And poor preemies — they were also doomed.

Black cats could cause a woman’s unborn child to become a vampire if it crossed her path. Pregnant women also had to abstain from eating salt and avoid the gaze of vampires and witches, or her child would be doomed to a vampiric fate.

And don’t get me started on bastards. Doomed!

Potential strigoi also included people who died unnatural deaths, people who died before being baptized, and people with red hair and blue eyes.

Remember the vampires who were born with a tail? They are called pricolici. This tail gave them special power: They could shape shift like a werewolf, however with better control over the change; and upon death they remained in their wolf form.

Wow, so many rules — its like Vampire Apartheid!

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