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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Strigoi

Greetings!
I had planned to post this on Wednesday, but all week has been a whirlwind of editing and synopsis/query letter writing. Friday morning, I submitted for the very first time to a publishing industry professional in NY. My hands trembled uncontrollably as my cursor hovered over the send button. My stomach flutters now just thinking about it. What is done is done and now the waiting game commences. But while we wait, let’s talk about strigoi.
Photo courtesy of Google Images.
The word strigoi originates from the Latin word strix which means witch or demon. In Romania, strigoi are referred to as troubled spirits of the dead who prey on humans. They are a cross between a poltergeist and a vampire in that they cause all sorts of mischief to their surviving families and sustain themselves with blood (both human and animal). Some claim the strigoi can possess other’s bodies or take on animal forms like pricolicii, a creature similar to a werewolf. They are not supposed to be sexy or glamorous. As you can see from the picture above.

Now there are two kinds of strigoi. Strigoi vii and mort. Vii are living vampires and are often referred to as witches.  Mort are the dead. They are the ones which prey on human blood. Yup, you figured it out. Strigoi vii become morti when they die. Once dead, he or she has to return their grave frequently—more specifically during the day.

How does one become a strigoi? *laughs* The ways are endless and they don’t involve being bitten. To name a few:
·         Being born out of wedlock
·         Die before being baptized
·         Born with a caul or tail
·         Unnatural death
·         Unmarried people
·         A cat walks over your dead corpse
And the list goes on. Have I mentioned Romanians are highly superstitious? So what if you are bitten by a strigoi? Chances are when you die you may become one of them, unless the priest intercedes at the time of death and in your burial.

How do you ward off strigoi? Garlic. Stakes, Fire. If you ever get a chance to drive through the countryside of Romania, you will see braids of garlic and herbs hanging from front gates of people’s homes. Yes, even today there are many believers in these myths. 

How do you kill a strigoi? There are multitude of ways and it all depends on the stage in with the strigoi is in. If they are in the wrath stage floating about, one must exhume the body and pierce a stake through their heart. The gypsies suggest sticking a clove of garlic in the mouth as well. If they are a fully developed strigoi, a stake through the heart, decapitation, and burning the body would do the trick. When the grave in which the strigoi inhabits cannot be found, the best time to kill a strigoi is while they are feeding because they are completely distracted by the blood.

Here is the key for a strigoi to survive. It is believed that if the strigoi goes undetected for seven years he or she are free to leave their original grave and lead a normal life among humans. Obviously they would have to live somewhere where they are not recognized. They are no longer bound to their own grave except for Saturdays when they must find a grave to spend the day in or on a special undead holiday. When they reach this state, they become immortally beautiful.

So now you know a little more about the vampires of Romania and some of the mythology I have woven throughout my novel. Most of this information I gleaned from the internet and tales my grandmother used to tell me when I was a child. She had a great way of getting me to go to bed or eat my carrots. “If you’re not a good girl, the strigoiul will find you . . .” I also understand now why Romanians eat lots of garlic.

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

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