Romanian Vampire Lore

Romanians call vampires “Nosferatu” or “Moroi” (“nightmare.”) “Strigoi” are similar in that they drink blood but do not conjure up the same Nosferatu image we picture. (Only the Nosferatu seduce mortal women and drink their blood.) There are two kinds of strigoi, the living kind and the dead kind. Living strigoi were witchlike creatures with multiple souls who drained the blood of livestock and humans. Dead strigoi are basically vampire zombies: they are reanimated corpses that suck blood and attack their living relatives. Romanian vampires bite between the eyes or over the heart.

You Might Become a Vampire If….

  • You die an unnatural death or before being baptized
  • You are born prematurely or with a caul or any kind of birth deformity
  • You are the illegitimate child of two illegitimate children
  • You have red hair and blue eyes

Vampire Prevention, Detection, and Witch…err. Vampire Hunts

To this day, Romanians dig up graves that are five or seven years old and check the corpse for vampirism (i.e. lack of decay)

There are incidents in Romanian history where people have gone on witchhunts for vampires as a result of mass hysteria, interrogating and executing people they believed to be monsters.

A Test for Vampirism from The Vampire in Roumanie 1926

  1. His household, his family, and his live stock, and possibly even the live stock of the whole village, die off rapidly.
  2. He comes back in the night and speaks with the family. He may eat what he finds in dishes and knock things about, or he may help with the housework and cut wood. Female vampires also come back to their children. There was a Hungarian vampire which could not be kept away, even by the priest and holy water.
  3. The priest reads a service at the grave. If the evil which is occurring does not cease, it is a bad sign.
  4. A hole about the size of a serpent may be found near the tombstone of the dead man. If so, it is a sign of a vampire, because vampires come out of graves by just such holes.
  5. Even in the daytime a white horse will not walk over the grave of a vampire, but stands still and snorts and neighs.
  6. A gander, similarly, will not walk over the grave of a vampire.
  7. On exhuming the corpse, if it is a vampire it will be found to be:
    • red in the face, even for months and years after burial,
    • with the face turned downwards,
    • with a foot retracted and forced into a corner of the grave or coffin.
    • If relations have died, the mouth will be red with blood. If it has only spoilt and ruined things at home, and eaten what it could find, the mouth will be covered with maize meal.

Romanian vampires are monsters, and don’t come with the same class distinctions that later vampires have like Dracula and Edward Cullen (le sigh.) They are not noble or tragic. They just kill. But Churchill’s vampire may be a meld of the two ideas, the rich feeding on the peasants, the monster that can hide in a crowd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s