Roman Vampires

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Roman vampires are a variation of Slavic vampires, but they have distinguishing characteristics and elements.

Strigoi (masculine) and strigoaica (feminine) is closely related to the Romanian word for witch- striga, which was derived from the Latin word strix– the word for a screech owl that referred to demons who attacked children at night.

Moroi (masculine) and moroaica (feminine), also known as murony in older sources, seems to be the synonym for strigoi in Wallachia region.

The Romanians referred to living vampires as the strigoi vii, and the strigoi mort was the dead vampire. The strigoi vii were witches who were destined to become vampires when they died; they could send out their souls and/or bodies at night to cavort with the strigoi mort. The dead vampires were the reanimated bodies of the dead who returned to life to disturb and suck the blood of family and livestock.

The strigoi was generally discovered by an unusual occurrence either at birth or death, and a living strigoi was a person who was born with a caul or tail. A strigoi vii may become a strigoi mort, as well as people who had irregular deaths by suicide or accident.

Romanians also used the term vircolac to refer to a vampire, but this term was generally used to describe the old mythological wolf-like creature who devoured the sun and moon.

In Romania, vampires were believed to come into existence because of an irregular birth, birth out of wedlock, babies born with a caul or tail, or babies who died before being baptized. Pregnant women who did not eat salt or who allowed themselves o be gazed upon by a vampire could bear a vampire child, and the seventh child of the same sex in one family was likely to be born with a tail and become a vampire.

Anyone bitten by a vampire, also, had more risks of becoming one. People who led evil lives, witches, a corpse that a cat had jumped over, or a person who committed suicide, could all become a vampire.

It was a common Romanian practice to open the graves of deceased three years after the death of a child, 4-5 years after the death of a young person, and 7 years after the death of an adult. If the body had not decayed, it was treated as a vampire.