The Strigoi (English: poltergeist) are the troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave in Romanian mythology. 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.
Thes name is derived from strigă, which in Romanian meant "scream" or "barn owl", cognate with Italian strega, which means "witch", and descended from the Latin word strix, for owl. Strigoi viu is a living vampiric witch. Strigoi mort is a dead (undead) vampire. They are most often associated with vampires or zombies.
According to Romanian mythology a strigoi has red hair, blue eyes and two hearts. The strigoi can change into a variety of animals, such as barn owls, bats, rats, cats, wolves, dogs, snakes, toads, lizards, and spiders/insects. They also have the ability to render themselves invisble. They're also konwn to be capable of creating damaging storms, blights, droughts, floods and even poltergeist activity. The strigoi in some accounts is also capable of a form of astral projection appearing as shadows, ghosts or will 'o the wisp.
Different Types of Strigoi
Tudor Pamfile in his book Mitologie românească compiles all appellations of strigoi in Romania strâgoi, Moroi in western Transylvania, Wallachia and Oltenia, vidmă in Bucovina, vârcolacul, Cel-rau, or vampire.
A strigoaică (singular feminine form) is a witch.
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 (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.
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", 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 has used in his novel The Castle of the Carpathians published in 1892, in Chapter II, the term strigoi, more local : "(...) vampires, known as stryges, because they shout for strygies, (...) ".