A country endlessly linked with vampires on movies and novels. No wonder Bram Stoker’s Dracula began and ended in Transylvania. It is where Bram located Castle Dracula, based on knowledge of Transylvania that he acquired from Emily Gerard’s 1800 classic, “The Land Beyond the Forest”.Stoker’s Dracula was named after Vlad the Impaler, prince of Wallachia in the fifteenth century which is part of modern Romania found south of Carpathian Mountains.
Vlad was considered a vampire, a real vampiric killer. Though it was never written in history that Vlad did drank blood, his cruelty and lust for killing people (by impaling) could have been the reason for labeling him as a real life vampire.
His favorite punishment was impaling and history says that he enjoyed watching blood spilling out of an impaled person’s body.
The Romanian Concept of a vampire is very similar with that of the Slavs...
Being geographically linked, such similarity of cultural and superstitious beliefs is out of the question. Though similar, there were some distinctions on the Romanian Concept of a vampire compared to that of the Slavic vampire.
One is strigoi mort, a “dead vampire”, which were humans when alive who became vampires after death.
Strigoi vii on the other hand is a “live vampire”, usually believed as a child of an illegitimate couple. They were witches who can send their souls (or bodies) to dance with the strigoi mort.
A strigoi is described by Romanian history of vampires and myths as having two hearts, red hair, and blue eyes.
Strigoi Mort, like the Slavic vampire is a result of unusual occurrences in either birth or death. Although there were various ways for a person to become a vampire, Romanians strongly believed that vampirism, is most commonly, a product of irregularities on a person’s birth:
An illegitimate child
a child who died before baptism
a child born with a caul
a child who’s mother was stared upon by a vampire while pregnant
a child who’s mother didn’t eat salt during pregnancy
Romanians also believed that the seventh child of the same sex in one family is likely to have a tail and will become a vampire. Though children with irregular birth were the prime candidates for vampirism, Romanian history of vampires says that anyone bitten by a vampire could become vampires too!
There are ways, of course of hindering vampire activities based on Romanian history of vampires like walking (while smoking) around the grave of the suspected vampire on its every death anniversary.
This act is supposedly effective to confine the vampire; refraining it from committing vampire crimes. Distaffs were also driven into the ground above a vampire's grave so the vampire will impale itself when it rises.
On extreme cases, Romanians believed that driving a stake into the vampire's body, cutting off the head of the suspected vampire and returning it to the grave with its mouth filled with garlic, performing reburial is the most effective way of destroying a vampire.
Extraction and burning of the vampire heart to mess the ashes all over the grave was also thought effective.
Garlic was believed to ward off vampires and was used by Romanians to anoint windows and other openings in their homes and to rub down the bodies of cows and other livestocks on the eve of St. George’s Day.
Another way of destroying a Romanian vampire is by shooting through its coffin. The Nosferatu, is the evil of all evils, a blood sucking vampire that is most feared and believed by Romanian peasants.
Anyone bitten by the nosferatu will become a vampire after death - a blood-hungry vampire that will continue on sucking the blood of innocent people ‘till its spirit is destroyed by opening its grave and driving a stake through its lifeless body.
The term Nosferatu was from a Greek word “nosophoros” which means “plague carrier”. A Nosferatu was believed to have spread communicable diseases like tuberculosis.
Like the Slavs, Romanians usually holds a vampire responsible when numerous deaths in a family or livestocks follow the death of a family member or of a suspected vampire.
The Romanian vampire was believed to appear to a family member or the whole family occasionally. Vampire women were believed to come home to their children.
Though it’s good that the vampire finds its way home to the family, their home was often disturbed by the vampire’s vampiric activities. It was also believed that the vampire will first attack the members of its family and the family’s livestock or food supplies before attacking others in their village.
On every eve of St. George’s Day (April 23 or May 5), vampires were believed to gather with witches on the edge of villages to plan their wicked activities for next year. It is also the eve where vampires are especially active, reason for villagers to take extra precautions to discourage any influences of uncanny creatures.
Vampires were also thought active on St. Andrew’s Day; the day of the Patron of wolves and the donor of garlic. The vampire activity would continue throughout the winter and would end on January (at epiphany), St. George’s Day.
Three years after the death of a child,
four-five years after the death of a young adult,
seven years for adults.
If a skeleton was found, they washed it and return it into its grave. If however they found that the body of their dearly beloved hasn’t decayed, it was believed a vampire and treated accordingly. Precautionary measures…
There were wide varieties of precautionary measures taken by Romanians to prevent a person from becoming a vampire or committing vampire crimes if they do become vampires and among them were the following:
Exact preparation of the dead prevents it from becoming a vampire
Removal of a caul from a baby born with it upon birth
Placing of thorny branch of a wild rose in the deceased person’s tomb.
Millet Seeds placed in the coffin were believed to delay the vampire’s rising as it will eat each and every seed.