Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R [S] T U V W X Y Z


Variation: Stringla
Albanian lore tells of a female VAMPIRIC WITCH known as a shtriga, which preys on children (see LIVING VAMPIRE). By day the witch lives as a normal member of the community, even attending church; but at night it hunts for children in its animal form of a bee, fly, or moth. It approaches the child while it is asleep and steals its life-energy, leaving the body completely undisturbed in the bed (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). Parents oftentimes leave a piece of GARLIC-flavored bread near their sleeping child, as GARLIC is a repellent to the shtriga.
To determine who in the community may be a shtriga, one must wait until everyone has gone into the church to celebrate mass. Then, while everyone is inside, using some pig bones, one can make a cross and hang it over the church doors. Everyone who is not a shtriga will be able to pass through the door and outside, leaving the shtriga trapped within.
Shtriga periodically spit up blood; some say that it is the blood of their victims. If a person takes some of that blood and places it on a silver coin and then wraps it in a cloth, it can be used as a charm to keep the shtriga away.
Source: American Folklore Society, Journal, vol. 64,
309; Kane, The Dreamer Awakes, 56, 59; Lockyer, Nature, vol. 113, 25; Royal Anthropological Institute, Man, 190­91

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