Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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STRIGA

(STREE-gah)
Variations: Strigen
In ancient Rome there was a type of VAMPIRIC WITCH called a striga ("witch"), but it is now uncertain as to whether it was a LIVING WITCH or the returned spirit of a deceased witch. In either case, the witch was consistently described as looking like an old woman. When it took flight in its shape-shifted form of an owl, it would meet with its coven, a collection of either seven or nine strigele (the plural form of the word). As they flew about, the coven was described as looking like little dots of lights up in the night sky. These lights were referred to as "witch lights." Strigele would gather together to celebrate who and what they were, dancing at first, and then later flying out en masse to find children to feed upon. The strigele would drain the children they came across of their blood and curse others, causing them to slowly waste away and die.
Source: Alexander-Frizer, Pious Sinner, 21;Morris, Sorceress or Witch, 165; Trachenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition, 37, 41­42
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