Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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VARACOLACI

(Va-ROC-o-loc-ee)
Variations: Murohy, Strigoii, Varacolici, Varcolac, Velkudlaka, Vercolac, Vercolach, Vircolac, Vulcolaca, VUKODLAK, Wercolac
The varacolaci of Romanian vampire lore is created when a baby who was never baptized dies or when a person commits suicide. However, becoming a varacolaci can also be a hereditary condition that can pass down the bloodline for generations.
When the varacolaci rises from its grave as a vampiric REVENANT, it looks as it did in life except that now it is noticeably pale and has dried-out skin.
Although it hunts throughout the year, the varacolaci is particularly active on St. George's Day (April 23) and St. Andrew's Day (November 30), a dangerous prospect indeed as it is quite possibly the strongest of all the vampires. When a varacolaci attacks a person, it drains him of his blood, but its bite does not leave a wound behind. It has the ability to shape-shift into a cat, dog, flea, frog, or spider. The varacolaci can place itself into a deep trance and cause a lunar or solar eclipse to occur. Additionally, it can use its psychic abilities to safely travel anywhere it wishes by a means of astral projection called "midnight spinning." While in this state, its astral form looks like a dragon or some sort of unnamed monster with many mouths. However, if the varacolaci's body is moved while it is in one of its trances, its spirit will not be able to find its way back to its body, causing it to sleep forever.
If a deceased person is suspected of being capable of returning as a varacolaci, his undead resurrection can be prevented if a thorny bush is planted on top of his grave (see UNDEATH). If the person died from an act of suicide, then his body should be thrown into running water as soon as possible.
There is a complex set of rituals that must beproperly performed in order to destroy a varacolaci. First, the varacolaci must rise from its grave and be captured. If it is a male, its heart must be removed and cut in half. A nail is to be driven into its forehead and a whole bulb of GARLIC placed into its mouth or, as is done in modern times, filled with quicklime. The body is covered with pig fat taken from a pig that was slaughtered on St. Ignatius Day (July 31). Aburial shroud is sprinkled with holy water and wrapped around the body, which is taken to a secluded place and abandoned. If the varacolaci is a female, then iron forks must be driven through its heart and eyes. Then the body is to be buried in a very, very deep grave.
Source: Dundes, Vampire Casebook, 25; Mackenzie, Dracula Country, 87; Mc Donald, Vampire as Numinous Experience, 124; Taylor, Buried Soul, 240
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 A dictionary of epithets and terms of address The Hutchinson Illustrated Encyclopedia of British History