Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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VESHTITZA

(Vesh-TESH-ah)
Variations: Vehtiza, Vjeshtitza, Vjestitza
According to the vampire lore from Montenegro and Serbia, all a woman needs to do to ensure that she returns from the dead as a veshtitza is to practice magic in life. At night, the soul of the witch leaves its body and possesses a black hen or moth to scout out a home that has children in it. This possession lasts until the veshtitza willingly leaves or the sun rises. Then, the soul races back to the body, which then rises up and goes to where the children are. There it uses its powers to cause others to fall into a deep sleep such as a state of sleep paralysis, presumably so as not to wake the parents. It then attacks the children, consuming their hearts and drinking their blood.
Veshtitze, as they are collectively called, are fast even for vampires, but they are not particularly strong. They are susceptible to silver weapons but cannot be killed by one. Only direct exposure to sunlight will kill a veshtitza.
A close-knit breed, they have taken oaths to protect one another. Veshtitza covens gather together, meeting regularly at midnight in the branches of a designated tree. Once gathered, they will share the blood and hearts they took that night among one another.
Source: Folklore Society, Publications, 175; Petrovitch, Hero Tales and Legends, 20; Radosavljevich, Who Are the Slavs?, 17
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