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]

ZEMU

(Zem-OO)
Variations: Zmeu
In the Moldavia region of Romania there is a vampiric spirit similar to an INCUBUS that is known as a zemu. It is the only vampire that does not cast a reflection in a mirror. Similar to the ZBURATOR, the zemu looks like a flame. At night this highly skilled lover visits young girls and widows, shape-shifting into the guise of a handsome young man. It then has sexual intercourse with them, stealing away their life-energy (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). In Transylvanian lore the zemu uses its shape-shifting abilities to change into a lovely young woman in order to seduce shepherds, much like a SUCCUBUS.
Both fast and strong, the zemu has an array of abilities that enables it to be a very successful predator, such as being able to cause hallucinations, desolidification, flight, and shape-shifting into a cloud of dust and mist.
Preventing a zemu from attacking is as simpleas hanging a wreath of aconite over the bedroom windows, as this will prevent it from entering. Not particularly given to violence, despite its strength, the zemu can be killed if dealt an otherwise fatal blow with a silver weapon or long-term exposure to direct sunlight.
Source: Dundes, Vampire Casebook, 28; Florescu, Complete Dracula, 374; Jackson, Compleat Vampyre; Riccardo, Liquid Dreams, 49
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