Place Of Origin: Romania, specifically Transylvania
Physical Description: The strigoi take many forms, including shapeshifting into bats or wolves. They can appear as themselves before they were dead, and haunt their family by slowly draining them of their life force. A female strigoi can appear normal and get married, only to suck the life force of her husband until he dies.
How The Creature Is Born: Throughout the folklore of the strigoi, there are many ways to become this vampiric being. One prominent way is by committing suicide. Another is by being born feet first, which will cause you to become a vampire after you die. If you are the seventh son or the seventh daughter, you will become a strigoi. If you're born with a third nipple or a tail or are cursed by a witch, you're also likely to become a strigoi. (Romania must be full of strigoi with so many methods to become one.)
Abilities: The Romanian strigoi has superhuman speed, the ability to read minds, godlike strength, immortality, astral projection (the ability to visit you in your dreams), and the ability to shapeshift.
How To Defeat Them: There are many theories on how to defeat the strigoi. Some claim that when a person born feet first dies, they must have knitting needles stabbed through their heart and stomach to prevent them from coming back as a bloodthirsty undead vampire. As recently as 2005, a group of men from a small village in Romania were arrested for exhuming a corpse after they attempted to kill a vampire by digging up the suspected body, removing the heart from the chest of the corpse, incinerating the heart, and then drinking a potion made with the ashes. The body was pierced with stakes and sprinkled with garlic before returning to the ground.
Cultural Context: In Romanian, the word strigoi means "scream." According to Romanian vampire historian Adrien Cremene, Romanian vampire lore originates from Dacian mythology, from the period when the Dacian people ruled the land that is now called Romania, as far back as 2000 BCE.
According to scholar Claudia Costin, many of the traditional Romanian stories about the strigoi regarded these vampires as a tool of punishment and a moralizing message for people to follow pre-Christian divine law: Life must be lived to its natural end and never should the world of the living cross with the world of the dead.