What do you get when you mix massive birds, large talons, bloodlust and breasts full of poison? The ancient Roman creature known as the strix!
The strix (plural: striga) is a legendary creature from Roman mythology. Often depicted as a screech owl, this vampire-like creature is a nocturnal bird of ill omen that feds on the flesh and blood of humans. But unlike most vampires the striga aren’t undead beings. As I mentioned above a strix’s appearance is that of a giant bird with menacing talons, a misshapen head and breasts full of poisonous milk. Sexy.
A strix was fond of children’s blood and the blood of men. To get themselves some yummy man blood they’d first transform into the guise of a beautiful woman, and then they would seduce him and have sex with him. This is when the strix would strike, draining the man of all his fluids. When it came to children, the strix would simply feed the baby some of her poisoned breast milk, and then she would feast on its blood. The striga are also very fond of livers and other internal organs.
A strix can fly wherever it wants to, no barriers can keep them out, but there are ways to ward them off. One way is to sprinkle the door way with drugged water and place a branch of hawthorn in the window. These two things should keep the nasty striga away.
Some more fun facts about the striga are that in the year 743, the Synod of Rome outlawed offerings to the striga. In 744 a list of superstitions written by the Council of Leptinnes renounced “all the works of the Demon and all the evil beings that are like them.” But it didn’t stop there, many other pagan creatures were outlawed as well and to believe in them meant execution. Also, it wasn’t only the Romans that believed in the striga, in the Middle Ages they were said to be the servants of Satan and his demons.