Romania is most defiantly known for vampires, honestly, that’s pretty much ALL it is known for. You picture Romania and you see horse drawn carriages traveling on aged winding paths through the Carpathian Mountains, ominous trees hanging menacingly, small superstitious towns, gothic castles and of course, Dracula. But today’s myth isn’t about the infamous Count, it is about the lesser know Romanian vampire myth, the Varcolaci.
The Varcolaci is a horrifying vampire species that was considered to be one of the most powerful of all undead beings because of its ability to devour the sun and moon (I bet the sun tastes like Sunny D).
Like many old myths the story varies from town to town., causing many versions of one story. When it comes to the ancient Varcolaci, no one knows for sure what they are. They have been depicted as smaller than dogs, some show them as dragons, or as a random animal with multiple mouths. They can come into being as souls of unbaptized children, those cursed by God, or the children of unmarried people (if you have read past lore posts you‘ll see that this is a common theme from back in the day). Varcolaci can also be created by women spinning at night without a candle or when people stick a porridge stick in a fire…ok, if that’s not worth punishment then what is…right? Yeaa, joking. Oh and I can’t forget this- sweeping your house at sunset can also get you turned into this particular vampire but only if you accumulated dirt and dust toward the sun. Yes, people actually believed this at one point.
When it comes to looks, they appear as humans with pale faces and dry skin (me during winter). Varcolaci cause eclipses when their bodies fall into a deep sleep and their spirit goes into the sky to chow down on the heavens. They can travel on the thread in the midnight spinning, going where they wish as long as the thread reamins unbroken. Another name for this species is priculics.
The Varcolaci is a fascinating vampire, its quite sad that more isn’t known about them.
Also, if the “traveling on midnight thread” sounds familiar you may have read it before. This idea was used in the famous and absolutely astounding Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (Book one: The Darkangel).