The One Who Eats The Sun and Moon

solar-eclipse-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).

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).


  1. Yeah sure…lots of vampires and varcolaci here in Romania, place is full of them :)))
    I’m from Romania and i’ve just stumbled on this article , this extremely funny article.
    Yeah, we have a rich mythological tradition , and you can hear stories about creatures like “varcolaci” , or “balauri” ( some sort of a dragon )or…vampires and so… but the only thing that you will find in the carpathian mountains are hotels , pensions , some scared bears that are eating from dump-stares and lots and lots of trash, sadly.
    So…if there were to be any vampires , balauri , varcolaci or any other creatures like so ,they will probably go to another country like norway or something …i know i would .

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  3. “honestly, that’s pretty much ALL it is known for”
    Meh. For the educated segment of population, Romania is also known for Mircea Eliade for example, one of the most famous historians of religions; he probably provided indirectly a lot of information found nowadays in any topic dealing with religion, supersition or beliefs. Anne Rice mentions him among her bibliografical sources, and i think somewhere in the books, if that makes it sound more interesting. Romania is also known for Eugen Ionescu, who is basically the creator of absurd theater, or Brancusi, one of the pioneers of modern sculpture..or surrealist painter Victor Brauner..or philosopher Emil Cioran..and so on.
    But of course, i don’t expect these names to ring a bell for the typical “omg lolz i luv vampires & wanna be 1” vampire fan who might be reading this.
    By the way, the varcolaci are rather werevolves than vampires, or at least that’s what they became in Romanian folklore, although “werewolf” is not a perfectly accurate description. Which reminds me, they’re not so Romanian neither, i think these legends are borrowed from the Slavs. The Greeks have their vrykolakas too, but it’s likely they borrowed the word as well.
    The creature closest to a vampire is a strigoi. This one is closely related to the italian strega (they have a common root in the latin word striga, a sort of demoness), but a strega is merely a witch, so the strigoi character might have been influenced by Slavic legends too.
    Greetings, and excuse my English.

    1. Obviously I was being sarcastic, but as a whole the world sees Romania as the land of the vampires. It’s the stereotype, just like people think the USA is full of lazy fat people, England is full of tea drinkers with bad teeth and France is full of rude smelly people. It’s the stereotype, not necessarily true.
      And if you read past posts you’ll see those other vampires have been covered as well.

  4. People actualy belived some of that?? One day, I want to go to Romanian. Not just for the vampires, but also for the history.

  5. Out of all the vampire species and such I’ve heard and read of the Varcolaci is my favorite now. I ,for some wierd reason, love things that involve the eclipse and finding a type of vampire that does not drink blood is a good different. Still love the blood drinking but, ‘chomping on the heavens’ is a bit more awesome:)

  6. I actually spent a total of nine months in Transvylania (Ardeal in Romanian) collecting stories of the supernatural for a film called Across the Forest.

    The varcolaci is not really similiar to what we think of as a vampire at all. There is another figure called a pricolici which is something like a werewolf, but really usually a dog.

    The strigoi is much more similiar to a vampire, but actually shares a lot in common with the common ghost.

    Most urban Romanians do not believe in the folklore anymore, but you will find beliefs in the supernatural in rural areas and amongst the elderly.

    I love Romania and have spent a lot of time there. I understand why Romanians get sensitive about people thinking that Count Dracula lives there. I also think the folklore of the place is very special and of interest to those who like the supernatural.

    Eliade, Brancusi, etc are all great artists and deserve more recognition in the West.

  7. “varcolac” is a word for a werewolf… “varcolac” is a slavic word, where “vuk” means “wolf” and “dlaka” means “hair” (i.e. having the hair of a wolf). It originally meant “werewolf”!
    Is a wolf “monster”, almost similar to Fenrir.

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