Shtrigas are one of the most terrifying things I’ve researched. Actually, I think it is the episode of Supernatural that scares me more than the actual legend. There is one bit right at the beginning where the silhouette of a tree branch outside a child’s window isn’t really a tree branch. It’s the bony hand of a Shtriga, which proceeds to open the window and enter the kid’s room in the middle of the night. Because of that part, I can’t look out windows when I’m trying to fall asleep without getting a little bit nervous.
Now, there is very little lore on Shtrigas, but let’s do the best with what we have. Onward, my friends!
In Albanian folklore, a Shtriga is a vampiric witch that sucks the blood out of children and infants while they sleep. After, it would turn into some kind of flying insect (usually a moth, bee, or fly). Children who are attacked by a Shtriga waste away and die. Only the Shtriga itself can cure its victims. This is often done by spitting in their mouths.
Shtrigas are depicted as being old women with disfigured faces, pale eyes, and a crooked nose.
There is no known way to kill a Shtriga, but there are various methods of protection. The first method is to place a cross at the door of a church on Easter Sunday. This will render any Shtriga inside unable to leave. They can then be captured and killed when they attempt to pass.
The second method is a little more labor intensive. Shtrigas often go into the woods to vomit up excess blood after they have fed. If you follow the Shtriga and dip a silver coin in that regurgitated blood and wrap it in a cloth, it supposedly offers permanent protection from the creature.
In the show Supernatural, Sam and Dean run into the same Shtriga twice. The first time was when they were kids, and the Shtriga almost got Sam before Dean intervened. The second time is during that particular episode.
The show follows the majority of the lore about Shtrigas. They tweak it a bit, saying that the creature tends to target all the siblings in one family before moving on to a different family. Also, the children’s immune systems weaken due to their “life essence” being drained. They end up in the hospital where they are vulnerable to a whole bunch of diseases that can kill them. In the end, it turn out that the doctor who cared for the children at the hospital was also the Shtriga.
I’ve never been a big fan of going to the doctor, but this makes me afraid to even consider it. I really prefer for my doctors to heal me, not kill me.