Three weeks ago, DotW reader Filmassacre requested that my next vampire be the Strix due to the fact he’d just had an encounter with one.
Well, ladies and gents, I do requests. (If you ever want to hear about a particular demon, post it in the comments, or email me at teresawilde(at)gmail(dot)com.)
So, Filmassacre (Alex), this one’s for you. You’re going to be disappointed though! My sources say the vampire known as Strix isn’t really a vampire…
It’s from the Romans we get the first tales of werewolves (well, lyncathrope, really, since that comes from the Latin, and ‘werewolf’ comes from Old English, ‘were’ being Old English for ‘man’). And really, in the terms of shapeshifters, werewolves really were their biggest hit.
But just like Pearl Jam keeps going long after anyone wants them to, the Romans kept churning out shapeshifters. Though we can mostly blame Ovid’s Metamorphoses and those pesky Roman gods for that. They had so many stories of people turning into other things you’d think it was an everyday occurrence in Roman life. “Oh look, there’s Laurel. Turned into a tree again. Wanting to get out of doing the laundry I guess.”
Among Ovid’s metamorphosed were some lovely (and by ‘lovely’ I mean ‘nasty’) female witches called Striges. These chickies love to feast on the yummy buttery flesh of children and drink their creamy blood. They particularly enjoy the milk-fed bowels. Mmm. Like chocolate.
For their next course, they would find sleeping men, have their wicked way with them and then drink their blood.
With all this blood-drinking, you’d think they were quite vampiric, and you’d be right. But they also eat flesh, and the nocturnal sexual activities puts them firmly in the ‘succubus’ corner.
Now with all this stuff to do every night, a girl needs some transportation. The Striges (that’s the plural of Strix. Also Strixes works as well.) figured they’d have to pretty much fly to get it all in. So that’s what they did: through hocus, pocus, and general witchery, they figured out how to transform into birds of prey–mostly owls.
In fact, the Latin word for ‘owl’ is ‘strix.’
I don’t know about you, but this put a new spin on Harry Potter’s Hedwig for me.