The feast of Saint George the Dragon Slayer is normally a good Feast. But on the Eve or vespers of a Saint’s day, evil spirits and evil witches gain their strongest powers. It’s their way to mock holiness. But contrary to popular belief it isn’t just evil spirits out tonight. All sorts of beings are out.
Werewolves are out and about on this night. Some of them are good and others are bad. Some of them are shape shifting witches who learned to transform. Some are people who were cursed. And some gained an ability from a relative to enter Wolf form.
Who knows what they’re up to tonight? At least the Romanian version of Werewolves. In North America they’re active on St. Mark’s Eve not St. George’s Eve.
Then of course we have Will-O’-the-wisps also known as Ignes Fatui (giddy flames). Also known as Ghost Lights and Corpse Lights. These are spirits that take on the form of the classic ghost orbs you have probably seen or heard of from television. Not only do they exist in European culture. But also in some indigenous American cultures.
But not all Will-O’-the-wisps are ghosts.
In Mexico they are normally Hags or Demon Witches. Practitioners of black magic who delved so deeply into the darkness that they became demons while still alive. In death they get even stronger. This is not to be confused with the title of Hag used by some Covens. This specific hag is not a human witch.
It refers to a whole class of formally human witches who became demons or demon-human hybrids through sinister practices.
But most of these lights are associated either with Faeries or with deceased human souls. The main belief in Europe, is as follows. When Saint George’s Eve comes around, the dead, and even spirits associated with treasures (which includes a few demons) will appear as flames or lights. These lights will then hover around places where there’s buried treasure. Really brave (or greedy) people will venture out at night hoping to find such spirits.
And then either dig up the treasure then and there. Or mark the place somehow to find it again the next day.
Granted, this is a dangerous practice because the spirit could kill, curse, or even possess the would be treasure hunter. Something I recommend is to never steal treasures from spirits. My Native Shaman had been haunted by a spirit who buried money with her dead father. We never knew how they acquired this money together. But we figured it probably wasn’t legal.
But we let his soul stay with that money. My family had a similar run in with the spirit of a dead land owner from Spanish colonial times. The house they lived in had previously been his property. But the treasure was under some kind of Boulder. And no matter what was done, the rock wouldn’t break.
Not even with drills. My grandmother who practiced magic, correctly concluded that the treasure would never belong to us.
Some of these spirits are dead pirates or road thieves who buried their treasures prior to death. Perhaps even being captured and hanged before they could enjoy their stolen bounty. Or sometimes regular people who hid their treasures to feed their families later. But had died before revealing their locations.
The Moroi are a type of Vampire that falls under two distinct categories. One is a physical psychic vampire that drains the energy of the living. The other is a non-corporeal Ghost Vampire. Much like the Asian Hungry Ghost, feeds on the energy of living creatures. Moroi are often the subjects of debate.
In one story they are mortal Vampires. In another a vengeful ghost who feeds off of energy. Sometimes the Moroi are said to be demonic spirits who possess the living. This includes animals such as Bears. Living Vampires also become undead Vampires in death.
This is probably why the Moroi appears as all three types of creatures. In death they may have the option to become a regular parasitic ghost. Or a demon.
Strigoi Mort are a type of witch vampire. In fact the word itself is actually for witches. Simply it has become so associated with these vampires that extra terms have been added to tell the difference. From the Latin word Strix for witch. Italian Strega.
And Slavic Shtriga. In order to differentiate from a human witch or wizard they use different terms. Such as Strigoi viu, or Strigele, living strigoi or living witch. The undead vampire witch are called Strigoi Mort or dead witch. In Romania dead evil witches tend to become vampires.
However, it’s all confusing. Because some argue that a Strigele is like a Moroi. That it is unholy and will become a vampire witch in death. But to me that’s just Christian bias. They think witches are all satanic.
Obviously not all Romanian Witches become these creatures. There are several types of benevolent witches that use sorcery to fight these creatures. And even create talismans and amulets for protection. In several legends, Romani people (Gypsies) have played key roles in fighting and defeating vampires and other demons. There are legends of Gypsy vampire hunters as a matter of fact.
But that’s a rabbit hole for another day.
Strigoi Mort are immortal and also have magical powers. They are said to control the Moroi. Some legends state that the Moroi are the living children of two Strigoi who mated. So these vampires are interrelated. Why the immortality isn’t passed on isn’t explained.
Because they are also witches, they have a wide variety of powers. From invisibility to shape shifting. The Strigoi are thought to originally have come from Dacian religion. The belief that these are condemned souls. They were unworthy to enter the heavenly Kingdom of the God Zalmoxis.
And thus spend their eternity as vampires. From the Dacians, the Romanians inherited these creatures.
It’s said that the forces of evil meet at the boundaries of their cities or towns at sunset. These could be vampires, evil human witches, evil werewolves, or straight up fallen spirits from hell. Here they plan and plot what they are going to do to people until next St. George’s Eve. The Vampires steal life essence from people and animals to power themselves up. When doing this, they also steal skills or abilities the animals or human has for themselves.
For instance, if they feed on the energy of a venomous snake, they will produce the same venom. And the poor snake is left with nothing. If they feed on a computer programmer, they will gain his or her knowledge of programming. And the knowledge will vanish from the minds of their victims. And still yet it can be something else too.
Let’s say your talents are something else. Maybe you have a special charisma with someone of the opposite or same sex. This vampire can take away your charm for themselves to mate. And you’ll be as charming as a penny on the road.
“May.—I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count, directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on making inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and pretended that he could not understand my German. This could not be true, because up to then he had understood it perfectly; at least,
He answered my questions exactly as if he did. He and his wife, the old lady who had received me, looked at each other in a frightened sort of way. He mumbled out that the money had been sent in a letter, and that was all he knew. When I asked him if he knew Count Dracula, and could tell me anything of his castle,
Both he and his wife crossed themselves, and, saying that they knew nothing at all, simply refused to speak further. It was so near the time of starting that I had no time to ask any one else, for it was all very mysterious and not by any means comforting.
Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said in a very hysterical way:
“Must you go? Oh! young Herr, must you go?” She was in such an excited state that she seemed to have lost her grip of what German she knew, and mixed it all up with some other language which I did not know at all. I was just able to follow her by asking many questions. When I told her that I must go at once, and that I was engaged on important business, she asked again:
“Do you know what day it is?” I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head as she said again:
“Oh, yes! I know that! I know that, but do you know what day it is?” On my saying that I did not understand, she went on:
“It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?” She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort her, but without effect. Finally she went down on her knees and implored me not to go; at least to wait a day or two before starting.
It was all very ridiculous but I did not feel comfortable. However, there was business to be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere with it. I therefore tried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I thanked her, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go. She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck offered it to me.
I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind. She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round my neck, and said,
“For your mother’s sake,” and went out of the room. I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach, which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my neck. Whether it is the old lady’s fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual.
– Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Abraham “Bram” Stoker’s Dracula
Things to watch out for
There will be an influx of Calling Ghosts or Calling Spirits. This is an umbrella term for paranormal entities across a wide spectrum that are well known for calling out your name. Sometimes they even make themselves sound like people you know, women and children or animals in trouble. This is all to lure you away to a secluded spot for nefarious purposes. Don’t fall for it.
In Cuba we’re even warned to never answer a voice calling your name unless you know who it is. During this time, there are vampires who call out your name to try and get you to answer. Avoid being outside especially on the road or sidewalk. But as stated before, this is a time when evil spirits congregate and plan out what they are going to do for the rest of the year. So watch out.
This is the first Eve of Saint George. But there’s another in May. So be prepared. The best way to protect yourself is with garlic which wards off evil spirits. I use garlic salt.
Best of both worlds. Spirits try to enter homes through every nook and cranny. Vampires for instance can enter through keyholes. So make sure you have warded your home and yourself. If you think all of this is old superstitions and nonsense, then good luck.
1) Vampire Universe : The Dark World of Supernatural Beings that Haunt us, Hunt us, and Hunger for us by Johnathan Maberry (2006)
2) “Beware Saint George’s Eve” Supernaturally Speaking.com
3) “Saint George and the Powers of Witches and Vampires” from Daimonologia
4) Dixie Spirits: True Tales of the Strange and Supernatural in the South by Christopher K. Coleman (August 2008)
5) “Will-o’-The-Wisp: Bioluminescence or Otherworldly Spirits?” from A Little Bit Human
6) Moroi from the Vampire Encyclopedia
7) Strigoi Mort from the Vampire Encyclopedia
8) “Calling Ghosts” from Occult World