A strigoaică (singular feminine form) is a witch. Strigoi is different than a moroi. They are close relatives of the werewolves known as "pricolici" or "varcolaci", the latter also meaning "goblin" at times.
These names are derived from striga, which in Romanian meant "scream" or "barn owl", cognate with Italian strega, which means "witch", and descended from the Latin word strix, for owl. Strigoi viu is a living vampiric witch. Strigoi mort is a dead (undead) vampire. They are most often associated with vampires or zombies.
According to Romanian mythology a strigoi has red hair, blue eyes and two hearts. The strigoi can change into a variety of animals, such as barn owls, bats, rats, cats, wolves, dogs, snakes, toads, lizards, spiders/insects, etc.
Garlic is said to be potent against the vampire. Due to this weakness, most burial ceremonies have rings of garlic around the corpse, coffin and grave.
One way to dispatch the strigoi is to drive a stake, made from wild rosebush or aspen wood, through its heart(s) and into the earth to hold it to its grave. The vampire must be set on fire before it gets up. Another way is to remove the vampire’s heart(s) and burn it and the vampire, or do precisely that and decapitate the vampire as well. Then bury the remains at a crossroad.
One gypsy remedy for killing a strigoi is as follows: dig up the vampire corpse, remove its heart(s), and cut the organ in two. Drive a nail into the forehead, place a clove of garlic under the tongue, and smear the body with the fat of a pig killed on St. Ignatius’s Day.
Strigoi are said not to be fond of light, though there is no suggestion that they burn from sunlight. Travelers often stay close to a bonfire to protect themselves from the vampire.
It is said that if the strigoi goes undetected for seven years, it can travel to another country or place where another language is spoken and become human again. Once human, the strigoi can marry and have children, but they will all become vampires when they die.
Most often, as is typical of the undead in eastern and central European folk belief in general, an undead strigoi would first prey on his or her family. In some Romanian tales, the undead strigoi was first invisible and raided its former house hold by creating chaos like a poltergeist and obtained nourishment by eating food in the family larder.The strigoi might also come to the household appearing just as it did when alive, engage in conversation with the living members, and go about performing normal, routine chores as if its death had not occurred, but more often the report of such a visit involved deaths of members of the household or farm animals belonging to the household.
It was believed that if a strigo was not destroyed within seven years after burial, then on the seventh year it would no longer have to dwell in its own grave and could pass as a normal mortal human. According to one source, the strigoi also then loses his need to prey upon humans and, eventually, even animals. Like the Serbian vampire at such a stage, it would then depart to another region where it could not be recognized, marry, and have children But each week, from Friday night to Sunday morning, such a strigoi would either have to rest in a grave in a nearby cemetary or meet with the local strigoi for supernatural social activities. The children of such a vampire were all "living vampires", destined to become undead themselves.