The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burnt on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description: she did lie
In her pavilion—cloth of gold, of tissue—
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature.
– Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
Love this GIF by graphic artist Jimmy Martinez. We miss you, Princess!
A shtriga (Latin: strix; Italian: strega; compare also Romanian: strigă; and Polish: strzyga) is a vampiric witch in traditional Albanian folklore. It is said that the shtriga sucks the blood of infants at night while they sleep, and then turns into a flying insect (traditionally a moth, fly, or bee) and flies away. Only the shtriga itself can cure those it has drained. The shtriga is often pictured as a woman—with a hateful stare (sometimes wearing a cape) and a horribly disfigured face—however, the possibility of a male shtriga (male nouns would be shtrigu or shtrigan) is just as likely.
According to legend, only the shtriga itself could cure those it had drained (often by spitting in their mouths), and those who were not cured inevitably sickened and died.
The name can be used to express that a person is evil. Northern Albanian folklore says that a woman is not born a witch; she becomes one, often because she cannot have babies or they die and the envy makes her evil. A strong belief in God could make people immune to a witch as God would protect them.
Usually, shtrigas were described as old or middle-aged women with grey, pale green, or pale blue eyes (called white eyes or pale eyes) (sybardha) and a crooked nose. Their stare would make people uncomfortable, and people were supposed to avoid looking them directly in the eyes because they have the evil eye (syliga) . To ward off a witch, people could take a pinch of salt in their fingers and touch their (closed) eyes, mouth, heart and the opposite part of the heart and the pit of the stomach and then throw the salt in direct flames saying “syt i dalçin syt i plaçin” or just whisper 3–6 times “syt i dalçin syt i plaçin” or “plast syri keq.”
Teen Boy: “Doris. Christ! You scared the crap outta me.”
Doris: “Want to hear something cool?”
Teen Boy: “Uh. Yeah. Sure.”
Doris: “Do you wanna know what it feels like to be strangled to death? First, you feel the pressure in your throat. Your eyes water; and you start to taste something very, very sour in your mouth. Then, it’s like someone lights a match right in the middle of your chest. And that fire grows. It fills your lungs and your throat and all the way behind your eyes. And, finally, that fire turns to ice, like pins and needles of ice are sticking into your fingers and toes, your arms . You see stars, then darkness. And the last thing you feel. . . is cold.
Doris: “Goodnight, Romeo.”