|“||A shtriga. It's kind of like a kind of witch. They're Albanian, but legends about them date back to Ancient Rome. They feed of spiritus vitae. 'Breath of Life'. Kind of like your life force or essence. You know, she takes your vitality, maybe your immunity goes to Hell, pneumonia takes hold. Shtrigas can feed off anyone, but they prefer children. Probably because they have stronger life force. Shtrigas are invulnerable to all weapons devised by God and Man||”|
A Shtriga is an Albanian witch that feeds off children's lifeforce and takes on a friendly appearance in society.
Sometime prior to the events of the show, Sam and Dean encountered a shtriga as children. This shtriga had been killing children in Wisconsin every fifteen to twenty years since at least the early 1890s. John left Dean in charge of taking care of Sam, while he went to hunt the creature. Dean went out later that night and found the shtriga feeding on Sam. John suddenly arrived in at the last moment and shot the shtriga, causing the creature to retreat and escape. It apparently went into hibernation early as a result as when John returned for it, there was no sign of it.
In the episode Something Wicked, John sent the boys to a town with children showing signs of shtriga attacks, presumably so Dean can "finish the job". The shtriga took on the form of a doctor named Hydeker, who was taking care of the ailing children. Sam and Dean knew its pattern and set up a trap for the shtriga by using a boy. When the shtriga got close enough, they popped out and attacked. The shtriga managed to overwhelm Sam and began to suck his lifeforce, until Dean shot it in the head with an iron round while it was feeding, killing it. The lifeforce the shtriga took from the children returned to them with its death and the children recovered.
Powers and Abilities
- Longevity - By feeding off life force, the shtriga can live for an extended period of time; the limits of this are unknown.
- Life Force Draining - Shtrigas can remain immortal by sucking the life force out of children. They can drain the life force of humans of any age, but prefer children. The life force that shtrigas suck out is called "spiritus vitae" which is Latin for "breath of life." Due to this, their hand prints cause wood to rot. When they die, the life force they stole will return to all the children still alive.
- Invulnerability - Shtrigas are very difficult to kill. They can not be killed with normal weapons like standard bullets and knives.
- Shapeshifting - By day, a shtriga can shapeshift into a human, so that hunters won't be able to detect the creature. At night, the shtriga can transform back to its hag form. They commonly take the form of old women, but this is not a rule. This particular shtriga depicted in the episode took form as a local pediatrician,Dr. Hydeker.
- Super Agility - One shtriga climbed up the side of a house, and opened a window to feed off a child.
- Super Strength - Shtriga can easily overpower humans and lift and throw them with great force.
- Super Speed - Shtrigas can move faster than humans.
- Electromagnetic Interference - When Hydeker entered Michael's room, his presence caused interference in the camera feed Sam and Dean were watching. The shtriga faced by Sam and Samuel Campbell caused lights to flicker with its presence.
"She's vulnerable when she feeds. If you catch her when she's eating, you can blast her with consecrated wrought iron. Uh, buckshot or rounds I think."
- Consecrated Iron - When feeding, a shtriga is vulnerable to consecrated iron rounds. However, the shtriga must actually be feeding as one was only killed when Dean shot it while it was feeding on Sam. An attempt beforehand when it was interrupted feeding on Michael failed. Although non-fatal, the bullets still seemed to hurt the shtriga, as Hydeker fled when John Winchester shot him and briefly fell to the floor when Sam and Dean fired at the Shtriga years later.
- Soulless Individuals - For beings without souls, shtrigas are unable to feed on them.
- Season 1
- Supernatural: One Year Gone
- The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls (non canon, mentioned only)
- Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting (non-canon, mentioned only)
- A second shtriga appeared in Supernatural: One Year Gone hunted by a soulless Sam Winchester and Samuel Campbell. It was killed by Sam while feeding on Samuel. It was also unable to feed on Sam in his soulless state. This one hunted in a halfway house full of recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.
- It is currently unknown if the "Spiritus Vitae" that Shtriga feed of, is a soul, however, as a Shtriga can't feed on a souless person, it's most likely true.
- In Supernatural The Official Companion Season 1, Shtrigas are described as Albanian witches that often take on the form of an elderly woman or a doctor. "The shtriga came from Daniel Knauf, who created Carnivale, who's a brilliant writer and was a fan of the show," Eric Kripke explains. "One of the ideas he pitched us was this story in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, where they were held with a mass hysteria that they blamed on a witch. So I was really intrigued because I don't see witches as goofy, I see them as very primal and scary. It was just finding the angle, because I think witches can be very terrifying. It all dates back from an episode of one of the Twilight Zone remakes called 'Grandma' where this little boy's grandmother was a witch. One of the nightmares I remember most from when I was a boy was about a witch that I remember vividly to this day - and I still count it as the scariest nightmare I ever had. I must have been a nine-year-old kid and I could recite every single detail of this nightmare to you, which was about a witch who actually did live at my grandmothers' house. This nightmare about a witch really affected my psyche." "We kind of talked about what it should be and needed to come up with a concrete visual," costume designer Diane Widas explains. "A lot of it was through research of different periods of what different witches would look like, and then we came up with a concept that mixed up a bunch of different ones. The big part was that it had a hood that would shroud the face so that you didn't rally get much of the face for the most part. And Eric had really wanted the hood to have a certain look to it, so that it wasn't drooping or that kind of thing.