In the spirit of Mythical Monday, Carmen Stefanescu, my guest today, arrives with shiver-inducing tales of Romanian Folklore. Carmen is the author of SHADOWS OF THE PAST, a paranormal romance available now. I invited her to share some legends from her native Romania, where she resides and pens her stories. Please welcome Carmen to my blog.
Paranormal Romanian Folklore
by Carmen Stefanescu
Though Dracula, the infamous vampire, comes from my country, there are other “spooky” things around here. I thank my host for the suggestion she made to me to write a guest post on paranormal folklore in Romania. An interesting topic indeed, especially that there is an abundance of beliefs and superstitions coming along generations, from the mist of times: Ielele (a kind of nymphs), The Living Fire (leaping flames coming out of the earth), The Fate Heralds, The Forest Shrew, The Gentles’ Easter are just a few that come to my mind. I’ll enlarge only on the first two I’ve mentioned above, as I don’t want to bore you.
Romanian folklore is dominated by a main theme regarding the magic, paranormal things happening on two nights: St. Andrew’s eve and Sanziene’s night. The sky’s gates open and witches are ready to get in touch with the spirits.
Ielele are considered as wicked/bad fairies. They have no flesh body and are seen as ghostly apparitions. They are always merry, mischievous and dance draped in white silk, wearing flower wreaths on their heads. The earth beneath their feet is burned and grass will rarely grow again. If it grows, it will have a dark color and cattle will not graze it. The only plant that grows, on the place these fairies dance on, is a mushroom called “the fairies’ spoon”. People refer to the wicked fairies as deities who, if bothered during their dance, will harm the intruders turning them deaf or dumb. Wearing cloves of garlic at the belt may prevent such misfortunes to happen.
The living fire or the fire that comes out of the earth is said to be a sign that, beneath it, there’s a treasure. People speak of the Dacians’ gold, hidden in the underground. The flames do not harm the people and this mysterious fire can be seen on special nights, like the eve of St Andrew or on Sanziene’s night. (Sanziene is the only pagan celebration included in the Christian Orthodox calendar and is always on 24th June. People say that the name Sanziene would come from the Roman goddess Diana. Sanziene are fairies who may help people find their soul mates, or get good crops all along the year. Others say the name Sanziene comes from a kind of yellow field flowers with a sweet fragrance.)
On these two nights, young men keep vigil on certain areas, where they noticed the fire before, and if they see the flames they mark the place and then, the following day, they come and dig. If they find the treasure, they must leave some coins of gold in that place, otherwise the curse put on the treasure will follow them. The treasure finders must bring this offering to the Earth’s Dog, the one who is said to guard the treasure. Old people speak about reckless young folks who disobeyed the warning and, mastered by unexplained greed, took the whole treasure without leaving any offering. The curse soon affected them and they lost both the treasure and their life.
Well, I haven’t seen any of the above but I won’t say all these are just figments of people’s imagination. You know the saying: “Without a fire there’s no smoke.” I do believe in ghosts, reincarnation and karmic retribution too. You’ll find these in my paranormal romance Shadows of the Past, released by Wild Child Publishing.
I really appreciate being hosted on your blog today, Mae!
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.
Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
View the Book Trailer for SHADOWS OF THE PAST