Baba Yaga: Not just *a* witch. *The* witch.

Baba Yaga

Image via Wikipedia

I wasn’t sure I was going to put Baba Yaga in this blog or not.

For starters, she’s not really a demon.

Also, I didn’t want to piss her off.

In Slavic fairy tales, Baba Yaga is the archetypical wicked old witch who lives in the darkest part of the forest. She’s like the witch who lives in the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel. Except she’s way cooler.

She’s got a funky condo, a hut that can stand up on chicken legs. The hut doesn’t have windows or doors. When she needs to leave, she flies out the chimney. She does this on her sweet ride, a mortar (a kind of a bowl, usually made of stone) that can fly around the world whenever she feels like it.

Baba Yaga is sometimes really evil, kidnapping and eating children. But in the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful, she helps Vasilisa, who is s kind of Russian Cinderella. She’s also helpful in other stories, too.

But even when Baba Yaga is good, she’s never really nice.

She might help you if she feels like it, but you have to be pure of heart and be very, very polite. Try to avoid asking her questions, since she ages a year for every one someone asks her, and whatever you do, do not ask her about the invisible servants.

You won’t get your answer. And you’ll probably feature in her dinner.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
(Paperback)
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Yaga

Vampires we know and love #21: Upyr

Think vampires are all the same? Think again! Vampires come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins ice cream. So, this special DotW feature, Vampires we know and love, spotlights different kinds of bloodsucking fiends from around the world.

Upyr

Have you ever been visiting a graveyard and accidentally stepped on a grave, then apologized to the person buried there?

Okay, maybe I’m the only weirdo who does stuff like that…

Or maybe not. There’s something odd about the place where a person is buried, and I’m not the only person who thinks so. One of the ways a person (or animal) can turn into Russian Upyr is by ‘corpse jumping’, that is, walking over a freshly buried corpse.

But the Upyr is also a revenant, who was a witch in life, or just a person who committed suicide (If you don’t know your Catholicism, suicide is the only sin you can’t repent for because you’re dead if successful. A very bad thing.). The Upyr rises from its grave and kills whole families.

The Upyr is not to be confused with the Upor, the Upir, the Upier, or the Upior. These vampires will all appear in this blog if it/I last long enough.

Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Seriously fishy characters 10: Vodanyoi

The Russian Vodanyoi inhabits millponds and millponds only, making him a unique guy.

A millpond is a pond that’s attached to a mill–a building that houses a device for grinding grain. Waterpower runs the machine. It was an important part of life in the days when you couldn’t run to the store for a bag of Robin Hood.

An old man with a scummy green beard, the Vodanyoi has a fishy tail and is responsible for local drownings. Some say he used to be an angel, but was cast out by the Archangel Michael. Now he lives in a shining palace built at the bottom of the pond.

Not all humans are on his bad side. He will take to the mill owner, and maybe some local fishermen if they behave themselves, sometimes offering him bread, salt, tobacco, and vodka. Or maybe a live chicken or rooster.

Sources

  • Prudence Jones, Nigel Pennick; A history of pagan Europe, Routledge, 1997

A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits

by Carol K. Mack, Dinah Mack