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The strigoi, similar to the better-known poltergeist, is one of the oldest creatures on this list. It belongs to Dacian mythology and has been absorbed into Romanian culture. He is an evil spirit risen from the dead who tries to resume the normal life he once had, at the same time draining the life essence out of his relatives. He is similar to the vampire in his actions and is actually thought to have inspired the popular image of the vampire.
What is certain is that people throughout Eastern Europe took it very serious and were deathly afraid of strigoi. There are even records of people from centuries ago who were accused of being a strigoi. What’s even more disturbing is that belief in the strigoi is still quite common in rural areas of Romania and there was a case just 10 years ago where the family of someone recently deceased dug him up and burned his heart because they believed he had turned into a strigoi.
What would you say if the most beautiful woman in the world seduced you and brought you back to her home? At first you might feel like the luckiest person alive but that might soon change when that beautiful woman reveals her true self – that of a giant, man-eating spider. If this ever happens to you, then you have just become another victim of the Jorōgumo, a giant spider from Japan capable of shapeshifting into a beautiful woman in order to attract prey. Once it gets a hold of a man, it wraps him in silk, poisons and then consumes him. As if you didn’t have enough reasons to fear spiders…
3. Black Annis
Also known as Black Agnes, Annis is a witch you do not want to mess with. She is a traditional figure in English folklore and some believe that her roots can be traced a lot farther back to Celtic or Germanic mythology. She is a witch with a hideous, blue face and iron claws who likes to munch on people, particularly children. Her favorite pastime is prowling the glens at night, looking for unsuspecting children to abduct, take back to her cave and cook. Once she is done eating, she supposedly tans the skins of her victims before turning them into clothes. Despite being so gruesome, Black Annis usually plays the role of a boogeyman used by parents in order to scare misbehaving children.
The Leshy is a woodland spirit who makes appearances in many Slavic cultures. In short, he is a defender of the forest. He is friends with the animals whom he can call on for help and isn’t particularly keen on humans although, on occasion, farmers manage to befriend Leshies. In this case, Leshies are quite good friends to have as they can protect your crops and even teach you magic.
Physically, Leshies are described as being tall, human-like, with hair and beard made out of vines and grass. However, they are also shapeshifters, able to change in size ranging from the tallest tree in the woods to the smallest blade of grass. They can even take on the guise of a human but you can spot them because they will have glowing eyes and their shoes on backwards.
At their core, Leshies are not really evil, but more of the trickster variety. They like to get people lost in the forest. If you encounter a Leshy, you will not be able to find your way out of the forest unless you wear your shoes on the opposite feet and your clothes inside out. That being said, Leshies do like to kidnap young ladies every now and then. They also lure people back to their caves by imitating the voices of their loved ones. Once they’ve got them in their caves, Leshies like to tickle people to death.
You better hope that the Domovoi is not real because if it is, then there’s one in your house right now (and it’s standing right behind you!!!). Traditionally, every home has a Domovoi. This Slavic house spirit is described as a small, bearded man covered in hair. He considers himself the guardian of the home and is not necessarily evil. His actions depend on those of the residents. He is angry with people who neglect their homes and those who swear. However, if you behave yourself and look after the home, the Domovoi can be quite a friendly spirit to have. He’ll even help out with the chores. He does like to watch you sleep, though, so this is something you’d probably have to get used to.
If you want to attract a Domovoi to your house, what you have to do is get it real nice and clean, put on your best clothes, go outside and start shouting “Grandfather Domovoi, please come into my house and tend the flocks”. Trust me, it works. Even if you don’t see him, he’s there, tending your flocks, even if you don’t have any. Just be sure not to get on his bad side. An unhappy Domovoi starts to play tricks with the members of the family. At first it’s just some moaning, some broken dishes and some things going missing, but the situation can escalate to the point where the Domovoi might kill the people in the house in their own beds.