Demons ,monsters , and legends of Europe

“I doubt that the evil spirits of the past, under which we in Europe have already suffered more than enough this century, have been banished forever.”

Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of West Germany

Beware, this is not an article about kind and harmless creatures in europe  – this is about fierce European monsters! demons, Naughty children across Europe face the same threat of terrifying beings coming out at night to scare, kidnap or even eat them when they are asleep or if they misbehave.

To researcher like me , many stories created around the world to scare children so they do not go far from home to the mountains, rivers, lakes, caves  and they will come home early do thier homework, eat thier food and be good children. These stories served the purpose in that time as they did not have social media, tv and phones . In our culture we have many stories of the jinn, selowa , aladin, sinbad, alibaba etc. this is part one of Europe demons 

Let’s be honest: parents were not lacking of imagination when they dreamt up these frightening beasties. In Spain, a hairy hand may grab your feet at night, while in Luxembourg, a Kropemann may drown you in your bathroom or even your own toilet.

And what about Rézfaszú bagoly in Hungary, the evil copper penis owl? There’s no doubt, these monsters are part of our common European heritage and should be celebrated as such. So read ahead – if you dare – to discover the Irish Dullahan, the Finnish Mörkö, the Austrian Krampus, the Czech Krakonoch, the Ukrainian Baba Yaga and the Turkish Öcü

Portugal

The Bicho-Papão demon

He is the embodiment of fear, a mutant creature which can take on multiple forms – of any living person, of a spirit or of a monstrous animal. Of all its prey, he is a shape shifting demon. it finds naughty children  particularly delicious. No wonder Bicho-papão is used by parents to frighten children and prevent them from disobeying – with the oft-heard refrain “behave! Otherwise the Bicho-papão will come”. Feeling alone and helpless, the children tend to obey…  The Bicho-papão is also found lurking in other parts of the Galicia, Catalonia and the Astúrias. 

Spain

The Mano Peluda

This monstrous “hairy Hand” is said to belong to a man killed during the Inquisition or a dead Spanish traveler buried in a cemetery in India. His appendage came back to life to seek revenge on his enemies – a scary, hairy monster who will grab your feet at night when you’re sleeping. La Mano Peluda became a legend  used to scare small children – particularly just after sunset if they refuse to come in for dinner  and bedtime.

France

The Grand Méchant Loup

The “Big Bad Wolf” first appeared in several precautionary fables and fairy tales , including those by La Fontaine and Charles Perrault. The villainous predator has gained a particular significance in French folklore due to the true story of the Beast of Gévaudan.

Between 1764 and 1770, peasants from a province in south-central France were terrorised by a man-eating wolf-like animal which killed between 60 to 100 adults and children. This dramatic episode gave birth to the French Loup Garou – like a werewolf, but able to turn into a wolf at will, not only at full moon.

Iceland

Grýla demon

In Icelandic mythology, Grýla is a horrifying giantess living in the mountains of Iceland. She has a keen sense of hearing and – though she can detect misbehaving children at any time of the year – is said to take them and eat them at christmas eve , making a stew from their wicked flesh.

Her appetite  is insatiable – but some say that there was never a shortage of food for her. Be assured though: the story is no more – the legend was brought to a halt when a 1746 public decree  prohibited parents from traumatising their kids with the tale  any longer. This is to prove that most europe created stories of demons, jinn, legends to scare kids so they can be home early, clean and eat thier dinner and do thier homework.

Ireland

The Dullahan

He rides a black horse with flaming eyes, while carrying his own head under one arm. Whenever he stops riding, a human dies. There is no way to bar the road to a Dullahan – all locks and gates open to him when he approaches.

He does not appreciate being spied on while on his murderous errands. Those who try to do so risk having their eyes lashed out with a whip, or having a basin of blood thrown over then – often itself a sign that they are among the beast’s next victims. The monster is frightened of gold though, and even a single gold pin can drive a Dullahan away.there was a movie about him 

United Kingdom

The Bogeyman

The Bogeyman has no specific appearance, and conceptions about it can vary drastically from one household to another. He is however the embodiment of terror – the creature coming at night to get children who misbehave. The Bogeymen may target a specific mischief – for instance, relentless thumb-sucking – or general misbehaviour, depending on what pedagogical purpose needs to be fulfilled. The word bogey is derived from the Middle English bogge/bugge, from which the word  “bug” also originates.

Norway

The Troll demons

One thing is for sure: trolls are dangerous – do not approach them! They dwell on isolated mountains, on rocks, and in caves. They sometimes live in communities, but are rarely described as helpful or friendly. On the contrary, they have the nasty habit of bergtagning children (‘kidnapping’; literally “mountain-taking”) and overrunning farms or estates. Numerous tales  describe them as being extremely old, very strong, but slow and dim-witted. Some say they are man-eaters and that sunlight turns them into stones.

Sweden

Draugen, the swamp demon 

Draugen is the monstrous ghost of a man who died at sea. He is huge, covered in seaweed, and rows in half a boat. He emits a terrible scream when he appears, and legend has it that he can be seen during stormy nights at sea, drowning sailors and fishermen, and sinking their boats and ships. A man once ran from Draugen into a churchyard, where he shouted for the spirits of the dead to protect him. The next day, all the graves were open, and the churchyard was covered in seaweed…

Finland

Mörkö , the snow mountain demon

Mörkö strikes fear into the heart of many Finnish children. He appears as a ghost-like, hill-shaped body with two cold staring eyes and a wide row of white shiny teeth. Mörkö leaves a trace of ice and snow when he walks the earth, and can even freeze a campfire by sitting on it. He seeks friendship and warmth, but he is always rejected by everyone and everything, and must fester in his cold cavern on top of the Lonely Mountains. The most famous appearance of Mörkö these days is in the Moomins  , originally written in Swedish, in which Groke is a similar terrifying demon.

Denmark

The Mare demon, the dreams spirit 

Her name gave birth in English to the  word “nightmare” – as well as “mardröm“ in Swedish, “mareritt” in Norwegian, “Mareridt“ in Danish and “martröð” in Icelandic. The Mare is an evil spirit who rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams.

This terrifying creature is to “ride” horses, leaving them exhausted and covered in sweat by the morning. She can even ride trees, causing branches to get tangled up and entangle the hair of a sleeping man or a beast, resulting in “marelocks”.

I experienced such demon of nightmare back in 1988 in Indio california it was most horrific night mare , that paralyze me and speaking in strange language , until I managed to pray and more that I prayed the more he/ she releases the grip and flow away from me hovering away from my room. I left that place the next day.

Netherlands

The Zwarte Piet

Black Peter is the companion of Saint Nicholas in the folklore of the low countries . Like Santa Claus, Zwarte Piet is a hybrid stock character of pagan origin. In its modern form, the character is commonly depicted in blackface makeup, and dressed in stylised colourful Renaissance attire.

 The appearance of the Zwarte Piet legend  by and large coincided with a change in attitudes towards Santa claus himself. Previously, the latter had himself been rather severe towards bad children; until he found his scandalous sidekick. Fortunately, Piet then relieved him of his more negative traits.

Belgium

The Père Fouettard

The “whipping father” is a popular character in Belgium and the eastern regions of France. This man with a sinister face dresses in dark robes with scraggly unkempt hair and is armed with either a whip, a large stick, or bundles of switches. He accompanies St. Nicholas on 6 December, dispensing lumps of coal and/or floggings to naughty children .

The origins of Père Fouettard dates back from the year 1150, when a butcher captured three wealthy-looking boys who were on their way to enrol in a religious boarding school. With the help of his wife, he killed the children to steal all their money.

Luxembourg

The Krojemanchen, the  demon of the lake, sea demon

This one seems to be a real odd demon. The Kropermann is a horrible demon r living in lakes and seas throughout Luxembourg. He is said to lurk in the water, spearing children who venture too close. The monster can also appear in bathrooms, bathtub and even… your toilets. Would you want to have to go to the bathroom and something like this is in the room with you?   IN islam there is a special prayer for it when you go to bath or washroom 

Germany

The Schwarze Mann. the shadow man, the dark demon,

The “black man” is the most famous children’s monster in Germany. Depending on the region and time, the Schwarze Mann is depicted with different features:

a dark shadowy figure, a man with black clothes or a face blackened by ashes. But “Schwarz” does not really refer to the colour of his skin but to his preference for hiding in dark places: forests at night, the wardrobe, or even under the bed. There is also a game for little children called Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann (Who is afraid of the black man?). Nazi germany always make scary stories about black people and the jewish 

Austria

The Krampus demon 

The demon  from Alpine folklore, Krampus, is thought to punish naughty children during the German Chritam sesn by capturing the worst offenders in his sack and carrying them away to his lair.  

The demonic creature is said to be hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long pointed tongue lolls out. There is always an ongoing debate in Austrian society about whether Krampus is appropriate for children or not…

Switzerland

The Böögg 

During the Sechseläuten, a traditional spring holiday in Zürich, Swiss people prepare the figure of a snowman, place it on top of a wooden pyre, fill it with explosives and burn it. This character is called a Böögg – originally a masked monster frightening children during carnival season. It is believed   that the time between the lighting of the pyre and the explosion of the Böög’s head indicates the coming summer: a quick explosion promises a warm, sunny summer, a drawn-out burning a cold and rainy one

Italy

The Uomo Nero , the black demon 

The Italian “black man” is a demon that can appear as a man or a ghost without legs, often used by adults to scare children when they don’t want to go to bed. He is a prominent character in the children game “Avete paura dell’uomo nero?“. The origins of this monster is unknown. According to some sources, the Uomo Nero could be a remnant of the ancient fear of the Saracens from the 9th-10th century. Like Nazi germany in Italy they always make ghost stories or black color.

Czechia, Poland

The Krakonoch

Between Czech and Poland, somewhere in the Giant Mountains, lives the Krakonoch, a very capricious monster who makes the best of the forces of nature. He is able to crush a group of climbers with an avalanche, or save a frozen child taken in the snow by sending him a breath of spring. His unpredictability is, perhaps, not unlike our own – how nice or nasty we are with colleagues on Monday mornings often depends on how much coffee we’ve had…

Slovakia

The Vodník, the water demon, 

He is a male water spirit who is said to appear as a naked old man with a frog like face , greenish beard, long hair and a body covered in muck and algae, on top of black fish scales. He has webbed paws instead of hands, a fish’s tail, and eyes that burn like red-hot coals.

Czech, Slovenian and Slovak tales have both evil and good vodníci who, respectively, do or don’t try to drown people who happen to swim in their territory. The Vodníci would store the souls of the drowned in porcelain lid-covered cups and keep them as valuable artefacts.

Poland

The Bubak

In Poland, children are frightened by a man with a sack or a scarecrow: the Bubak (also, bebokbabok, or bobok, meaning “bugbear”). He is known for hiding by riverbanks and making a sound like a lost baby, in order to lure the unwary visitor and take children and adults too. He weaves on nights when there is a full moon, making clothes for his stolen souls, and has a cart drawn by cats . Our advice: try to steer clear of him at night!

Lithuania

The Baubas demon 

He is an evil spirit with long lean arms, wrinkly fingers and red eyes. He harasses people, tears their hair or stifles them. Alternatively, he can also be described as a dark black demon living under the carpet or in some dark spot of the house.

A good reason to tidy up! Just as the Bogeyman, a misbehaving child is often advised by his parents to “Behave, or Baubas will come and get you”.

Latvia

The Raganas demons 

Burvjuburtnieki or Raganas… Latvian believe  about evil spirits and sorcerers are a direct product of witch hunts from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Raganas in particular are witches who enjoy stealing milk either by themselves or by controlling toads and snakes who suck milk out of a cow’s udder and then regurgitate on command.

They have the support of the devil to turn humans into various beings or make them evil spirits to serve them. Some  believe that Raganas are actually spirits of the dead who served the devil or became sorcerers.

Estonia

The Külmking

Külmking means cold-shoe in Estonian. And it’s also the name of a well-known malevolent demon in the country. It is  believed that Külmking is the restless spirit of an unholy dead, that eats children when they bother the forest and turn living people into lesser demons. It is also said that, when the earth dies, he will come back and wander to cause lots of damage. The Külmking has different haunting places and moves from one public place to another.

Belarus

The Damavik (Дамавiк) demon 

The Damavik are small bearded elves covered in hairs with a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns. They take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house. There are tales  of neighbours seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master is asleep in bed. It is believed that saying the word “master” in front of a Damavik who shows up is actually a sign of praise to the creature and a proper way to address it.

Ukraine

The Baba Yaga

She is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed and ferocious-looking old, elderly woman. The Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs, her fence is usually decorated with human skulls. In many fairy tales  she kidnaps and eats children by roasting them in an oven. Sometimes she frightens the hero of the story (for instance, by promising to eat him), but eventually helps him if he is courageous enough.

Romania

The Count Dracula

The  legendary centuries-old vampire and Lord of the Undead was a noble Romanian knight during his normal life. He was known as Vlad The Impaler and suffered from the suicide of his pregnant wife. Dracula was popularised in the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. According to the legend, a vampire is a person who does not die, an “un-dead,” whose corpse rises from the grave at night and seeks to suck the blood of the living.

Moldova

The Căpcăun

He is as an ogre who kidnaps children or young ladies (mostly princesses). According to Romanian folkloric phantasy, the Căpcăun has a dog head, occasionally with four eyes, some in the nape, or four legs, but whose key characteristic is anthropophagy. Some linguists believe that the word Căpcăun actually originates from the Turkish term kapkan (kaphan, kapgan) which used to be a high administrative rank.

Hungary

The Rézfaszú Bagoly

The “Copper-Penis Owl”, apparently, is the Hungarian equivalent of the Bogeyman or the Big Bad Wolf. Little Marta doesn’t eat her peas? Janos Junior  or a child refuses to get to bed by seven? The Rézfaszú Bagoly, or in English, the Copper-penis Owl will get them! If you were a Hungarian child, your nightmares wouldn’t have featured toothy  monsters and savage criminals. Instead, they would have been haunted by a nocturnal bird with a metal dong

Slovenia

The Pijavica demon

Pijavica literally translates to “drinker”. It is a type of vampire who has led an evil and sinful life as a human being and in turn, became a powerfully strong, cold-blooded killer. Incest, especially between mother and son, is one of the ways in which a Pijavica can be created.

He usually comes back at night to scare his family, who can only protect themselves by placing mashed garlic and wine  at their windows. The Pijavica can only be killed by fire while awake and by using the Rite of Exorcism if found in its grave during the day. This legend is also created because of increasing Incest behaviour in those countries in Russia , serbia and around by father raping is daughter or mother and son relationship.

Croatia – Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Kosovo

The Babaroga demon 

In the Balkans, the old Babaroga scares children with her horns. How she proceeds varies from one household to another. In one household, the Babaroga would take children away, put them in a sack before going back to her cave and eat them. In another household, she would take children and pulls them up through tiny holes in the ceiling. The outcome is almost always seen as a grisly demise for her victim. 

Bulgaria – North Macedonia

The Torbalan (Торбалан)

In Bulgaria, children are sometimes told that a dark scary monster-like person called the Torbalan will come and put them in his large sack if they misbehave. He is the exact opposite figure of Dyado Koleda (corresponding to Santa clause ). Usually, he is known to children as the husband of Baba Yaga although this is based on folklore analogy.

Albania

The Katallani

There are two similar demons used to scare Albanian children. In the South (Vlore area) there is the Katallani which means “the Catalan” – a devil-like monster reminiscent of the memory of the Catalan occupation centuries ago. The Katallani monster is known to be quite primitive, and is depicted as a blacksmith with a wild look. Then in the rest of the country there is also Gogoli – which means “the Mongol” and is a collective memory of the Golden horde of the warriors the mongolians who killed and raped thousands of women and killed children.

Greece – Cyprus

The Baboulas (Μπαμπούλας)

In Greece, children are afraid of Baboulas, which is the equivalent of the Bogeyman. Most of the times he hides under the bed, although parents talk about him in many different ways. Some say the Greek Baboulas originates from the Byzantine Vavoutsikos which had the form of an old man and was also used as a scarecrow for children.

Turkey and Armenia 

Öcü

In old times, Öcü used to be a helpful giant, named by Noah, the torah and book of enoch called them the watchers,  he used to support Noah , work for him,  supported him in building his arch. But nowadays, young children in Turkey are usually scared of him. He is portrayed as an evil creature carrying a sack to capture and keep children. In armenia also have same story.

Steve Ramsey, Demonologist . Blogger and paranormal researcher, expert and investigator. 

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