Graveyard Shift

16 Super Bizarre Eastern European Myths And Legends To Keep You Up At Night 

Jen Lennon
Updated June 14, 2019 19.7k votes 4.6k voters 374.5k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the scariest folk tales from Eastern Europe.

Eastern European myths are all about creepy creatures. Everyone knows that we have Romania to thank for vampire myths, but what about the lesser-known cryptids and creatures? As it turns out, there's a wealth of terrifying folklore from Eastern Europe.

Many of these legends are influenced by the unique landscape of Eastern Europe, drawing from the dense forests and barren lands to create richly detailed tales that are invariably terrifying. Read through this list of creepy Eastern European legends and vote up the scariest stories.

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Krampus Is A Demonic Analog To Santa
Krampus Is A Demonic Ana... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 16 Super Bizarre Eastern European Myths And Legends To Keep You Up At Night
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Krampus is a well-known European entity who has a "good cop/bad cop" relationship with Saint Nick. Whereas Santa rewards good children by leaving them presents, Krampus punishes the naughty in a variety of horrid ways. The half-demon, half-goat creature is known to carry around birch branches used to whip sense into bad children. If a child is particularly bad, Krampus will shove them in a sack and carry them off to his lair.

It's unclear exactly where the figure originated, but he's managed to maintain popularity for centuries, and even received his own movie in 2015.

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Baba Yaga Lives In A Hut That Stands On Chicken Legs
Baba Yaga Lives In A Hut... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 16 Super Bizarre Eastern European Myths And Legends To Keep You Up At Night
Photo: Ivan Bilibin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Baba Yaga is a mainstay of Slavic mythology. She's your classic "old witch in the forest" character, complete with iron teeth and a nose so long it touches the ceiling of her hut, which stands on chicken legs, has a rooster's head on top, and is surrounded by a fence of human bones. 

You'd be forgiven for thinking that, with the iron teeth and a bone fence and whatnot, Baba Yaga is just plain evil. Actually, her personality varies from tale to tale. Sometimes she's benevolent, sometimes she's cruel. Baba Yaga is morally and ethically ambiguous, so don't depend on her to save you if you're ever lost in the forest. She might just take away your only means of survival and leave you to perish instead.

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Vampires Are Based On Real-Life Monsters
Vampires Are Based On Re... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 16 Super Bizarre Eastern European Myths And Legends To Keep You Up At Night
Photo: R. de Moraine/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Tales of vampires - one the most recognizable mythological creatures in the world - originated in Eastern Europe. One possible explanation for the proliferation of vampire legends has to do with particularly cruel rulers in times past - some leaders were so harsh, their subjects didn't believe they were human.

But these human-feasting, darkness-craving creatures are easily the most famous Slavic myth and will forever be associated with the rural, cold expanses of Transylvania.

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Koschei Is An Immortal Kidnapper
Koschei Is An Immortal K... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 16 Super Bizarre Eastern European Myths And Legends To Keep You Up At Night
Photo: Viktor M. Vasnetsov/ Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Koschei the Deathless appears in many Slavic folktales. He gained immortality through the removal of his soul, which he hid in a needle inside an egg, which he then placed inside a rabbit, which he then placed inside a duck, which he then buried in an iron chest. He took all of these precautions because he was terrified of the beyond, but also because he wanted to ride his horse naked and capture women unimpeded.

He can only be taken out by breaking the needle that contains his soul.

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