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

Voting 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.

  • 1
    1,666 VOTES

    The Strigoi Rise At Night To Drink The Blood Of The Living

    The Strigoi Rise At Night To Drink The Blood Of The Living
    Photo: Benjamin Kelly / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Come on, you knew all the myths from Romania were going to be pretty intense. And the strigoi might just be the wildest of all. The myth of the strigoi gave rise to legends about both vampires and werewolves. Like vampires, strigoi are night-dwelling supernatural creatures - but even worse, they can shape-shift into any creature they want. They can also make themselves invisible. And what do they want? Why, blood, of course.

    In 2004, one Romanian girl claimed to have been visited by a strigoi that took the form of her deceased uncle, so her family dug up his grave, cut his heart out, and burned it. Seems reasonable.

    1,666 votes
  • 2
    1,145 VOTES

    The Gjenganger Is A Master Of Spreading Real-World Evils

    A gjenganger isn't like your normal, everyday ghost. While the Scandinavian spirit lacks a normal repertoire of paranormal facets (it can't float through walls or make the ceiling drip red), it has a body that occupies physical space in the human world and is a master of spreading sickness. If it touches you, your flesh begins to slowly wither until the creature's virus has worked its way to your heart.

    It presents similarly to a vampire, only without any of the more popular creature's drawbacks. The gjenganger can survive in sunlight and takes lives out of preference rather than necessity. 

    1,145 votes
  • 3
    904 VOTES

    Baubai Hide In Dark Corners Of Houses Waiting To Take Children

    Baubai (or Baubas, if singular) are the Lithuanian equivalents to the American boogeyman. These sinister creatures are amazingly gangly and commonly take refuge in dark corners of houses. As is the case with the boogeyman, a Baubas's main goal is to take unsuspecting children. If a child misbehaves, it's said that a Baubas will come to take them away as punishment.

    In case you weren't already afraid of the dark, here's one more thing to look out for while avoiding the space under your bed and in your closet. 

    904 votes
  • 4
    1,258 VOTES

    A Pricolici Is A Giant, Terrifying, Undead Wolf

    A Pricolici Is A Giant, Terrifying, Undead Wolf
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    This is another great creature from Romania. A pricolici is the soul of a particularly violent man that has come back in the form of a huge, terrifying wolf. Its goal? Mainly to do harm and cause chaos. It's kind of a werewolf/vampire hybrid - and since those are two things you should avoid on their own, you should probably be extra wary of the combination.

    1,258 votes
  • 5
    942 VOTES

    Krampus Is A Demonic Analog To Santa

    Krampus Is A Demonic Analog To Santa
    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.

    942 votes
  • 6
    1,024 VOTES

    Baba Yaga Lives In A Hut That Stands On Chicken Legs

    Baba Yaga Lives In A Hut That Stands On Chicken Legs
    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.

    1,024 votes