The Balkans region is covered with all kinds of creatures, from the ones that can catch you in the water, to the beings waiting in the dark. It is hard to hide when they are everywhere. Of course, not all of these creatures are angry and evil, but that doesn’t mean you should be unwary. These are some of the creatures that scared us from our early childhood. The ones that parents used against our mischiefs and bad behavior.
I am pretty sure they can grab you even now. Look behind you!
When compared with other creatures, ale are relatively young. They are not as old as vodenjaci, but we can still say they are natives. Ale live in lakes or rivers, but they can also fly and run fast. These almost funny creatures always carry a big spoon, so they can eat as much as they can. They have big heads and an enormous mouth and stunted arms and legs. Did I mention the ale’s favorite thing to do is to steal food? Well, now you know.
Ale are dangerous beings, but they are almost extinct now. People used to hunt and kill them during the Middle Ages. Ale can summon hail clouds and storm, so some folks were convinced that these creatures could eat the Sun (apropos the fact they are voracious), but that is a lie. Nevertheless, there were noticed some ale that looked at the round moon and greedily munched.
These creatures are so well-known that even famous Desanka Maksimovic wrote a fairy tale about them. There is no cuter and more harmless being in the Balkans than bauk. Knowing that, it is weird that these sweet, charming creatures became a synonym for all evil beings that lurk from dark corners.
But, there is an explanation for that. Their “bad” reputation bauci got because of their natural method of self-defense – intimidation. Bauci don’t have sharp teeth or shield, or even long claws. They only have several effects that help them scare people. If it wasn’t for that, this species would be extinct long ago.
Drekavac is actually a demon of dead unbaptized men that, according to some stories cannot find peace, so it haunts people who did wrong to this scary creature. Drekavac is small with a hairy body and it constantly stomps on its fur while making an awful noise, a mixture of wolves howling and baby’s crying sound. If you want to encounter it, go to the cemeteries or forests alone at night. Drekavac will gladly say hello to you.
There is a reason why our parents scared us with this evil being. It can strangle people in their sleep. There are even stories that they attack people who find themselves late at night near the cemetery or the woods by jumping on their back and making them walk all night until dawn. If you refuse, drekavac will tear you apart with its big claws. One more thing – don’t try using any electronic devices near drekavac (phones, chainsaws and all other things that may help you), every device will die when this creature is around.
Karakondžula is a black wraith with red eyes and long hands. It holds a big bat and uses it to beat disobedient children. And that’s not all! After it pounds them, karakondžula devours these spoiled brats. This big creature usually sits in the doorway and as soon as someone gets out of the home it throws a rag on the victim’s head, jumps on his back and rides him through the night (just like drekavac). This agony ends when the roosters crow. Karakondžula then leaves the victim in pain or even throws him from the cliff. Only real weapons against karakondžula are salt and bread. Good luck!
Babaroga is something like the Bogeyman, but in a female form and much scarier. This creature is actually harmless, but since she looks like a toothless mean old woman, with a horn on her forehead, it can scare a devil out of you. Babaroga is often mistaken for a witch, but they are very different.
Favorite thing for babaroga to do is to scare little children. Their hygiene is very bad (babaroge do that so they can look, and smell, even worse), but not all the people with bad hygiene are babaroge. They are the main corrective measure for every child in the Balkans.
If you thought that a childhood in the Balkans is full of scary creatures, you are right. But on the other hand, there is no time or place in this region that doesn’t have a bit of magic in it. Next part contains some of the creatures that, well, don’t belong anywhere. Wait and see.