Monster Monday: Rusalka

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Rusalka.

Rusalki by Witold Pruszkowski
Rusalki by Witold Pruszkowski

A rusalka is a creature from Slavic folklore.  It is usually the spirit of a woman who has died a violent death, often a suicide or a murder, and usually by drowning. A rusalka lives at the bottom of a river or other body of water. At night, she comes out to sing songs and dance in the trees or the meadows near her home. She entices young men and children with her singing to join in her dance, but once they do, she takes them back to the waters of her home and drowns them.

A rusalka is said to appear as a beautiful young woman with pale, almost translucent skin and green or golden hair. Sometimes her eyes glow green, but in other stories they are white and without irises or pupils.

A rusalka is not always malevolent, though. Some say she bestows fertility to the farmlands around her home, and in some stories, she will leave peacefully if her death is avenged.

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