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About Kikimora

Kikimora is a Slavic mythological creature which is described as a female house spirit living behind the stove or in the cellar. She is not necessarily harmful but her presence is unwanted. However, she is said to be difficult to get rid of when she is inside house.

Kikimora is often described as a small woman with a humpback who is dressed in dirty clothing although she is sometimes described to look as an average woman wearing her hair down. According to some legends, she is married to Domovoi or Domovoy, a male house spirit in the Slavic mythology who is described as a small, bearded and hairy creature although in some traditions, he can take on the appearance of the house’s owners. But there are also versions according to which he has a grey beard, a tail or even horns. Just like Kikimora, her mythological husband is not necessarily harmful although his presence is typically disturbing as his actions are similar to that of poltergeist.

In addition to the house spirit, Kikimora can also refer to a mythological creature who lives in the forest or swamp. Kikimora that lives in the swamp and is recognised by wet footprints is said to be the wife of Leshy or Lesovik, a male woodland spirit who protects the forests and wild animals. Leshy is known to misguide people and kidnap young women but he generally is not viewed as a harmful creature and is also known to look after grazing cattle and prevent it from getting lost or wandering too deep in the forest.

Kikimora’s presence in the house is typically disturbing because she can make noises at night, whistle, break dishes and even tickle small children to keep everyone in the house awake. During the night, she also comes out to spin, however, the person who sees a spinning Kikimora is said to die soon. But besides disturbing the people, Kikimora sometimes helps around the house and looks after poultry especially if the household is well-kept. If it is not, she makes an even greater chaos. To please Kikimora and discourage her from harassing people, all the pots and pans should be washed in a tea from fern.

It is said that Kikimora can be introduced to the house by placing a doll resembling like her under the beam or under the front corner of the house.

Kikimora is also the name of a genus of spiders from the Linyphiidae family that was discovered by 1988. However, the genus was not named after the Slavic mythological creature but after its discoverer, Kirill Eskov.