In Slavic mythology, there are several groups of creatures that act as hosts of certain locations. Some reign over natural areas (for example, leshy in the forest), while others inhabit human-made places, such as huts or barns. The only creature of the latter kind that is still popular in modern culture is domovoy. Not surprisingly so, as domovoy lives in a house, whereas other spirits inhabit buildings that are barely a part of modern life.

Domovoy is considered to be the embodiment of the earliest ancestor of the family, so it’s usually believed to look like an old man. Alternatively, ​​the spirits that protect the house could be represented as snakes or weasels – animals who could become hosts of the dead ancestor’s soul.

To this day, you can hear someone claim that domovoy is messing with them because their home appliances stopped working for no apparent reason or something is suddenly missing in their apartment. Even so, according to traditional beliefs, it’s much worse when there’s no domovoy in the house at all, as he keeps an eye on everything that happens there, from tending to animals to solving arguments between family members. To keep domovoy from misbehaving, one should give him small offerings (sweets or coins).

Outbuildings, such as banyas or barns, had their own mythological rulers – banniks and ovinniks correspondingly. A banya wasn’t only a place for bathing yourself, it was also used for treating sick people, giving birth, and fortune-telling. All of these activities have something to do with the other world, so banyas were considered mysterious and dangerous places. To pay respects to their ruler and avoid being harmed, one had to ask bannik for permission to enter the building and leave some water and soap for this spirit to clean afterwards. It was also strictly prohibited to enter a banya during nighttime or holidays.

Ovinnik took care of the harvest by helping keep it clean and safe from burglars at night. In order to honor him, one had to ask for his permission before lighting a fire to dry the crops, as well as give him offerings – a pie and a rooster. 

As you can see, there are lots of rules one needs to follow to stay safe in the countryside, but now you’re well-prepared to face a mythological creature or two. To learn about other Slavic fantastic beasts, follow this link.