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Top 10 Scary Polish Urban Legends

10. Obra River Monster
This river in west Poland is picturesque on the surface. Its a popular place for canoeing and kayaking. However, under the surface, there lies a creepy urban legend. They say a monster lies down there and has done for generations. Over the years, many witnesses have reported seeing a giant snake-like creature in the lakes connected to the river. They say they've seen it surface to attack ducks, swans and even small dogs which are often dragged underwater, never to be seen again. Others say they've seen the snake approach boats and try its luck with them - showing it isn't even afraid of humans. It's been compared to the loch ness monster, with some people saying that it's actually the last survivor of an ancient reptilian creature. Of course, that would mean it would have to be near enough immortal - so perhaps there isn't just one, but a number of different Obra Monsters, all lurking below the waters, waiting until their numbers are strong enough to return to the surface.

9. Rusalka
This is a Polish Tree Spirit, traditionally thought to inhabit the woods and lakes of western Poland. Rusalka was thought to be the spirits of murdered girls. They yearn for continued existence but for that, they need the energy of the living. So, at certain times of the year, they will climb out of the lake and sit on the branches of willow and birch trees. There, they wait for a man. He will become infatuated with the undead temptress and follow her back into the water, she will then entangle him with her long hair and pull him to the bottom to drown. In the olden days, it was said that the Rusalka really didn't like women, probably out of jealousy. Women would hang scarves and linen in the forest to appease the Rusalka. If you're planning a trip to Poland and want to avoid the Rusalka, they are said to become most dangerous around early June - especially during a time known as -Rusalka Week- where the spirits leave the woods and cause crop damage, illness, and death across the land.

8. The Strzga (Striga) This is a female creature who feeds on human blood. Everyone country seems to have a vampire legend - this is Poland's. The strigas origin is connected to the belief of duality of the souls. A common explanation is that most of the time, humans are born with a single soul - how could they not, right? Well, apparently, sometimes, very rarely, a person is born with two. They may live a normal life but when they die, only one soul leaves their body. The second gets trapped inside the body, keeping it alive in an undead sort of way - more vampire than human. They are now a Striga - bound to living between the spheres of life and death until the second soul leaves too. At first, they may look quite human, but as time goes on, they change. They may start out getting a gray or blue skin. Then their features become bird like. They grow claws, bird eyes and have feathers growing off their back. During the day, they sleep in their graves and then come out at night for a hunt. They need human blood to survive and will suck it out of the victims while eating their entrails.

7. Ogniki
These are demons which guard the graves where forgotten treasures are hidden. In life, they used to be humans - but only a specific kind of person becomes an Ogniki. It's not necessarily evil people - but deceitful ones - people who are fraudulent and unjust to others. The ogniki lives in marshes and swamps - they are hostile to people. If lost wanderers reach the areas haunted by the Ogniki, they are led into the most dangerous part of the swamp and are drowned in a pool of slime. People are drawn to them by the lights they leave flickering over the swamp - they are said to be hypnotic in nature. The lights sometimes appear as a pair of hands holding either a candle or an indescribable light source. Either way, the light will always be where the treasure is not. The Ogniki are greedy spirits who try and draw humans away from the treasure they protect - this is a reflection of the greed they had in life.

6. The Zmory
These are evil half demonic creatures that feed off human life force - but there is a catch - they cant actually kill their own prey directly. Polish mythology describes them as the wandering souls of those living people who were lost in a deep sleep state or suffering from a severe disease. The souls left the body as it began to fail. Now, they remain between the world of the living and the world of the dead. They enter peoples houses at night, seeking the vital human energy they need. They sit on peoples legs or chests as they sleep, causing sleep paralysis or breathing problems. That's when they feed on your life force.

The Zmory may be spirit-like but they are more physical than ghosts. It's sad that they cant pass through physical objects like doors or walls. They don't really need to though - the Zmory can take on any form they like. They can become as flat as a pancake to slide under your door or as thin as a hair to slide through your lock. They prefer to stay invisible but some can take the form of a human, where they would have a semi-transparent body. Humans are their ultimate goal but they will also go for animals too. They say the Zmory like horses for their strength. You can tell a horse has been visited by one because it will be sweaty and visibly exhausted in the morning. If you ever have a morning like that, maybe you've been visited too!


5. Bogniki
These are female personifications of the wild forces of nature in old Polish mythology. They are seen as demons that only have two approaches to us humans: neutral or hostile, there are no friendly ones. They attack humans, specifically, they attack women during childbirth. That's right, when a woman is at perhaps her most vulnerable point, giving birth to a human life after hours of labor and 9 months of carrying, that's when the Bogniki attack them - that gives you an idea of the moral compass of these creatures. They replace the newborns with changelings, they look like humans but they are really infant Bognikis. Although they need and prey on us, they aren't usually found in towns or cities, preferring instead to dwell in swamps, lakes, rivers, forests, woods, and mountains. Some say the Bogniki are the spirits of women who died in childbirth, committed suicide or murdered a child. They say that witches can summon Bogniki and pray to them to get help them. If witches pray to you, you're probably not a good thing.

4. Polundica
These are said to be the demons of young women who died before, during or shortly after their wedding. They are the lost souls of maidens who were not able to have the happy marriage they wanted because death snatched it away from them. They are said to appear around noon on the hottest days of the summer, wandering in the fields of golden crops. If you see them from a distance, they may look like normal, beautiful women, dressed in blinding white clothes, their hair loose and sometimes be wearing a flower crown. However, when you look closer you can see that something is not right.

Their teeth look like a steal, they have a swollen tongue and their skin looks rotten and burned. They hold a sickle and ambush people from behind. They may ask riddles or questions for their own amusement but if you fail to appease them, they will attack. The victim is tortured until they are maimed or even killed. The most common form of death is by the heat she radiates with. Meeting her can cause heavy headaches, heart attacks, paralysis, or loss of consciousness. Parents often fear their children who play alone in crop fields will be kidnapped or permanently blinding. Oh, and she often appears with whirlwinds and 7 black dogs accompanying here. Her descriptions continue and trust me, none of them get any nicer.

3. Bieda
This is a demon whose name translates to poverty. Its a fitting name for this immortal being that brings misfortune, misery, and grief to everyone near her. She is tall and lean, described as twig-like and covered in old rags. She wanders the Earth looking to feed on a very specific source of nourishment: human happiness and luck. If you've been lacking some of those in your life recently, perhaps you have a Bieda nearby. When she finds a target, she settled down in a nearby house. Youll knows this has happened by a series of disasters or general troubles occurring in your family. She can turn herself into any object or animal - that makes her a lot more difficult to look out for.

Basically, she could be anything new in the environment. People say to watch out for birds like sparrows or swallows who had built their nests under the roof but didn't seem to lay eggs like regular birds - or lone mouses who seemed to be smart than cats. Bieda is an immortal being and cannot be killed - if you try and burn or sink the object she turns into - she will escape, let out a loud screech and then turn into a different object, one that is even harder to stop. They've been doing this for hundreds or thousands of years - which means the objects they hide as are almost invisible to humans, perhaps one of them is in the room with you right now - have you noticed anything new?

2. The Biali Zimni Ludzie
In English, these are called the White Cold People. They are perhaps the most mysterious creatures on this list. They are basically an illness in human form. They are tiny, covered in unhealthy looking skin, and scuttle around in a feverish, insect-like way. They can be the size of your hand or as small as the head of a pin. They are bad omens, able to hunt and prey on people. They live in forests and swamps and love to ambush travelers from a hiding place in a puddle by the side of a road. Once they have selected you as a target, they will hide in your clothes and wait for you to fall asleep.

Then, very quietly, they will climb onto your face and enter your body through your mouth or nose. Once they're in your respiratory system, they will infect you with various hard to cure illnesses. When you wake up, the first sign of a visit will be a high fever. It was believed that victims were forced to drink strong spirits mixed with powdered dried eyes of a crayfish or eat a stalk from an old broom on a slice of bread and butter. Hey, don't ask me why I didn't make the rules. Another curing ritual involved drilling a deep hole in a tree trunk, breathing through it and then clogging the whole with a wooden stake. This is supposed to imprison the exhaled demons inside the trunk - but they always find a way to get out.

1. Czernobog
Some say the Chernobog is the King of Monsters, others call him the Black God - some simply say he is the devil. I'm sure you can already see what kind of being you're dealing with here. He is the source of all evil in the world and enjoys nothing more than stealing and devouring souls. This lord of hatred causes calamity and disaster, bringing bad luck and misfortune wherever he turns. Unlike a lot of the creatures we've talked about on this list, the Chernobog doesn't have any real desire or motive to do the evil things he does - he just loves his spot as the most despicable creature in the world. You'd think that with such a powerful and malevolent being there would be a lot of literature about him but relatively speaking, there isn't. Its almost as if people in bygone eras were scared to even mention him in writing - all we have are shadows, rumors and clues to his truly terrible nature. In the past, ancient Slavic people used to spit curses into their bowls at feasts in the hopes of keeping Chernobog at bay - but it was only a hope - for true evil is a difficult thing to stop.

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