If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know I (Tess) have a soft spot for household spirits. I’m not what draws me so much to the lore of these creatures, but I find them hopelessly endearing (especially the curmudgeonly ones). One I recently learned about was the Kikimora. Kikimora is a female house spirit in Slavic folklore. Unlike some household beings, though, Kikimora does not often make life either.
Kikimora strongly resemble humanoid chickens, with a beaked mouth and nose, clawed fingers, and chicken feet. She is typically dressed in a housedress with a headscarf tied around her scraggly hair. She is often depicted spinning flax with evil intent. Looking in her the eyes should be avoided at all costs - in fact, children were even advised to stare at their pillows or out their windows if they felt she was in the room.
How does a Kikimora get into your house? Well, through the keyhole of course. It is for this reason that many Slavic women kept their keys in the keyholes or stuffed keyholes with small pieces of cloth or papers to stifle the entrance of a Kikimora. Kikimoras usually appear along with life-changing bad news like death or the loss of a child. If these events have not occurred, she is also believed to be a messenger of bad fortune. It is said that if you lay your eyes upon a Kikimora, your death will be swift.
These creatures, like many household beings, prefer to live in nooks and crannies. The Kikimora are said to prefer staying behind the hearth, near stoves, under the floorboards, in cupboards, and in attics. If she is displeased or wants to make her presence known it is said that she makes noises similar to a mouse. If she is offered food, some believe she will leave the house and stop disturbing the inhabitants.
Interestingly enough, Kikimoras are often linked to troubles at night, specifically sleep paralysis, terrifying nightmares, or accidents that happen in the night (livestock being killed, food spoiling, etc).